Donald Trump’s victory wasn’t the only electoral result that has raised eyebrows. Oregon’s Labor Commissioner, Brad Avakian, lost his ambitious bid to be Oregon’s Secretary of State to a Republican challenger. Why is this interesting? Well, Avakian is best known for fining a local Christian bakery, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, around $135,000 for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. Amusingly, the Democrat Avakian’s defeat marks “the first time a Republican has been elected to a statewide office in Oregon since 2002.”
To be sure, there could be several reasons for Avakian’s defeat. Yet, one thing is clear. Avakian’s loss shows us that although many Americans may disagree with followers of Jesus, they think bullying us into keeping our faith in the closet is a bad thing. Likewise, there’s probably a hint of self-preservation in the way Oregonians voted. After all, if the government can force Christians to act a certain way, what’s stopping them from forcing people from other walks of life to compromise under threat of punishment? Consider that Aaron and Melissa Klein’s bakery is gone and they will remain a target of abuse and ridicule in the eyes of many people for years to come.
In light of this, there was bound to be a bit of satisfaction when the Klein family saw the election results. In fact, Aaron Klein cheekily remarked “The people of Oregon have spoken.” He added “Hopefully with the guy that won, we’ll see religious freedom start to grow in this state.” No doubt, God has used Aaron and Melissa Klein to highlight the growing persecution against Christians in this country. It hasn’t been easy for them at all, but the Lord has faithfully provided for them during this time. It’s what He does. For example, the couple raised over $350,000 in just two months through the crowdfunding site Continue to Give in order to pay their fine. In the process, their faithful stand has opened the eyes and stiffened the spines of Christians throughout this country.
Indeed, their case probably had a little something to do with Trump’s success among Evangelicals, Protestants and even Catholics. Let’s not forget the Amish, either. As Tucker Carlson put it, Evangelicals, and apparently other Christians, are looking for “a bodyguard, someone to shield them from mounting (and real) threats to their freedom of speech and worship. Trump fits that role nicely, better in fact than many church-going Republicans.” Doc Burkhart recently went a step further, noting “The rise of mega-churches, and mega-broadcasters, and mega-ministries has also given way to political alliances…What has the church received in return? Nothing.” He continued “Abortions are more prevalent than ever. Gay marriage is essentially the current rule of the land. We even have a hard time figuring out which bathroom to use anymore.” The anti-Christ bullying which began at a bakery in Oregon impacted not only Azakian’s failed run for Secretary of State, but also Trump’s successful presidential campaign.
Ultimately, the testing of our faith produces endurance (James 1:2-3), and if we continue standing firm in faith, we will be rewarded (Galatians 6:9). Leave the rest to the Lord. He knows exactly “how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the Day of Judgment” (2 Peter 2:9). Sometimes, a little slice of His justice comes before the appointed time. Just ask the Klein family; justice is sweet.