“Bake the Cake” Is Now “Paint the Painting”

 

Breanna Koski and Joanna Duka of Brush and Nib Studio.

The left has won the culture war and is roaming the countryside shooting the wounded. The latest example takes place in Phoenix, where the city is compelling two artists to create artwork they don’t agree with — and forbidding them from speaking up about it.

Painter Breanna Koski and calligrapher Joanna Duka became friends at a Bible study and, realizing their mutual love of art, created a business named Brush and Nib Studio. They create announcements and invitations for special occassions, primarily weddings. After meeting with the couples to better understand them and their desires, Breanna and Joanna handcraft unique custom designs celebrating their marriage.

This bespoke business fuses the pair’s passions but they quickly ran into trouble with the government. According to a City of Phoenix ordinance, Brush and Nib is compelled to create unique artwork celebrating same-sex weddings, even though Breanna and Joanna believe the Christian teaching that marriage should be limited to one male and one female. Worse still, the law prevents them from speaking about their traditional view since mere speech is thought to be discriminatory.

“We pour our hearts and souls into the custom artwork we create and we care deeply about the messages they express,” Duka said at a press conference following the hearing.

“We would like to tell you more, but right now Phoenix law limits even what we can share with you today.”

Those were her last words; the city succeeded in shutting her up.

What would have happened if she said any banned words? She and her business partner could receive up to six months in jail, $2,500 in fines and three years of probation for each day the city decided there was a violation.

As I note in the piece above, it would be ludicrous for government to force Jewish artists to create paintings celebrating Easter or force atheist artists to promote Islamic beliefs. Either would be as offensive as forcing Muslim bakers to cater a pork barbecue.

But, as with other cases about wedding cakes, flowers, and photography, the government is singling out Christians for holding a view that was the law of the land until three years ago. The First Amendment guarantees that Congress — and, by extension, any government — can make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Thankfully, the lawyers at Alliance Defending Freedom are reminding city leaders of that fact.

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  1. rico Member
    rico
    @rico

    Nothing that a little bad art and bad calligraphy can’t solve.

    Everybody has a bad day every now and then.

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Now, what would be wrong with a bit of artistic expression, say a lightning bolt striking two women or two men dead? It’s simply art, isn’t it? You demanded their art, didn’t you? Now, pay up.

    • #2
  3. Nick H Coolidge
    Nick H
    @NickH

    Anything not forbidden is mandatory. Dissent from the Approved Way to Think will not be allowed. There’s no such thing as agreeing to disagree. You will be forced to change.

    • #3
  4. contrarian Member
    contrarian
    @Contrarian

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: As I note in the piece above, it would be ludicrous for government to force Jewish artists to create paintings celebrating Easter or force atheist artists to promote Islamic beliefs. Either would be as offensive as forcing Muslim bakers to cater a pork barbecue.

    I’m an atheist. I’ve occasionally made posters, flyers, and t-shirt designs, not for money, but to help out friends .putting on local events. I certainly wouldn’t be enthusiastic about making artwork promoting Islamic beliefs, but it wouldn’t violate my conscience at all. Now if you’d said ‘Islamist’ rather than Islamic… There’s no friggin’ way I’d I do that.

    • #4
  5. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: The left has won the culture war and is roaming the countryside shooting the wounded. The latest example takes place in Phoenix, where the city is compelling two artists to create artwork they don’t agree with — and forbidding them from speaking up about it.

    They have not won yet.  I believe devout artists of all faiths will move to states where the state courts will back them up – until they get to the Federal courts, where anything can happen.

    It’s like you said, Jon, and it goes well beyond religion, as in the examples you cited.  Should a black baker be forced to put a Klansmen couple on top of a wedding cake with slaves in chains surrounding the lower tier?  Should a Muslim caterer be required to serve bacon-wrapped steaks at a social event?  Should the owner of a printing shop who was a rape victim be required to put a picture of a penis on the cover of a pamphlet advertising a toga party for a frat house?

    I remember when I was growing up (another “get of my lawn” sign), some stores used to put small signs in their windows that said, “We reserve the right to refuse any customer any service for any reason.”  Maybe we should go back to that now.  Yes, I understand a black cannot legally be refused service at a motel owned by a white racist, but I’d rather live with the knowledge a particular motel is racist, than to force everyone to serve everybody, any time, any place, regardless of personal beliefs.

    As for my personal beliefs, I would never stay at such a motel, but I’d rather live with that than have the government forcing people to go against their beliefs.  Let the racist motels (or any other business) live or die on their own merits . . .

     

     

     

    • #5
  6. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Stad (View Comment):

    I remember when I was growing up (another “get of my lawn” sign), some stores used to put small signs in their windows that said, “We reserve the right to refuse any customer any service for any reason.” Maybe we should go back to that now. Yes, I understand a black cannot legally be refused service at a motel owned by a white racist, but I’d rather live with the knowledge a particular motel is racist, than to force everyone to serve everybody, any time, any place, regardless of personal beliefs.

    As for my personal beliefs, I would never stay at such a motel, but I’d rather live with that than have the government forcing people to go against their beliefs. Let the racist motels (or any other business) live or die on their own merits . . .

    Exactly.  It’s time to repeal the majority of public accommodation laws.  Social pressure and the desire to make a buck will keep the majority of businesses from refusing customers based on their ethnic/sexual/religious identity.

    • #6
  7. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    I used to have just such a business where it was a form of custom art for special occasions. I even advertised at wedding shows. It was long enough ago that gay weddings weren’t legal, and it wouldn’t have mattered to me anyway. Frankly, I can’t imagine any business that I wouldn’t have taken. Still, I really feel for the bakery artists and these graphic artists. We’re supposed to have freedom of religion here. We should also have freedom to turn away potential customers for any reason.

    • #7
  8. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

     

    Thanks to legal foundations combating such blatantly unConstitutional nonsense. I hope the ladies can stay in business despite the heavy hand of government.

    • #8
  9. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    It’s worth recalling attention to the fact that the freedom of religion and freedom of expression are not distinct from each other, but are rather mentioned in the Bill of Rights as two manifestations of one freedom. Both the forced expression and the silenced expression violate the 1st Amendment. 

    Religion is protected as expression, not as latent belief. 

    • #9
  10. Theodoric of Freiberg Member
    Theodoric of Freiberg
    @TheodoricofFreiberg

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: What would have happened if she said any banned words? She and her business partner could receive up to six months in jail, $2,500 in fines and three years of probation for each day the city decided there was a violation.

    “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.” – Henry David Thoreau

    • #10
  11. rico Member
    rico
    @rico

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: The First Amendment guarantees that Congress — and, by extension, any government — can make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

    … or speech.

    Question:
    Is the forbidden speech part contained in the mandatory-artistic-expression-of-ideas-you-find-abhorrent ordinance or is it in a separate ordinance?

    • #11
  12. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Thankfully, the lawyers at Alliance Defending Freedom are reminding city leaders of that fact.

    Wrong link. But AllianceDefendingFreedom.org results a permission error for me, so I’m unsure what the intended link is.

    Thanks to legal foundation combating such blatantly unConstitutional nonsense. I hope the ladies can stay in business despite the heavy hand of government.

    Fixed it: https://www.adflegal.org/detailspages/case-details/brush-nib-studio-v.-city-of-phoenix

    Sorry about that.

    • #12
  13. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    They should start up a go-fund me campaign and go to court under the protection of the 1st amendment. I don’t agree with the Christian attitudes regarding homosexuality but they have the right to believe whatever they believe as long as they don’t hurt anybody else. 

    • #13
  14. Quake Voter Member
    Quake Voter
    @QuakeVoter

    Stad (View Comment):

    es, I understand a black cannot legally be refused service at a motel owned by a white racist, but I’d rather live with the knowledge a particular motel is racist, than to force everyone to serve everybody, any time, any place, regardless of personal beliefs.

    As for my personal beliefs, I would never stay at such a motel, but I’d rather live with that than have the government forcing people to go against their beliefs. Let the racist motels (or any other business) live or die on their own merits . . .

    Agree with you wholeheartedly Stad, but isn’t it telling how dated and irrelevant most racial “models” are in the US?  Half the motels across the entire continent are owned by Gujuratis, so I guess we need to worry about the accommodation of Sikh tourists and travelling salesmen.

    The actual on-the-ground America is so complex and pervasively non-racist and the elite coastal and campus rhetoric is poisonously preoccupied with stupid simplistic theories about something which simply doesn’t exist.

    • #14
  15. Ralphie Member
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    This couple produces what I would think are copyrighted works.  A lot of people think they can tell an artist, architect, photographer what to do and they own the completed work, but the copyright is retained by the creator (unless they are an employee, then the employer retains the copyright).  

    When it comes to SSM, there seems to be an idea that it is absolute that they be accommodated. If my creative works belong to me, and I don’t like what I am creating, why do I have to continue to do so?

    • #15
  16. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    In a free country, people should be able to do what they want with their own stuff.  What is so hard to grasp about this?

    • #16
  17. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I think it is worth stating that those against SSM warned of this very thing and we’re dismissed. 

    • #17
  18. Umbra of Nex, Fractus Member
    Umbra of Nex, Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I think it is worth stating that those against SSM warned of this very thing and we’re dismissed.

    Some of us opposed SSM because we saw this coming.

    The left is never on the side of increased freedom. If it looks like they are, you’re not looking hard enough. After all this time you’d think libertarians would have learned this lesson.

    • #18
  19. Drew, now with Dragon Energy! Coolidge
    Drew, now with Dragon Energy!
    @DrewInWisconsin

    But I was promised there would be no slippery slope!

     

    • #19
  20. Drew, now with Dragon Energy! Coolidge
    Drew, now with Dragon Energy!
    @DrewInWisconsin

    (I was also told that there is no culture war, either.)

    • #20
  21. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I think it is worth stating that those against SSM warned of this very thing and we’re dismissed.

    I don’t dismiss it, and I stand with you in opposing people who would force businesses to service customers who they do not want to do business with.  But but bad behavior on the part of a very small percentage of gay couples is not sufficient reason to convince me that all gay couples should be denied state recognition of their marriage.

    Drew, now with Dragon Energy! (View Comment):

    But I was promised there would be no slippery slope!

    Exactly who made this promise?

    • #21
  22. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I think it is worth stating that those against SSM warned of this very thing and we’re dismissed.

    I don’t dismiss it, and I stand with you in opposing people who would force businesses to service customers who they do not want to do business with. But but bad behavior on the part of a very small percentage of gay couples is not sufficient reason to convince me that all gay couples should be denied state recognition of their marriage.

    Drew, now with Dragon Energy! (View Comment):

    But I was promised there would be no slippery slope!

    Exactly who made this promise?

    Time to post a treatment on why the government does have an interest in marriage. 

     

    • #22
  23. Drew, now with Dragon Energy! Coolidge
    Drew, now with Dragon Energy!
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I think it is worth stating that those against SSM warned of this very thing and we’re dismissed.

    I don’t dismiss it, and I stand with you in opposing people who would force businesses to service customers who they do not want to do business with. But but bad behavior on the part of a very small percentage of gay couples is not sufficient reason to convince me that all gay couples should be denied state recognition of their marriage.

    Drew, now with Dragon Energy! (View Comment):

    But I was promised there would be no slippery slope!

    Exactly who made this promise?

    The left.

    Just give us this one infringement on your rights! We promise we’ll leave you alone after that!

    Okay.

    Ha! Just kidding! We want more!

    • #23
  24. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I try so hard to remain optimistic, but it is hard when I read stories like this. The officials involved in passing and enforcing these laws have absolutely no understanding of people’s right to express their thoughts. 

    It is a dangerous precedent. 

     

    • #24
  25. Richard Easton Member
    Richard Easton
    @RichardEaston

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    They should start up a go-fund me campaign and go to court under the protection of the 1st amendment. I don’t agree with the Christian attitudes regarding homosexuality but they have the right to believe whatever they believe as long as they don’t hurt anybody else.

    Some on the Left believe that people opposing SSM cause harm to gays.

    • #25
  26. Umbra of Nex, Fractus Member
    Umbra of Nex, Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    a very small percentage of gay couples

    Assumes facts not in evidence. Where are the “gay rights” proponents speaking out against this? We often hear that there’s a distinction to be made between “progressives” and “liberals.” Well, where are the “liberals” saying, “This is not what we asked for?”

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Drew, now with Dragon Energy! (View Comment):

    But I was promised there would be no slippery slope!

    Exactly who made this promise?

    Everyone who argued in favor of same sex marriage, except for a handful of bluntly honest types.

    • #26
  27. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Drew, now with Dragon Energy! (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I think it is worth stating that those against SSM warned of this very thing and we’re dismissed.

    I don’t dismiss it, and I stand with you in opposing people who would force businesses to service customers who they do not want to do business with. But but bad behavior on the part of a very small percentage of gay couples is not sufficient reason to convince me that all gay couples should be denied state recognition of their marriage.

    Drew, now with Dragon Energy! (View Comment):

    But I was promised there would be no slippery slope!

    Exactly who made this promise?

    The left.

    Just give us this one infringement on your rights! We promise we’ll leave you alone after that!

    Okay.

    Ha! Just kidding! We want more!

    So the first thing was gay marriage itself and the second thing is using public accommodation laws to force tradespeople to provide service to gay weddings, right?  The second item is indeed an infringement of your rights.  But you’re saying that even the first item is an infringement on your rights.  How is it an infringement on your rights that people you disapprove of are allowed to get married? 

    • #27
  28. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Umbra of Nex, Fractus (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    a very small percentage of gay couples

    Assumes facts not in evidence.

    Alright, you’ve got me there.  I don’t have statistics on how many gay couples got married in the last year and how many of those couples used the law to force or attempt to force someone to provide them services.  I’m making the assumption that if half the gay couples in America sought out Christian bakers/photographers/florists/whatever for harassment we’d be seeing a lot more of these cases in the news.  Do you have those statistics? 

    Umbra of Nex, Fractus (View Comment):
    Where are the “gay rights” proponents speaking out against this? We often hear that there’s a distinction to be made between “progressives” and “liberals.” Well, where are the “liberals” saying, “This is not what we asked for?”

    The majority of libertarians (don’t blow up if you’re a libertarian who doesn’t fit this pattern) seem to support legal recognition for SSM and oppose public accommodation laws being used to pressure wedding vendors.

    • #28
  29. Michael Brehm Coolidge
    Michael Brehm
    @MichaelBrehm

    And yet bars in NYC are allowed to kick you out if you wear a MAGA hat or are known to espouse the wrong politics, which is what happened to gay, conservative journalist Chadwick Moore when he went for a night out about a month ago.

    There are few things that can put me into an incandescent rage, one of them is double standards. Either everybody plays by the same miserable rules or nobody does.

    • #29
  30. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Umbra of Nex, Fractus (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    a very small percentage of gay couples

    Assumes facts not in evidence.

    Alright, you’ve got me there. I don’t have statistics on how many gay couples got married in the last year and how many of those couples used the law to force or attempt to force someone to provide them services. I’m making the assumption that if half the gay couples in America sought out Christian bakers/photographers/florists/whatever for harassment we’d be seeing a lot more of these cases in the news. Do you have those statistics?

    Umbra of Nex, Fractus (View Comment):
    Where are the “gay rights” proponents speaking out against this? We often hear that there’s a distinction to be made between “progressives” and “liberals.” Well, where are the “liberals” saying, “This is not what we asked for?”

    The majority of libertarians (don’t blow up if you’re a libertarian who doesn’t fit this pattern) seem to support legal recognition for SSM and oppose public accommodation laws being used to pressure wedding vendors.

    Said libertarains, when for SSM, ignored the SoCons saying these very things would happen. 

    See, libertarians want their virtue to win, regardless of the consequenses. They are all Ned Stark.

    • #30

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