A group of African American pastors and faith leaders have come together to publicly back a Christian baker who was punished by the government for declining to make a same-sex wedding cake.
The group launched the #WeGotYourBackJack campaign this week — an effort to defend Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, whose case will be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 5.
“The freedom to make decisions based upon our faith is being challenged. Colorado cake artist, Jack Phillips, serves everyone, but he doesn’t use his creative expression for every event,” reads a description on the campaign’s website. “When a cake artist declines to design a cake for a Halloween party, the world goes about its business. But if that same cake artist declines a request for a custom cake for a same-sex wedding, he is forced to defend his decision all the way to the United States Supreme Court.”
The text went on to question why Phillips is essentially permitted to decline one event and not the other.
The group also took pointed issue with claims by some advocates that the decision not to bake a cake for a gay wedding ceremony is akin to denying rights to people based on their race or ethnicity.
“Some say that a cake artist who declines to participate in a same sex wedding is just like racial oppression against African Americans in our fight for civil rights,” text in a #WeGotYourBackJack campaign video reads. “We disagree.”
On Monday, the Rev. William Avon Keen, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Virginia, was among participants who spoke out to reporters, explaining the difference that he sees between the two civil rights battles.
“We had to fight for equal treatment because of the color of our skin,” Keen said, according to RNS. “Christians should not be forced to support sin.”
The campaign is relying on some controversial images to make this point, with one such meme featuring three water fountains. One is labeled “white,” the other “black” and a third, presented in rainbow coloring, is labeled “LGBT.” A tagline above the water fountains reads, “One of these never happened,” in reference to past rampant segregation.
As Faithwire previously reported, Phillips’ Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case could have sweeping ramifications for both religious liberty and equal protection rights.
The controversial legal battle surrounds Phillips’ 2012 refusal of a same-sex wedding cake. Phillips, much like Oregon bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein and numerous other wedding venders across the U.S., has found himself in the crosshairs of the government as well as LGBTQ activists after declining to offer his services to a gay couple.