LGBT Supporters: Dial it down a bit, alright?

walkerton-indiana-2.0

The RFRA debate in Indiana continues to spiral out of control. To this point, most of the anger and outrage has been (appropriately, I think) directed at our state legislators who are causing incredible harm to our state.

One business made the unfortunate decision to fill the void of pro-RFRA business supporters and enter the fray:

The O’Connor family [Memories Pizza, Walkerton, IN] told ABC 57 news that if a gay couple or a couple belonging to another religion came in to the restaurant to eat, they would never deny them service.

“If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” says Crystal O’Connor of Memories Pizza.

I think that first part is important to acknowledge. Anyone can eat in their restaurant on a daily basis with no problem. However, they do have a problem with serving at weddings. Well no gay couple that I know would ever have a pizzeria cater their wedding, so this isn’t going to be an issue for them. Why the O’Connor family wanted this attention, I’ll never know but they have it now.

Their Yelp page has been overrun by negative reviews the vast majority from people who have never been to their restaurant, admittedly spurred on by uninformed comments about homosexuality being a choice. Is their view on LGBT rights ideal? No, but neither is it indefensible. This is the kind of situation communities sorted out for themselves before the state legislature decided to stupidly, stupidly draw a line in the sand for no good reason.

I’m not going to bother posting or repeating any of the reviews; if you want to read them, go to the page yourself. I will say that many of them are hateful and explicit in nature. I have no doubt that many of these reviewers are not even from Indiana, however the reviews are from LGBT supporters.

Friends, this is not a good look. One thing that’s been in our favor during this RFRA debate is the fact that we have the moral high ground. No one should be on the side of discrimination, ever. That being said, that high ground drops a bit lower when you behave with more hateful rhetoric than the side attempting to discriminate against you.

I understand the anger and resentment toward our state legislators. I also understand that there has been no outlet to channel resentment toward businesses that seek to discriminate. However, destroying everyone with a different opinion is not how this is going to work. We desperately want everyone to act with love and compassion towards those who are different from ourselves. That also goes for supporters of LGBT rights.

Choose to spend your dollars somewhere else. Make people aware of businesses that are discriminatory. But do it in a way that you can be proud of, that doesn’t give in to destructive, hateful impulses. Not everyone has had the same experiences or is able to reconcile their childhood teaching with the still-recent change in cultural expectations.

As we seek to promote equality for all people, I think it’s important to do so in a way that maintains one’s own personal dignity. I recognize that many LGBT supporters have had truly horrific experiences and feel compelled to lash out and punish those who want to discriminate against them. While understandable, I think it ultimately does more harm than good.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I think Bob Dylan said that (just kidding, I know it was Neil Young). It’s a good rule to live by; let’s all follow it.

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