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Indiana Pizzeria Cashes Out On Religious Freedom Restoration Act, State Officially Revises Law

By Danette Chavez in News on Apr 3, 2015 10:15PM

Despite humanity's best efforts, lots of questionable things garner monetary support via crowd-funding sites, from the ridiculous (the guy who really wanted to make potato salad for everyone) to the distasteful (Darren Wilson's "legal fund"). The latest controversial recipients of this particular brand of charity are the O'Connor family, owners of Memories Pizza in Wakefield, Indiana, who wasted no time in endorsing Indiana Governor Mike Pence's "Religious Freedom Restoration" law (which has since been revised).

Conservative media outlet The Blaze set up a GoFundMe page to help support the O'Connors and "combat the leftist hatred" leveled at them after Memories co-owner Crystal O'Connor said that her family's business would turn down any offers to cater gay weddings. The campaign has just passed the $780,000 mark, because apparently backing the specious logic of others is one of our nation's favorite pastimes. Faced with dick pics and gay weddings, the owners of Memories decided to close shop, bidding their customers a tearful goodbye.

The good news (well, not for social conservatives) is that the backlash against the act resulted in an amended version being signed by Governor Pence on April 2. In its original form, the legislation could have been used by businesses as the legal means to refuse service to patrons based off any presumed conflict with business owners' religious beliefs; the revised law seemingly prohibits such actions. Sounding like a dad settling a sibling argument, the governor admitted that "there will be some who think this legislation goes too far and some who think it does not go far enough."

There's been plenty of facepalming in response to the law, the O'Connors and even the amendment. But while it sticks in one's craw to learn that bigotry has a pension plan, fundraising for controversial causes or individuals is nothing new. (Consider looking up "Jimmy Swaggart").

But back to Crystal O'Connor and her interpretation of the RFRA law; she sees a clear divide between those who "choose" heterosexuality (like herself, she notes) and those who choose otherwise. And, semantics aside, there are (too) many others in this country who have identified the same combatants and are waging war accordingly. They would do well to read Frank Bruni's recent piece for the New York Times, in which he describes the "fierce collision" between homosexuals and Christians as almost a staged altercation; for a long time, homosexuality wasn't considered a much more punishable sin than drunkenness or any other crime of excess. Bruni reminds us of the choice to hate the sinner, a decision that Mrs. O'Connor seems to have unwittingly made.