WND Faith 4 June 2015
Here’s a list of cases in which Christians have been accused of violating non-discrimination laws for following the dictates of their faith, “gay” advocates have refused to do business with Christians, or homosexuals have retaliated for a business owner’s Christian stance:
The Daily Signal reported that Gortz Haus Gallery and bistro owners Betty and Richard Odgaard decided to close down their business after reaching a $5,000 settlement with a homosexual duo.
Their business, a former church, had offered wedding services, but they declined, because of their Mennonite faith, to host the alternative sexual lifestyle event when asked. They knew they would be targeted by regulations in their state of Iowa if they continued, so they shut off wedding services, and their business dried up.
“We can’t pretend it’s going to get better,” Betty Odgaard said. “There wasn’t enough business.”
They’re hoping the Gortz Haus eventually will be a church again
“That would be the most wonderful option,” Betty said
According to a report in USA Today, Dieseltec owner Brian Klawiter of Grandville, Michigan, said in a Facebook post. “Well, folks, as we predicted, it didn’t take long for the ugly face of the homosexual movement to present itself.
“What started out with ‘mere’ death threats against myself and my family and homosexuals spamming my Facebook page with gay porn shots, has escalated to physical violence,” he wrote.
He cited slogans spray-painted on his business, on his pickup truck, and on a garage door, and a rock thrown through a window.
Klawiter had stirred the pot of social values a week earlier when he posted a note he would decline to provide service to openly homosexual customers.
WND reported when two magistrates in North Carolina were ordered to perform same-sex “weddings” or resign, and now are suing their state over the reported violation of their constitutional rights.
Thomas Holland and Gilbert Breedlove have sued in Wake County Superior Court over direct orders, and threats, from the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts.
They want the state to follow its own constitution and return them to their jobs with an acknowledgment that they are not required to perform weddings for same-sex duos.
The North Carolina office for the court system had said, “Magistrates should begin immediately conducting marriages of all couples presenting a marriage license issued by the register of deeds. … A failure to do so would be violation of the U.S. Constitution under the federal ruling and would constitute a violation of the oath and a failure to perform a duty of the office.”
Penalties? Possible suspension, removal from office and criminal counts, the office warned.
But the state constitution protects who live by their faith, their case notes.
Former pastor Joshua Feuerstein
The case of Cut the Cake in Longwood, Florida, is a case where the bakery, which had advertised on LGBT sites, refused to sell a cake with a biblically based message on it.
The cake had been requested by former pastor Joshua Feuerstein, who made a video of the exchange. He took it down when requested, but Sharon Haller of Cut the Cake later reposted.
He had asked for a cake that said, “We do not support gay marriage.”
Feuerstein said in the video, “For me, this is not about gay people; it’s about religious freedom.”
He continued, “I wanted to see if it was actually a double standard; if a gay-friendly bakery and one that advertised themselves as so on pro-LGBT wedding sites would actually bake a cake that went against their principles.”
Feuerstein later told WESH 2 Television, “You know what, I actually believe that Cut the Cake has every right as an American to refuse to print that on a cake.”
Haller complained of “nasty” phone calls and “negative gestures.” She said she lost money and she was investigating her legal options, and said the recorded phone call is illegal in Florida.
Family-owned Memories Pizza in Indiana came into the crosshairs of homosexuals when an owner was interviewed by a local TV station in the aftermath of the adoption of the state’s religious freedom law.
Responding to a reporter’s question, the owner said that while her restaurant serves gays, her Christian faith wouldn’t allow her to cater a “gay wedding.”
The restaurant immediately became a focal point of outrage toward the law, with threats of death and and destruction, causing the owners to shut down their business.
In response, however, an Internet campaign raised more than $840,000 for the family in just a few days.
Owners Kevin and Christie O’Connor said they eventually planned to reopen their doors.
Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association
The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association was begun in 1869 to provide a place for Christian meetings and assemblies, and it still operates as one of the more popular destinations for such events on the East Coast.
It houses one of the world’s 20 largest pipe organs and there are both traditional and contemporary worship programs all summer long that have featured speakers such as Billy Graham, Norman Vincent Peale, Robert Schuller, Billy Sunday, D. James Kennedy and Charles Stanley.
But the location no longer is used for weddings, because a lesbian duo was denied permission to use it, and a state discrimination complaint was filed.
The ACLU reported in 2012 that the ruling from an administrative law judge found the Christian group was guilty of discrimination for refusing to grant Harriet Bernstein and Luisa Paster access to its property for their ceremony.
Solomon A. Metzger of the state’s Office of Administrative Law found that in March 2007, when Paster and Bernstein filled out a reservation form, the pavilion was a public accommodation. The judge determined that the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association breached its agreement to make the pavilion available to the public on an equal basis.
Liberty Ridge Farm
The owners of a Christian farm in upstate New York recently were fined $10,000 and assessed $1,500 in damages for not allowing a lesbian duo to use their land and home for a wedding.
Cynthia and Robert Gifford, owners of Liberty Ridge Farm near Albany, had allowed others to use their land for birthday events and a few weddings. But when Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin asked for access, the owners said they would allow a reception but not a wedding, because of their religious beliefs.
The state said the couple’s religious beliefs were of no account.
Administrative Law Judge Migdalia Pares said the Giffords’ home is a place of public accommodation and, therefore, is subject to the New York Human Rights law.
The judge ruled, “The fact that the Giffords also reside at Gifford Barn does not render it private.”
The case developed when homosexuals demanded a Christian baker provide a wedding cake for their event, and he declined on the grounds it would violate his Christian faith.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission eventually ordered the baker, Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to use his artistry to celebrate homosexual unions in violation of his Christian beliefs, but the case is on appeal in the courts.
A state commissioner, Diann Rice, likened Christians to slaver owners and Nazis.
Her words: “I would also like to reiterate what we said in the hearing or the last meeting. Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust, whether it be – I mean, we – we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination. And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use to – to use their religion to hurt others.”
There was no claim in the case that the homosexuals were unable to get a cake, only that they were unable to get it from Masterpiece.
Hitching Post Wedding Chapel
The Hitching Post wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is under fire.
The city is demanding the Christian ministers at the chapel perform same-sex weddings in violation of their faith, and WND reported recently the case is headed back to court after negotiations between the parties failed.
“The government can’t tell ministers they must perform same-sex marriages under threat of jail time and crippling fines,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco.
“That’s exactly what the city did to Pastor Knapp and what the ordinance allows the city to do to others. In the absence of a settlement agreement, we look forward to vindicating our client’s freedom in court.”
In Washington state, florist Barronelle Stutzman already has been penalized $1,001 for declining to support a same-sex wedding with her floral talents.
And the judge ruling in the case has opened her savings, personal possessions and even home up as a target for the homosexuals who wanted her artistic talents and now are claiming her assets as damages.
Alex Ekstrom, the judge, said Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington, must pay $1,001 to the state prosecutors who charged her with discrimination.
But the Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Stutzman warned that the precedent, not the dollar figure, is the problem.
Kristen Waggoner, ADF senior counsel, said the award to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson boils down to a government threat to Christians: “Surrender your religious liberty and free speech rights, or face personal and professional ruin.”
Stutzman was sued even though the man who filed the complaint was referred to several other willing florists and even was offered free flowers.
Ekstrom’s latest order also said the “defendants and their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and those persons in active concert or participation with them … are permanently enjoined and restrained from violating the Washington Law Against Discrimination.”
Ekstrom also said the homosexuals, Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, “are entitled to an award of actual damages,” but he reserved determination of the amount until after any appeal has been exhausted.
The Benham brothers were en route to a new HGTV television show when homosexual activists made an issue of their belief in biblical marriage.
The network canceled their real estate show, which was to be called “Flip it Forward.”
Jason and David, who just weeks ago began writing an exclusive WND column, posted on Facebook a video supporting the Indiana law.:
The video explains: “So the RFRA is a shield, not a sword. It doesn’t get offensive and promote ‘hate’ as the hype said. But it’s a shield to protect companies, like, for instance, a Jewish-owned jewelry. It keeps the state from forcing him to create rings with the Nazi symbol on it. Or a Muslim-owned apparel company. It prevents the state from forcing him to maybe make T-shirts with the cross over the crescent.
“Or even a gay-owned apparel company from creating T-shirts that say Leviticus 18:22. Homosexuality is a sin.”
Very simply, “the state should never force business owners to promote a message or an idea that conflicts with their beliefs,” David Benham states.
In a New Mexico dispute, courts ordered that a photographer could not refuse to use her talents to memorialize a homosexual wedding.
Elaine Huguenin, co-owner with her husband, Jonathan, of Elane Photography, had declined to provide her artistic talents to Vanessa Willock.
Willock, who found another photographer for the event, filed a complaint with the state under its anti-discrimination law. The state Supreme Court said the photographer had no right to not be forced to express statements through her work that violated her Christian beliefs.
Giving up one’s religious faith, the court said, was “the price of citizenship.”
An Oregon baker also was caught in the same fight, as well as several other venue owners, and there’s even the same conflict in the United Kingdom.
He was attacked by homosexual activists and eventually lost his position for donating $1,000 to support the 2008 Proposition 8 marriage-definition initiative that was approved by the majority of voters of progressive California.
According to WND CEO Joseph Farah’s commentary on the issue, “Apparently, according to this new litmus test of the ‘tolerance’ police, anyone who supported the popular proposition no longer deserves to work in California.”
Aloha Bed & Breakfast
The Aloha Bed & Breakfast in Hawaii, a Christian business, was forced to “accommodate” two Southern California lesbians after a judge ruled the B&B violated state law when the owner told Taeko Bufford and Diane Cervelli she wasn’t comfortable having them stay together in her home due to her religious beliefs. Aloha has since been ordered by the state “to provide a room to any same-sex couple that wishes to stay there.”
In Illinois, Christian B&B owners Jim and Beth Walder are being sued by homosexual activist Todd Wathen, who demands monetary damages, attorneys’ fees and “an order directing [the Walders] to cease and desist from any violation” of the state’s Human Rights Act.
Vermont’s Wildflower Inn paid a settlement and shut down its wedding reception business after the ACLU won a $10,000 civil penalty for two lesbians. The settlement also requires the inn’s owners to place $20,000 in a charitable trust for the lesbians.
Sweet Cakes by Melissa
Gresham, Oregon bakery owners Aaron and Melissa Klein were forced to close their storefront, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, in 2013 shortly after a lesbian couple filed a civil rights complaint against them. The Kleins declined to bake a cake for the same-sex “wedding” due to their religious beliefs. At that time, same-sex “marriage” wasn’t legal in Oregon.
In April 2015 an Oregon administrative law judge ordered the Kleins to pay $135,000 in fines to the lesbian couple for “emotional, mental, and physical suffering.” The severe ruling is an attempt to “rehabilite” and “re-educate” Christian businesses.
The owners of Indiana’s “Just Cookies” were charged with “discrimination” under the city’s “sexual orientation” law for refusing to fill a special order for “rainbow cookies” for an LGBT group.
Victoria’s Cake Cottage
Iowa’s “Victoria’s Cake Cottage,” whose owner, Victoria Childress, refused to provide a wedding cake for a homosexual couple out of “convictions for their lifestyle.”
Oregon’s Fleur Cakes joined Sweet Cakes in refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple and is being boycotted by homosexual activist groups.
Texas’ All Occasion Party Place, a Fort Worth venue, refuses, on religious grounds, to rent out a banquet hall for same-sex wedding receptions.
A Christian T-shirt maker in Kentucky was targeted by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission for refusing to print “gay pride” designs for a local homosexual group.
Twilight Room Annex
Chris Penner, owner of the Twilight Room Annex bar in Portland, was fined $400,000 under the Oregon Equality Act for excluding transsexual men who, dressed as women, had been alienating other customers by using the women’s restroom. According to the Seattle Times, 11 people – calling themselves the “T-girls” – “will get the money, with awards ranging from $20,000 to 50,000.”
The “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson, an evangelical Christian, faced a firestorm of protest after he told GQ magazine he believed homosexuality is a sin. A&E, the show’s creator, said it was suspending him indefinitely, but then a massive public backlash forced the network into retreat and he was reinstated.
Fox Sports Southwest broadcaster Craig James was fired after a GOP debate tape showed him expressing Christian beliefs in opposition to “homosexual marriage” surfaced.