Should Oregonians be “rehabilitated” out of their religious beliefs?

NW Spotlight_thb

by NW Spotlight

According to a recent comment by Brad Avakian, Oregon’s Labor Commissioner, business owners like Melissa and Aaron Klein of Sweet Cakes bakery should be “rehabilitated” out of their religious beliefs. The Kleins have said their religious beliefs were the reason for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding – they had previously served the Portland lesbian couple before when it didn’t involve a same-sex wedding.

What is happening to religious freedom in this country? The religious freedom enshrined in the First Amendment which reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” 

The crux of the matter is that for the bakery owners, this issue is about religious freedom. The bakery had baked a cake for the Portland couple previously. As the Oregonian reported “The [Sweet Cakes bakery owners] also said they sell other baked goods to customers of all sexual orientations. Both sides acknowledge the Portland couple bought a wedding cake from the bakery years earlier without incident.” That cake was for one of the couple’s mother and her husband.

The issue for the bakery owners came when the lesbian couple asked for a cake for their same-sex wedding. The Klein’s attorney, Herbert Grey wrote, “they elected not to participate in an event that is not even officially recognized under Oregon law when doing so would violate their constitutionally protected conscience and religious beliefs.”

It’s right that we have laws protecting us from discrimination, but this crosses a line – a very clear line, and this is where the battle is being fought today for religious freedom. It is not about denying service based on sexual orientation – they had served the couple before. It is about the right to not be forced to participate in something that violates your religious beliefs.