UPDATE: Of course, 10 minutes before this article was set to publish, a story broke that the O’Connor family took the $520,000 raised and went into hiding. People are now questioning whether or not this was a scam. They do not seem capable of such an elaborate ruse but it certainly changes the lens through which one might read this article.
I am a bit conflicted and in need of feedback.
If a community of people comes together to support a cause in which they believe, is that a good thing, regardless of your own personal feelings on the matter?
As of the time of writing this, people have raised nearly $500k to support the family who closed their pizza business after saying they would not cater a gay wedding (because, you know, gay wedding pizza parties are a thing).
Do I agree with the O’Connor’s stance on gay marriage? No. Do I think many of the donations are politically motivated? Probably. Does the fundraising page blatantly advertise some conservative talking head’s social media outlets? Absolutely. Could the money have been spent to help people who were in worse-off situations? In good conscious, I can’t answer that as I write this on my fancy Apple laptop.
Still, the money is being given directly to the family members who, as far as I know, are now unemployed and helping out is sort of the Christian thing to do, is it not? It is the humanitarian thing to do too, right?
There is the part of me that thinks, “Well, fuck those people.” There is also the part of me that thinks being the bigger person and helping out someone in need — under the assumption that they are now in need — regardless of what role they played in putting themselves there is the right thing to do.
I am trying to play devil’s advocate and consider the other side here. If a family shut down their pizzeria because of the backlash they received from saying they would not cater a NRA wedding, I would be in favor of supporting that family.
I suppose it is a much easier choice when a cause aligns with your beliefs, though.
In both of these cases, the scenarios are hypothetical. As far as I know, the O’Connor’s did not deny anyone service. Would they eventually deny service to someone? Probably.
On a recent episode of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, Bret Easton Ellis said that sexuality is simply just a part of who a person is. He suggested that it is no different than the color of a person’s eyes. For many people, it is much more complicated than that but, at its core, your sexuality is built into you and part of what makes you who you are. It is not a choice.
That is where these two scenarios differ. In the first, a group of people were (hypothetically) being discriminated against because a fundamental part of their being conflicted with a rather selective viewing of someone’s religious beliefs. In the second scenario, the group was discriminated against for what they liked, did or chose.
In both cases, a family is no longer gainfully employed and a community of likeminded people comes together to help them survive. There is something to be said about that. However, if people were capable of putting their personal differences aside from the get-go, this situation would have been easily avoided.