Joy Behar to Christian baker: C'mon, Jesus would have made a wedding cake for a gay couple

I think this is less a matter of Behar imputing her own morality to Jesus than channeling the broad secular sense of him as a supremely chill dude whose chief virtue is that he Does Not Judge. That’s a weird read on a religious figure who speaks many times of hell in the gospels but that’s our culture, for better or worse.

She may not even be the most confused person here. Two other panelists press Jack Phillips, the baker, on the idea that he’s being judgey with gay couples, with one imagining that Christ might disapprove of their wedding but would tell them “I’m going to love you anyways.” Well … yes, that’s how Christianity works. But the issue, of course, isn’t whether Phillips is “judging” his customers or whether he loves his gay neighbors, it’s whether he should be conscripted by the state into participating in an event which his faith doesn’t condone. The guy’s not claiming that gay couples are less moral than any other variety of sinners, only that the act of marriage between them is a sin which he doesn’t want to be made complicit in. Jedediah Bila asks him at one point if he’d refuse to make cakes for other sinners, like adulterers. She doesn’t get a square answer, but I’m guessing if you asked Phillips to make you a torte for a weekend tryst with your mistress (inscription: “Here’s to Cheating!”), yeah, he’d probably turn you down.

Note, by the way, how often he and especially his lawyer try to steer the conversation away from religion and towards the idea of cake-making as art. At one point the lawyer even describes the wedding cake as a “canvas.” That’s a smart argument legally, as you’re on much firmer ground before the Supreme Court arguing free speech than you are arguing free exercise. If Phillips can convince Anthony Kennedy that Colorado’s antidiscrimination law is essentially compelling him to utter a statement he disagrees with, he’s got a real chance.