Indiana, Memories Pizza and the Benedict Option

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Indiana, Memories Pizza and the Benedict Option

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:11 am

Wellp... this happened.

Derek Hunter wrote:There were no complaints nor denials of service to anyone ever, but because of their religious beliefs, Memories Pizza stands in ruin and the family who owns it has had their lives threatened countless times. How did the O’Connor family, owners of Memories, find themselves in this situation? They were honest with a reporter in search of a story to fit the media’s narrative.

Alyssa Marino is a reporter with ABC 57 News in South Bend, Indiana. With her state in the center of a hurricane over religious freedom, Marino must’ve thought she’d had a coup – a devout Christian business owner willing to speak on camera about their religious beliefs and how it impacts the operations of that business.

The issue of gay marriage is not one that generally comes up when talking about a pizzeria. Neither is straight marriage, for that matter. Local pizza joints aren’t generally hotbeds of wedding receptions. Yet, Marino found herself wandering into Memories Pizza to get the unsuspecting owners to weigh in on an emotional issue which has never come up in the course of the business’s nearly 10 year existence.

When owner Crystal O’Connor told Marino, “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” she had to know she’d struck gold.

Marino had her headline, “RFRA: Michiana business wouldn’t cater a gay wedding.” O’Connor’s quote was in paragraph three. The chyron on the screen for the report read, “Restaurant denies some services to same-sex couples.”


Memories Pizza never denied anyone service. That can't be stressed enough. Nobody ever got turned away or denied a seat. In fact, the restaurant proprietor said explicitly that homosexuals were more than welcome to eat there - and given that quote, the headline was a complete and malicious lie. But, being asked a purely hypothetical question about catering a wedding by a pestering journalist (and who orders pizzas for a wedding reception anyway?), she spoke unwisely. And now she and her husband are being deluged with death threats and they had to close their business due to an arson threat.

So, for supporters of gay marriage on this board (that is, everybody here but me and Sun Fin): is this the appropriate thing to do? Basically you've won the culture war - all but a handful of states in the US have legalised same-sex 'marriage' or removed legislative roadblocks to it by judicial order. Do you have to go around intimidating, threatening to destroy the lives and livelihoods of people who don't agree with you and whose businesses, like Memories Pizza, don't offer and never have offered the services you want, even to straight couples? Basically, a lot of the commenters on Conor Friedersdorf's piece about Memories Pizza were saying that the couple's business deserved to be destroyed.

There are some very understandable concerns in the wake of this incident, that essentially small-o orthodox Christians will be essentially forced underground, marginalised and driven out of mainstream educational institutions... basically, his advice is to create countercultural institutions and spaces (what Rod Dreher calls 'the Benedict Option'), and forge cultural alliances with Jews and Muslims who have similar interests in protecting religious liberty.
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Re: Indiana, Memories Pizza and the Benedict Option

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Apr 04, 2015 4:00 pm

Do you have to go around intimidating, threatening to destroy the lives and livelihoods of people who don't agree with you and whose businesses, like Memories Pizza, don't offer and never have offered the services you want, even to straight couples?


At what point have I gone around intimidating people on the subject? Threatening to destroy livelihoods? :?

On has homosexual rights won the culture war: Probably. I would say yes, it has won the major battle but still has some battles (TV/film portrayals, defeating the rearguard legal actions, homophobic bullying) but I'm not 100% sure if it has taken outside the metropolitan cities? If it has then yeah, unless the lobby does something stupid (like the thing you have listed), it has won in England and looks it has in US.

What happened seems appalling and should be condemned and I do, I hope the police prosecute and jail anyone making threats. Am I surprised that happened? No. I have a lot of sympathy for centre-right and some on the centre-left who hate the liberal left for being smug, self righteous sods who can't concede anyone can have a view other then their own without being immoral. Just as the right and nationalists have a disturbing thug based element, so do the liberal left. Anyone who disagrees, at best, must be shouted/shamed down at best or destroyed. They believe in being socially liberal as long as you agree with their values, heaven help you if you don't. They are bullies of the worst kind.

I doubt white Christians are going to become second class citizens any time soon. Where there will be a problem is the same as the conservative Muslims who, in the UK, get tied up with extremist by uncareful journalists and politicians. They will see the changing world, not like it but the danger is when they feel no hope because they are not say their views. That could have long consequences that aren't good for society as well as it kills debate and freedom of thought which isn't good for society either
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Re: Indiana, Memories Pizza and the Benedict Option

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Sat Apr 04, 2015 5:05 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:At what point have I gone around intimidating people on the subject? Threatening to destroy livelihoods?


Sorry - did not mean you personally there. The question was more a rhetorical one, something along the lines of: 'is there a sense that this action is legitimate or permissible?' In regards to a movement which sees itself as liberatory, there seems to be an assumption that either you fall in line or you get cut adrift. There hasn't been a lot of contrition or disavowal yet from the American liberal left on this, and the opinion that seems to be most dominant at this point seems to be 'they had it coming to them'.

Dong Zhou wrote:What happened seems appalling and should be condemned and I do, I hope the police prosecute and jail anyone making threats. Am I surprised that happened? No. I have a lot of sympathy for centre-right and some on the centre-left who hate the liberal left for being smug, self righteous sods who can't concede anyone can have a view other then their own without being immoral. Just as the right and nationalists have a disturbing thug based element, so do the liberal left. Anyone who disagrees, at best, must be shouted/shamed down at best or destroyed. They believe in being socially liberal as long as you agree with their values, heaven help you if you don't. They are bullies of the worst kind.


Hmm. Well, as someone whose political views are... shall we say, idiosyncratic?... I can't say as I disagree with you here, of course. I think this kind of bullying tendency can crop up anywhere, particularly in environments which hermetically seal themselves off from intellectual exchange - it's certainly not the sole province of the liberal left. But because of the way the liberal left narrates itself, they're also the most likely to be blind to it when they themselves do it...

Dong Zhou wrote:I doubt white Christians are going to become second class citizens any time soon. Where there will be a problem is the same as the conservative Muslims who, in the UK, get tied up with extremist by uncareful journalists and politicians. They will see the changing world, not like it but the danger is when they feel no hope because they are not say their views. That could have long consequences that aren't good for society as well as it kills debate and freedom of thought which isn't good for society either


Though I do happen to be one, it's not the white Christians I'm particularly worried about. The proprietors of Memories Pizza will be fine - there's already a GoFundMe fundraiser that's already raised $800,000 to support them and help them to relocate if necessary. White evangelicals still have some fairly deep pockets, and they can take care of their own well enough.

On the other hand, the national association of historically-Black Protestant churches here recently put out a statement condemning the (predominantly white) Presbyterian Church USA for accepting and presiding over same-sex marriages, and essentially declaring the Presbyterian Church USA to be in schism. There's still a strong socially-conservative current even within Black and Hispanic communities here - not just Muslims - and I feel like if the LGBT-supportive white liberal wing feels that they aren't getting the support from the people who they feel ought to be 'appreciative' of what they're doing, things could turn very ugly for them. And they don't have the financial resources the white churches do; plus they occupy a much more vulnerable social position.
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Re: Indiana, Memories Pizza and the Benedict Option

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:59 am

WeiWenDi wrote:
Sorry - did not mean you personally there. The question was more a rhetorical one, something along the lines of: 'is there a sense that this action is legitimate or permissible?'


I know that and should have done yesterday. I'm not sure why I didn't yesterday, sorry about that. My fault entirely :oops:

In regards to a movement which sees itself as liberatory, there seems to be an assumption that either you fall in line or you get cut adrift. There hasn't been a lot of contrition or disavowal yet from the American liberal left on this, and the opinion that seems to be most dominant at this point seems to be 'they had it coming to them'.


This surprises you?

Let us take feminism. On the left there are many great champions on this and rising champions yet I have heard that Tory female MP's feel that some of those champions have decided those Tories can't be woman because they are Tories. Yep 30-40% of the population can not be feminists in the eyes of left-wing bigots because feminism isn't as important as partisan loyalty and hatred. Time after time, one sees the left rise up if those they approve of receive sexism but too many take a vow of silence if it happens to a right-wing woman. Like, say, a minister being described as "lynch that b...", I swear I have read at least once the equivalent of "she had it coming"

It is also rape and child abuse where some on the left seem to have two standards: what to do in normal circumstances, what to do when the accused is a hero of theirs.


Hmm. Well, as someone whose political views are... shall we say, idiosyncratic?... I can't say as I disagree with you here, of course. I think this kind of bullying tendency can crop up anywhere, particularly in environments which hermetically seal themselves off from intellectual exchange - it's certainly not the sole province of the liberal left. But because of the way the liberal left narrates itself, they're also the most likely to be blind to it when they themselves do it...


Sure, it pops up across the sphere, I just don't think it gets acknowledged so much when liberal left's darker side does it. I agree that as they narrate themselves, they get blinded to their hypocrisy

On the other hand, the national association of historically-Black Protestant churches here recently put out a statement condemning the (predominantly white) Presbyterian Church USA for accepting and presiding over same-sex marriages, and essentially declaring the Presbyterian Church USA to be in schism. There's still a strong socially-conservative current even within Black and Hispanic communities here - not just Muslims - and I feel like if the LGBT-supportive white liberal wing feels that they aren't getting the support from the people who they feel ought to be 'appreciative' of what they're doing, things could turn very ugly for them. And they don't have the financial resources the white churches do; plus they occupy a much more vulnerable social position.


I didn't mean to imply just Muslims, more their conservative element is the vulnerable one here. I could certainly see that
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Re: Indiana, Memories Pizza and the Benedict Option

Unread postby Gray Riders » Sun Apr 05, 2015 2:17 pm

To the surprise of nobody, they're now attacking a separate pizza place with a similar name.
http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/03/living/me ... tity-feat/

Ah, internet. Why check facts when you're just a few clicks from being a hero to your peers?

Fun thought: There's a good chance in a few decades a lot of these "crusaders will be the new conservatives as social values change over time, and will be the ones receiving death threats over the internet.

Edit: Mob mentality is one of the worst diseases in the world, isn't it?
Edit 2: Probably should clarify by "fun thought" I'm being sarcastic. Still sick, thought processes aren't at full. Sorry.
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Re: Indiana, Memories Pizza and the Benedict Option

Unread postby Bush Leagues » Mon Apr 06, 2015 5:28 am

There's about a million things wrong with everything surrounding this. The actions taken by the criminals (those threatening arson and murder) are easily the worst. I have no sympathy for those that engaged in that behavior. I hope the law will fully prosecute them for the crimes they actually committed. They don't deserve vigilante justice, or any of the like, however.

I think it's pretty obvious - and most people would agree - that the outrageous behavior is unacceptable. I think something like 75%-80% of people in this country are basically normal people who have values and beliefs that sometimes clash, but are generally civilized, can at least respect that people feel differently than they do, and just move on. The last 20%-25% are the ones that I think cause trouble. And inevitably make the most noise. Those numbers are just a gut feeling - I don't have any data to support it.

I suppose it's worth talking about the law a bit, but it's tangential, so into the spoiler tag it goes.

"My thoughts on the law itself
I really don't know how to feel about the law, other than I know I don't like it. It's not the law I would write. On the one hand, I have no issue with homosexuals, gay marriage, or anything along those lines - I think people should be free to do all that. On the other hand, I have no issue with a business owner refusing to provide their service to a customer - I also think they should be free to do that.

This particular law's effects (ignore what it's meant to do, look at what it actually does), are to give a special benefit to those who are religious and to unfairly discriminate against homosexuals, by allowing to refuse them business for their wedding.

On the one hand, special benefits to particular groups are almost always wrong. The religious don't deserve special benefits anymore than homosexuals do, anymore than black people do, anymore than I do. We should all be equal under the law. Likewise, laws shouldn't be written to damage a particular group more than others (in this case, homosexuals wishing to wed).

On the other hand, business should have the right to refuse service. One of the basic principles of living in a free market society is that all interaction between customers and businesses is voluntary. As soon as you take that away, you're not really living in a free market anymore (in other words, America is no longer primarily a free market system, I find). Also, it's definitely wrong to use coercion (prison time for the "crime" of discrimination) to force people to compromise values that they personally hold.

So what's the answer?

The law I personally would pass would be "All business have the right to refuse service to any and all customers, for any reason." That's it. Make in legalese if you have to, but that's the spirit of it. And if you don't like a business because it's religious/discriminates/is bigoted/isn't religious/doesn't discriminate/supports that team you hate, I recommend you vote with your wallet, and let them know about it. It's the strongest statement you can make for changing their views.


Now for a few specific responses -

Dong Zhou wrote:On has homosexual rights won the culture war: Probably. I would say yes, it has won the major battle but still has some battles (TV/film portrayals, defeating the rearguard legal actions, homophobic bullying) but I'm not 100% sure if it has taken outside the metropolitan cities? If it has then yeah, unless the lobby does something stupid (like the thing you have listed), it has won in England and looks it has in US.


I think it's almost certainly won, though it took a while, and of course certain people have objections. I would be stunned if there was a some kind of major backtracking that happened. I would be less surprised (but still surprised) if there was some kind of serious divide over this issue that caused incredible friction between those who opposed homosexual behavior and those who have no issue with it. That seems more like a "straw that broke the camel's back" situation, though.

Dong Zhou wrote:Sure, it pops up across the sphere, I just don't think it gets acknowledged so much when liberal left's darker side does it. I agree that as they narrate themselves, they get blinded to their hypocrisy


Are we talking about political parties here, or just that "side" in general?

If we're talking parties, I don't know why you would expect any different. Politicians (and their parties) do what is politically profitable. That's it. That's the only expectation I have for any politician anywhere. That's the only thing I trust a politician to do - what is politically profitable. This applies to every politician, from every party, in most western countries.

Gray Riders wrote:Edit: Mob mentality is one of the worst diseases in the world, isn't it?


I know this is someone's quote, modified by me: "A person is intelligent, thoughtful, and reasonable. People are panicky, quick to judge, and completely irrational."

Gray Riders wrote:Edit 2: Probably should clarify by "fun thought" I'm being sarcastic. Still sick, thought processes aren't at full. Sorry.


Thoughtcrime is not a sin in my book. Say whatever you like, and expect me to support your right to say it nine ways to Sunday.
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Re: Indiana, Memories Pizza and the Benedict Option

Unread postby Gray Riders » Mon Apr 06, 2015 2:24 pm

Bush Leagues wrote:On the other hand, business should have the right to refuse service. One of the basic principles of living in a free market society is that all interaction between customers and businesses is voluntary. As soon as you take that away, you're not really living in a free market anymore (in other words, America is no longer primarily a free market system, I find). Also, it's definitely wrong to use coercion (prison time for the "crime" of discrimination) to force people to compromise values that they personally hold.

It's not hard to think of situations where a business will really want to refuse service, especially businesses like cakes where specific decorations and themes are expected.
(I won't go into details but I did see one board where some of the people who seemed in favor of these attacks complaineed about a different company not refusing to serve someone, since in that case the the company was doing business with someone whose actions they didn't like. Hah.)

If we're talking parties, I don't know why you would expect any different. Politicians (and their parties) do what is politically profitable. That's it. That's the only expectation I have for any politician anywhere. That's the only thing I trust a politician to do - what is politically profitable. This applies to every politician, from every party, in most western countries.

This is why I have no party loyalty. The party's aren't loyal to us, so why be loyal back?

Thoughtcrime is not a sin in my book. Say whatever you like, and expect me to support your right to say it nine ways to Sunday.

I was kind of worried I'd give the impression that I was gleefully awaiting the hammer of doom to fall on people, so I decided to clarify. I was just trying to point out that a lot of these people seem very shortsighted and lack the ability to really look at their actions and consider long-term consequences. If they show it's okay to threaten anyone you don't agree with than they can't be surprused when it happens to them, but they will be, because as mentioned I doubt many of these people think things through.
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Re: Indiana, Memories Pizza and the Benedict Option

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:20 pm

Gray Riders wrote:To the surprise of nobody, they're now attacking a separate pizza place with a similar name.
http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/03/living/me ... tity-feat/

Ah, internet. Why check facts when you're just a few clicks from being a hero to your peers?

Fun thought: There's a good chance in a few decades a lot of these "crusaders will be the new conservatives as social values change over time, and will be the ones receiving death threats over the internet.

Edit: Mob mentality is one of the worst diseases in the world, isn't it?


To be honest, this seems to happen every time so it's more a news story when it doesn't happen

Are we talking about political parties here, or just that "side" in general?


Side in general. MP's do it, did talking about a specific issue with them, but you see it in the journalists, the activists, on the internet.

If we're talking parties, I don't know why you would expect any different. Politicians (and their parties) do what is politically profitable. That's it. That's the only expectation I have for any politician anywhere. That's the only thing I trust a politician to do - what is politically profitable. This applies to every politician, from every party, in most western countries.


Because they often go against what is popular and takes stands or implement unpopular policies knowing there will be a backlash. Because many of the times they could have stood up for feminism was in stories that had probably no public interest and where the only chance of getting good headlines anyway would be to get involved and object to the sexism. The issue is more about partisan blindness and nothing to do with parties seeking popularity.

Since the topic started on gay rights (sort of), most of England's gay rights came when it wasn't popular but politicians were, if not quite the van guard, the second wave. Gay marriage has been a political disaster for Cameron.

This is why I have no party loyalty. The party's aren't loyal to us, so why be loyal back?


People should not vote based on party loyalty, it is brainless and highly damaging to democracy. No reason why parties should be loyal to their stronghold, if anything that tends to be damaging as much as neglecting them.
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Re: Indiana, Memories Pizza and the Benedict Option

Unread postby Gray Riders » Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:49 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:People should not vote based on party loyalty, it is brainless and highly damaging to democracy. No reason why parties should be loyal to their stronghold, if anything that tends to be damaging as much as neglecting them.

My comment on "parties aren't loyal to us" was less about doing unpopular actions and more of the sorts of blatant corruption that occurs shockingly often. My views are probably skewed; there's been a lot of political scandals (not Monica Lewinsky sex scandal stuff, things like government officials using public funds for private housing, city officials wasting tons of money on contracts whose costs were misrepresented, things like that) recently where I live from all levels of government.
Last edited by Gray Riders on Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Indiana, Memories Pizza and the Benedict Option

Unread postby Shen Ai » Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:57 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:and who orders pizzas for a wedding reception anyway?


That is sadly the major point that stuck in my head after this.
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