The Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding is paying a steep price for his action. Jack Phillips has received death threats centering around a case that the Supreme Court decided this week that it will hear.
Phillips told Fox News this week that he has received two death threats, been told he doesn't "deserve to live" and that "Christians should be thrown into the Roman Colosseum with lions."
Phillips says he regularly receives vulgar phone calls and emails. "The worst part is that I have to answer the phone so they're not threatening my wife or my daughter when they pick it up," Phillips told Fox News, "they don't wait to see who's on the phone. You pick up the phone, they're already talking."
In the meantime, evangelist Franklin Graham is standing up for the baker. Graham noted Phillips' harassment and lost business revenue on Facebook this week. "It can be costly to stand up for God's truth," Graham said citing 2 Timothy 3:12 which says "all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."
Kristen Waggoner, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, is representing Phillips and says his case represents a growing marginalization of Christians in the U.S., calling it "polite persecution." She told Fox News "it's forcing someone to choose between their faith and making a living and supporting their family in their vocation."
The high court will hear oral arguments in the case this fall.
The case centers over an incident in the summer of 2012. Phillips told CBN News that he approached two men in his bakery who were looking at wedding books. He said they told him "we're here to talk about wedding cakes and it's for our wedding." He said "I apologized and said 'I don't do cakes for same-sex wedding.'"
Phillips said the men said "what?" and he explained "I'll sell you birthday cakes, shower cakes, cookies, brownies, anything else. I just don't do cakes for same-sex weddings."
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint against Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop, alleging violation of Colorado's public accommodation law.
Gay rights advocates say that Phillips discriminated against the two men. Religious liberty advocates say that vendors like Phillips must be allowed to enjoy freedom of speech, conscience and religion.
Dr. Ryan Anderson, the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation, says that pressure from LGBT activists and anti-discrimination laws are forcing the number of conservative wedding vendors to dwindle.
"Part of the problem," he wrote this week, "is that liberals are simply calling anything they disagree with 'discrimination.'"