Last week, the religious freedom bill in Indiana drove people insane. The O’Connor family, who owns Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, soon found itself in the crosshairs after telling a local reporter that they wouldn’t cater a gay wedding, BUT said that they would happily serve gay customers in their establishment. Yes, the hypothetical was absurd, but the damage was done. Death threats, including arson, were levied upon the family. They closed their doors due to security concerns and sprinted for the bunker.
The Blaze's Dana Loesch and her crew started a GoFundMe page to help the embattled family by raising nearly $850,000 in donations. To no one’s surprise, some on the left thought this act of charity was a conspiracy from the beginning–that the O’Connor family purposefully conducted themselves in this manner to collect those donations.
“As a member of the gay community, I would like to apologize for the mean spirited attacks on you and your business. I know many gay individuals who fully support your right to stand up for your beliefs and run your business according to those beliefs. We are outraged at the level of hate and intolerance that has been directed at you and I sincerely hope that you are able to rebuild.”
Hoffman owns a kettle corn business with her partner. In an interview on The Jeff Adams Show, she urged tolerance (via CBS San Francisco):
We know so many gay individuals that fully support the freedom of living your life according to your beliefs and feel that freedom extends to everyone, even the people that we don’t agree with.”
“If we can remember that differences don’t equal maliciousness, and try to find what we have in common — you know, the and instead of the ors, maybe we can move beyond threats of violence and have open discussions of the things that we don’t agree on.”
Not everyone supported Hoffman’s actions, but since her donation, more gays have given money to the pizzeria, and she has earned the praise of many of the conservative talk show’s following.
She reiterated the same points when she went on Loesch’s show, noting that she would hope people would respect her decision not to have the name of her company associated with something they’re fundamentally against; she used the example of someone asking her to sell popcorn at an anti-gay marriage event.
Hoffman also cut through the false narrative that Memories wouldn’t serve gay customers, only that they wouldn’t cater to a private event that went against their beliefs.
“Though I may not endorse that view, I feel like we all have to respect their freedom and their right to make that choice,” Hoffman said. “It’s just wrong to not extend freedoms that we expect to other people.”
Hoffman noted that her partner is in total agreement with her, and that the response to her donation has been very positive.
Despite that 40 percent of U.S. states have their own versions of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (which was signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1993) in their laws, some on the progressive left still saw this bill as a license for businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian customers. Truth be told, if that were the case–which it is not; then, it already would’ve happened. Only 21 states have public accommodation laws that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation at private and government venues that provide a public service.
Gov. Pence signed a clarification bill to quell the growing discontent from folks who have no sense of history.
Regardless, good for Dana and company for establishing the donation page, good for Ms. Hoffman and her partner for taking a stand against progressive bullying, and buy as much Northwest Kettle Corn as you can!