A bakery owned by a Christian family in Longview, Texas is being deluged with threats and hate mail after the owners declined to bake a wedding cake for a gay marriage.
Soon after the story was published, irate LGBT activists posted vulgar and derogatory reviews on Yelp and other social networking platforms, targeting Edie and David Delorme, who own the Kern’s Bake Shop. Others made actual threats against the business and their family.
“See you in Hell, lady,” read one angry message. “Racist criminals. “This business is run by a homophobic piece of s***,” another message read.
The redoubtable popular Christian evangelist Franklin Graham was quick to voice support for the Delormes.
“Here we go again—gays attacking Christians for what they believe. They want to force everyone to accept and condone their lifestyle which God’s Word defines as sin—but they are blatantly intolerant of others,” Graham posted on his Facebook page.
LGBT agenda wants to force everyone to accept & condone their lifestyle which God’s Word defines as sin.
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) February 26, 2016
The evangelist, who is the son of Billy Graham, is an ardent supporter of religious freedom in the face of attempts to force Christians to act against their moral conscience.
“Freedom of conscience is being thrown out the window,” Rev. Graham wrote. “Look at what they did to Edie and David Delorme who own the Kern’s Bake Shop in Texas and refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. I applaud the Delormes for standing by their Christian convictions.”
The Delormes are members of a local Baptist church and since its founding have endeavored to run their bakery according to their Christian beliefs, including a long-standing policy to turn away any business that mighty conflict with their religious beliefs.
The bakery won’t make any tobacco- or alcohol-related cakes, for example, and no “risqué” cakes of any kind.
“We feel like if we are going to be putting our name on something, we want it to encourage Godly values,” Edie said. This does not mean that they will not serve gay customers, but merely that they will not make a cake celebrating a ceremony they believe is sinful.
David has been especially troubled by the violent threats directed at his family for wanting to follow the teachings of Christ. “There’s something wrong with that,” he said. “Homosexuals have a right to live their lives… But we want to live and practice our faith and run our bakery in a way that honors God.”
The trouble began on February 17 when Ben Valencia and his partner Luis Marmolejo attempted to engage the bakery to make a cake for their upcoming wedding. When the couple was informed that the bakery’s policy was not to provide wedding cakes for homosexual marriages, the two men took the story to the press, accusing the Delorme family of discrimination.
As of yet, the couple has not filed a formal charge against the Christian couple, but the Delmores have secured legal counsel in case that moment arrives. One of the men, Valencia, said that he had not pursued legal options because Texas does not have a statewide discrimination ban based on sexual orientation.
The Delormes situation is just the latest in a string of cases where Christians have resisted being coerced into acting against their religious convictions.
Last week, First Liberty Institute announced that it is now representing Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Oregon bakers who owned Sweet Cakes by Melissa, who were fined $135,000 by the Oregon government because its Christian owners declined to bake a wedding cake celebrating same-sex marriage.
Another Christian baker, Jack Phillips, remains under a government order forcing him to bake wedding cakes celebrating same-sex marriage, since he lost his case before the Colorado Court of Appeals. He is now deciding whether to ask the Colorado Supreme Court to review the matter.
As the presidential election cycle shifts into high gear, the question of religious freedom will occupy a central place in discussions among the candidates.
In the 2014 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, for instance, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that religious business owners do not have to provide contraceptive coverage for their female workers even though not doing so would be in violation of the Affordable Care Act.
Following this ruling, Bernie Sanders issued a statement stating, “Bosses should not be able to impose their religious beliefs on their employees,” and he and a group of senators filed an amicus brief arguing that religious freedom legislation did not extend rights to for-profit corporations.
Sanders was also an ardent opponent of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as was Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 27, 2015
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