By Mario Murillo
Here is the news: “The former owners of an Oregon bakery have been ordered to pay $135,000 to a lesbian couple who were refused a wedding cake, in the latest front in the battle between religious liberty and individual rights.
Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian ordered Aaron and Melissa Klein, who owned the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery in Gresham, Ore., to compensate the couple for emotional and mental suffering that resulted from the denial of service.
The Kleins had cited their Christian beliefs against same-sex marriage in refusing to make the wedding cake for Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer.”
Okay, I disagree with the gay militants and the bakery in this situation. In my opinion, the American church and gay community both need a lesson, a lesson that I hope this message will bring.
I began my ministry in San Francisco where I was born and raised. That fact alone should tell you a lot about my development as a preacher. In other words, I learned to coexist with the gay community. Gay marriage has been tacitly legal here since the Gold rush. I grew up with gay parades.
Unlike so many of my fellow preachers, I have always preached behind enemy lines. There is one thing that I have heard for my entire ministry: “you cannot win souls here, the people are too hostile toward God.” I heard that in San Francisco. I heard it in Berkeley where I first witnessed the power of God change angry radicals into Christ followers.
We have conducted 5 major Christian crusades in San Francisco. We are the only evangelistic ministry ever to be granted use of the sacred Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall in downtown San Francisco. We drew a crowd of 14,000 to the Cow Palace Arena that included a mass of unchurched people. ( Below is the picture of the Cow Palace crowd.)
Now wrap your mind around this: we have never, not once, been picketed or harassed by gay militants and we have never compromised our Biblical stand on sin.
How were we able to do this? We did it by weeding out the misguided radicals in the church and in the gay community. We made the effort to explain our attitude to rational thinkers who disagreed with Christianity. It did not always work but it help build respect, albeit respectful disagreement.
Our approach was to show them that we believe in preserving dignity and open dialogue and we sought out those in every movement that are of like mind. We even gave them our phone numbers to call to complain about any of workers who stepped over the line.
As impossible as it is for some extreme gay radicals and Westboro Baptist types to imagine, there are rational people on both sides who want to engage in civil discourse.
One thing that I learned early: never insult anyone’s intelligence. Ministries that want it both ways are silly. It doesn’t work to hide what the Bible teaches in order to be liked. The Gay community can read.
This is why I disagree with mega churches that are muting their beliefs in order to be accepted by the Gay community. That works on some, at least until they find out what it you actually believe. Thinking people will realize what you are doing, and will be insulted.
One of my heroes is David Wilkerson. He stood against sin in America. His church was not nestled securely in the Bible belt. His Times Square Church in New York City proclaimed holiness in the epicenter of immorality. Strippers, transvestites, and every so-called alternative lifestyle were right outside their door.
No one protested them as hateful and David never compromised. Untold numbers have walked in and found in Christ. Nothing works better than compassion with conviction.
Now let me put a bottom line on all of this:
1.Oregon is stupid to pursue this action against the bakery. You need to rethink your actions in this case. Your position is totally legal, but this is a new day. By forcing Gay Marriage on America, the Supreme Court created a new discriminated group: Christians who oppose Gay marriage for religious reasons and practice civil disobedience. Civil disobedience is a modern American tradition from Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez to Harvey Milk.
It is ironic Oregon; you are prosecuting civil disobedience by using a law of anti-discrimination that was created by civil disobedience. It is understandable that you are amateurs at this since liberals have only recently become the oppressive majority.
Oregon, you need dismiss the fine and find an accommodation for Christian Businesses or you will start a new revolution. Your punishment seems harsh and bred out of the current frenzy of anti-Christian sentiment. By squashing Sweet Cakes by Melissa you will galvanize the Church and probably win them sympathy from groups that have long dwelled in the liberal camp.
Besides you look silly. What a headline: HIPPIES FROM PORTANDIA SQUASH FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND RELIGION. And think about history Oregon. Montgomery had Rosa Parks, Berkeley had the free speech movement and you had the cake deal.
2. Christians need to find better ways to express civil disobedience, but we do need to disobey. The law of the land is clear and in this instance, a restaurant, bakery, etc., may do business with whom it chooses. Conversely, there are laws against discrimination in service based on gender, race, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, and age that trump any signs or private property arguments to the contrary.
The Bible agrees. Look at these verses: “1 Corinthians 5:9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.” Read this again a few times.
Paul would have likely said to Aaron and Melissa Klein…”look you can go ahead and bake the cake because it is not feasible to protest Gay Marriage through business dealings. Are you going to stop using Apple, Microsoft, Firefox, Google and Facebook because they are advancing Gay Marriage? In that case, you would have to leave the earth to find moral purity.”
However, you should not bake a cake or make any food for a false Christian. If someone names the name of Christ and is sexually immoral, don’t feed them or associate with them.
3. Gay radicals and feminists only expose their true goal when they target Christian businesses. This cake thing went way too far. It should have gone down more like this:
-“We want you to bake a cake that says it supports gay marriage, will you?
-“You really don’t want to make me do this, do you? The law is on your side but you are making me violate my conscience. If you insist, I’ll be forced to do it.”
“On second thought, we would rather have someone who is supportive bake it.”
It is not about marriage when you deliberately target Christian businesses for cakes, photographs and flowers; you are instead making a political statement. You are taking what you say will be the most beautiful day of your life and stocking it full of people who disagree with what you are doing. How romantic!
This only confirms that gay marriage is not the goal. Extreme radical gays and feminists do not seek marriage equality; they are trying to abolish marriage. Socialists and Secular Progressives know that removing the family gives the government much greater control. They want to make it illegal to disagree with Gay Marriage and a free society cannot do that.
Neither the church nor gay marriage is going away anytime soon. Agreeing to disagree is the only way a free society can survive.
You want to keep Portland weird not fascist.
4. The Church must get way beyond pastry. The line drawn in the sand should begin by exposing those who want to make it a crime to disagree with gay marriage and those who spew hatred in the name of Christ.
Ministers should not be forced to do gay weddings. The government must not deny or remove nonprofit status because of Christian convictions.
The Supreme Court made the same massive mistake with gay marriage that they made with abortion. They abused power and ripped the debate out of the hands of the people before it was resolved. This guarantees division. Remember, Roe V Wade birthed the pro-life movement.
There is no doubt that some took this unconstitutional action to mean open season on Christians. Christians must now band together and resist the abuse of freedom of religion for the sake of future generations of Americans.
If that means disobeying laws that directly violate our freedom of religion so be it. But it doesn’t mean we can’t start by appealing to reason and promote civil discourse when and where it is still possible.