In a new interview with Gospelherald.com, Christian bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein said they are going to “follow the Lord regardless of the consequences.”
The Kleins are bakers in Oregon. On July 2, 2015, Commissioner Brad Avakian, the head of Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI), ordered the Kleins to pay $135,000 to two women as a penalty for what Avakian called the “emotional damages” of offending the women by declining to bake the cake for their homosexual “wedding.”
The Kleins are Evangelical Christians who believe that marriage is only between a man and woman. They are appealing the ruling to the Oregon Court of Appeals. They are being represented by the First Liberty Institute. From the institute’s website:
First Liberty Institute, along with Ambassador Boyden Gray (former White House Counsel for President George H.W. Bush, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and law clerk to Chief Justice Earl Warren), is appealing the Kleins’ case to the Oregon Court of Appeals. In the appeal, they will argue that the State of Oregon is violating Melissa and Aaron’s constitutional rights to free speech, free expression, and religious liberty.
“The government should not force people to violate their conscience or their faith,” said Kelly Shackelford, President and CEO of First Liberty Institute. “One of the great things about America is that we are a tolerant society that protects diversity of thought. We should all be willing to peacefully coexist with different opinions.”
"This case is going to determine whether Americans have the constitutional right to live their lives according to their faith…in this country for centuries now we have recognized the right of people to object on the basis of conscience," Jeremy Dys, a lawyer for the First Liberty Institute, said in the interview with the Gospel Herald. “In fact we have hundreds of laws on the books at the state and federal level to protect the right of conscience – think about the conscientious objectors to war, and pharmacists who don’t have to dispense things that go against their beliefs. We go out of our way in this country, or at least we used to, to protect the right of people’s conscience. “
In the same interview the Kleins said they are putting their faith in God. "Going through all of this has drastically increased my faith,” Melissa said. “Before I had the shop my trust in the Lord wasn't very good, and my faith, it was there, but it wasn't as concrete as it is now. Going through this, God has shown up in ways that has blown us away and provided us with so many blessings. Seeing God work on a daily basis in our lives has just been overwhelming and wonderful. Or me that's the one blessing that has come out of this."
"For me it's been a testimony to the scripture that God's word is true," added Aaron. "He is on time. He does what needs to be done when it needs to be done. He's been good to us, he's taken care of us…It's strengthened my faith. He can deliver us from it, but if he doesn't, it's okay, too. We'll continue serving him, because the alternative is just out of the question -- it's not an option. We're going to continue following the Lord regardless of the consequences.”