I am disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision to change the definition of the institution of marriage for the entire United States. A major aspect of my disappointment is that the Court did not let the people decide at the state level. Instead, the Supreme Court has imposed its decision about this issue on the entire nation, in one fell swoop. I am concerned for the rights of the people to vote on a critical issue like this. Many people in my circle of influence wonder if this ruling will lead to the abridging of our most basic constitutional rights, such as the right to live by personal conviction and the free exercise of religion.
I cannot help but remember waiting for the Court to make a similarly important decision in January 2011. During that month the Associated Press wrote "The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from opponents of same-sex marriage who want to overturn the District of Columbia's gay marriage law … turning away a challenge from a Maryland pastor (Harry Jackson) and others who are trying to get a measure on the ballot to allow Washingtonians to vote on a measure that defines marriage as between a man and a woman."
I felt that both judges and politicians had failed the citizens of the District of Columbia, not allowing us to make the decision about this important policy issue. Today the Supreme Court failed the 50 million Americans who had the opportunity to vote for marriage and had cast their vote for marriage as one man and one woman. more >>
The Rev. Franklin Graham has spoken out against what he calls an "outright attack" on freedom of speech after Oregon's Bureau of Labor & Industries Commissioner Brad Avakin upheld an earlier ruling that forces Christian bakery owners Aaron and Melissa Klein to pay $135,000 for refusing to participate in a lesbian wedding.
"Give me a break. In my opinion, this couple should pay the Kleins $135,000 for all they've been through," Graham wrote on Facebook on Sunday.
"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," he added. more >>
In one of the most egregious anti-Christian acts committed by a state official in recent memory, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian not only upheld the ridiculous $135,000 fine levied against Aaron and Melissa Klein for declining to bake a cake for a lesbian commitment ceremony, but he ordered the Kleins to "cease and desist" from making any public comments about their religious convictions relative to this case.
This is an outrage and a travesty, and it must be rebuked and resisted. Who does Mr. Avakian think he is?
The fine itself is unconscionable, as the amount of $135,000 was determined by tallying up the alleged emotional damages experienced by the lesbian couple, who as Thomas D. Williams noted, "accused the Kleins of 'mental rape,' adding that they had suffered a 'loss of appetite' and 'impaired digestion,' which remarkably led to 'weight gain.'" more >>
A Sudanese court has ruled that there is enough evidence to move forward with the trial of two imprisoned South Sudanese Presbyterian pastors facing "trumped-up" espionage charges, which are punishable by death. The pastors' attorney will have only two weeks to prove their innocence without access to his clients.
In the sixth hearing in the case against pastors Yat Michael and Peter Reith in Khartoum, a judge ruled Thursday that there is sufficient evidence to "charge" the pastors with seven different crimes including criminal conspiracy, espionage, promoting hatred amongst the sects, blasphemy, undermining the constitutional system, obtaining official documents and disturbing the peace — two of which could be punishable by death.
According to the American Center for Law and Justice, the judge's Thursday ruling now means that the pressure is on the pastors' attorney, Mohaned Mustafa, to now prove the innocence of his two clients rather than their guilt having to be proven. more >>
A Georgia-based radio program centered on promoting the perspectives of mainline Protestant denominations has turned 70 this year.
"Day1," a program headquartered in Atlanta originally named "The Protestant Hour," has been on the air for seven decades and since 2004 has been overseen by the Alliance for Christian Media.
The Rev. Peter M. Wallace, president and executive producer of "Day1" and the Alliance, told The Christian Post that he was "very thankful for the opportunity to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ over the radio for so many years." more >>
The Oregon Christian bakery owners who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding on the grounds that it would violate their religious convictions have been ordered to pay $135,000 in emotional damages, and have also been prohibited from speaking about standing up for their Christian beliefs.
On Thursday, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian issued his final order in the case against Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery in Gresham, who were found guilty of discrimination in January for declining to bake a cake for a lesbian couple's wedding in 2013. Avakian ordered the Kleins to pay complainant Rachel Bowman-Cryer $75,000 for damages and $60,000 to her partner Laurel Bowman-Cryer.
"Respondents' claim they are not denying service because of complainants' sexual orientation but rather because they do not wish to participate in their same-sex wedding ceremony. The forum has already found there to be no distinction between the two," Avakian wrote in his order. "Further, to allow respondents, a for-profit business, to deny any services to people because of their protected class, would be tantamount to allowing legal separation of people based on their sexual orientation from at least some portion of the public marketplace." more >>