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Missouri Family E-News

January 28, 2014

                                 
Christian Bakery Faces Charges for Moral Stand  

 

Yet another Christian business owner has been victimized by the law for choosing not to be involved in a same-sex union ceremony.   

 

Oregon officials have found a bakery in Gresham guilty of "sexual orientation" discrimination for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex "wedding."  The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries determined that the business had violated the state's "public accommodations" law. 

 

The shop in question is called Sweet Cakes by Melissa, operated by Melissa and Aaron Klein.  The Kleins shut down their retail bakery shop late last year following a boycott organized by homosexual activists against the bakery and vendors who did business with the shop.

 

Labor and Industries  Commissioner
Brad Avakian had previously stated that the Kleins needed to undergo remediation.  "For those who do violate the law, we want them to learn from that experience.  Our goal is to rehabilitate."

 

Teresa Harke, spokeswoman for the Oregon-based Friends of Religious Freedom group, strongly attacked the state's action and its rationale.

 

"It is very troubling that Oregon officials believe that people of faith or with conscientious objections need to be 'rehabilitated.'"

 

State officials have ordered the Kleins to reach a settlement with the lesbian "couple" or face "formal charges."

 

Under the Oregon law banning "sexual orientation" discrimination, the Kleins could be liable for a civil penalty of $1000 per "violation," and as much as $50,000 for "emotional damage."  

 

The Kleins have been subjected to a vicious hate campaign for taking a stand on the Word of God.  They have faced a stream of malicious e-mail messages with vile comments promoting harm to them and their children.  

 

Melissa Klein recently posted a message on Facebook to those who have supported their courageous stand.

 

"To all of you that have been praying for Aaron and me, I want to say thank you.  I feel such a peace with all of this that is going on."

 

"Even though there are days that are hard and times of struggle we still feel that the Lord is in this. It is His fight and our situation is in His hands."

 

A baker in Lakewood, Colorado was recently found guilty of "sexual orientation" discrimination for declining to decorate a cake for a same-sex ceremony.  Owner Jack Phillips was also charged with violating the state's "public accommodations" law.    

 

The Missouri Senate passed a similar law during the last session of the Missouri General Assembly.  Fortunately, the Missouri House refused to go along.  Vigorous efforts are underway this session by homosexual activists to win passage of the bill in both chambers.                                          

  

Listen to the Broadcast Version of the Jeff City Update online at 
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MO House Speaker
Presses Health Care Conscience Proposal  

Missouri lawmakers are renewing their efforts to bolster conscience protections in Missouri law for health care professionals and institutions.  House Speaker Tim Jones of Eureka has reintroduced a bill which would prohibit employment discrimination against medical professionals who decline to participate in morally objectionable procedures.

The legislation proposed by Speaker Jones, House Bill 1430, would also secure the legal right of faith-based health care institutions to refuse to provide medical services which violate their religious doctrines.  The proposal will be heard this week in the House Health Care Policy Committee. 

The health care conscience rights bill has been approved in the House the last two sessions with overwhelming bipartisan votes, but the Missouri Senate has chosen not to take up the legislation either year.

The bill would ensure that medical professionals could not be compelled to participate in "specified medical procedures or research" under threat of loss of employment or other adverse employment action. Medical procedures covered by the legislation include abortion, abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and assisted reproduction.  Research procedures encompassed by the bill include human cloning, embryonic stem-cell research, somatic cell nuclear transfer, fetal tissue research, and nontherapeutic fetal experimentation.

Medical professionals who would receive enhanced conscience protection under the law include physicians, physician assistants, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, medical assistants, and students undergoing training in those health care professions.  The bill would also extend protection to medical researchers employed by health care institutions or medical research corporations.

Discriminatory actions which would be prohibited under the terms of the bill include termination, suspension, demotion, reduction of wages or benefits, and other retaliatory actions.  Actions by an employer to reassign a medical professional to a position where they would not face conscience concerns would not constitute retaliation, so long as no demotion was involved.

The issue of conscience rights in the health care arena has been amplified in recent years by high-profile cases involving hospitals who coerced or attempted to coerce nurses to participate in abortions.  Concerns about conscience protections have been further heightened by the implementation of Obamacare, with its increased federal oversight of the practice of medicine.

House Bill 1430 would also guarantee that hospitals with a religious mission could not be required to provide medical procedures or services that contradict the institution's religious, moral, or ethical guidelines.  Such facilities would be shielded from both criminal and civil liability for declining to furnish morally objectionable services.  Individual health care practitioners operating independently would also be provided the same legal immunity.

Missouri's current conscience statute was enacted in 1986, and dealt exclusively with the subject of surgical abortion.  Since then, "advances" in the abortion industry have led to drugs that cause chemical abortions, and the mass marketing of so-called "emergency contraceptives" which function as abortifacients.  On the medical research front, Missouri has tragically been saddled with Amendment 2, which made human cloning a constitutionally protected practice.

The problem with the current law is not only its limited scope, but two major loopholes contained in the law which render it highly unenforceable.  The statute can be skirted if an institution can claim that compliance would cause an "undue hardship,"  or if the performance of abortions is deemed a "bonafide occupational qualification."

Efforts to enact stronger conscience protections in Missouri law have run aground in the last two years in the Missouri Senate.  The bills have become casualties of an unwritten Senate policy to only pass one substantive pro-life bill each year.  We pray that this year Senate leaders will choose to prioritize this vital proposal.

We urge you to contact your state representative to urge his or her support for House Bill 1430.  You can send such a message by using this link:
Missouri House


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