When Censorship Becomes a Civil Right

     The Oregon bakers who didn’t want to personal creative abilities to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony have prohibited from speaking out about their beliefs.

     Not to be happy with simply fining them $135,000, the Oregon Labor Commissioner, who is anything but objective and fair, has issued a gag order to prevent the bakers, even as private citizens, from speaking out against the ruling:

“In the ruling, [Oregon Labor Commissioner ] Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to ‘cease and desist’ from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.

“‘This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,’ the Kleins, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which has since closed, wrote on their Facebook page. ‘According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.’

“…

“Lawyers for plaintiffs, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, argued that in making this statement, the Kleins violated an Oregon law banning people from acting on behalf of a place of public accommodation (in this case, the place would be the Kleins’ former bakery) to communicate anything to the effect that the place of public accommodation would discriminate.”

     That is sweeping. The bakery is closed. It is no longer a place of public accommodation, yet the Kleins are censored anyway.  It bans one’s right to express their belief or advocate for legal change.  Could such a law be used to silence advocates of Affirmative Action?

“‘The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [Aaron and Melissa Klein] to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation,’ Avakian wrote.”

     Censorship.  By the state.  If only we had a provision in the Constitution or its Amendments that could stop it!

“‘Brad Avakian has been outspoken throughout this case about his intent to ‘rehabilitate’ those whose beliefs do not conform to the state’s ideas,’… [the Klein’s lawyer said]…  ‘Now he has ruled that the Kleins’ simple statement of personal resolve to be true to their faith is unlawful. This is a brazen attack on every American’s right to freely speak and imposes government orthodoxy on those who do not agree with government sanctioned ideas.'”

     Like most of the bakers or florists, the Kleins were happy to serve the same goods they offer to anyone. It is what their artistic abilities were being called for they disagreed with:

This was a special case, not only because it was a wedding, but also because the requested contribution was an artistic creation. If Sam’s Club refused to sell napkins for lesbian weddings, that would be a very different situation. Napkins are a generic, mass-produced item; you can sell them without asking about their intended use. But a wedding cake is special and unique. A good baker should take pride in adding a note of beauty and class to such an important occasion. I can remember conversing with a baker about the colors, style, and mood of my wedding, so he could make a cake that would capture our particular spirit.

That’s presumably the kind of relationship the Kleins wanted with their clients. That’s why it seemed like a violation of personal integrity to create a cake for an event they could not in good conscience help celebrate.

     It just goes to show that when everything is a public issue of “Social Justice”, then you have no private existence… or rights.

     This is an obfuscation of the truth:

“Further, Avakian is dangerously — and likely intentionally — obfuscating the law. In a world of reason and logic, the Kleins simply aren’t guilty of unlawful sexual orientation discrimination. They would happily serve gay customers, but they will not use their talents or their business to advance a message they find deeply offensive. That’s not invidious discrimination, it’s free speech.”

     This is a conflation of who a person is and what a person does. There is a difference between being something, and doing:

“But that’s wrong, and it’s wrong in a morally important way. If a baker refused to sell a donut or a birthday cake to someone because that person was gay, that would be unjust discrimination, and illegal in a lot of places. But if a baker says, no I won’t cater your wedding, that’s refusing to participate materially in a ceremony you find morally objectionable.

“This distinction is obvious and clear, but somehow it evades the Javerts of the Pink Police State.

“Washington State Atty. Gen. Bob Ferguson made the same conflation, when florist Baronelle Stutzman told her longtime customer she wouldn’t participate in his gay wedding. ‘If Ms. Stutzman sells flowers to heterosexual couples,’ the Seattle Post-Intelligencer quotes Ferguson saying, “she must sell them to same-sex couples.”

“But obviously she did — that’s how he was a regular customer.”

     Is anyone surprised anymore how oppressive totalitarian regimes gain power?


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