A few weeks ago, a 9-year-old boy named “Pickle” made national news after White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders read his handwritten letter to President Trump during a White House press briefing. Capturing the hearts of many and peaking the curiosity of others who were at first doubtful of his existence, the young Trump supporter started quite a Twitter storm.
Dylan aka Pickle thank you for your letter and hope to meet you soon! pic.twitter.com/XZlJARZ9cs
— Sarah Huckabee (@SarahHuckabee) July 26, 2017
However, the more noteworthy part of Pickle’s story emerged more recently when news broke that bakeries refused to make him a pro-Trump birthday cake.
When Pickle’s mother SueAnn Harbin tried to order a cake for her son’s birthday party, she was unable to find a bakery in their hometown of Stockton, Calif., that would agree to make the cake. Instead of suing the bakery owners for “discriminating” against her son based on his political affiliation, she simply made the “Make America Great Again” baseball cap-shaped cake herself.
In an age where lawsuits against bakers who turn down requests for cakes celebrating certain events are common, the Harbin’s response is to be applauded. Rather than attempting to force the bakers to create a cake promoting a message that they did not believe in, Pickle’s family simply took their business elsewhere — in this case to their own kitchen.
Since the bakery owners who refused to bake Pickle’s cake did not feel that they could use their artistic talents to create a Trump-themed cake, they should not be forced to do so. In the same way, people like Jack Phillips, the Christian cake artist whose case will soon be heard by the Supreme Court, should not be forced to make Halloween cakes, adult-themed cakes, anti-American cakes, same-sex wedding cakes, or cakes celebrating any other activities which may violate his deeply held religious beliefs. Requiring Phillips to do so would infringe upon his freedom of speech by forcing him to promote a message with which he disagrees.
Michael Farris, the president of Alliance Defending Freedom which is providing legal counsel for Phillips, noted the similarities between Pickle’s and Phillip’s stories and the irony that the people trying to shut down Phillip’s freedom are not rushing to Pickle’s aid by suing the bakeries which refused to make him a MAGA cake:
Similarly here, cake shops declined Pickle’s order for conscience reasons. Yet, no one on the Left is calling for legal action against the cake shops.
And neither should anyone on the Right.
The fact is that these cake shops have freedom of speech. They have the right to decline to use their artistic talents to celebrate events or promote messages that violate their beliefs, even if it offends a nice little kid.
Cases like these are about an artist’s freedom to express only those messages which are consistent with his beliefs. No one should be forced to use his freedom of speech to promote or participate in an event which violates his religious beliefs.
The Harbins have shown their commitment to the First Amendment by upholding the free speech of all ― even those with whom they disagree. Those on the Left should take a lesson from the way this 9-year-old’s birthday cake dilemma was handled. After all, suing those who hold different beliefs is nothing but the most blatant display of bigotry.
Photo credit: Screenshot via YouTube