On Facebook I follow George Takei (“Lt. Sulu” from the original Star Trek series) because he’s pretty funny, but mostly because I loved that show. Unfortunately Takei applauded the Oregon judge who ruled against the Christian bakers, and put the hashtag #SeparationOfChurchandCake.
Upping the ante, one of Takei’s fans posted this in the thread without further comment:
This is all so muddled it’s hard to know where to start. The traditional notion of “separation of Church and State” comes explicitly from an 1802 letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists. Here’s the key paragraph:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
Thus Jefferson with this phrase–and the drafters of the First Amendment to the Constitution–was putting a brake on what the State could do. These men were trying to protect the individual’s free exercise of his or her religious beliefs from political interference.
Things have now been turned inside out, with the State forcing people to violate their religious beliefs. There is clearly no duty owed of baking a cake; if the bakers had decided to retire, and thus fail to provide the gay couple with a cake, nobody would have batted an eye. But it was because their action was motivated by a particular religious belief that it violated the State’s rules.
(For the rest of the article, click the link.)