A debate has erupted over whether Oregon's labor commissioner actually placed a "gag order" on Christian bakery owners who refused to serve a same-sex wedding after he issued a final order telling the couple to "cease and desist" from speaking publicly about their Christian conviction to refuse serving same-sex weddings.
As previously reported, the Commissioner of Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industries, Brad Avakian, ordered Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of the now-closed Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery in Gresham, Oregon, to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer because they refused to bake a cake for their commitment ceremony in 2013.
In Avakian's final order, he demands the Kleins to "cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying … any communication, notice, advertisement or sign of any kind to the effect that any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, services or privileges or a place of public accommodation will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination will be made against, any person on account of sexual orientation." more >>
The Synagogue Church of All Nations, led by Nigerian megachurch preacher TB Joshua, was indicted by a coroner on Wednesday of criminal negligence in a building collapse in September 2014 that killed 116 worshipers.
"The church must be investigated and prosecuted for not obtaining the relevant approval before embarking on the construction of the building," coroner Oyetade Komolafe said in his ruling, AFP reported.
"The church was culpable because of criminal negligence resulting in the death of the victims." more >>
The governor of Oklahoma has said that a Ten Commandments monument on government property recently declared in violation of the state constitution will remain on the state capitol grounds during the appeals process.
Governor Mary Fallin released a statement Tuesday noting that the Decalogue will remain on public property during an appeals process following a state supreme court decision concluding that the display violated Oklahoma's constitution.
"The monument was built and maintained with private dollars. It is virtually identical to a monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol which the United States Supreme Court ruled to be permissible," stated Gov. Fallin. more >>
Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, said Tuesday that in his personal opinion Jesus Christ would approve of same-sex marriage.
Carter's remarks come less than two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that state-level gay marriage bans are unconstitutional. His belief, however, does not align with a number of conservative Christians, both from evangelical and Catholic traditions, who've said that God has made marriage between one man and one woman, and have been disappointed by the Supreme Court's decision.
"I believe Jesus would. I don't have any verse in Scripture. ... I believe Jesus would approve gay marriage, but that's just my own personal belief. I think Jesus would encourage any love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else. And I don't see that gay marriage damages anyone else," Carter told HuffPost Live in an interview on Tuesday. more >>
Franklin Graham, the son of renowned evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, suggested that God might strike the White House with lightning for celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage with rainbow lighting last month. Graham wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday that President Barack Obama might want to install "extra lightning rods" on the roof of the people's house.
"Just three years ago, the president was on record as holding to the biblical definition of marriage. Now he can't say enough about his support for the LGBT agenda — and right after the Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage, he had the gall to disgrace the White House by lighting it up with the gay pride rainbow colors to celebrate," wrote Graham.
"This is arrogantly flaunting sinful behavior in the face of Almighty God. My advice? He might want to have some extra lightning rods installed on the roof of the White House," he asserted. more >>
An ex-employee of a major pro-LGBT United Methodist group who filed a legal complaint accusing them of wrongful termination and "gender identity discrimination" has received broken personal effects from the group.
Last Thursday Andy Oliver, former director of communications for the Chicago-based Reconciling Ministries Network, posted a photo on Facebook of items sent to him by his former employer.
The objects, which included an image of the United Methodist cross and pottery his sons made for him, were broken into several pieces. more >>