WASHINGTON (BP) – Religious liberty’s latest setback at the U.S. Supreme Court in its ongoing face-off with sexual liberty is disappointing but may not prove conclusive, Southern Baptist religious freedom advocates said.
The high court opted not to review a Hawaii Court of Appeals decision against a bed and breakfast that declined to rent a room to a same-sex couple. By their refusal, the justices permitted the lower court ruling to stand in their March 18 orders. The Christian Life Commission of the Missouri Baptist Convention had signed an amicus brief on behalf of Aloha Bed & Breakfast, calling the Supreme Court to take up the case.
Michael Whitehead – a Southern Baptist lawyer in suburban Kansas City – said he does not understand the denial of the appeal “to mean that a super-majority of justices believe non-discrimination laws will always trump religious freedom of business owners.”
“Five conservative justices will be looking for the right case to expand the victory for religious liberty in Masterpiece Cakeshop,” Michael Whitehead told BP in an email. “… At the right time, the right facts will attract four votes to grant [review] and five votes to move the needle in favor of religious freedom.” The lower court rulings show civil rights agencies and state courts “seem to be on a mission to force people of faith to violate their conscience or go out of business,” Whitehead said. “There is no middle ground for them…. [T]he sexual revolutionaries allow no conscientious objectors. Everyone must bow the knee.”