Wednesday, June 03, 2015
Oregon Gov't. Colludes With LGBT Group Against Christians?
Oregon government official Brad Avakian promised to make an example of Aaron and Mellisa Klein when they declined to bake a "wedding" cake for a lesbian couple.
Avakian followed through on his threat.
The Klien's small bakery, "Sweet Cakes by Melissa," is now shut down and the Christian couple face over $150,000 in so-called damages, including $135,000 to the lesbians.
This week we are learning there may be evidence that Avakian and his government agency that destroyed the Klein's business, and will likely bankrupt them personally, colluded with the pro-LGBT group Basic Rights Oregon during the proceedings---proceedings that are still under way.
The Daily Signal, an arm of the Heritage Foundation, has exclusively learned that the government agency responsible for enforcing Oregon's anti-discrimination law appears to be working closely with a powerful homosexual advocacy group, Basic Rights Oregon, in its case against Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of the now closed "Sweet Cakes by Melissa."
Communications between the agency, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries and Basic Rights raise questions about potential bias in the state's decision to charge the Kleins with discrimination.
While Kelsey Harkness with the Signal was not in the meetings, she has obtained email messages confirming that Avakian's Oregon State Labor Bureau met with Basic Rights Oregon on multiple occasions and purchased tickets costing hundred's of dollars benefiting the homosexual advocacy group.
Basic Rights Oregon in turn has contributed at least $8,000 to Avakian's bid for Commissioner.
On December 2, 2014, a Basic Rights Oregon employee wrote of Avakian, "His voice is really important as a coalition partner and a leader in Oregon politics."
The emails unearthed by Harkness show, not a contact, but many contacts--- a communication pattern between the state and the advocacy group, including multiple meetings.
On or around Oct. 7, 2014, Avakian himself accepted a phone call from Jeana Frazzini, co-director of Basic Rights Oregon fund raising activities.
There are multiple emails setting up and confirming meetings between the state and the advocacy group. Copies of them are included with this link.
All this while the case against the Kleins is still underway.
Conflict of interest.
Avakian will ultimately determine the amount of the fine, but in April, Administrative Judge Alan McCullough, who was appointed by Avakian, issued a "proposed order" for the case against the Kleins, recommending the Kleins pay $135,000 to the 2 lesbians because "the Kleins imposed mental, physical and emotional damages upon the lesbians" by declining to bake their cake.
Von Spakovsky with the Heritage Foundation says this is an example of the problem we have with "administrative law judges appointed by a government agency. It is by its nature an inherent conflict of interest."
Indeed. And when activism is driving the government agency, it is an obvious ethics violation. The activist government agency becomes judge, prosecutor, jury and executioner.
Welcome to the secular progressive's version of religious freedom.
An equally troubling issue is how Avakian's relationship with Basic Rights Oregon is manipulating the narrative of all this in the news media.
Charlie Burr, communication director for Avakian's Oregon Bureau, appears to have worked closely with the homosexual activists in shaping the media's narrative.
A basic Rights Oregon employee emailed Burr on January 31, 2015---immediately following McCullough's order---expressing interest in "hearing your plan regarding Sweet Cakes case."
On April 30, 2015, Burr forwarded a conversation to basic Rights Oregon between himself and an editorial board member for the Portland Oregonian newspaper---related to the Sweet Cakes by Melissa case--"FYI."
In the email, Burr is attempting to make clear to the editor that the final order was not an "opportunity" for Avakian to "show leadership" but rather, to make a decision "that best serves justice based on the unique facts of this case."
Perhaps the most troubling of this whole assault on religious liberty and freedom, at least to me, is this:
This case is now in what the Labor Commissioner Avakian calls the "period of reconciliation."
When this case became public more than a year ago, Avakian made clear what he believes "reconciliation" means.
He told the press, "Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, but that doesn't mean that folks have the right to discriminate. The goal is never to shut down a business. The goal is to rehabilitate."
The State of Oregon's stated goal is "to rehabilitate" biblical Christians.
Aaron Klein said then and says now, "There will be no reconciliation and there will be no rehabilitation."
"There's nothing wrong with what we believe. It's a biblical point of view. It's my faith. It's my religion," he says.
It is extremely troubling that Government now rewards 2 lesbians with $135,000 for "mental, physical, and emotional damage" while bankrupting a Christian couple for simply declining to participate in something that violates their personal religious beliefs.
And they continue to call it "Equality."
Not only is Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, and others across the nation who share his beliefs, trying to "rehabilitate" biblical Christians, he is also trying to send a message.
And the message to biblical Christians reads something like this: "Shut Up!"--- "Be Silent."
"Believe what you wish, but don't even consider talking about it publicly or living it out in your personal life."
"And if you do..."
God help us.