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.