Freedom in Peril: Christian Bakery Forced to Close
If you don’t read Christian/conservative or LGBT activism websites, you’ve probably never heard of Aaron and Melissa Klein or their bakery: Sweet Cakes by Melissa.
Their saga has received little attention from the mainstream media – far less than the trials of Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who became a national celebrity due to her refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. But in many respects, the Klein’s tragedy gives us an even more startling glimpse at the darkness quickly enveloping this country.
In 2013, Rachel Bowman-Cryer visited the Klein’s Oregon bakery for a tasting. When she revealed to the Kleins that she was planning a lesbian wedding with her partner, Laurel Bowman-Cryer, the owners kindly told her that they could not be of service.
They didn’t yell at her. They didn’t pick her up and throw her out on the sidewalk. They didn’t say she was unwelcome in their bakery or that she could not be a customer. They didn’t tell her she was going to hell for her sinful lifestyle. None of that. They simply exercised their First Amendment rights – free expression and freedom of religion.
The Bowman-Cryers filed a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, claiming discrimination.
The Kleins explained to the organization that they did not “discriminate” against the couple. In fact, they said, they had previously served them as customers and had a history of gladly accepting gay patrons. Their only objection was to being active participants in a ceremony they believed to be wrong.
The Oregon Labor Commissioner, Brad Avakian, said there was “no distinction” between the two positions and ordered the Kleins to pay the lesbian couple $135,000 to compensate for their emotional distress. The Kleins appealed, noting that Avakian had skin in the game, as proven by public comments he made prior to reviewing the case.
In 2013, Avakian told The Oregonian that the Kleins were in the wrong. “Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that folks have the right to discriminate,” he said.
In an interview with The Blaze website, Aaron Klein said his story should serve as a wake-up call to America’s Christians.
“For years, we’ve heard same-sex marriage will not affect anybody,” he said. “I’m here firsthand to tell everyone in America that it has already impacted people. Christians, get ready to take a stand. Get ready for civil disobedience.”
Unfortunately, due to a combination of social and financial pressures, the Kleins announced on Facebook this week that they were closing up shop for good:
We have closed Sweet Cakes. We appreciate everyone’s continued prayer and support!
Liberals quickly began celebrating in the comment section, offering pithy messages of hate:
- “about time your stupid religious cake club closed”
- “No big loss. I don’t believe in god, but it appears that you have been judged for judging thy neighbor.”
- “thank you, disgusting excuse for human beings!”
According to Todd Starnes at Foxnews.com, the Kleins intend to keep fighting the judgement.
“We are continuing our appeal and look forward to achieving justice for them and all people of faith who may find themselves in similar circumstances in the future,” a lawyer for the family told Starnes.
Let’s pray they are successful because this isn’t about “Christians vs. Gays.” This is about the actual constitutional rights of free Americans vs. the imaginary “rights” of same-sex marriage ceremonies. Free speech doesn’t just mean being able to say whatever you want to say; it means you cannot be compelled to say something you do not want to say. That freedom has been trampled in Oregon. As long as this ruling is allowed to stand, our basic fundamental rights are in grave jeopardy.