Christian baker closes shop under pressure from gay activists

Earlier this year, I wrote about Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of a bakery called “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” in Greshem, Oregon. They’ve been in the news since January after they refused to provide a cake for a gay wedding of two lesbians. Since then, the story has gone viral, and the Klein’s business has been under siege from protesters and gay activists. Aaron Klein says that gay rights activists have been using “militant, mafia-style tactics” to shut the business down.

As it turns out, the gay activists got their way. The pressure has finally resulted in the Klein’s having to shut down their shop. They are hoping to be able to continue the business from their home.

Many headlines have erroneously reported that the Klein’s refuse service to gay people. This is not true. In fact, Aaron Klein told NBC News earlier this year that he serves gay customers on a weekly basis (see below). So he doesn’t refuse service to gay people per se, he simply does not want to create cakes for gay weddings. Quoting Genesis 2:24, he says that he simply cannot celebrate what the Bible says is wrong—even if it costs him his business. And now that’s exactly what it has cost him.

To read more about this case, I encourage you to read my earlier post and to watch the video above.

This is only the beginning.

14 Responses to Christian baker closes shop under pressure from gay activists

  1. Dan Phillips September 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    They’d be welcome here in Texas. We get a lot of refugees.

    (c:

  2. Brett Cody September 4, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    Thank God that Christ is worth more to them than their business.
    Lead the way, Klein’s!

  3. Ian Shaw September 4, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    And yet, a county clerk in PA (nbc news today) that is currently violating state law (homosexual marriage ban) in favor of the SCOTUS ruling by allowing marriage applications from homosexual couples is still employed… It wasn’t enough that you got SCOTUS to overturn DOMA, it wasn’t enough to flaunt your lifestyle and cram it down people’s throats, it’s now come to the point of seeking punitive damages. What’s your overall message/motivation in doing so? Agree with us, or we’ll put you out of business and (from a character point of view) crucify you?

  4. James Bradshaw September 4, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    So if this couple were that conscientious, why were they allegedly willing to provide services for a “divorce” and “baby out of wedlock” party (not to mention a “pagan solstice” gathering)?

    http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-20698-the_cake_wars.html

    I’m not saying they should have been put out of business, but let’s not make martyrs out of them.

    • Chris Ryan September 4, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

      Informative link, James. I do hate when ppl hypocritically use Christianity to further their own cynical biases.

      I confess that I have mixed feelings on the broader issue as it pits the 1st Amendment against the 14th Amendment. The law bans discrimination and that is an absolutely good thing. McDonald’s, Burger King, Cheesecake Factory, Chick-Fil-A, etc should absolutely not be able to discriminate against gay people.

      Could these women have found a different bakery to make their wedding cakes? I sure wish they would have.

      On balance, if you open a business in the USA I think you better plan on not discriminating against ppl you dislike. Jus sayin.

    • Daniel Bartholomew September 5, 2013 at 9:55 am #

      Thanks for sharing the link, James.

      Although there are a couple of weaknesses in the article (not mentioning the New Testament verses on homosexual behavior and implying that since it was “from Leviticus” biblical prohibitions on homosexual behavior should have the same strength as prohibitions on non-kosher food), the hypocrisy that this reveals is damning. It demonstrates that despite the rhetoric of “we are all sinners”, Christians often behave as if certain sins deserve our censure and others should be given a free pass.

      We are reaping the whirlwind from our easy acceptance of divorce and remarriage and fornication. When we point out that homosexual behavior is condemned, our critics rightly point out that we are terribly inconsistent in our tolerance–tolerance for divorced people? Sure, they’re “hurting people in need of our support”. Tolerance for homosexuals? No way, they’re sinners!

      Jesus is not going to just give us a “pass” on this, friends. We need to serve Him with our WHOLE heart, not just when we like to.

  5. Rusty Shackleford September 5, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    Chris,

    Discrimination is not automatically bad. I discriminate on what kinds of food I eat, what tv shows I watch, etc. You see, we all discriminate. We all have criteria by which we judge what is, and is not acceptable. I discriminate against child molesters and I wouldn’t leave my children unattended with one. I discriminate against various theological teachings that contradict the Bible. I discriminate all the time and so does everyone else.

    When it comes to homosexuality, God has condemned it as a sin (Romans 1:18) much like other sins that God lists throughout scripture. But my agreeing with God that homosexuality is a sin is not the same as discriminating against homosexuals. I have no problem working with homosexuals in a secular environment, etc.

    However, because of my religious beliefs and my right to express them, I will not promote homosexuality. These business owners are doing just that. By providing goods or services for that event, it is promoting something that clearly they don’t agree with and as people of faith, they will not promote something that is not Godly. People forget that saying “homosexuality is wrong” or living by a moral standard is a moral issue, not a legal one, regardless of various laws for and/or against homosexuality.

    Quite frankly, why should I be forced to change what I speak/share with others so as not to “offend” those who think that having sex with people of the same gender is perfectly normal and morally acceptable? I’m offended by their lack of moral sensibilities. But no one seems to care about opinions of those who don’t follow the cultural sheep. I’ll get off my soapbox now.

    You are right. This will all boil down to which Amendment 1st or 14th carries more weight. To attempt to legally enforce people to violate their conscience….that should be red flags for people of any faith or standing.

    • Chris Ryan September 5, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

      Hi, Rusty. I know many ppl who don’t believe in interracial marriage. Let’s say one of them owned a burger shop & an interracial couple came in to order a burger. Now the owners have a 1st Amendment absolute right to believe that interracial couples are wrong. No one disputes that… But are they actually promoting interracial marriage by selling the couple a burger? Or are they just selling the couple a burger? …that’s the question we have to grapple with…

      To Daniel up above–Amen, sir. On all points, amen.

  6. Rusty Shackleford September 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    Context Chris- the burger place isn’t selling the couple burgers to celebrate their wedding are they?

    • Chris Ryan September 5, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

      Like Burger King, have it your way 🙂 Suppose after they enjoyed the burger so much the 1st time, they asked the owners to cater their wedding reception. The question is should the law allow discrimination in the 1st instance, the 2nd instance, or both instances?

      That’s the question (and don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to put you on the spot, I’m just phrasing the question society has to answer).

  7. Rusty Shackleford September 6, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    For the record, Chick-Fil-A, never discriminated against homosexuals. A location in PA was asked to provide sandwiches to a marriage conference offered by an organization that opposes same-sex legislation. The president/chairmen of the company give money to a chairty that they created that gives donations to groups that oppose same-sex marriage. And when protesters came to their locations, what did they do? They gave away free chicken sandwiches to the protesters. Discrimination, huh?

    You may disagree with what they do with their money, but last I checked, Chick-fil-A is not a publicly traded company, have no shareholders to answer to and can give money to whatever charity they wish, right? Heaven forbid that we disregard the fact that they are closed on Sundays and Thanksgiving/Christmas….

    • Chris Ryan September 7, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

      Hey, Rusty, I’m not saying they did. I just threw ChickFilA in w/ the other restaurants since its a dining establishment too. I certainly supported their 1st Amendment rights to donate to whatever causes they wanted & opposed Chicago’s attempts to keep them out b/cs of the owner’s views.

      I haven’t come to a firm conclusion myself to be quite honest, but I’m starting to lean in the direction that McDonald’s shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate in catering gay marriages, and neither should CFA probably…ie, if I eat a Big Mac at a wedding reception I don’t take it as a sign that Ronald McDonald supports gay marriage. So, in that sense, McDonalds isn’t being forced to promote a message it disavows. A burger’s just a burger, not speech… I don’t think this is an easy issue by any means.

  8. Lucas Knisely September 6, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    The biggest problem here is that once you enter the public square as a business, some of your religious freedom, by default, goes away.

    For example, if someone’s religious belief is that they should give 10% of their business income to God instead of paying taxes, they simply cannot do this without breaking the law. Or if you don’t want non-Christians to eat in your restaurant because you take a literal and hard interpretation of “what does light have to do with darkness”, you can’t say “Christians only”. So, to a point, we have to “render unto Caesar” once we become an established business with goods and services offered to the public.

    Now, at the present time, sexual orientation is not a protected “class” for refusal of service. As it stands you aren’t allowed to refuse service based on religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or disability. However, federal law permits you to refuse service for these things if it is for a business purposes (ie: a women’s only gym is allowed to discriminate against men because their business plan and purpose is to provide a gym just for women). So I suppose you could open a restaurant and build into your business purpose and plan that you only want to serve Christians, but I doubt it would be successful (not to mention the foolishness and unloving nature of such a plan). What seems almost inevitable at this point is that sexual orientation will become protected by the same federal law, and companies like this will not be able to refuse service, even on religious grounds. If religious grounds were sufficient than racist business owners could still refuse service to blacks by invoking their own “religious beliefs”.

    As Christians we should also consider what level of consistency is possible here. Can we provide flowers, cakes, and photography for a wedding of two fornicators? adulterers? Are we going to do background/character checks on everyone that seeks goods and services for a wedding? What about other services? Can I build a website for a business whose owner is a homosexual? Are we expecting non-Christians to act/look just Christian enough to get our business? Should we expect the culture and world at large to look and behave Christian? Or does the Gospel say otherwise? I wonder if Paul made tents and only sold them to Christians?

    Basically this is more nuanced than some are making it out to be. It isn’t as simple as pounding your fist on the pulpit of “religious freedom” when you forfeit so much of it by placing yourself under federal laws and regulations as a business owner. It also isn’t as simple as thinking you can pick a specific sin and say, “This sin right here, it’s a deal breaker for business, but the rest of the spectrum of sinful behavior doesn’t even register.”

    Now, as someone who leans libertarian, I believe any business owner should be able to say “No, my conscience/belief doesn’t permit me to sell goods/services to you.” The Fed needs to just stay out of it, because I’m also a believer in capitalism. Consumers are free to boycott, picket, and draw attention to any company. And if Christians draw fire and criticism for issues like the bakers in the above story, then so be it. The cost of a Christian conscience is something you should weigh before opening a business.

  9. Randall Seale September 10, 2013 at 12:12 am #

    Wonder how the homosexual community would respond if the shoe were on the other foot, i.e., if a Christian wished to purchase cakes decorated with Scriptures declaring God’s view of homosexuality?

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