Are ‘gays’ undermining the moral structure of America?
[Reprinted by Permission]
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update
January 20, 2014
Flour Power: Bakers Stick to Beliefs Despite Pressure
In a politically correct world, the costs of running a business are a lot more than dollars and cents. For Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of a small Oregon bakery, the price is their First Amendment rights. Their dream of opening a dessert shop near Portland, Oregon turned into a nightmare when two lesbians refused to take “no” for an answer on their request for a same-sex “wedding” cake.
Exactly one year ago, the Kleins explained that they couldn’t take the order because it would violate their faith to participate in a same-sex “marriage” ceremony. Furious, the women filed a complaint with the state. The story made national headlines, as the young couple became another face in the war on religious liberty. “We still stand by what we believe from the beginning,” Aaron told reporters. “I’m not sure what the future holds, but as far as where we’re at right now… it’s almost as if the state is hostile toward Christian businesses.”
And the state isn’t the only one. After word spread, the harassment in the liberal suburb of Portland became too much to take. The Kleins were forced to close the shop in Gresham and operate out of their home. Even there, the family was a target. Activists broke into their company truck and painted “bigot” across the side.
Now, 12 months later, the state of Oregon is weighing in — and not on the side of free speech and free exercise. Investigators from the state Bureau of Labor and Industries ruled late last week that the couple was guilty of discrimination and ordered the Kleins to settle. If they refuse, the Bureau threatens to bring “formal charges.” Herbert Grey, the bakers’ attorney, was flabbergasted. “They’re being punished by the state of Oregon for refusing to participate in an event the state of Oregon does not recognize.” Even the state constitution defines marriage the same way as Aaron and Melissa — and they’re being persecuted.
While the couple debates their next move, surrender is not an option. In a Facebook post to her 12,000 fans, Melissa thanked people for their support. “I know that your prayers are being heard. I feel such a peace with all of this that is going on. Even though there are days that are hard… we still feel that the Lord is in this. It is His fight and our situation is in His hands.”
Meanwhile, same-sex “marriage” isn’t legal in Illinois until June 1st, but business owners are already bracing for it. Jim Walder hasn’t allowed a civil union ceremony at Timber Creek Bed & Breakfast since its inception — and he doesn’t plan on changing that policy any time soon. “As long as I own Timber Creek, there will never be a gay marriage at this venue,” he said. Like the Kleins, he’s been staring down the state’s Human Rights Commission after a homosexual couple filed a grievance in 2011 for Walder’s refusal to host their “wedding.”
Like most states with same-sex “marriage” laws, Illinois’s failed to protect business owners with moral objections. “I totally support exemptions for everyone doing business in the wedding industry regarding civil unions or gay marriage,” Walder said. “Our current legal predicament could be the predicament of other businesses in Paxton” — like caterers, photographers, cake bakers, or wedding planners. State Rep. Josh Harms (R), who voted against same-sex “marriage” in Illinois is horrified that businesses will have to participate in same-sex marriage “even if their religion forbids it.” He’s working on legislation to exempt churches and religiously-affiliated organizations and schools, but thinks a business exemption would be a tough sell.
Tough sell or no, the Thomas More Society thinks it’s time to go to bat for religious freedom. Tom Brejcha, who is on standby to file a suit the second an Illinois employer is punished for their marriage views, shakes his head at how backwards America has become. “The idea that free people can be ‘compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives’ as the ‘price of citizenship’ is a chilling and unprecedented attack on freedom,” he told reporters. For his part, Walder is ready to stand for truth — no matter what the outcome. Sure, the complaint caused them to lose a few weddings, but “that’s OK,” he explained. “Overall, our business is up substantially since the [couple] filed their complaint. We hosted 26 weddings last year.”
[Article reprinted by permission]
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update
January 20, 2014
Family Research Council www.frc.org
801 G Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
The following article was originally posted at: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3945628.html
Reprinted with permission.
Editor’s Note: Adam Ch’ng resides Melbourne, Australia. The political left is the same everywhere.
12 APRIL 2012
Having attended a Catholic high school, I quite reasonably assumed that my teachers were themselves, well, Catholic.
Similarly, it would be slightly inappropriate if the staffer employed by my local Liberal parliamentarian was a card-carrying member of the ALP.
It therefore strikes me as passing strange that there are calls to prohibit religious schools from being able to refuse employment to someone whose religion, sexual orientation or marital status is inconsistent with the school’s religious belief. In short, it is an attempt to restrict the right to discriminate.
As it stands, the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination against persons with an ‘attribute’ – such as sexual orientation, religious belief or disability – in the course of employment, education, and other activities.
However, there are approximately 44 exceptions to the rule. One such exception is found in section 83 which provides that religious schools may discriminate on the basis of a person’s religion, sexual orientation or marital status, where the discrimination:
“… conforms with their religious doctrines; or is reasonably necessary to avoid injury to the sensitivities of the religious adherents.”
Section 83, it is proposed, should be repealed.
Now let’s get something straight: ‘discrimination’ in itself is not a bad thing. If the hysteria perpetuated by the bleeding hearts is to be believed, mere mention of the word is morally offensive and should be legally sanctioned.
The reality is we all discriminate, every moment of every day. Whether we are deciding what health insurer to sign up with or what school to send our children to, we make choices favouring one party over another. Our legal system rightly discriminates against aspiring lawyers who are not ‘fit and proper’ persons and our armed forces appropriately discriminate against aspiring soldiers who fail to meet the physical fitness requirements.
So let’s not immediately assume that discrimination is the moral evil it’s made out to be. In fact, discrimination is indispensible to our ability to make moral choices between good and bad, right and wrong, and of course Liberal and Labor. It is our right to discriminate.
The question then is not whether religious schools should have the right to discriminate. Instead, it is whether that discrimination is unjustified. And insofar as it is justified, the law should protect and not restrict that right.
So is a religious school’s right to discriminate unjustified? Melissa Matheson certainly thinksso:
“If religious schools are willing to accept funding from the government, they should have to play by the rules like everyone else – and that includes equal opportunity.”
At first blush, this sounds perfectly reasonable. After all, if ‘everyone else’ can’t discriminate, why should religious schools get special treatment? All Matheson is proposing is that religious schools be brought into line with ‘everyone else’. But who exactly is ‘everyone else’? And do they all actually ‘play by the rules’?
As it happens, government-funded organisations of all stripes can discriminate on a whole range of matters. The act permits political parties to discriminate against prospective employees on the basis of their political belief or activity. Schools are allowed to discriminate against students through age-based admission schemes and quotas. And single-sex, age-specific and minority culture clubs can exclude from membership people who are not of the same sex, age or culture.
Each of these groups has a legitimate core philosophy that defines their very reason for existence. To adapt Justice Sachs’ words in Christian Education South Africa v Minister of Education, the state should seek to avoid putting people to extremely painful and intensely burdensome choices of either being true to their faith or philosophy, or else respectful of the law.
The simple truth is, religious schools are already playing by the rules like ‘everyone else’. If the equal opportunity crusaders really want a level playing field, why don’t they lodge a complaint against the university womyn’s group for discriminating against men?
I suspect that the real issue at play has nothing to do with equal opportunity legislation, education policy or even discrimination law. If it did, surely the other exceptions under the act would be targeted for repeal and other non-Christian interest groups would be similarly attacked.
Instead, it seems to me that this has far more to do with a rather evangelical crusade against the Christian church. Matheson would do well to note that the right to discriminate she fervently preaches against is similarly enjoyed by Jews, Muslims and Buddhists, the very people she calls Christians to repent of excluding.
Whether it is same-sex marriage or equal opportunity, the knives are out for the Christian church.
Such calls to restrict our right to discriminate should send chills down all our spines. What appears to promote greater freedom and equality actually extends the reach of government regulation into our homes, churches and community groups.
We all have the right to discriminate but the equal opportunity crusaders will stop at nothing to set political correctness in statutory stone.
Adam Ch’ng is a graduate at a law firm in Melbourne where he principally practices employment and workplace relations law. The views expressed here are those solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of his employer or any other organisation. View his full profile here.