An Oregon couple recently found out what the going price is for dissent when “love wins”. Apparently it’s about six figures: $135,000 to be exact, as well as barring them from talking about their case publicly. Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa declined to participate in a same sex “marriage” by supplying a wedding cake to 2 lesbians who had been regular customers, due to their belief in traditional or Biblical marriage.
The couple has until Monday, July 13th to come up with the entire amount or arrange a payment. The Klein’s bakery has since closed (they operate out of their home now), and Aaron took a job as a garbage collector in order to support his family. He stated, “Basically, the state of Oregon is saying we can kick you out of your house and make you homeless. They have no qualms about the fact that they’re doing this to my five kids as well.”
The incident goes back to early 2013 when the lesbian couple, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, asked if the Kleins would provide a cake for their upcoming “wedding”. The Kleins refused and supposedly “quoted Leviticus” to them. Instead of just looking for another bakery—surely there were others—the offended ones complained to Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). They waited several months to make their complaint to the agency which not only investigates human rights and discrimination cases, they also prosecute and judge them.
So here you have, as National Review writer David French says, an organization run by un-elected bureaucrats with little or no in-depth knowledge of the Constitution, deciding Constitutional matters. “In the administrative agencies of the deep state,” says French, “a single, highly ideological entity can function as rule maker, investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury, and enforcer”. French has followed this story at length and the implications it has for future religious liberty and other First Amendment issues across the nation since virtually every state has an agency like BOLI. French has described the close ties BOLI (via its commissioner Brad Avakian) has with pro-LGBT organizations in Oregon. Avakian, who ordered the Kleins to pay the money and not speak publicly, was making public comments about the couple before they ever appeared before him.
Some impartial judge. The Kleins never stood a chance. Avakian seems to be just another political hack with too much power that he plans to use to punish those he sees as enemies. As for the lesbian couple, they claimed that because the Kleins refused to bake their “wedding” cake, they suffered emotional damages that included (but were not limited to): “acute loss of confidence,” “doubt,” “excessive sleep,” “loss of sleep,” “impaired digestion”, “pale and sick at home after work,” “resumption of smoking habit,” “shock,” “stunned,” “surprise,” “uncertainty,” “weight gain” and “worry.”
This reminds me of the atheists who complained that the now-famous Cross at Ground Zero gave them indigestion. Not that I’m comparing lesbians to atheists, it’s just that it seems too easy in our lawsuit-crazed society to bring charges against people with whom you disagree—claiming maladies that are common to most people for any number of reasons. Why did the lesbian couple wait several months after not getting their cake to file their complaint against the Kleins? Could they have been preparing for the media attention that they had to know would come from a case like this? Are they looking to make a huge sum of money? Why do the Kleins have to pay them while they are still appealing BOLI’s decision? What’s going on in Oregon?
This case raises more questions than answers and it won’t be going away anytime soon. Last Wednesday, Aaron Klein, ignoring the gag order, said in an interview with The Blaze Radio, “I think every Christian better get ready for this because with the Supreme Court ruling, we’re going to have issues.” He said they never intended to discriminate against anyone (they had served this couple on previous occasions)—they just wanted to live out their faith.
Where’s the love now? If love had really won on June 26th, the gay community would have gotten to work to mend fences and heal the open wounds with those who disagree with them. Instead, there was more in-your-face, we-won-you-lost-so-get-over-it attitudes expressed throughout social media and elsewhere.
If love had won, the gay community (a very tiny minority of the American population) would have been working to change hearts towards their cause, not forcing acceptance onto the majority by conjuring up phony lawsuits and complaints to get courts and regulatory agencies to do their bidding.
Since when, in America, do we all have to believe everything exactly the same, or risk our livelihoods, financial futures and good names if our beliefs differ from that of the hashtag of the moment?
**In this month where we celebrate freedom and independence, many Americans are feeling less free in their everyday lives. A recent Gallop poll found 79 percent of Americans were satisfied with their level of freedom. That was down 12 points from 2006. It’s clear something is very wrong with our perceptions of freedom and liberty. The following is an editorial my father wrote to his local newspaper, The Batavia (NY) Daily News. He wrote this prior to 2009, and it seems even more applicable now.
There were 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. Fifty-two of them were orthodox, deeply-committed Christians; the other four all believed in the Bible as the Divine Truth. These brave patriots put up their money, property and lives to build this new nation. They were hunted like wild animals; their homes were burned; their property confiscated; their families had to go into hiding and were mistreated if found. If caught, they would hang. Most were homeless, in very poor health and broke by the end of the war. These great patriots were statesmen, not merely politicians. I wonder how our ten percent [approval rating] Congress would act under similar events.
We are losing our freedoms every day. While Americans sleep, [they] wake up long enough to vote these same jokers back into office. From here, some of the worst are appointed to cabinet positions—that is like having the inmates run the asylum. For the readers over 50 [or 55 now], the ones who should remember when we were a God-fearing nation, everything was going our way. We became a great and powerful nation. People from around the world came seeking religious freedom and a better life.
Then in the sixties, we started down the slippery slope to where we are now. In 1962, the Supreme Court restricted prayer in public schools; in 1973 the court found that the so-called “right to privacy” includes unrestricted access to abortion. In 1985 the court overturned a state law setting aside a moment of silence for voluntary prayer in public schools. In 2000, the court overruled a Texas law allowing high school students to pray at athletic events. In 2002, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion because it contains the words “under God”. In 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the display of the Ten Commandments in a state courthouse was unconstitutional.
These decisions by a handful of unelected, imperious Justices are determined to control more and more of our private lives, erase our spiritual heritage and forever redefine us as a nation. The Constitution charges Congress with the responsibility to check the Federal Courts; they have totally abdicated that duty. Nationwide, we have high courts—an unaccountable arrogant judiciary appointed for life–determined to make us dance to their music.
P.S. : “Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fall, there will be anarchy throughout the world.”—U.S. Sen. Daniel Webster (1782-1852)
If the news that the National Security Administration is spying on all of us didn’t burn you up this summer, maybe this will get your attention. The Department of Defense released a training document (thanks to the efforts of Judicial Watch) that teaches our military men and women how to recognize extremists in and outside of the Armed Forces.
What’s wrong with that? Nothing…until you start to read the document. To begin, it relies heavily on information provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a far-left organization that defines any group or individual that disagrees with them as extremists. Conservative organizations such as the Family Research Council and the American Family Association are lumped in with true extremists and hate-mongers like the skinheads as far as the SPLC is concerned. In fact, in August of 2012, when the headquarters of the Family Research Council was attacked by a lone gunman, he later admitted that he targeted the employees of that organization because he saw it listed on the SPLC’s website for being “anti-gay”. As you can see, the SPLC has some radical supporters of its own.
In the DoD’s training document, it gives examples of what it calls “extremist ideologies and movements” and gives two examples from history: “ The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples.”(page 43). The document gets even broader in what it defines as extremist: “Nowadays, instead of dressing in sheets or publicly espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place.” (page 45). (The last thing we need are more people who want to make the world a better place!)
This is why leftists routinely say that anyone who speaks of freedom, liberty or states’ rights is speaking “code words” to hide their racist beliefs. When the training manual describes the ultimate racist group, the Ku Klux Klan and gives its history, it mentions that it was a Christian organization, yet doesn’t mention that it was started by white Democrats. It lists September 11, 2001 as an “historical event” tied to al-Qaeda, but neglects to mention who al-Qaeda is: followers of Islamic sharia law.
Speaking of al-Qaeda, a separate document released by the Pentagon was obtained by the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty within days of the first document that Judicial Watch had found. This second document goes so far as to link Evangelical Christianity and Catholicism with the same religious extremism as al-Qaeda and Hamas!
It’s plain to see what Obama’s Department of Defense thinks of conservatives, people who talk about personal liberty and religious people (namely, Catholics and Evangelicals). In fact, it seems to be a pattern throughout the administration: the IRS giving extra scrutiny to conservative and pro-life groups; the Obamacare mandate forcing employers to pay for birth control, even those opposed to it for religious reasons; the hostility shown to military members who wish to share their faith—the list grows with each passing day.
One more thing about that document: it lists several personality traits or tendencies of extremists that sound all-too-familiar. Some of the traits are: character assassination, name calling and labeling, the use of sweeping generalizations, use of slogans and buzzwords and assumption of moral superiority over others. Sounds to me like the Obama 2012 election campaign strategy.
My favorite was the last extremist tendency: the advocacy of double standards: “Extremists generally tend to judge themselves or their interest group in terms of their intentions, which they tend to view generously, and their critics and opponents by their acts, which they tend to view very critically. They would like you to accept their assertions on faith, but they demand proof for yours”.
Now that sounds like Al Gore.