Cooperative Program giving has a tremendous impact in supporting our missionaries around the world and in Missouri. But there are other ways it influences. In one recent instance, through The Pathway.
For the past five years, an Oregon couple, Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of a bakery named Sweet Cakes by Melissa, have been the victims of an unjust lawsuit by two lesbians who sued after the Kleins refused to bake them a wedding cake. In 2015, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries found the Kleins violated the state’s nondiscrimination statutes when they refused to bake the cake because of their religious beliefs. That decision was reaffirmed by the Oregon Court of Appeals in 2017 and the Kleins were cruelly fined $135,000.
But in June, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the ruling, ordering the Oregon court to review its decision. The high court ordered the review following its Masterpiece Cake Ltd. V. Colorado Civil Rights Commission decision, which favored a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for two homosexuals. Like the Kleins, the Colorado baker cited his religious beliefs for declining their request.
The Kleins appealed the lower Oregon court’s decision. Their case was heard Jan. 9 before the Oregon Court of Appeals. No ruling has been issued and it is not known when it will come. Meanwhile, the drawn-out legal battle has resulted in a substantial financial hardship for the Kleins, who have closed their bakery.
Meanwhile, The Pathway recently received a phone call from a gentleman in Millersburg, Ohio, about 60 miles south of Cleveland. He said he was interested in the Klein’s case and wanted to financially help. He began researching the case on the internet and was directed to The Pathway and to a story we had published several months ago. That prompted his phone call to us.
We referred him to the First Liberty Institute attorneys defending the Kleins. I constantly remind The Pathway staff that we may never know the impact of our ministry until we get to heaven. Of course, it is made possible by your faithful giving through the Cooperative Program, which keeps The Pathway alive.
But there is more to the story.
Since last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that prohibits discrimination against homosexuals in the areas of housing and employment, we expect the homosexual lobby to aggressively pressure the Missouri General Assembly for more protections, similar to those in the Kleins’ case. The homosexual lobby could threaten religious institutions (similar action has already taken place in Kansas). For example, the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home (MBCH) could be ordered to hand over children to homosexual couples. If they refuse, the state could terminate its agreement with the MBCH, seize the children and end Missouri Baptist assistance with adoption and foster care. It could also force our universities and The Baptist Home to provide dorms or apartments to same-sex couples. And like the Kleins, it could force family businesses, operating according to their faith, to violate their deepest held beliefs.
If the Kleins receive a favorable ruling, it could impact Missouri’s future as well. And The Pathway played a tiny part in it happening.
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The deadline to register to vote in Missouri in the Nov. 3 elections is Oct. 7. Everything you need in order to register to vote, as well as directions on where to vote, can be found at the website of Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (www.sos.mo.gov). God expects us to be good citizens of the state. One way we can do that is register and then vote – and vote biblical values.
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There are likely to be multiple, important issues impacting the church and our faith when the Missouri General Assembly convenes in January. We could see a lively debate over school choice. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that any funding provided by the state for education must now do so, no matter if the school is private or religious. This could also allow families to choose religious colleges under a modified “A Plus Program.” The current program prohibits tax dollars going to a religious institution.
School choice must not have any ties with the federal government. Perhaps, a third party can be established by the General Assembly to distribute education funds. Parents would tell the third party where they want to send their child to school and the money would be sent to that school.
Expect lively and protracted debate on the matter, but given the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case earlier this summer, it would seem that it is only a matter of time before school choice is a reality.