Earlier this week, the US Supreme Court sided with a religious baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
Although support was passed by a majority vote, AP News described the decision as limited, meaning that the case won't set judicial precedent and act as the blueprint for all cases of religious objections in the future. Other similar appeals are pending.
The decision is seemingly revelatory of a country which arguably prioritises the right to religion over LGBT+ rights.
Naturally, the ruling has been met with divided opinion online, as well as criticism of the legal defence team.
@brithume The ruling is narrow because it only says the baker didn't get a fair process from the Colorado commissio… https://t.co/SNoFj2TiyI
The surge in attention has also sparked the reappearance of a hardware store sign which went viral back in 2015, which reads: 'NO GAYS ALLOWED'.
The notice hung on the door of an East Tennessee store owned by Jeff Amyx, named Amyx Hardware & Roofing Supplies. When the sign went viral, it was amended to read: 'We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone who would violate our rights of freedom of speech & freedom of religion.' Now, the 'NO GAYS ALLOWED' sign is back.
Today's #SCOTUS ruling doesn't set precedent and one East Tennessee shop owner fears future court decisions won't g… https://t.co/vm0slxXytP
— Grant Ford Robinson (@Grant Ford Robinson)
In a recent interview, Amyx claimed the Supreme Court ruling was a victory for Christians, but that "dark days would come".
This rhetoric echoed through a statement published by USA Today when the initial story broke back in 2015. He explained:
They gladly stand for what they believe in, why can't I? They believe their way is right, I believe it's wrong.
But yet I'm going to take more persecution than them because I'm standing for what I believe in.
It's worth pointing out that America's First Amendment protects the right to religious freedom, whereas the rights fought for by LGBT+ people are being rescinded at breakneck speed by the Trump administration.
Amyx is also a baptist minister, meaning that his freedom of religion is hardly under threat - according to a 2017 study, Christianity is still the country's most common faith. Put simply, Amyx doesn't belong to a minority whose rights are being seriously challenged.
The disproportionate 'persecution' he speaks of is also impossible to quantify through statistics.
For example, hate crimes against Christians are comparatively rare, although they do still occur.
On the other hand, hate crimes motivated by racism, discrimination against minority religions - particularly Islam and Judaism - and, of course, homophobia have continued to rise in frequency over the last few years. In other words, it's safe to say Amyx isn't the victim here - despite his claims to the contrary.