How much does it cost to be an authentic Christian? You might think that in America, the land of religious freedom, that being a Christian would be free.
And you’d be wrong.
Here’s the story from Oregon Live.
Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian on Thursday ordered the owners of a former Gresham bakery to pay $135,000 in damages to a lesbian couple for refusing to make them a wedding cake.
Avakian’s ruling upheld a preliminary finding earlier this year that the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa had discriminated against the women on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Bakery owners Melissa and Aaron Klein cited their Christian beliefs against same-sex marriage in denying service.
[…]Avakian’s final order makes clear that serving potential customers equally trumps the Kleins’ religious beliefs.
[…]The commissioner ordered the Kleins to pay $75,000 to Rachel Bowman-Cryer and $60,000 to Laurel Bowman-Cryer. His ruling may be appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals.
In addition to the fine, there were other consequences for the Kleins:
The Sweet Cakes by Melissa car was vandalized and broken into twice. Photographers and florists severed ties with the company, eventually forcing Sweet Cakes to close the Gresham shop in September 2013. The business now operates out of the couple’s home in Sandy.
If that were not enough, Avakian also ordered the Kleins to not speak about the case in public:
In the ruling, Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.
“This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which has since closed, wrote on their Facebook page. “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”
Compare that with a similar case from Canada, where a Canadian pastor who disagreed with homosexuality was also issued with a gag order.
This is why I always put such a high emphasis on using aliases and making education and career decisions that allow you to accumulate money for your legal defense. There was a time in this country when being a Christian was free. It is no longer that time. And most Americans are not going to lift a finger to protect us. We are on our own. You need to be careful with your money, to prepare for the day when you are fined $135,000 for the crime of acting as if Christianity is true.
Consider this verse, which is one of my life verses:
28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?
I do not say this proudly. I am not as strong in my career or savings as I would like to be. But I am constantly meeting young men and especially young women who think that the Bible is giving them license to do whatever their heart is telling them, irrespective of stewardship. But we cannot afford to ignore stewardship of money any more. We are beyond doing what is easy and fun now. We are beyond doing what makes us happy now. Don’t expect that God will rescue you from a lack of prudence.
Previously, I posted something about what the Bible says about earning, saving and giving away money – featuring pastor Wayne Grudem. Do take a look at it with fresh eyes, now that this Oregon sentence is out.