Crowdfunding anti-gay business: The GOP retirement plan

No doubt you’ve heard the proverb, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” Nowhere is this more true than in the case of people who send money to businesses that claim a “moral” stance against serving gays or anyone in the LGBT community.

After Crystal O’Connor of Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Ind., harrumphed that the pizzeria would not cater a gay wedding with its pies, saying, “We are a Christian establishment,” the restaurant got loads of good and bad publicity. It got slammed on Yelp for its bigoted remarks and claimed that it was “forced to close.” Of course, the airtime it got on right-wing media like Fox News had the opposite effect. Conservatives sent checks to the poor, misunderstood business so it wouldn’t suffer. At last count, the total was around $850,000.

What a scam.

Why should a business stay open when people will send its owners money for free? The latest example is a florist in Richland, Wash., who has racked up nearly $100,000 for the owner’s anti-gay stance. The two men who wanted the flowers for their wedding were actually long-time customers, but florist Barronelle Stutzman refused. She lost an anti-discrimination suit and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, plus court costs and fees. A Tea Party-led GoFundMe campaign seeks “to protect Barronelle and her livelihood.” If I were Barronelle, I would make sure the Tea Party didn’t keep those checks.

Talk about right-wing welfare.

When Indiana passed its version of RFRA, or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, there was a nationwide backlash against the state for essentially legalizing discrimination. After a week of disastrous publicity for Indiana and its Republican governor, Mike Pence, there is now some anti-discrimination language attached to the law. Other states considering the same kind of laws seem to be running away from them as fast as possible.

Conservatives who support the so-called “religious freedom” laws like the one that passed in Indiana are still flailing for an effective response. The GOP presidential hopefuls all claimed to support the law, looking pretty ridiculous in the process. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was forced to flip-flop quickly. Now they seem to want to change the subject, except for poor Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who apparently didn’t get the memo. He’s still claiming that anti-gay businesses are the “real victims of discrimination.”

Well, I say that if your business is going to follow the Bible, you better follow it all the way. Of course, you’d probably go out of business pretty quickly.

Can your businesses say with certainty that you’ve never fixed a pizza, baked a cake, or sold a bouquet to an individual or a couple who “sinned” in other ways? Maybe one of your pizza eaters had premarital sex. Maybe one of your cupcake customers buying treats for a kid’s birthday party gave birth to that child out of wedlock. And how can you be sure that this is a first — and presumably only — marriage for a couple asking for wedding flowers?

Ever sold a product to a person who is clean-shaven or sporting a tattoo? Sorry, that’s banned, too. Every time a right-wing Christian quotes Leviticus 18:22, claiming that a man lying with another man is an abomination, point out that they probably should have kept reading to the next chapter.

There better be facial hair on those customers, but no tattoos. Leviticus 19:27: “You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard.” Leviticus 19:28: “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh on account of the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord.” Guess you won’t be getting any NBA business, with all of those tats. Pity; there’s a lot of money there.

Of course, conservatives who support Republican candidates are backing a “free market beats everything” mindset. After all, the GOP wants to privatize Social Security, and it supports business models that save money by getting rid of pensions. It also wants to cut public pensions that teachers and other public workers have paid into their whole careers.

So if you want to destroy Social Security and get rid of the pension system, I guess crowdfunding by conservatives may be the only retirement plan you’ve got left. Some have referred to this as “wingnut welfare.” I’d call it the Mike Pence IRA.

Maybe conservatives’ next checks should go out to a Nigerian prince. After all, they’ve got a fortune waiting for you, as you’ve probably seen in an email, but you can’t claim it until you send them a check first …

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