Religious Freedom Law echoes nationwide problem for Christians

Abbi Webb, Assistant Editor

Although never having catered a wedding of any kind, a family owned pizzeria in Walkerton, Ind., received over 1,000 Yelp reviews  last week threatening the lives and health of the O’Connor family after they told a local TV station that if presented with the hypothetical situation, they would decline to cater a same-sex wedding.

 Homosexual activists push for the nationwide approval of the gay lifestyle and the prohibiting of businesses refusing their services based on sexual orientation. Photo from columbuspride.org 

Homosexual activists push for the nationwide approval of the gay lifestyle and the prohibiting of businesses refusing their services based on sexual orientation. Photo from columbuspride.org 

Minutes after Crystal O’Connor made a statement that catering a same-sex wedding would be against her and her family’s beliefs, the negative reviews started to flood in. Due to constant phone calls placing “fake” orders, Memories Pizza, owned by the O’Connor family for nine years, was forced to close down last Wednesday.

This is the result of the outrage caused by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s signing of the Religious Freedom Law, similar to laws in 19 other states, which allows individuals to deny business or personal service to obligations that are outside of their religious values.

Protestors in Indiana are demanding that the Religious Freedom Law be repealed because it discriminates against homosexuals, but in their upheaval it appears they are blind in seeing their own hypocrisy.

The signs, chants and rainbow flags send the message, ‘Give me my rights, but to heck with yours.’ Even large organizations that support same-sex marriage are speaking out in hypocrisy.

CEO of the multi-billion dollar company, Apple, Inc., Tim Cook, threatened to stop all business with Indiana after Pence signed the law into action, while still upholding stable business relations with Saudi Arabia, a country where homosexual acts are punishable by death.

Tony Beam, Vice-President for Student Services and Christian Worldview at North Greenville University, said "there is a difference between acceptance and approval and the homosexual agenda begs for approval. It is not enough for them that businesses are willing to serve them; they want everybody to approve of what they are doing," he said.

Homosexuals claim that they are being denied services because of their sexual orientation, but because there has been no clear effort among the LGBT community to seek out the many businesses that will cater to them, it seems they are intentionally targeting Christian businesses and entrepreneurs because of their refusal to approve of the lifestyle.

For example, a Christian T-shirt printing company in Lexington, Ky., Hands On Originals, was accused of discrimination for refusing to print shirts for the Lexington Pride Festival.  The company said that printing pro-gay messages on their shirts would be incompatible with their Christian beliefs. Hands On then graciously offered to find another local printer who would do the order promptly and for the same price that the organization hosting the festival desired. They refused the proposal and filed a complaint with the Lexington-Fayette Commission against Hands On.

Same is true for an Iowa baker, Victoria Childress, who after kindly declining to design a lesbian couple’s wedding cake because it was against her belief in God’s institution of marriage, she took the time to recommended the couple to other cake decorators that she knew would be able to help them. Rather than appreciating her effort, the couple contacted the media and other homosexual supporters who then threatened her with a lawsuit.

 So why aren’t lawmakers doing anything about this? What makes it okay for a “gay” business to deny printing anti-gay messages while Christians do not have the same right?

 It can all be summed up in one word: money.

If the NFL, the NBA and the NCAA had not threatened to pull out of Indiana and there had been no travel bans on the state, Pence might have stood by his decision to sign the Religious Freedom Law, but the risk of losing vital state funding was enough to make him reconsider.

Beam said, “It’s all about the money. If you say homosexuality is wrong, then you lose the NCAA, the NFL and tons of funding. What are you going to do?”

We have to be prepared for this major cultural shift and the intense testing of our faith. Eventually, we will be confronted on where we stand and we need to know how we will respond.

We also have to be aware that not all homosexuals support this attack on religion. After the O’Connors were forced to close down their business, a GoFundMe page was created to help the family. One contributor, Courtney Hoffman, wrote on the page, “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.”

We would be ignorant to think that all members of the gay community are out to restrict or diminish our religious freedom. There are those, like Hoffman, that understand the real meaning of equal tolerance and that it should go both ways.