Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Will the Family Research Council ever stop distorting the Sweet Cakes bakery case?

Religious right groups portray the Kleins as victims.  Don't be fooled. They aren't.

One thing which is absolutely aggravating about religious right groups like the Family Research Council is not just how they lie, but how they will repeat the lie in spite of it being refuted.

For groups who claim to speak about upholding values and Christians ethics, organizations like FRC seem to have no problem playing fast and loose with the truth whenever it suits them. Take the situation about Sweet Cakes bakery for example. FRC just sent out a Washington Update pushing the usual nonsense about how supposed Christians, like the owners of Sweet Cakes bakery, are being "persecuted" by the lgbt community:

There has to be space in our society for people who hold differing views. Isn't that what liberals meant by tolerance? Apparently not, as Aaron and Melissa Klein know all too well. Like dozens of other family businesses, the Kleins never thought that their faith would be a liability to their booming bakery business. They were wrong. In a politically correct world, thy found out that costs of running a business are a lot more than dollars and cents. For these bakers, it was their First Amendment rights.

Their dream of opening a dessert shop near Portland, Oregon turned into a nightmare when two lesbians refused to take "no" for an answer on their request for a same-sex "wedding" cake. As FRC's Travis Weber points out, the Kleins were happy to provide any item from their shop to gay and straight customers alike. They welcomed everyone to come and shop at Sweet Cakes by Melissa. The only thing the Kleins declined to do was become part of a same-sex wedding ceremony; they didn't want to be forced -- by any customer -- to create a cake that violated their beliefs. The same was true of any event contradicting their faith -- like a celebration of divorce, an order they would also decline.

Still, liberals in the state hounded the Kleins with a ferocity that ultimately forced their store to close. Now, facing a $135,000 fine, the parents of five will finally have their day in court. Until now, they've been at the mercy of a biased administrative body in Oregon that even went so far as to impose a gag order on the couple. 

FRC is being highly deceptive. No one put a gag order on the Kleins.

According to Media Matters:

Charlie Burr, Communication Director for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, debunked the "gag order" talking point in an email to Media Matters:
Our Final Order against Sweet Cakes by Melissa did not contain a gag order (as reported by Fox's Todd Starnes, National Review, Daily Caller and others). It does contain damages for the same-sex couple denied service based on sexual orientation and also includes a cease and desist order directing the business to refrain from discriminating against future customers. That does not mean that the owners are prohibited from talking about the case or their opposition to Oregon anti-discrimination laws.
This cease and desist order is based on enforcement of Oregon's non-discrimination law, which prohibits advertising that services of a public accommodation will be denied on the basis of sexual orientation. It's the same language that makes it illegal for a business to place a "whites only" sign in their window. As Slate's Mark Joseph Stern explained, this is not the same as a gag order (emphasis added):
There is nothing in Avakian's order that bars the Kleins from talking about the ruling. They can rail against it, march against its injustice, and pen Facebook screeds complaining about anti-discrimination law. What they cannot do is proclaim (publicly!) that their business will not serve gay couples.

MSNBC gave a good breakdown of how the "gag order" story came into being:

 . . . the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal published a report claiming that an Oregon labor commissioner had “placed an effective gag order” on the bakery. Which led the Weekly Standard to repeat the claim. National Review soon followed. From there, it was on to Breitbart, the Daily Caller, Fox News’ website, and on Sunday, a Fox News broadcast.
The Weekly Standard’s piece, in particular, told readers:
According to the state, the Kleins are now forbidden from talking about the ruling against them.

The sad part is that these same right-wing news organizations refused to take back their false claim.

According to Think Progress:

 . . . conservatives doubled down, with FRC claiming that according to ADF’s reading of the decision, “anything Aaron and Melissa said about their case could be declared an act of ‘discrimination.’” At Heritage, Hans von Spakovsky attempted to distinguish between the Kleins’ commitment to not changing any of their behaviors and any intention to discriminate. He framed their responses to suggest that they were merely talking about their beliefs about same-sex marriage and their intent to continue to ‘stay strong’ and fight this unfair, unjustified financial penalty and “gag order,” arguing it was unfair to conclude that meant they would continue to refuse service to same-sex couples.

ThinkProgress also pointed out that at the time, the Kleins had raised over $250,000 online, something FRC failed to mention in its sob story.

I think I answered my own question  I posed in the headline. Of course the Family Research Council won't ever stop distorting the Sweet Cakes bakery case. Why should FRC stop when  it has back-up in the form of the right-wing so-called media and there doesn't seem to be any repercussions the organization has to deal with for spreading the distortion.

1 comment:

Erica Cook said...

In one of the many articles written by the right the name of the couple, and their privet information, was disclosed. Because of it, they have been harassed by both the right and the left for their complaints. They have received death and rape threats on a regular basis, and even after moving couldn't escape the abuse. They nearly lost their children because of the situation, and at least one did lose her job. The couple has suffered immensely because of this case, and they never actually filed any lawsuit against the cake store owner. They simply filled out a report with the business bureau so they would know the store was refusing services to same sex couples.