Wiped Out: State Seizes Christian Bakers’ Personal Accounts

News: Government
by Church Militant  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  December 31, 2015   

Confiscation included couple's church tithes

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GRESHAM, Ore. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The struggle between a Christian bakery and the state of Oregon is escalating once again after the government cleaned out the owner's personal bank accounts just before Christmas.

"I panicked. Everything was gone," recounted Melissa Klein, co-owner of Sweet Cakes Bakery in Gresham. "We had three accounts. I have one account that's labeled 'God's money' — our tithing. They just took it."

Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industries, headed by Brad Avakian, seized the contents of the Klein's bank accounts a few weeks before the holiday. The seizure was thorough, wiping out the Kleins' checking and savings accounts and even targeting a special account set aside for church tithes. Added up, the government confiscated almost $7,000 of the Kleins' personal money.

Following this, the Kleins elected to pay the fine in its entirety, the total — with tax and 9-percent interest — coming to $136,927.07.

The confiscation is just the latest in a series of heavy-handed measures by the local government to punish Sweet Cakes bakery for its refusal to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2013. After the lesbian couple sued the Kleins, Avakian determined that the Kleins had unlawfully discriminated against the couple, and order them in April to pay a fine of $135,000 to the lesbians for "emotional suffering."

The Kleins refused to pay, citing lack of due process. They also argued that they had not committed any discrimination against homosexuas, as they have gladly served homosexual customers in the past. In this case, however, their conscience and their Christian faith would not allow them to promote or participate in the lesbians' wedding, which Christian teaching deems a grave moral evil.

When their story went nationwide, sympathizers raised more than $100,000 via the crowdfunding site GoFundMe for the embattled couple. But after backlash from gay activists, GoFundMe shut down the fundraising campaign and yanked the Kleins' page. Avakian also retaliated by issuing a gag order to the couple, forbidding them to speak publicly about the case.

Avakian has said he will re-educate and "rehabilitate" businesses that refuse to comply with Oregon's strict anti-discrimination laws, which prevent even private businesses from refusing to promote gay weddings based on religious grounds.

While Avakian has promised to crack down on Christian businesses that refuse to participate in homosexual marriages, no such campaign seems to be in the works for the Muslim community, also known for refusing to bake cakes for gay weddings.

Email exchanges between Avakian and Basic Rights Oregon, a homosexual rights group, show a questionable relationship that critics have said compromise the integrity of his ability to judge the Kleins' case. Basic Rights Oregon contributed thousands of dollars to Avakian's election campaign, and Avakian has in turn donated to Basic Rights Oregon and attended a number of their fundraising functions.

Despite having paid the fine, the Kleins are not giving up, and plan to continue fighting the judgment.

To learn more about the truth of the homosexual lifestyle and agenda, watch our program "FBI: Homosexuality."


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