Aaron and Melissa Klein, Christians and former owners of a bakery in Oregon who were ordered by a judge to pay a fine of $135,000 for declining to bake a cake for a lesbian marriage ceremony, have set a record on a crowdfunding site by raising $352,500 in two months, after their campaign was shut down by another site.
The campaign by "Sweet Cakes by Melissa" has raised more than any previous campaign by individuals in the three-year history of the crowdfunding site Continue to Give, site founder Jesse Wellhoefer told The Washington Times.
The bakery has received $352,500 through 7,651 donations, and thousands of messages with wishes, such as "Keep on fighting," "God bless you," and "Don't back down!! We are standing with you." more >>
The president of the Coalition of African American Pastors, the Rev. Bill Owens, is calling on Christians to not participate in gay marriage ceremonies by "refusing to obey unjust laws" in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
Owens, who held a press conference in Dallas on Tuesday where he was joined by other prominent conservative leaders who support traditional marriage, said Christians in all areas of society should stand up and defend their constitutional rights.
"We are calling on Christians and people of faith in all areas of society, especially those in leadership positions, to refuse to obey unjust laws that have legalized same-sex unions, and to join our movement [called Real Marriage] that will take back our Constitution and our rights," said Owens in a statement posted on Facebook prior to the press conference. more >>
In the aftermath of Obergefell v. Hodges, pastors and church members are experiencing a wave of anxiety over what many of them deem the "nightmare scenario": lawsuits or government action designed to force them to perform or recognize same-sex marriages. While there are — so far — no meaningful judicial precedents that would permit such dramatic interference with churches' core First Amendment rights, lawsuits challenging church liberties are inevitable.
Indeed, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission has declared that prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity "sometimes" apply to churches and has stated that a "church service open to the public" is not a "bona fide religious purpose" that would limit application of the law. In 2012 a New Jersey administrative-law judge ruled that a religious organization "closely associated with the United Methodist Church" wrongly denied access to its facilities for a same-sex wedding.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy compared opposition to the court's landmark ruling ending legal opposition to same-sex marriage to a 1989 decision that said freedom to burn an American flag is protected speech.
It was Kennedy's first comments since last month's decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, that struck down a ban against same-sex marriage in 14 states. Kennedy believes that while the decision on the flag burning case was unpopular at first, public opinion changed over time.
He made the comments Wednesday at a 9th Circuit Conference in San Diego. Kennedy, 78, often seen as an important swing vote on the Court, is a native of Southern California who formerly ruled from the 9th Circut bench. more >>
Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney has argued that Christians who hold a traditional view of marriage are being "bullied" by society into changing their minds on gay marriage, noting that couples find themselves in an "uncomfortable position."
"There are voices in our culture that no longer think marriage need be for life, or be open to children, or be exclusive, or be between man and wife," Fisher said at a homily, according to a Catholic News Service report on Wednesday.
He added that "some politically, culturally and commercially powerful forces are determined to silence any alternative to the politically correct position in this matter; to bully us all into accepting the deconstruction and redefinition of a fundamental institution; and to relegate questions of what marriage is and is for as secondary to an homogenizing 'equality.'" more >>
WASHINGTON — Political scientist Mark David Hall explained Monday that America's history is rich with examples of governments creating religious accommodations for generally applicable laws and asserted that accommodations protecting Christian business owners from having to serve same-sex weddings would be no different.
Hall, a political science professor at George Fox University in Oregon, gave a Monday lecture at the Family Research Council where he explained that although there has been much opposition to the passing of Religious Freedom Restoration Acts in certain states, states have a long history of passing exemptions to laws that forced believers to violate their religious beliefs, even with much support from liberals.
In the last few years, there have been a number of lawsuits brought against Christian business owners who have refused service for same-sex weddings on the basis that it would have violated their religious convictions. Such cases have resulted in business owners being fined ruinous amounts and the loss of their business. more >>