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BreakPoint: Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Religious Freedom, Lose on Appeal

The state of Oregon told a span of bakers to make the cake or eat a incriminating fine. And sadly, a sovereign justice agreed.

Now stop me if you’ve listened this before: A same-sex couple asks a internal bakery to make a marriage cake. The bakers, who are Christians, decrease to do so on the grounds that it would violate their eremite convictions.

The couple, feeling deeply aggrieved, files a complaint. The state polite rights group finds for the same-sex couple and, in effect, forces the bakers to select between their faith and their livelihood.

If you beheld my use of plural nouns so far, you may have guessed that I’m not articulate about Jack Phillips, whose case was recently argued before the Supreme Court. No, this time I’m articulate about Sweet Cakes by Melissa, and its owners, Aaron and Melissa Klein.

Not only did the Oregon Labor Commissioner order against the Kleins, he imposed a incriminating excellent on them of $135,000. A excellent that high is the Commissioner revelation the Kleins, not only are you wrong, you’re evil. You need to be put out of business.

The Kleins appealed the statute to the Oregon Court of Appeals, and last month the Court inspected the Oregon Labor Commissioner. While the outcome wasn’t surprising—Oregon is a very magnanimous state after all—there are some aspects of the opinion that are worth noting.

First is what wasn’t pronounced by the court. There were no comparisons to Nazis or racists, nor were there were references to Jim Crow. That separates this statute from that of a sovereign judge in Telescope Media Group v. Lindsey.

That case concerned two Christian videographers, Carl and Angel Larsen, who challenged tools of Minnesota’s “Human Rights Act” that would need them to service same-sex weddings. They sought the right to post a notice on their website about their policy concerning same-sex weddings.

The Federal District Court deserted their arguments and then pronounced that what the Larsens were proposing to do was “conduct same to a ‘White Applicants Only’ sign.”

Now thankfully, the Oregon Court of Appeals didn’t make any such crazy comparisons. Unlike the sovereign justice in Minnesota, it took the Kleins’ claims to leisure of artistic countenance seriously.

But its logic was tortured. It concurred that “the Kleins impregnate any marriage cake with their own cultured choices,” but then combined the bizarre and cloudy line that the Kleins “have done no showing that other people will indispensably knowledge any marriage cake that the Kleins create primarily as ‘expression’ rather than as food.”

So for the Court, what creates something “art” is that they are “both dictated to be and are gifted primarily (whatever that means) as expression.”

Say what? This logic is nonsensical. Last May, a college tyro from Scotland left a pineapple on a list at a museum, and visitors treated it as if it were on display. A year earlier, a 17-year-old left a span of eyeglasses on the building of a San Francisco art gallery and people stood around and took pictures of it. The Guardian called it “a work of genius.”

So pineapples and eyeglasses can be gifted as “art,” even “works of genius,” but a cake privately designed for the context of a marriage competence not be?

Look, the Court pulled this “standard” out of skinny air. It was a case of, to steal a line from Lewis Carroll, “sentence first, outcome afterwards.” The Court satisfied that making a cake for an eventuality could really be speech, but they couldn’t concede this debate or those who done it to prevail, so it combined a reason because they shouldn’t.

The fact that it’s unfit to suppose this customary being practical in any other context, or to any other approach speech, only underscores this fact.

And as we close, greatfully revisit BreakPoint.org for a special symposium. Hear what folks like Os Guinness, Ryan Anderson, Mindy Belz and others have to contend about the hurdles confronting the Church in 2018. Again, that’s BreakPoint.org.


Editor’s note:  Aaron and Melissa Klein are represented by First Liberty Institute. For up to date information about their case, revisit First Liberty Institute’s case page here.


Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Religious Freedom, Lose on Appeal: ‘Art’ in the Eye of the Beholder?

Challenges like the Kleins faced with internal and sovereign legislature and law are likely to boost in the coming year. Read what Christians thinkers and leaders have to contend about the issues confronting the Church today; click here to revisit the first conference of the new year, “Challenges confronting the Church in 2018.”


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