Samaritan’s Purse president Franklin Graham, who also heads up the world-wide Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, called the recent ruling against a husband-wife Christian cake-baking team an utter travesty for the First Amendment, and said the plaintiffs in the case – two lesbians – ought to be the ones paying the government-issued fine.
Graham was reacting on his Facebook page to the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries ruling against Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” who, in 2013, declined to make a cake for a lesbian wedding. The lesbians turned to the government for redress, and last week, after two years of fighting, the Kleins were ordered to pay $135,000 to the lesbians, in part to account for their stated pain and suffering, as WND previously reported.
Graham found the ruling ludicrous.
Paul Kengor, Ph.D., has written “Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left has Sabotaged Family and Marriage,” to explain the influence of “extreme-left radicals” on the American family.
He wrote: “This is unbelievable! … Brad Avakian, Oregon’s Bureau of Labor & Industries Commissioner, upheld [the previous] ruling that the Kleins have to pay the lesbian couple $135,000 for a long list of alleged damages including: ‘acute loss of confidence,’ ‘high blood pressure,’ ‘impaired digestion,’ ‘loss of appetite,’ ‘migraine headaches,’ ‘pale and sick at home after work,’ ‘resumption of smoking habit,’ ‘weight gain,’ and ‘worry.’ Give me a break. In my opinion, this couple should pay the Kleins $135,000 for all they’ve been through!”
Graham also pointed to another facet of the ruling as potentially dangerous to the future of the First Amendment’s freedom of speech clause.
On that, he said: “Even more outrageous is that Avakian has also now ordered the Kleins to ‘cease and desist’ from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs. This is an outright attack on their #freedomofspeech. A senior attorney with the The Heritage Foundation was absolutely right when he said, ‘It is exactly this kind of oppressive persecution by government officials that led the pilgrims to America.'”
He called for believers to pray for the Kleins, who are planning an appeal, as well as for other Christians who are currently fighting to maintain their religious freedom rights in the supposed “land of the free” known as America, he said.