Melissa and Aaron Klein, the Christian couple from Oregon who are being fined $135,000 for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, are standing by their faith and pushing for laws that protect Christian business owners in the United States.
In 2013, the Kleins of Grasham, Oregon, were named in a civil rights complaint filed by Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman who were turned away at Sweet Cakes by Melissa on grounds of the bakery owners' religious views of same-sex marriage. On Friday, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries issued a 110-page proposed order recommending that the owners of the now-closed bakery pay $135,000 to Cryer and Bowman for "emotional, mental and physical suffering." Just days later, Aaron Klein spoke to The Christian Post about the case, starting with his own message for Americans.
"I would say, on a personal note, don't be afraid to stand up for the Bible, for God's truth, for the sake of Jesus Christ ... that is something that is near and dear to my heart," Klein began. "From a political standpoint, I would say this: every American should be free to live and work by their faith without being afraid that the government will punish them for doing so." more >>
The U.S. Supreme Court has thrown out a ruling against a Catholic organization that was being compelled to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives at the threat of being fined by the Internal Revenue Service.
On Monday the highest court in the nation granted the Michigan Catholic Conference their request for an exemption for religious reasons against the Health and Human Services contraception mandate.
In the Supreme Court's order, the Justices invoked last year's landmark Hobby Lobby decision, which concluded that "closely-held businesses" could be exempted from the HHS mandate due to religious objections. more >>
When the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) gathers in Houston this week, we are united by a simple symbol: a cross. And like that cross, our shared mission is both vertical and horizontal. Vertically, we stand connected to God and His kingdom. Horizontally, to our left and to our right, we stand connected to family, culture, society and community. The members of our 40,000 Hispanic Evangelical churches in the U.S. care deeply about issues that lie along both these planes, issues such as faith, life, family, religious liberty, education and immigration.
I would like to propose something different for prospective candidates vying for a presidential nomination and courting the Hispanic vote or the Evangelical vote: don't talk about diversity, talk about inclusion. Don't talk about opting out, talk about opting in. It's time to remind Americans that we are not only one nation under God, but we are also a nation of liberty and justice for all.
This Wednesday, over 1,000 Hispanic Evangelical pastors at our national convention will have the opportunity to hear from two Republicans who embrace the Christian conservative ethos of the NHCLC — Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee. While there are any number of "wedge" issues that candidates and their campaign supporters use to distinguish themselves from others, where the candidates stand on immigration and education reform will be critical not just to secure the support of the NHCLC but to reach the constituents of the more than 40,000 Evangelical Hispanic churches we represent. What I would like to hear is how candidates plan to reclaim the mantle of compassionate conservatism in which families and faith come first, and political orthodoxy provides a path to success rather than circles of division. more >>
A nearly $16 million East Baltimore community center and apartment complex under construction were burned to the ground Monday night during riots that engulfed the Maryland city following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who died while in police custody earlier this month.
The community center and apartments were part of a project initiated by the Southern Baptist Church in Baltimore, which is located across the street. The church's pastor, Rev. Donte Hickman Sr., remains optimistic in the face of the massive fire that was witnessed by at least 60 congregants.
"We're going to rebuild. We're going to come back strong from this," said Hickman, who believes rioters are to blame for burning down the building that was to provide housing for senior citizens. more >>
As the Supreme Court's oral arguments on whether states should be constitutionally obligated to issue same-sex marriage licenses adjourned Tuesday afternoon, Heritage Foundation's Ryan Anderson said in a news conference outside the building that the likely swing vote justice, Anthony Kennedy, was "not persuaded" by LGBT arguments.
As many are predicting the Supreme Court's decision in June to come down to a narrow 5-4 vote, Justice Kennedy has been pegged again as the justice who is likely to decide which way the court leans in making the tough decision on whether the 14th Amendment requires states to uphold same-sex marriages and validate same-sex marriage licenses given out by other states.
Kennedy pointed out in the hearing that "one of the problems" in this case is that the traditional man-woman definition of marriage has been the norm for "millennia," while the LGBT definition of marriage as being a union between two loving and consenting adults has only existed inside the United States for a decade, as Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in June 2004. more >>
The question of how and why Freddie Gray died with severe spinal cord injuries while in police custody has yet to be answered, but entertainers and athletes with ties to Baltimore are speaking up after their beloved city has been declared a State of Emergency following days of civil unrest.
NBA player and New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony was raised in Baltimore and expressed his sympathies for the Gray family. He took to Instagram to express his shock about Baltimore being called into a State of Emergency and called for people not to destroy it in the midst of their anger.
"I know my community is fed up. I'm all about fighting for what we believe in. The anger, the resentment, the neglect that our community feels right now, will not change overnight," he wrote. "Continue, fighting for what you believe in. But remember, it takes no time to destroy something. But, it can take forever to build it back up." more >>