How would you feel if you were refused business based solely on your looks, personality, sexual orientation, wealth or even your smell? Seems pretty discriminating to me and very, very wrong. Many would probably agree with me when I say I would not be returning to that business.
Now let’s switch situations. How would you feel if you were the business owner who had religious beliefs and standards that you felt strongly about and you, as hard as it may be, had to refuse service to someone? Seems a little less harsh once you bring up religion as the reason, right?
This was the case for Aaron Klein, the owner of Sweet Cakes by Melissa. Klein and his wife own and run this bakery together in Oregon, where, recently, he refused to make a wedding cake for two lesbians. According to Klein, there shouldn’t be any confusion as to what he or his wife believes, due to the fact they have wall decorations that read “faith” and even keep a Bible on their counter.
When Klein found out the young woman was interested in ordering a wedding cake for herself and her partner, he immediately stopped what he was doing. “I apologized for wasting their time and said we don’t do same-sex marriages,” Klein told television station KATU. “I honestly did not mean to hurt anybody, didn’t mean to make anybody upset, (it’s) just something I believe in very strongly.”
This woman and her mother decided to create a lawsuit, and Klein is now under state investigation. “I’d rather stand up for what I believe in and what I feel is right and get totally annihilated when it comes in the end than to bow down to this and say ‘go ahead,’” Klein said, according to Fox News Radio. “Because that sets the standard for the next one, the next one, and the next one.”
The Federal Civil Rights Act guarantees all people the right to “full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.” And to complicate things more, the Sweet Cakes website emphasizes that cakes are what makes any occasion special, whether it be a wedding, birthday, holiday, special dinner or bridal shower. If a mother came in wanting to order a cake for her son’s birthday, and he happened to be gay, would Klein refuse? Or, in his eyes, is it okay since it isn’t a marriage?
“If I have to be to, I guess, be penalized for my beliefs, then I guess, well, that’ll be what it is,” Klein told the television station. “My First Amendment rights allow me to practice my religion as I see it.”
As a Christian, I believe it is important to practice my beliefs, but I do not feel Klein is doing that correctly in this situation. He is standing up for what he believes– that a wedding and a marriage is between a man and a woman. But when you work in a bakery, your job is to make cakes for all occasions.
Klein wishes to live out what the Bible is saying, but does the Bible say to judge, discriminate or embarrass your brothers and sisters? No; it says the opposite. Luke 6:37 says, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
As Christians, we are here to serve and love one another, though we do not always have to agree with the people around us. Are Klein’s actions the kind of behavior that a Christian should be portraying?
Klein may have not supported the decision this couple was making, but that is not his place to judge. If a young girl is planning a baby shower and needs a cake, would he ask if she is married or having this baby out of wedlock? I can almost guarantee he wouldn’t. Why? Because that is inappropriate and none of his business.
I feel it comes down to this: Klein should not pick and choose what he wants to follow in the Bible. And if he does, he should make his customers well aware that he may refuse service if he doesn’t agree with their decisions.
I will leave you with this: do you think it’s right for a private business owner to reserve the right to refuse service, no matter the reason, or is it the government’s responsibility to have a say in all services and businesses?