Samaritan's Purse to Help Persecuted Oregon Bakers
Samaritan's Purse, headed by evangelist Franklin Graham, says it will help with expenses for persecuted Oregon bakers, Aaron and Melissa Klein.
The Kleins lost their baking business in the Portland suburb of Gresham, after they refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2013.
The couple filed a complaint with the state of Oregon, which ruled the Kleins discriminated against the couple.
An administrative law judge fined them $135,000 on Friday and ordered them to pay the couple for "emotional, mental and physical suffering."
The Kleins also became targets for gay activists, who protested outside the Sweet Cakes shop and harassed vendors who came to supply the Kleins' business, which had been thriving.
"Basically, what has happened is that I have been stripped of my religious freedom. I cannot speak freely," Aaron Klein told Decision magazine.
"Now, all of a sudden, if you're in business as a Christian, you have no recourse. I have been told by some people that if you want to be a Christian and stick to your convictions, you should not be opening a public business," he said.
Conservative radio host Erick Erickson sent a link to the website Go Fund Me, where an account had been set up to help the Kleins. But Erickson sent out a message saying "Go Fund Me has taken down the account and cancelled the fundraiser."
Samaritan's Purse took up the cause. President Franklin Graham said, "They (the Kleins) have taken a stand for the Word of God, and they should not have to stand alone."
He added, "Please pray for Aaron and Melissa, and pray for our nation. When our judges are punishing Christians for practicing what they believe, that's persecution, plain and simple."