The Satanic Temple, which blogger Joe My God pointed out doesn’t really believe in Satan but is an atheist organization with the mission to “encourage benevolence and empathy among all people” made news last week on a topic that might at first seem frivolous but has real-life implications if you are gay.
Lucien Greaves, co-founder and spokesperson for The Satanic Temple, has said if the U.S. Supreme Court decides (as it is expected to) that “religious freedom” is more important than civil rights, when they hear the case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission No. 16-111 his organization has a devilishly clever plan to troll Masterpiece Cakeshop and others like them – but more on that later. First hear me out on why this is important to you.
What if the best surgeon in your city refused to treat you, citing religious freedom?
While I would normally suggest the couple find another business (one who supports the LGBTQ community), let me point out that by allowing this discrimination, it poses a problem that goes far beyond its hypocrisy. Nobody believes for a minute that this argument would be tolerated if the cakemaker suggested he couldn’t make cakes for Jews, who for example, could easily be classified as opposing this owner’s religious views. However, I digress. The real issue here is by allowing one business to discriminate and not provide service to a gay couple based on their selective religious teachings means that other services could also make similar claims. Although it seems far fetched, what if the best surgeon in your city refused to treat you to you based on his / her religious freedom beliefs? Don’t think it could happen? Don’t be so sure.
making sexual orientation a protected class is both important and relevant.
Although this court case has been described as a matter of Free Speech vs. Civil Rights, I don’t see it that way. The fact that sexual orientation is not a protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, (unlike race and religion) means there is a good chance (considering the makeup of the court) that refusing to serve anyone who is LGBTQ could be affirmed as a constitutional liberty.
For this reason, The Satanic Temple (TST) announced a plan for those who feel alienated by the privileged status religion holds over sexual orientation: Request your homophobic baker make a cake for Satan. While this hardly resolves the problem, perhaps it can drive home the point that discriminating based on what a person looks like, what they believe or who they are is always wrong and providing religious protections that infringe on the rights of minority groups is inherently a bad idea for everyone involved.