By Matt Barber
At least Oregon is applying its anti-discrimination laws evenhandedly. Interesting story out of Gresham: The Oregonian is reporting that Bruce Bottoms – a homosexual baker and owner of “Cakes By Cupcakes” – has been charged with anti-Christian discrimination by the Oregon Ministry of Human Rights (OMHR). Mr. Bottoms and his partner, Lance Limpkowski, recently declined to bake a cake for the notoriously anti-”gay” Westboro Baptist Church (WBC). As a result, they’ve been forced to shut down their business.
It seems that, in another tired attempt to be provocative, representatives from the attention-starved WBC demanded that Bottoms and Limpkowski bake a cake for a Westboro fundraiser with the group’s trademark slogan, “God Hates Fags,” emblazed in rainbow frosting across the top. Mr. Bottoms, who reportedly moonlights as a part-time blogger for the homosexual activist “Human Rights Campaign,” was understandably appalled. He refused.
“Look, I’ll serve anybody, Christian or otherwise,” said Bottoms. “I just refuse to bake a cake that endorses an ideology that I find obscene. If Westboro came in and asked me to bake a birthday cake with the words ‘Happy 120th, Papa Freddy,’ it’d be my pleasure,” he said. “I didn’t decline to bake the cake because the customers defined themselves as ‘Christian’; I refused because nobody should be forced to lend their talents to endorse – whether directly or indirectly – a message or event that they find repugnant.”
Tolerance Enforcement Commissioner Brad Avakian disagreed: “We are committed to a fair and thorough investigation to determine whether there’s substantial evidence of unlawful discrimination,” he told the Oregonian. “The goal is never to shut down a business. The goal is to rehabilitate. For those who do violate the law, we want them to learn from that experience and have a good, successful business in Oregon. Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that folks have the right to discriminate,” he said.
Meanwhile, churches and Christian groups across America organized a boycott of Cakes By Cupcakes, picketing the business and threatening to target other businesses that associated with Bottoms and Limpkowski. The two men have additionally reported multiple death threats, with one Presbyterian preacher leaving a voicemail: “Die bigots! You anti-Christian haters need to keep your Christophobia to yourselves!” he said.
Although the “Cakes By Cupcakes” incident didn’t actually happen, something quite similar is happening across America. It’s a photo negative of the above scenario, but it’s equally absurd. Homosexual activists and “progressive” government officials are targeting Christian business owners – true Christians, not hateful Wesboro-types – for real anti-Christian discrimination.
And they’re doing it in the name of “non-discrimination.”
Todd Starnes of Fox News reports: “A family-owned Christian bakery, under investigation for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, has been forced to close its doors after a vicious boycott by militant homosexual activists.
“Sweet Cakes By Melissa posted a message on its Facebook page alerting customers that their Gresham, Ore., retail store would be shut down after months of harassment from pro-gay marriage forces.
“‘Better is a poor man who walks in integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways,’ read a posting from Proverbs on the bakery’s Facebook page.”
“It’s a sad day for Christian business owners, and it’s a sad day for the First Amendment,” owner Aaron Klein told Starnes. “The LGBT attacks are the reason we are shutting down the shop. They have killed our business through mob tactics.”
“Last January, Aaron and Melissa Klein made national headlines when they refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.
“Klein tells me he has nothing against homosexuals,” reports Starnes, “but because of their religious faith, the family simply cannot take part in gay wedding events.
“‘I believe marriage is between a man and a woman,’ he said. ‘I don’t want to help somebody celebrate a commitment to a lifetime of sin.’”
To be sure, Mr. Klein did not “discriminate” against the lesbian couple because of their “sexual orientation.” If that same lesbian couple ordered a birthday cake that didn’t require the endorsement of a repugnant message or event, Mr. Klein would, no doubt, be happy to serve.
What if the lesbian’s straight brother came in and ordered the “gay wedding” cake as a surprise for his sister? If Mr. Klein refused, would he be guilty of discrimination because of the brother’s heterosexual “orientation”?
Of course not. And neither is he guilty here.
If a black man entered the store and ordered a birthday cake for his son, and Mr. Klein refused because of the customer’s race, then that would be unlawful discrimination. If that same black man ordered a “Kill Whitey” cake for a Black Panthers rally, and Klein refused, it would not be discrimination. The latter scenario is analogous to Mr. Klein’s and other Christian business owners’ refusal to provide services for “gay weddings” and similar such events (photographers, printers, bakers, florists and the like). The former scenario is not.
Would we charge a Muslim caterer with discrimination for refusing to serve Honey Baked Ham and BLTs at a decidedly unkosher bar mitzvah?
Then why are we charging Christians with discrimination for refusing to endorse a message or event that Christianity itself finds expressly repugnant – that the Bible calls “an abomination”?
Seriously, you “gay” activists – and other George-Orwell-characters-come-to-life like Brad Avakian – need to lighten up and take a step back. (Avakian is Oregon’s Labor Commissioner and really did say the above things about Christians.) You’re not helping your cause. Christians aren’t “discriminating” against you because of your “sexual orientation.” We just refuse to endorse sinful lifestyles, behaviors, messages or events. And guess what. It’s our constitutional right to do so. The First Amendment trumps your newfangled “sexual orientation non-discrimination laws.”
Yet even if it didn’t, God’s law supersedes man’s law.
But, hey, there is a bright side. It does keep me busy. It’s job security. It’s sending my kids to college. Every time you go after a Christian business owner, it gives guys like me tons of ammunition. I get to demonstrate from the rooftops that you’re a bunch of homofascists.
You don’t want the world to know that you’re a bunch of homofascists, do you?
Still, this was never about preventing “discrimination.” It’s always been about worldview – about mandating, under penalty of law, affirmation of a demonstrably destructive and sinful lifestyle.
The Gaystapo cometh.
Celebrate diversity, y’all!
Matt Barber (@jmattbarber on Twitter) is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. He serves as Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action. (This information is provided for identification purposes only.)