Two months ago, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Melissa and Aaron Klein at an event in Bellevue, Washington. They’re a delightful fun Christian couple on the front lines of the newly-created fight over religious freedom in America. Their battle is a window into what the state’s unleashed against those who hold principled religious convictions. It’s not something new, since the Obama administration has gone after entities such as Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor, but there’s something very disgusting happening in Oregon that evidences exactly what the dissenting Supreme Court justices articulated.As reported by Fox News:
Shut up! Don’t say another word.
That’s what the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) is telling the owners of Sweet Cakes By Melissa, a bakery owned by Christians who refused to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding.
On [last] Friday the state ordered owners Aaron and Melissa Klein to pay $135,000 in damages to a lesbian couple they turned away in 2013.The state also slapped a gag order on the evangelical Christian bakers – banning them from speaking publicly about their refusal to participate in or bake wedding cakes for same-sex unions.
“This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” Mrs. Klein wrote on Facebook. “According to the state of Oregon, we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”
The Kleins were ordered to “cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published, circulated, issued or displayed, any communication, notice, advertisement or sign of any kind to the effect that any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, services or privileges of a place of public accommodation will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination will be made against, any person on account of sexual orientation.”The order was signed by Brad Avakian, the commissioner of the BOLI and a vocal supporter of the LGBTQIA community.
“Within Oregon’s public accommodations law is the basic principle of human decency that every person, regardless of their sexual orientation, has the freedom to fully participate in society,” the ruling states. “The ability to enter public places, to shop and dine, to move about unfettered by bigotry.”This is wrong on so many points it’s hard to believe it’s happening in America.
First of all, government has no right to order ANY American citizen to refrain from speaking publicly. And let’s be clear here, the Kleins had rendered services from their business establishment for this lesbian couple. What they refused to participate in was a specific event based upon the individual sexual behavioral choice — orientation — of the couple. So, if a group of Klansmen had come into Sweet Cakes bakery and requested a cake to be done with the Confederate flag and the Kleins had refused — would we even be having this conversation? Here, once again, we have the cherry-picking of an issue by the radical gay progressive left in their crusade to crush the Judeo-Christian faith heritage and beliefs. There’s been no discrimination here; this lesbian couple had been served — just as with the case of the florist in Seattle, Washington.
We’ve now entered into the realm of the state punishing people for what’s been an established right — freedom of religion and the free exercise thereof. This violates separation of church and state in that the state is prosecuting — and persecuting — individuals for their religious convictions and belief. The Kleins have not demonstrated any hateful attitudes towards the LGBT community — but the opposite is evident. So the state government’s ordered this couple to pay $135,000 to this lesbian couple for damages? What doggone damages? Go find someone who will bake a cake for your gay wedding — that is not hard, and the free marketplace allows you to do just that. But what’s even more disturbing is that the Kleins have been told that if they fail to pay this unlawfully ordered fine, a lien will be placed upon their home — their property.
It was classical liberal philosopher John Locke who advanced the ideal of natural rights law and the individual’s rights to life, liberty and property. Jefferson used those fundamentals to articulate the American individual rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Now it seems in Oregon the state is exercising the ill-conceived POWER to adversely assault these individual rights — not only freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the free exercise thereof, but also the unalienable right of the pursuit of happiness and acquisition of property. This is also being played out in the State of New Mexico, where the owners of a portrait studio refused to photograph a gay wedding and have been fined by that state.
How did we get to this point? How is it that all of a sudden individual sexual behavior — now a newly fabricated right based upon five folks in black robes — must be accommodated at the expense of a previously established individual right? This has nothing to do with discrimination against blacks. Although Rachel Dolezal tried to make us believe that being black is just a matter of consciousness — transracial — black is a race, not a behavior. Individuals can change their sexual orientation and, thanks to medical technology, folks can change their sexual gender — but unless you want to look like Michael Jackson, you aren’t about to change race. So, please, spare me this false narrative and comparison of race and sexual orientation.
The case of Melissa and Aaron Klein is very disconcerting, and anyone standing in opposition to the Kleins are a threat to our fundamental individual religious freedoms. If the state can order you to silence, fine you and garnish your property because of your religious beliefs — then yes, America has been fundamentally transformed. This is wrong. It’s inconsistent with the constitutional principles of America — of freedom, of liberty — and doesn’t bode well for the future of our republic if this case is allowed to stand and the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry prevails.
The whims of five Supreme Court justices, nor the rantings of Brad Avakian, will ever trump the unalienable rights granted by our Creator. This is a time for choosing.