Dear Rep. Hajek,
You made quite a splash at the recent legislative coffee with your opposition to SB 128. I regret that you are offended. As you know, the bill would protect businesses for refusing to serve a person based on sexual orientation.
However, it appears you do not know that a number of Christian business owners are finding themselves at odds with their state laws on discrimination. Please allow me to educate you, as you seem to be blithely ignorant as to what's happening across the country.
In one recent case, an Oregon bakery refused to make a wedding cake for a same sex wedding ceremony. The bakery did not refuse service, as the owners have made a number of cakes for the couple in the past. Their objection was not doing business with the couple, but with same sex marriage.
As devout Christians, the couple operating the bakery felt making a cake for a same sex wedding would be active participation in the ceremony. It ran contrary to their deeply held religious convictions and they refused the order.
The same sex couple, instead of respecting the views of the bakery owners and simply taking their business elsewhere, filed a complaint with the state. Labor investigators found the bakery had violated Oregon discrimination law.
This is typical of the pressure and intimidation that Christian business owners are facing across the country. Some are so outraged at the treatment of the bakery owners that a religious exemption is likely to be on the Oregon ballot this year.
There's a nearly identical story involving a New Mexico photographer who did not wish to participate in a same sex wedding ceremony. She also did not refuse service to the couple. She advised them that she'd be happy to take studio portraits, but could not participate in a same sex wedding ceremony.
Instead of respecting her religious values, that couple also filed a discrimination suit. In that case, the state of New Mexico actually ordered the photographer to take the photos at the ceremony regardless of her personal beliefs.
As a highly educated person, you must surely realize that religious freedom is the bedrock of our republic. It troubles me deeply that you are unconcerned with the protection of religious expression. In my view, you seem far more motivated by political correctness. Personally, the only views that I have found offensive during this debate are yours.
Perhaps you should do more investigation into these complex matters before you tarnish the reputations of your colleagues. They seem to have a much better understanding and appreciation than you of the intimidation faced by Christian business owners.
Greg Belfrage is heard mornings 6am-9am on KELO Newstalk 1320 AM / 107.9 FM. Greg can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please follow him on Twitter.