Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana is just a bad memory now.
The little pizza shop in the town of 2,200, about 20 miles outside of South Bend, Indiana where employees pray before their shifts, was the first business in the Hoosier State to brag that it would spurn gay and lesbian customers.
Now, however, Memories can no longer refuse to cater to or deliver pizza to gay wedding receptions.
That's because the bigoted parts of Indiana's Restoration Act also are just a bad memory now, eliminated less than a week after lawmakers perversely baked them into a law originally intended to protect religious minorities, not persecute sexual minorities.
Peeved that they couldn't deny LGBT Americans marriage equality, lawmakers in Indiana, Oklahoma, North Carolina and a couple of other Republican controlled states cooked up a plan to prevent same sex couples from getting wedding cakes, flowers, doves... and pizza.
The Republican legislatures passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act with a new special section giving private individuals and businesses the right to claim their religion required them to deny services to LGBT Americans. After Indiana's initial attempt, the Governor and his gay bashing legislature felt the heat of a 1000 brick oven as the NCAA, corporations, entertainers and lawmakers nationwide condemned the state-sanctioned bigotry and threatened economic sanctions, including cancelling concerts and business expansions in the state.
The owners of Memories Pizza felt the heat too, after one of them, Crystal O'Connor told a reporter, "If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no." Social media went crazy on her and the shop received threatening phone calls prompting it to shut down. They got a taste of what it's like to be an openly gay high school student in a state that wants to officially sanction gay bashing.
Still, not everyone treated Memories with scorn. Some were downright supportive of the owner's announced intention to discriminate against LGBT Americans. The conservative Christian right wing community gave money in an attempt to validate Memories' anti LGBT bias via a fund set up by a conservative talk host. As of this writing, they claim to have raised more than $800,000. Of course, that hardly offsets the millions that businesses threatened to withdraw from Indiana if the legislature didn't reverse its legislated bigotry.
Let's be honest. Precious few people, gay or straight, are going to order pizza for their wedding reception. So it was unlikely that Memories would ever get the opportunity to exercise its (briefly) state-sanctioned right to behave cruelly.
But it's a shame that more than $800k went for no good cause. That would buy a lot of pizza pies for the estimated 15.8 million American children who live in what are defined as 'food insecure' households, meaning the child and his or her parents don't know where their next meal will come from. This means thousands of those children go to bed hungry. And, despite raising that money on GoFundMe, the establishment remains closed indefinitely and its operators have gone into hiding.
Instead of feeding these innocents, untold numbers of conservative Christians gave their money to support pizza shop owners who proclaimed their intent, based on so called religious beliefs, to discriminate against gay people. Maybe the problem for these religious conservatives is that if they buy pizza for food insecure children, some of those youngsters might be LGBT.
Frankly, these conservative Christians should consider the fact that Jesus hung out with hookers and told us to love our enemies, to pray for the sinner, to love the sinner not the sin. If this denial of service was really about Christian principles and values, wouldn't Memories also have denied service to adulterers, fornicators and drunkards? How about the guy who downloads porn on Sundays when he gets home from church? Or how about the guy who slaps his wife around? Should the holy rollers at Memories Pizza be serving him?
Since none of us walks around with a 'pure soul' certificate to prove to places like Memories Pizza that we are worthy of their pie, why not look to the author of their faith? Jesus. WWJD? I'm sure he'd tell Memories to take that plank out of their own eye, tithe 10 percent of that big donation and use the rest of it to feed the poor... pizza of course.