Liberals ‘Got No Staying Power’

Background Reading

Demonstrators gather outside the City County Building in Indianapolis Monday, calling for the state house to roll back the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics say can be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Demonstrators gather outside the City County Building in Indianapolis Monday, calling for the state house to roll back the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics say can be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians.
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

The Indiana pizza place at the center of this week’s gay rights controversy might have more popular support than the RFRA’s critics expect.

How do American voters feel about the debate over Indiana’s religious freedom legislation? As always, it depends. But a look at the data indicates that a now-vilified pizza joint in rural Indiana may have articulated the point of view held by a very large number of Americans.

After a fairly disastrous interview by Indiana’s Gov. Mike Pence last Sunday on This Week with George Stephanopolous, the furor over Indiana’s new law—a “RFRA” or “Religious Freedom Restoration Act”—grew to a fever pitch. Coverage of the law generally declared that Indiana had legalized discrimination against gay citizens, though the law’s supporters countered that the law itself did no such thing, merely creating the legal framework for a religious person to petition for relief from a government burden that would run contrary to their faith.

By mid-week, governors, celebrities and corporations had all launched boycotts of the entire state of Indiana over the law. And despite the fact that there are no cases in Indiana courts of business owners declining to serve gay customers, and no rampant discrimination against gay citizens by Indiana’s private restaurants whatsoever, that didn’t stop reporters from hunting down small business owners to pose the hypothetical: would you cater a gay wedding?

Memories Pizza, a small pizza joint outside South Bend, IN, made the mistake of being honest with a reporter and unleashed a firestorm.

The restaurant, which had never actually declined to serve an actual customer on the basis of sexual orientation, and, crucially, said they would never decline to serve a customer who entered their store on such a basis, did admit that if they were ever asked to participate in a same-sex wedding as caterer, they would decline to do so on the basis of their religious beliefs.

Cue chaos.

Headline after headline declared Memories Pizza to be discriminatory, and it wasn’t long before the store was closed down amidst threats and protests.

When the question moves further from generally providing service to all and into the more narrow questions about marriage ceremonies, requirements, and punishments, public opinion swings even further into Memories Pizza’s court.

But is Memories Pizza’s position—that people should be served in a restaurant regardless of their sexual orientation, but that a business owner should not be required to participate in a ceremony to which they object—actually that far outside the mainstream? The polling suggests it isn’t.

There are countless ways to ask survey respondents how they feel about the issue, and a review of the existing polling shows just how important the question wording is in determining how people feel.

Last year, the Public Religion Research Institute asked Americans if they felt religious liberty was being threatened in America today, and a majority (54 percent) said they felt it was. Nonetheless, 80 percent of their respondents said that a business owner should not be able “be able to refuse services on religious grounds to individuals who happen to be gay or lesbian.”

Pew Research Center found something that, at first glance, seems very different. Asking instead if a wedding services business should be “allowed to refuse” or “required to provide” services at a same-sex marriage, voters are far more split, with only 49 percent saying the business should be “required to provide.”

The distinction in question wording is two-fold. The first question is about discrimination in the provision of services generally, while the second question more narrowly focuses on wedding services, which are far more obviously linked to religion than the mere act of serving up a slice of pepperoni. Second, the Pew question notes that the business owner would be “required to provide” services, introducing the idea that the business owner would be compelled to do something they presumably don’t want to.

When the question moves further from generally providing service to all and into the more narrow questions about marriage ceremonies, requirements, and punishments, public opinion swings even further into Memories Pizza’s court. Take another poll, conducted by Marist just a few weeks ago, which showed 65 percent of respondents opposing fines for wedding vendors who decline to provide services. This may seem like splitting hairs to some, but is actually illustrative of the way that many Americans look at the issue.

The gay rights movement has had enormous success in recent years. The tide of public opinion around marriage equality has shifted dramatically. It is incredible to think that, even just a few years ago, major Democratic luminaries like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton publicly opposed marriage equality. The seismic shifts in opinion around gay rights have been extraordinary.

Indeed, the vast majority of Americans believe that discrimination against gays and lesbians is wrong. However, a huge number think that when it comes specifically to weddings and the imposition of potential punishments for religious business owners, there ought to be exceptions.

Opponents of Indiana’s RFRA say that public opinion is clearly on their side, but a look at the vastly divergent polling on the issue indicates that the tiny pizza joint at the heart of the controversy may not be as far outside the mainstream as people think.


TakeAways

I was listening to the account of the recent GoFundMe totals for Memories Pizza and my jaw dropped! The amount at the moment looks like this:

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 6.51.13 PM

What I took away from this was the fact that when it came time for Liberals who were backers of the Urban Cycling Movement to ‘put up or shut up‘ in their feeble attempt to raise money for Bikes-n-Roses they folded like a cheap suit:

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 6.54.04 PM

Doing The Math

Forget for a moment the dollar total. Instead take a look at the two other things:

  1. The number of people who contributed
  2. The number of days over which the contributions have been gathered

That pretty much tells you everything you need to know about why the Liberals are willing the skirmishes while losing the war of public opinion. Forget too that the two concerns being funded are businesses of a different type.

Focus instead on what it means when your ‘base‘ is far less interested in showing up for ‘photo-ops‘ and having fluffy pieces like this:

Even the die-hard Liberals in Chicago thought that this ‘blog piece‘ was a devoid of much substance and was written to decry the fact that Mayor Emmanuel’s campaign lacked the same. Ironic, huh?

Liberals Are All About The ‘Quick Fix’

I wrote a piece the other day asking how is it even possible to knowingly admit that Chicago has a serious financial catastrophe licking at its heels and that this has been going on not just since the current mayor entered office but for nearly a quarter century and then not realize that asking for non-essential bicycle infrastructure when kids in black-and-brown neighborhoods are being deprived of an education is akin to a ‘sin‘?

But what really galls is the fact that the folks who back Chuy are using this factual event as the reason for justifying their support despite the fact that they said ‘nothing of substance‘ when the school closings were happening!

Somebody in the Liberal Camp who understands politics should have cautioned them from even speaking on the subject of such closings knowing that they were vulnerable on the subject of ‘bike lanes‘.

Chicago's Cycling Movement Issues A Leftist Manifesto

Chicago’s Cycling Movement Issues A Leftist Manifesto

But Liberals are all about the ‘quick fix‘. They are focused on silly stuff. They want to bury Conservatives and Car Owners in as much anti-car sentiment as possible. But when it comes to doing something positive like supporting their own, they fail quite miserably.

In essence they will win quick points by getting their friends to write ‘fluff pieces‘ in support of their efforts, but when it comes to shelling out ‘cash money‘ these knuckleheads are MIA. Most are off getting their tattoos touched up with gold flecks and their hair extensions retied. But most of all they have more than enough money tied up in buying beers from their local brewpubs that places like Revolution Brewery have ‘grown like topsy‘. But meanwhile Bikes-n-Roses is ‘sucking wind‘.

Shame on Liberals!

The Problem Is That Liberals Are Focused On Hating The Wealthy

The Koch Brothers are the poster children of Liberal scorn. But they open their wallets and pay for what they want. Even less well off Conservatives in the Evangelical Tradition have their ‘heads screwed on right‘ when it comes bundling together their small donations to make a statement.

Liberals seem almost afraid to emulate their Conservative cousins for fear of showing that they could in fact bail out their team members would belie their claims that cutting funding would be the death of Bikes-n-Roses.

After all if you could in fact raise as much money in three days as did the Memories Pizza supporters it would make your claims seem a bit weak. But instead the Liberal ploy is to continue taking ‘bike lanes‘ from Rahm Emmanuel knowing full well that red light cameras are going to have to be installed to bilk the least well-heeled citizenry out of money to pay for those lanes. And these same Liberals will write pieces and wring their hands on-camera to decry the fact that taking down the cameras will rip apart all their gains in safety.

Of course this is very ripe BS, since they find time to make videos of their favorite sons racing cabbies across town while running red lights, ignoring the 3 Feet Rule by actually riding alongside vehicles while holding on to them and executing perfect Idaho Two Step maneuvers.

These folks missed a great time during the Middle Ages when the Church needed True Believers who were skilled at talking out of both sides of their mouths. Who could argue that removing red light cameras were a very bad idea, but still willing to push the candidacy of Chuy as a Progressive (who it turns out wants to abolish those ‘much needed’ red light cameras.

There is enough ‘disingenuous spin‘ in this so-called Urban Cycling Movement to make a test pilot nauseous. And to top it all off, they get really angry when you point any of this stuff out. Their reasoning is that you are being disloyal to the cause. Yeah, right!

I’d rather pick up colostomy bags from the floors of the mens room with my teeth than try to push down the bile that must form in the mouths of these folks whenever they stand in the front of a camera and attempt to explain themselves.

I believe that the name of their favorite forum should indeed be changed to the Chicago ‘Whine and Jeez Club’ Cycling Forum.