Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:


Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Patreon or Paypal don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Narrow victory for religious freedom

The Supreme Court today ruled narrowly in favor of the Christian baker who had refused to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual wedding.

A nice win that’ll hopefully provide the foundation for a more sweeping victory later, but this isn’t the home run righties were hoping for. Conservatives wanted the Court to hold that business owners have a First Amendment right to free exercise of religion that trumps antidiscrimination laws, at least with respect to catering gay weddings. What the Court actually held is that *in this particular case* Colorado’s antidiscrimination commission was so openly hostile to Jack Phillips’s religious claims, dismissing his beliefs as insincere and holding him to a double standard that pro-gay business owners weren’t held to, that they violated his particular right to free exercise.

Though the decision’s interpretation was narrow, the court ruled 7-2 in favor of the baker. As the article notes,

[This narrow] ruling may have been as far as Anthony Kennedy (who’s written all of the Court’s landmark gay-rights rulings over the past 25 years) was willing to go. It’s so narrow, in fact, that it produced a not-so-narrow majority: Breyer and Kagan felt comfortable joining the conservatives because all the Court ended up deciding here, really, is that business owners’ free-exercise rights should at least be *considered* when applying antidiscrimination laws against them. In that sense the decision is a solid win for the right.

In other words, the leftist judges were forced to admit that religious people have a right to their beliefs. What a concept!

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • Cotour

    A reasonable ruling, one in which RBG and Sotomyor could not reasonably get behind because they just can not allow a 9 to 0 victory on this subject. Are they Justices of the Supreme Court or are they are political operatives?

    There is no other reason to not support this decision.

    The trend continues, prepare for a generous year for the Republican party.

    Don’t go against the trend, and the general Trend is in Trumps and America’s favor and this particular ruling demonstrates that.

  • wodun

    It is a pretty simple distinction that many on the left refuse to make. It is about selling a wedding cake (ideological ceremony) vs selling a cake.

  • pzatchok

    Actually its about discrimination.

    Its all about who I can discriminate against and when. My freedom of association.

    The left can not have it both ways.
    If they can kick me out of someplace because I am wearing a Trump hat then I can kick someone out for being gay.
    (personally I would not do those things but i do/should have the right.)

    The law they are trying to use as a sledge hammer over those they do not like was NEVER intended to apply to private establishments but instead all government facilities. The government only.
    If it applies to people and their personal establishments then it will be reaching into their homes also.
    Would you force the KKK to hire a black gay book keeper?
    A mosque to hire a Buddhist gay receptionist?

  • Michael Dean Miller


    Why is a 7 to 2 decision called “narrow” ?

    New Common Core Math, maybe…


  • Phill O

    The “narrow” I think, is the aspect of the decision, not the spread of votes.

  • Cotour

    The decision is seen as being narrow not because of the Suprems vote tally but because it kind of rides the middle and respects the bakers First Amendment rights and the gay couples right to equal treatment in commerce but not in this particular specific instance. The decision does not come down and say that anyone operating an open to the public business can refuse anyone they choose based on their discretion / dislike, I.E. based on age, sexual orientation religion etc. That would be considered a broad and all encompassing decision. Which this is not.

    The baker has a clear record of not making cakes related to subject matter that is offensive to his religious beliefs, like cakes for Halloween, or cakes that contain alcohol, or cakes that celebrate a gay wedding. The baker apparently has many gay customers who he serves with his everyday fair but draws a line where he feels that he is being forced to participate in something by using his personal artistic talents and free speech that he and his religion does not agree with.

    I heard one gay commenter comment that the decision by the Supreme Court says that gay marriage is now not considered normal. And there again is the rub here, gay marriage is “normal” lower case “n”. Its normal for the gay people who choose to become married but to be technically considered normal that action would have to be normally participated in and practiced by more than 50 percent or more of the population, which it is not.

    So both sides here have won in a sense, the baker gets to continue his religious beliefs unhindered by his commercial activities and the gay people of America are free to be served by bakers who have no particular religious aversion to their marriage. I believe that most bakers in commerce would be happy to bake the couples wedding cake, are you aware of what they get for some wedding cakes? $1000.00 and up, I personally would not have a problem baking one, business is business and even then I would draw lines as to certain themes that I might find offensive or not comfortable with. A Jihad cake, a Nazi cake, a pedo cake, etc. I just will not make them.

    I think what we learn here is that like the Rolling Stones say: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *