Officials Attempt to Duck and Cover from Religious Freedom Law Fallout

Crystal O'Connor

Crystal O’Connor

(Indianapolis, IN — April 2, 2015) – After a week of outrage – some genuine, some feigned – the controversy surrounding Indiana’s new religious freedom law shows no signs of abating.

Many, however, would like to cross the whole issue off their lists.

Thanks to Governor Mike Pence (R-IN), Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act PDF, allows businesses to refuse to serve those who ask for services which go against the religious beliefs of said businesses.

“This bill is not about discrimination,” Pence said at the signing, “and if I thought it legalized discrimination I would have vetoed it.” Yet he is now asking the state legislature to “clarify” the meaning of the law, which he continues to insist is a non-discriminatory law – and is perfect the way it is.

The 111 CakeryThe uproar has cause other states to reconsider similar legislation. In Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) held off signing Arkansas’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act until the state’s legislature could “fix” it.

“We need to stipulate exactly which ethnic and religious groups we’re going to persecute and prosecute,” said a spokesman for Arkansas’ state legislature, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We’d look pretty silly going after innocent people.”

The main focus has been on possible discrimination against homosexuals. In fact, the legislation pretty much guarantees racism and discrimination against anyone you don’t find follows your religious beliefs.

Asa Hutchinson (R-AR)

Asa Hutchinson

Many agree with this assessment, and retribution has been swift and severe. Several states, including Connecticut, banned official state travel to Indiana. The band Wilco cancelled an upcoming Indianapolis show. Businesses and entities such as, the Gen Con gamer convention, the Disciples of Christ church, and Kiwanis International are all reconsidering their future dealings with Indiana.

On the other hand, many Indianans agree with Pence’s stance. In spite of acting in a detrimental way for their businesses or their state’s reputation, many individuals and companies are embracing the policies of bigotry, hatred, exclusion, and discrimination.

In March 2014, Indianapolis’ 111 Cakery refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay wedding. At the end of February 2015, the bakery shut its doors for good.

Mike Pence (R-IN)

Mike Pence

And just yesterday, Crystal O’Connor, part-owner of Memories Pizza in Walkerton, stated that they would refuse to serve homosexuals while claiming “‘we’re not discriminating against anyone, that’s just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything.”

“That lifestyle is something they choose,” said Kevin O’Connor, Crystal’s father and part-owner of the pizza parlor. “I choose to be heterosexual. They choose to be homosexual. Why should I be beat over the head to go along with something they choose?”

One day later, Memories Pizza in Walkerton is just a memory in Walkerton. Hopefully, part of Crystal O’Connor’s belief in “the right to believe in anything” includes believing in unemployment and bankruptcy.

Or maybe not.

“Once things have cooled down, Memories Pizza will be back and better than ever,” predicted an O’Connor family spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “This just has to blow over until common-sense Christian ideals can take back the insanity of the moment.

“Of course, once Memories Pizza re-opens, they’ll still be refusing service to gays, Jews, African-Americans, and Hispanics. That’s something average, ordinary, everyday Americans can truly get behind.”