Missouri Family E-News

February 10, 2015

                    
Christian Couple Face Drastic Fine for Taking Moral Stand    

A Christian couple in Oregon who operate a bakery may be forced into bankruptcy after being found guilty of so-called "sexual orientation" discrimination.

An Oregon administrative law judge has ruled that Aaron and Melissa Klein violated the law when they declined to bake a "wedding" cake for a lesbian "couple" for their same-sex union ceremony.

The Kleins own a business called Sweet Cakes by Melissa in the Portland area.  They shut down their retail business last year as a result of a vicious hate campaign by homosexual activists which targeted both the business and its suppliers.

Commissioners with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries had previously ruled that the Kleins were lawbreakers because they would not decorate a cake for the homosexual ceremony.

At the time Commissioner Brad Avakian said that the Kleins needed to undergo "remediation" so they could be "rehabilitated."

Now, Judge Alan McCullough has affirmed that ruling in an incredulous decision.  McCullough stated that requiring the Kleins to furnish a cake with a message they view to be immoral "does not constitute compelled speech."

The Kleins now face an outrageous potential fine of $75,000 per "aggrieved person," which in this case could be $150,000.

Aaron Klein offered a pointed description of the state's brutal and punitive behavior.  "They are trying to push us into the closet for being Christians."

Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, says that the treatment of the Kleins is the latest evidence of governmental hostility to Christian rights of conscience.

"For years, we were told that the sexual revolution was about tolerance and freedom.  This situation shows once more the real instincts of a state-established religion of sexual liberation--with the law used to steamroll every conscience in the way."

In a Facebook post, the Kleins made clear they intend to stay firm in their faith.  "Even though it seems as if we are being thrown into the lions' den, we will continue to stand for the Lord.  Our faith will not waiver."

"We fully trust in our Heavenly Father," the post continued.  "He is able to deliver us from this.  But even if He doesn't, we are not going to compromise on God's truth in order to appease men."

The Kleins will learn on March 10th exactly how much their fine will be.

The Kleins join a growing list of Christian business owners across the country who have been prosecuted and found guilty of "sexual orientation" discrimination for failing to support, supply, or host same-sex union ceremonies.

As was true in this case, those businesses did not refuse to serve homosexual customers, as the media so often falsely reports.  However, they could not in good conscience assist or join in a ceremony celebrating a relationship God calls an abomination.

Citizens in Springfield, Missouri, will be voting April 7th on an initiative to repeal a "sexual orientation" discrimination ordinance adopted by the Springfield City Council late last year.  Its provisions pose the same threats to religious liberty as those which victimized Aaron and Melissa Klein.
  

Listen to the Broadcast Version of the Jeff City Update online at 
null  


Missouri Lawmakers
to Consider Bill on 
Freedom in Education


Legislation has been introduced in the Missouri General Assembly which would guarantee the constitutional freedom of private schools and home educators in Missouri.  The bill would also ensure that parents have the right to determine the educational setting and instructional program for their children's education.

Senator Bob Onder of Lake St. Louis has introduced the Freedom in Education Amendment.  Companion legislation has been introduced in the Missouri House by Representative Elijah Haahr of Springfield.

The proposed constitutional amendment would declare that parents have a fundamental right to decide where to educate their children--whether it be in a public school, private school, parochial school, parish school,  or through in-home education. 

The amendment would also charge parents with the responsibility to make sure that their minor children receive a program of academic instruction which they regularly attend while the child is of an age prescribed by law for school attendance.

The Freedom in Education Amendment would also prohibit interference by the state in the curriculum choices made by private schools and home educators.  The measure would bar state and local authorities from dictating through laws or regulations the content of curriculum to be used in private schools and in homeschooling. 

The bill provides that state education officials cannot require any private school or homeschool to include in its curriculum any concept or topic in conflict with the religious doctrines of the school or the religious beliefs of the parent.  Nor can the state require that any topic or concept be excluded which is consistent with the doctrines or beliefs of the parent or private school.

Should the proposal be adopted by the Missouri Legislature, it would be placed on the ballot for approval by Missouri voters in the November 2016 election, unless the Governor chose to place it on the August primary ballot.
U.S. Supreme Court decisions have protected the right of parents to guide the upbringing and education of their children for nearly 100 years.  However, there is no language in either the federal or state constitutions that secures those rights.

Throughout the last century the U.S. Supreme Court enunciated the legal principle that the care, custody, and control of minor children rests with their parents, including decisions involving their educational and religious training.  The High Court concluded over time that these parental rights were a liberty interest bestowed by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

In the 1920's, the Supreme Court upheld the right of parents to educate their children in private schools in a case known as Pierce v. Society of Sisters.  The court stated that "the child is not merely a creature of the state...Those who nurture him have the right to direct his destiny."

In the 1970's, the High Court sustained the right of parents to teach their children outside of public or private schools in a case known as Wisconsin v. Yoder.  In a lawsuit involving an Amish family, the court ruled that parents have the legal privilege to instruct their children according to their own moral and cultural values.

The Supreme Court went even further in a 2000 case known as Troxel v. Granville.   The justices established that parental care, custody, and control was a fundamental right under the Constitution.  The court reinforced that states may not infringe on this fundamental right "simply because the state believes better decisions could be made."

While this stream of federal case law is impressive, it rests on a shaky foundation.  A more liberal U.S. Supreme Court (which is only one vote away) could choose to abandon this case law, and dissolve the fundamental rights or liberty interests that parents have in the education and upbringing of their children.  The surest way to insulate and protect these rights permanently is to write them into our state constitution.

Recent actions by the federal government have been a cause of concern when it comes to homeschooling.  The issue was a central focus of a political asylum case involving the Romeike family from Germany.  The parents fled Germany because of harsh persecution from the German government over their insistence on home educating their children.

During the legal battle over the Romeike family's request for political asylum, the Obama Administration staked out its legal position.  Despite the unequivocal federal case law we have described above, the U.S. Justice Department argued that "laws that ban homeschooling do not violate anyone's protected rights."

There have also been disturbing episodes on the state level.  In 2011, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ordered a mother to enroll her home educated daughter in a public school.  The court ruled that the child needed "exposure" to a public school setting because of the "rigidity" of her mother's faith.  The justices decided that the girl required "different points of view" so she could "critically evaluate multiple systems of belief," so she could select which of those systems would "best suit her own needs."

Thanks to the actions of groups like Missouri Family Network and Families for Home Education, Missouri has in state statute laws which are friendly to homeschooling parents and their children.  However, those laws could be changed or amended at any time.  A constitutional amendment would ensure that judges, legislators, and bureaucrats have to respect the educational decisions of parents as fundamental rights.  Those rights could not be withdrawn or abrogated without a vote of the people.

We commend Senator Onder and Representative Haahr for acting to protect Missouri families who choose to educate their children according to a Christian value system.  Senator Onder is himself a homeschooling parent, and Representative Haahr is himself a product of home education.

Senator Onder's bill is Senate Joint Resolution 12.  Representative Haahr's bill is House Joint Resolution 31.  You can read a copy of the bill by using this link:
Freedom in Education Amendment

You can contact your state senator and state representative to let them know of your support for the Freedom in Education bill.

The link for House members is:
House Members

The link for Senate members is:
Senate Members
 

Joe's Signature