Something’s missing from the Memories Pizza story: actual discrimination. Let’s update people with some verifiable facts:
The owners of Memories Pizza, the O’Connor family, did not willingly seek out controversy, deny service to a gay person or couple, or even go out on a limb to suggest that they would. No, they merely responded to a question from Alyssa Marino, a local reporter for ABC 57 News who had come to their shop in search of a story.
And they did give her a story—but not the one she reported. Her initial headline was “RFRA: First Michiana business to publicly deny same-sex service” (Michiana is the region in Indiana where Memories Pizza is located). That headline implies two things that are false. The O’Connors had no intention of becoming the first Michiana business to do anything discriminatory with respect to gay people; they had merely answered a hypothetical question about what would happen if a gay couple asked them to cater a wedding. And the O’Connors had every intention of providing regular service to gay people—just not their weddings.
It’s stunning that nobody had been discriminated against. What happened was that the Totalitarian Left didn’t like the fact that a family decided to live out their religious faith. When the Totalitarian Left rolls into your neighborhood, it’s their way or you’ll get hit with death threats. If you think that’s over the top, just ask Kevin O’Connor and his daughter Crystal. Here’s what they said:
Mr. O’Connor and his family have been forced into hiding and had to temporarily shut down their store after they told a local television reporter that they would not cater a gay wedding.
“If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” Crystal told ABC 57 on Tuesday. Neither Crystal nor her father realized they were about to become the LGBT community’s Public Enemy No. 1. “I’m a born-again Christian,” Kevin O’Connor told me in an exclusive telephone interview Thursday. “My faith is the base of my business.”
Indiana’s RFRA law does what the Constitution mandates:
RFRA sets up a balancing test, to be employed by courts. Government cannot enforce a statute requiring people to violate their religious convictions unless it can demonstrate a compelling interest in doing so, and proceeds to do so by the least restrictive means possible.
This is in line with longstanding American tradition. The First Amendment, ratified in 1790, guaranteed Americans the “free exercise” of religion. The Framers knew that their new republic included Quakers, Jews, Catholics, Protestants, atheists, even perhaps a few Muslims. They wanted all to be free to live — not just worship, but live — according to their beliefs.
The Totalitarian Left has led us to believe that the O’Connors are outright bigots that can’t wait to push their religious beliefs down unrepentant gays and lesbians throats. The reality is that the O’Connors simply ask that they be allowed to practice their faith, something that the Bill of Rights protects.
The Totalitarian Left is un-American because they want to eliminate the Constitution’s protections that they disagree with. In the Totalitarian Left’s dream world, everyone would be required to agree with them or be forced to sit silent. That isn’t America.
That’s what fascist dictators demand.