By Going after Jack Phillips Yet Again, Colorado Is Abetting Harassment and Bigotry

Aug. 17 2018

In July, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop, whose owner Jack Phillips had been fined by the Colorado Civil Rights Division for declining to bake a cake celebrating a same-sex wedding. Twenty-four days later, however, the division issued yet another “probable-cause determination” against Phillips for declining to bake a cake—blue on the outside, pink on the inside—to celebrate a potential customer’s “transitioning” from male to female. Notably, Autumn Scardina, the person requested this cake, did so on June 26, 2017, the same day the Supreme Court announced that it would review the original case. David French comments:

Lest anyone wonder whether this request was made in good faith, consider that this same person apparently made a number of requests to Masterpiece Cakeshop. In September 2017, a caller asked Phillips to design a birthday cake for Satan that would feature an image of Satan smoking marijuana. The name “Scardina” appeared on the caller identification. A few days earlier, a person had emailed Phillips asking for a cake with a similar theme—except featuring “an upside-down cross, under the head of Lucifer.” This same emailer reminded Phillips that “religion is a protected class.” On the very day that Phillips won his case at the Supreme Court, a person emailed with yet another deliberately offensive design request. . . .

With its probable-cause finding, the Colorado Civil Rights Division demonstrates it’s as foolish as it is malicious. It has just launched yet another legal campaign against Phillips based on nothing more than a bad-faith complaint from an angry troll. It hasn’t cured its devotion to double standards. And by seeking to punish Phillips when the expressive message of the proposed cake is crystal clear, the Division has only strengthened his First Amendment claim.

In recent months, we’ve seen that trolling and shaming work all too well when the relevant power is a private corporation. . . . But . . . government officials can’t empower the outrage mob. They can’t engage in viewpoint discrimination, and if they act with actual animus, they can and should be held personally liable for violating a citizen’s core constitutional rights.

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Read more at National Review

More about: American law, Freedom of Religion, Politics & Current Affairs, Supreme Court

 

Iran Is Back on Israel’s Doorstep

Feb. 15 2019

On Monday, the IDF shelled Iranian-linked targets—most likely held by Hizballah—in the Quneitra province, which lies in the Syrian part of the Golan Heights. There can thus be little doubt that the Islamic Republic has positioned its proxies in deadly proximity to Israel’s borders. Yossi Yehoshua comments:

Hizballah is trying to entrench itself in Syria now that Bashar al-Assad has reclaimed the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, precisely as it did in 2014 and 2015, [before Syrian rebels retook the area]. This was when one of the terror organization’s more prominent members, Jihad Mughniyeh, was appointed by Hizballah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to be in charge of the Golan Heights area and of planning terror attacks against Israeli civilians. Mughniyeh was killed in a 2015 airstrike attributed to Israel. . . .

In addition, an increase in the number of incidents along the Syrian border was noted over the past two months, with the Israeli strikes in Syria . . . meant to signal to the enemy that it is best not cross any red lines. This is similar to the message Jerusalem conveyed to Iran when it [previously] attempted to entrench itself in [this part of] Syria and was pushed out of there after a series of Israeli airstrikes.

Unlike the situation of four years ago, Iran now has a real presence along the Syrian border, while Hizballah is working to resume its confrontations with Israel. And since the organization is up to its neck in domestic problems and thus cannot allow itself to face Israel on the Lebanese front, it finds Syria to be a more comfortable staging ground from which to take on the Jewish state.

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Read more at Ynet

More about: Golan Heights, Hizballah, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Syria