In yet another example of gay activist overreach, an Oregon official has not only burdened a Christian couple with a ridiculous fine, he has imposed a gag order on them. But Aaron and Melissa Klein aren't backing down.
In one of the most egregious anti-Christian acts committed by a state official in recent memory, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian not only upheld the ridiculous $135,000 fine levied against Aaron and Melissa Klein for declining to bake a cake for a lesbian commitment ceremony, but he ordered the Kleins to "cease and desist" from making any public comments about their religious convictions relative to this case.
This is an outrage and a travesty, and it must be rebuked and resisted. Who does Mr. Avakian think he is?
The fine itself is unconscionable, as the amount of $135,000 was determined by tallying up the alleged emotional damages experienced by the lesbian couple, who as Thomas D. Williams noted, "accused the Kleins of 'mental rape,' adding that they had suffered a 'loss of appetite' and 'impaired digestion,' which remarkably led to 'weight gain.'"
If anyone here was "raped," it was the Kleins (by the government) not this couple (by the Kleins).
The list of 178 (!) purported damages compiled by the two lesbians includes the following (this is not a spoof; the list is real): "concern for privacy at home; concern for safety at home; dislike of going to work; distrust of former friends; distrust of men; fear of not being able to get another job; fear of being alone; felt mentally raped, dirty and shameful; future job opportunities damaged; hysteria; inability to find work; irritability with family and friends; loss of opportunity for bonding with infant; migraine headaches; nightmares; not wanting husband (?) to touch her; pale and sick at home after work" – just to name a few.
The proper response of the court (and Mr. Avakian) should have been: "Are you kidding me? All this because a Christian couple declined your business on religious grounds at a time when same-sex 'marriage' wasn't even legal here?"
As Laurie Higgins observed, "This wowzer list of ailments purportedly resulted from not being able to purchase a wedding cake from one bakery. How, pray tell, do these two function in a diverse world?"
I don't doubt that the women felt hurt, but they are either completely exaggerating what they experienced or they have quite a few other, deep emotional problems that need to be addressed that are no fault of the Kleins. On either score, any fair court would have recognized the absurdity of the list.
Yet in the increasingly anti-Christian, pro-homosexualist world in which we live, the Kleins were found guilty of being true to their faith and punished severely for it.
Perhaps the Kleins can countersue the government of Oregon for 10 trillion dollars based on the emotional damages they have experienced, not to mention the loss of their very livelihood due to the attack that has come against them? If the lesbian couple deserved $135,000, then the Kleins deserve at least 10 trillion.
Seriously, though, did these women really not know that plenty of Christians do not support gay "marriage" and cannot in good conscience participate in it? Were they suddenly so traumatized by something they have known to be true all their lives?
But not only was the fine completely out of line, Avakian's reasoning was just as faulty, as he claimed that, "This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage. It is about a business's refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal."
This is patently false, since the Kleins had never once refused to serve homosexuals. They simply refused to participate in a gay "wedding" ceremony by providing the cake.
But why play by the rules when it's open season on Christians and their faith?
Avakian, however, was not done. As Williams explains, "The Oregon official imposed a gag order on the couple, mandating that they 'cease and desist' from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs."
To ask once again, who does Mr. Avakian think he is?
Thankfully, the Kleins have not backed down, as Aaron said in an interview following the verdict: "He wants to silence anyone who opposes his point of view. Unfortunately, he's doing this with the wrong Christian, because I fight back."
This is yet another example of gay activist overreach (either by gay activists themselves or by their straight allies), and it must be confronted in the strongest of terms.
To state things, then, plainly and directly:Mr. Avakian and the State of Oregon, your bullying will backfire. You are on the wrong side of justice, and your attempts to steal our freedoms of religion and speech will be to your lasting shame.
Furthermore, Mr. Avakian, I sincerely pray that you will humble yourself and recognize the error of your ways.
I'm sure the Kleins would like nothing more than to forgive you to your face and give you a great big hug. Not only are Christians moral people, they are forgiving people.
But please do not associate forgiveness with weakness. We are quite committed to stand for what is right.
As Aaron stated clearly, "For years, we've heard same-sex marriage will not affect anybody. 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."
That time has come.
Dr. Michael Brown, a Jewish believer in Jesus, is a biblical scholar, apologist, worldwide speaker, and activist. He is the host of the nationally syndicated, talk radio program "Line of Fire," and he serves as president of FIRE School of Ministry in Concord, NC, as well as adjunct professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 25 books, most recently "Can You Be Gay and Christian?"
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