By Tony Perkins
When Memories Pizza reopened late Thursday afternoon, everyone wanted a slice of the action! The Walkerton restaurant became the biggest story of the Indiana religious liberty debate when its Christian owners were asked a hypothetical question about catering a same-sex “wedding” ceremony. When Kevin and his daughter Crystal O’Connor answered truthfully that they wouldn’t, the tiny town was overrun by protestors. The threats from the “tolerant” Left were so vicious — everything from burning down the pizza parlor to killing its owners — that the O’Connors closed the store and went into hiding.
Fortunately, the Blaze got a hold of the story and rallied tens of thousands of people to their side. Through a GoFundMe account, donations started pouring in to the family at a pace no one expected. In just 48 hours, supporters blew past the original $25,000 goal into an $842,000 explosion of generosity for the O’Connors — stunning the mainstream media and turning the narrative of marriage and the notion of nationwide acceptance on its head.
Now, after two weeks of absolute turmoil, the O’Connors are back in business, reopening to huge and enthusiastic crowds. Ken Gumm was just one of the hundreds of Hoosiers who drove miles to repay the O’Connors for their stand. “We couldn’t wait to get down here,” he told reporters. “To us, this whole thing isn’t about gay marriage. It’s mostly about freedom of religion.” With the kitchen buzzing and the seating area jam-packed, Crystal and her dad, Kevin, say they want to return the favor by giving a share of the near-million dollar gifts to another sister in persecution, Arlene’s Flowers owner Barronelle Stutzman. Faced with losing her home, her shop, and her retirement savings for turning down a same-sex “wedding” request, friends like the O’Connors want to pay America’s kindness forward.
“… God has blessed us for standing up for what we believe, and not denying him,” an emotional Crystal said. “I’d do the same thing again,” Kevin explained. “It’s my belief. It’s our belief. It’s what we grew up on. I’m just sorry it comes to this because neither one of us dislike any of those people. I don’t hold any grudges.” For the rest of the country, the Memories Pizza story is an important one. Apart from rebutting the argument that the marriage debate is a settled one, it’s an important reminder that bullies only win when people lose their voice. As Christians, we need to stand up with those who speak up. Not only do we need to support those who are viciously attacked by the Left, we need to stop supporting the businesses enabling these bullies.
And thanks to organizations like 2nd Vote, it’s a lot easier to know where your money is going. With apps like theirs, you can ensure that your dollars aren’t lining the pockets of companies that contradict your values on marriage and religious liberty. In the lead-up to the Supreme Court’s oral arguments on marriage, 2nd Vote just released a special Marriage Values Page that ranks businesses on how vigorously they advance a far-Left agenda. For most CEOs, the bottom line on these issues is their bottom line. So don’t just voice your values — shop them!
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based FRC Action. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
Report via FRCAction.org
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