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02Bryan_head_shotEarly last year, I discussed the emerging debate over religious liberty versus LGBT equality. Sadly, the debate has only gotten more fever pitched due to the incessant drumbeat of hateful bigots like Matt Barber, Peter Labarbera, Bryan Fischer, and a myriad of other anti-gay blowhards. The fruit of their vitriol has started to bear; this time in the case of a Colorado bakery called Masterpiece Cakeshop.

The bakery’s owner, Jack Phillips, refused to serve a same-sex couple who wanted to have a cake to celebrate their marriage, which was to be held legally in Massachusetts. KDVR’s Matt Farley reported that Phillips “refused to serve them, saying his religious beliefs would not permit him to support a same-sex relationship in any way.”

The two men who were denied their celebratory confection, Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig, went to the ACLU since such discrimination is outlawed in their area. More from KDVR:

Backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Mullins and Craig continued to press the issue, filing complaints with the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

In handing down Friday’s decision, Judge Robert N. Spencer of the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts noted that Phillips had previously made cakes for the “marriage” of two dogs, but made a policy of refusing to serve same-sex couples. By definition, that policy constitutes unlawful discrimination, the judge found.

“Being denied service by Masterpiece Cakeshop was offensive and dehumanizing especially in the midst of arranging what should be a joyful family celebration,” Mullins said. “We are grateful to have the support of our community and our state, and we hope that today’s decision will help ensure that no one else will experience this kind of discrimination again in Colorado.”

The ACLU’s attorney had this to say:

“While we all agree that religious freedom is important, no one’s religious beliefs make it acceptable to break the law by discriminating against prospective customers,” said Amanda C. Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “No one is asking Masterpiece’s owner to change his beliefs, but treating gay people differently because of who they are is discrimination plain and simple.”

That the judge found Phillips guilty of discrimination isn’t really a surprise. Neither is the fact that the bigoted baker’s attorney has said that they would appeal if they lost. Frankly, none of results in this case is a surprise at all. This is nothing more than a natural fruit of the anti-gay rhetoric that continues to fill the airwaves in the name of “religious liberty.”

I said this before, and I’ll say it again. Your religious liberties do not allow you to infringe on the liberties of someone else.

This disturbing trend of using “religious liberty” to deny individual rights to patrons and employees (like Hobby Lobby is trying to do) is enough to make anyone’s skin crawl. On the one hand, those who spout such rhetoric say that they “don’t care what people do in the bedroom.” On the other, they don’t want to think about it. At all. Not for gays, and not for straights. Certainly not for women.

I can’t help but wonder why there was absolutely zero outrage for the rise of erectile dysfunction remedies and the included insurance coverage of said drugs? (Yes, that pun was very much intended.) Where was the “religious liberty” outrage when men could have MORE sex? One little blue pill or a nice bathtub, and you’re on your way to humping heaven.

But when it comes to baking a cake, that deserves all the “outrage” possible. Somehow, a man’s “religious liberty” is threatened when he actually has to sell his product and service to the public. Maybe the flour or the sugar has religious qualities. Or the eggs. Maybe the food coloring is holy. Monsanto seems to think so.

For Bryan Fischer, the delusions never cease. The virulently anti-gay blowhard spokesbigot of the American Family Association (on the SPLC hate group list for its frequent promulgation of anti-gay lies) tweeted recently, “The CO baker illustrates my point: America must choose between homosexuality and liberty because we cannot have both.”

Rabidly anti-gay connoisseur-of-gay-porn (Dan Savage explains here) Peter LaBarbera wrote a verbose screed over at WND which listed case after case where poor, innocent Christians were “attacked” by their evil, homosexual overlords. Never mind the fact that in every single case — the “Christians” were the ones who made clear that they had no intention of treating their gay neighbors and customers like real, live human beings.

LaBarbera pulls out a discredited “quote” from EEOC nominee Chai Feldblum that “Gays win, Christians lose.” There is no factual record of any such quote ever taking place.

Even if the quote were accurate, it paints a perfect picture of just how these professional bigots are twisting facts for their own propaganda. Their belief — and their mantra — is simple. If gays get full equality, then Christians will somehow be … killed? Yeah, that’s been said too.

Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel is somehow “convinced” that gay rights will result in “religious cleansing.”

“What we’re finding,” Barber said, “is that we have a very loud, very powerful minority of quote progressive secularists and separatists; those who want to separate, remove any reference to God.”

And these activists, Barber asserted, are pushing the vast majority of Christian Americans “to the fringes, and there’s a word for that: that’s tyranny and it’s called tyranny of the minority and that’s what we’re living under right now, a tyranny of a secularist minority that wants to engage in religious cleansing”:

But that’s not all. It’s not just “religious cleansing.” The shrilling gets more and more insane with each whackjob. Leave it to Renew America, the crackpot organization founded by wing nut politician Alan Keyes, to take their battle against common sense to the stratosphere. One of their columnist, Gina Miller… well, read for yourself:

The Godless communists (or fascists, if you prefer) are using the homosexual agenda to work toward eradicating Christian opposition to their plans, which are Satan’s plans. If you know your Bible, then you know that Christianity is destined to be outlawed. We are moving steadily toward a time when Christians here in America will be in danger of state-sanctioned murder for their beliefs. If you think I exaggerate, then you don’t know what God has already told us, or perhaps you mistakenly believe that the United States is the exception, that it can’t happen here. Christians throughout the world have always been persecuted, but here in the United States, we have enjoyed unparalleled protection and freedom during the existence of our nation. That protection is quickly being eroded, and the homosexuals are used as pawns in this process.

Yeah. Homosexuals are “pawns” to have Christians murdered. Because Satan. Or something.

One thing is definitely clear. The rhetoric against LGBT equality is only getting more and more outlandish. But there’s a bright point to all of this insanity. The number of people speaking this kind of nonsense is dwindling. In fact, we’re able to name most of them off the top of our heads because they’re becoming so few and far between. Alas, they are more vocal than ever.

They’ve become totally ridiculous, completely irrelevant, and have made themselves into a caricature of blind, hateful bigotry. They no longer represent the overwhelming masses of Christianity. In fact, most Christians view them as the crackpots that they are. It’s a refreshing development.

Unfortunately, they do have followers that lap up their bile like it’s liquid candy. Those devotees are emboldened by the myth that “religious liberty” gives them the right to treat people like they’re subhuman. And until the law makes such rank discrimination illegal, it will continue.

But one thing we can do, and we should do: If a business refuses to provide a service to someone because of their sexual orientation, take your business elsewhere.

To reiterate (and revise) my quote last year from Pat Green, They can swing their arms all they want to. But once they punch someone in the nose, they should swing their arms in the solitude they so richly deserve.