USCCB Chairmen Comment on Supreme Court’s Oral Arguments on Religious Freedom of Creative Professionals

December 5, 2017
By SS. Peter and Paul

WASHINGTON—Today,
the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Masterpiece
Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case involves a
Christian baker named Jack Phillips who declined in 2012 to create a custom
wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony. State officials seek to compel
Phillips to create such cakes under Colorado’s public accommodations law.
Phillips argues that the state’s action against him and his bakery violates the
Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution.

Commenting
on the oral arguments before the Court, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of
Louisville, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, Archbishop Charles
J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., of Philadelphia, Chairman of the Committee on Laity,
Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln,
Chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage of
the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued the following
joint statement:

“Today’s
oral arguments address whether our Constitution’s guarantees of free speech and
freedom of religion will be protected by the Supreme Court. Americans of every
creed depend on these guarantees of freedom from unnecessary government
coercion. America
has the ability to serve every person while making room for valid conscientious
objection. We pray that the Court will continue to preserve the ability
of people to live out their faith in daily life, regardless of their
occupation. Artists in particular deserve to have the freedom to express
ideas—or to decline to create certain messages—in accordance with their deeply
held beliefs. Justice Anthony Kennedy acknowledged in the Obergefell decision
in 2015 that people who oppose same-sex marriage ‘reach that conclusion based
on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises.’ Creative
professionals should be allowed to use their artistic talents in line with
these decent and honorable convictions.”

The
Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling by the end of June.

The
USCCB filed an amicus curiae brief supporting Masterpiece
Cakeshop, which can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/amicus-briefs/upload/16-111-tsac-USCCB.pdf.


Keywords:
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Archbishop
Charles Chaput, Bishop James Conley, Supreme Court, religious freedom,
religious liberty, freedom of conscience, marriage

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Source:: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops