1. The Christian Baker Who Said ‘No’, By William McGurn, The Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2021, Pg. A13, Opinion
Jack Phillips is America’s most famous baker. People have taken him all the way to the Supreme Court in hopes of getting it to force him to bake them one of his custom cakes. This week he’s back in the dock, again defending his refusal to bake a custom cake with a message he says goes against his Christian faith.
Mr. Phillips owns Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., and holds traditional views on marriage and sexuality. The first legal action against him came via the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, when in 2012 he declined to bake a custom cake for a same-sex wedding and found himself accused of unlawful discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. This time he’s being sued because he wouldn’t bake a cake celebrating a gender transition.

In the first go-round, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018), the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 for Mr. Phillips. But it did so narrowly, on grounds that the commission had displayed “clear and impermissible hostility” to Mr. Phillips’s religious beliefs. (One commissioner compared Mr. Phillips’s invocation of his Christian beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust.) The court left unresolved the key constitutional question: Can the government compel people to create speech or artistic expressions to which they profoundly object?

Back in Lakewood, there is no shortage of other bakers happy to sell Ms. Scardina cakes with the messages she wants, Ms. Waggoner points out. But this won’t do. Because what Ms. Scardina really wants is not a cake. She wants to force Jack Phillips to express speech he objects to—or force him out of business if he doesn’t do it.
2. Colorado baker sued for refusing gender transition cake, By Colleen Slevin, Associated Press, March 23, 2021
A Colorado baker who won a partial victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple went on trial Monday in yet another lawsuit, this one involving a birthday cake celebrating a gender transition.
Autumn Scardina, a transgender lawyer, attempted to order a birthday cake that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside on the same day in 2017 that the Supreme Court announced it would hear Jack Phillips’ appeal over his refusal to make a gay couple’s wedding cake.
3. AP-NORC poll: Learning setbacks a top concern for parents, By Collin Binkley and Hannah Fingerhut, Associated Press, March 23, 2021, 8:09 AM
Frustrations over online learning have also sparked hope among school choice advocates that more families will turn to education options beyond their traditional public schools. Several states have introduced legislation to create or expand voucher programs for that purpose, and many parents indicated support for those kinds of programs has ticked up.
Forty-six percent support tax-funded vouchers for low-income students to pay for tuition at private or religious schools, while 31% are opposed. In an AP-NORC poll in December 2019, Americans were more closely divided, with 42% in favor and 37% opposed.
Support is even higher among Black Americans, with 62% in favor, up somewhat from 53% in 2019.
4. German cardinal sees own mistakes over past abuse cases, By Associated Press, March 23, 2021, 8:15 AM
The Roman Catholic archbishop of the German city of Cologne said Tuesday that he made mistakes in past cases involving sexual abuse allegations against priests, although a report has cleared him of wrongdoing, but made clear he has no intention of resigning.
Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki was speaking after the release last week of a report he commissioned on church officials’ response to past abuse allegations. The findings have prompted the current archbishop of Hamburg to offer his resignation to Pope Francis, while three Cologne church officials, including two auxiliary bishops, were suspended.
The report found 75 cases in which eight high-ranking officials — including Woelki’s predecessor — neglected their duties to either follow up on, report or sanction cases of alleged abuse by clergy and lay church employees, and failed to take care of the victims.
5. Germany: Theology professors blast Vatican gay union stance, By Associated Press, March 22, 2021, 12:40 PM
More than 230 professors of Catholic theology in Germany and other countries where German is spoken have signed a statement protesting the Vatican’s recent pronouncement that priests cannot bless same-sex unions, adding to dissent over the document.
The statement issued Monday declared that last week’s text “is marked by a paternalistic air of superiority and discriminates against homosexual people and their life plans.”
6. Court: U Iowa officials liable for targeting Christian group, By Ryan J. Foley, Associated Press, March 22, 2021, 6:20 PM
University of Iowa administrators can be held liable for monetary damages for improperly barring a Christian student group that rejects homosexual relationships, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, in a victory for religious conservatives on college campuses.
The administrators do not enjoy qualified immunity from the lawsuit brought by Business Leaders in Christ because they violated the group’s clearly established constitutional rights to freedom of speech and association, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

Advocates called the decision a victory for religious student groups nationwide.
“University of Iowa officials knew this was wrong, and they did it anyway,” said Eric Baxter, vice president at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “We’re pleased to have the court recognize that blatant religious discrimination brings personal consequences.”
7. Pennsylvania Senate GOP won’t fast-track child sex abuse lawsuit ‘window’, By Mark Scolforo and Marc Levy, Associated Press, March 22, 2021
Majority Republicans in the state Senate said Monday they will not employ a rarely used emergency process to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to give victims of child sexual abuse a two-year window in which to file civil lawsuits, possibly delaying a final vote on the window until 2023.
The collapse of the emergency amendment process followed years of battles in the Legislature, prompted by investigations into child sexual abuse allegations inside Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic diocese.
8. USCCB condemns racist violence, prays for victims, after Atlanta shootings, By Catholic News Agency, March 22, 2021, 4:30 PM
The U.S. bishops’ conference denounced racism and violence following last week’s shootings in Atlanta that killed six Asian women.
“I am deeply saddened to hear of another mass shooting that has tragically taken the lives of eight people and has renewed concerns about a rise in hostility against individuals of Asian descent,” stated Bishop Oscar Solis of Salt Lake City on Monday.
Solis chairs the U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB) Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs, and is the first Filipino-born bishop in the United States.
9. European bishops: Some nations reduced religious freedom during pandemic, By Jonathan Luxmoore, Crux, March 22, 2021
A commission of Catholic bishops warned religious freedom is threatened in the European Union, as restrictive laws are imposed in the wake of COVID-19.
Some governments in Europe have “unquestionably reduced and diminished” religious freedom during the pandemic in disproportionate ways, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union, or COMECE, said March 22.
“It is important not to send out a message that Christians, or more generally believers, are being persecuted inside the EU. However, not overdramatizing does not mean ignoring these disturbing trends.

TCA Media Monitoring provides a snapshot from national newspapers and major Catholic press outlets of coverage regarding significant Catholic Church news and current issues with which the Catholic Church is traditionally or prominently engaged. The opinions and views expressed in the articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Association.
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