Ethics Dunce: GoFundMe

“DESTROY THE EVIL CAKE DISCRIMINATORS!!!!”

If GoFundMe isn’t going to have the integrity to avoid taking sides in complex political and cultural disputes, it is functionally useless.

Perhaps it should change its title to “GoFundMyPoliticallyCorrectCause.”

Pusillanimous GoFundMe caved in to pressure from vindictive gay marriage activists and pulled the crowdfunding campaign on the site that had raised more than $109,000 for the Christian-owned bakery,  Sweet Cakes by Melissa.

The cake shop in Gresham, Oregon, became ground zero for the same-sex marriage debate  in January 2013, when it turned away customers who wanted cakes for a same-sex wedding. The spurned couple filed a complaint to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, claiming their civil rights under the Oregon Equality Act had been infringed. In defense, the owners of the business stated that they  refused to cater  the wedding because of their religious beliefs, and thus their decision was protected by the U.S. Constitution. They subsequently closed the shop, and carried out their business from home. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries proposed a damages award Friday of $135,000 against Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners, for being in violation of the state’s anti-discrimination law. The award, which is not final, would provide $60,000 in damages to Laurel Bowman-Cryer and $75,000 in damages to Rachel Bowman-Cryer for “emotional suffering stemming directly from unlawful discrimination.”

After taking down the page raising money for the bakery in the belief that they have been unfairly targeted, victimized and mistreated, GoFundMe said in a statement that the campaign violated the site’s policy against raising money “in defense of formal charges of heinous crimes, including violent, hateful, or sexual acts.”

“The campaign entitled ‘Sweet Cakes by Melissa‘ involves formal charges. As such, our team has determined that it was in violation of GoFundMe’s Terms & Conditions,” said GoFundMe in an email statement.

In a word, pathetic. Refusing to sell a cake is not, by any stretch of the imagination, even to the most hypersensitive, delicate snowflake gay marriage advocate, the equivalent of a “violent, hateful, or sexual act,” especially in this case, where the service being withheld is right on the line between a public commodity and a First Amendment protected expressive act. Refusing to sell a cake to a gay couple is an unethical, misguided, mean and jerkish thing to do, a violation of the Golden Rule and a blight on organized religion, but it cannot be reasonable called “heinous.”Heinous means “utterly odious or wicked,” and synonyms are evil, atrocious, monstrous, abominable, horrific, terrible, awful, abhorrent, loathsome, hideous, unspeakable, and execrable.

Oh, come on.  It’s a cake. Yes, being told you have to go to a different bakery is insulting, it is annoying, it is inconvenient. and it is wrong. Obviously it will sustain a complaint to a government agency. But a good faith belief that it is within a citizen’s rights to refuse to sell a cake related to a ceremony one objects to,  especially before the issue has been conclusively settled, cannot reasonably be treated as  a “heinous crime.”

The gay marriage advocates are (again) behaving like vindictive bullies by trying to stop sympathetic Americans from assisting small business owners, two of many, who have found their enterprise destroyed because they stumbled into  the maw of a violent cultural shift they were not prepared to deal with. GoFundMe, by capitulating to an effort to block compassionate contributions to a legitimate, if politically incorrect, beneficiary has breached its mission and revealed itself as unsuited for its own business niche.

_____________

Facts: Washington Times

31 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: GoFundMe

  1. I think it’s as much fear as political correctness. When all’s said and done, business is about the bottom line, and bad publicity and boycotts are hard on the bottom line.

  2. What strikes me about this case is not the fact of pulling this campaign, but the singularity of the decision. I’d read some of the coverage, which suggested that GoFundMe was basing their refusal on the basis (read “technicality” for “basis” if you choose) of a court ruling against the prospective recipient of the fund.

    But it all seemed a little too convenient to me–both the decision about Sweet Cakes by Melissa and the responses to that decision on both sides. So I went to the GoFundMe website. It took me literally less than 10 seconds to find a still-active page for Arlene’s Flowers. Substitute flowers for cake, Washington State for Oregon, and the cases are all but identical: including, apparently, a preliminary but not final court ruling against the businesses. The campaign for Arlene’s Flowers has, as I write this, raised nearly $175,000 over a two-month period, including over $1500 in the last 24 hours.

    So, why would one campaign be allowed to continue and the other shut down? To be honest, I can’t even speculate, but if there’s a substantive difference between the cases other than the way they’ve been handled, I’m too dim-witted to find it.

    GoFundMe, then, seems to be a seat-of-the-pants operation, without any real guiding principles. I think–and here we seem to disagree, Jack–that you could make a case that denying a wedding cake to one prospective customer while providing one for another is indeed “hateful,” although I, too, would stop short of “heinous.” But if refusing cake is hateful, then so is refusing flowers. And if refusing flowers is permissible, then so is refusing cake.

    I’m struck, too, by the rather delicious ironies involved on both sides, especially in the wake of GoFundMe’s decision, which has generated considerable gnashing of teeth in the right-wing media. On the part of GoFundMe: “How dare you deny service to someone you don’t like? We’re going to deny you service because we don’t like you.” On the part of the allegedly Christian right: “We reserve the right to discriminate against anyone we want, but other people ought not to be allowed to treat us that way.”

    La la, how the life goes on.

      • The best response I’ve seen on either side was an apparently pro-gay marriage bakery in Miami Shores that was–their term–“harassed” by anti-gay activists to make cakes with anti-gay slogans.

        They decided that if they ever got a legitimate order for such a cake, they’d fulfill it and then give all the profits to the Human Rights Campaign, one of the largest gay rights organizations in the country.

        Well played.

    • Rick, the issue is the double standard.

      The Left has said that those who dissent from gay marriage do not have the right to refuse service, claiming it is discrimination based on sexual orientation. HOWEVER, they have no trouble trying to push others to deny service to those whose objections to gay marriage are based on their religious beliefs – in essence, they are carrying out religious discrimination.

      That IS what is going on – and as an article at National Review points out, the witch hunt has begin in earnest: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/417305/johns-hopkins-chick-fil-ban-and-coming-gay-marriage-witch-hunt-andrew-guernsey

      Short version: At some point, the government is going to go after those organized religions who do not toe the line on gay marriage. It will be a new Jim Crow – one that our media, legal, and cultural elites will celebrate.

      • 1. Did you actually read what I wrote?
        2. As part of what you so coyly refer to as “The Left,” I do indeed object to denial of service to anyone, based on sexual preference, race, religion, or anything else. That goes for fund-raisers on GoFundMe as well as bakeries and florists. I do not deny that there are loonies on my side of the political divide, too, but they do not speak for The Left any more than paranoid imbeciles (or perhaps merely charlatans) like Glenn Beck speak for The Right. Dispense with the straw-man arguments, please.
        3. The Johns Hopkins case you cite is an intriguing one because it is about a private university’s ability to regulate what happens on its campus. I think it’s a tough call, just as it would be if the corporation in question were Starbucks or some other more liberally-minded company and the university were BYU or Bob Jones. There’s no thin edge of the wedge here, the National Review‘s Chicken Little impersonation notwithstanding.
        4. Religious freedom is central to our system of government, but it does not trump the rights of others. In an extreme case, if I belong to a religion which advocates virgin sacrifice, that doesn’t mean I can practice that part of my belief system, because someone else’s life is adversely affected in a significant manner. I’m not suggesting that denying a wedding cake is on that scale, but I am saying that the line has to be drawn somewhere, and to me that line is positioned in such a way that if you’re a baker, you make a wedding cake if someone orders one.
        5. I teach at a public university that takes a five-day weekend for Easter. Whereas I’m happy for the time off, I have a little trouble seeing Christians as the persecuted folks in virtually any real-world scenario in 21st-century America.

        • 1. I did read what you wrote. I simply observed a double standard was at play.

          2. Again, I never called you out. I was calling out those on the Left in general who DO appear to hold said double standard.

          3. I suggest you re-read the National Review article. We are seeing the beginnings of a climate where such witch-hunts are tolerated – if that climate is not already here. As exhibits, I cite Angela McCaskill (demoted for signing a petition to put gay marriage on the ballot) and Brendan Eich (the former Mozilla CEO).

          4. We are NOT talking virgin sacrifice here – forget an apples to oranges comparison, you’re comparing apples to arugula. There is a compelling government interest to stop virgin sacrifice. What is the compelling interest to force someone to bake a cake or take a photograph?

          5. Re-read my post. I said that AT SOME POINT, the government was going to go after those religions who do not toe the line on same-sex marriage. The Mormon and Catholic churches, to name two, are not likely to change their views on marriage any time soon (if ever), no matter what five Supreme Court justices say. Hillary Clinton has already said that religious beliefs have to be changed. She was talking about abortion, but you can bet gay rights is another issue where certain folks will want certain religious beliefs to change.

          • 1. McCaskill wasn’t fired…Gallaudet just determined that her usefulness as a counsellor to gay students was ruined. And it was.

            2. The government can’t go after religions that oppose gay marriage–Islam?—and won’t. The Constitution is pretty unyielding on that point. Won’t happen.

            3. The compelling interest is not having some citizens favored over others for characteristics beyond their control, not allowing grocers, gas stations, hotels, doctors and tailors make life harder for some people for no good reason other than antipathy based on bias. That’s a big compelling interest, and the personal sacrifice in having to sell a product to someone who is just using it to live their life is miniscule. Which is why such grandstanding by bakers is just assholery for the sake of it.

            • 1. So, simply by being a faithful member of her church – she was unfit to be the chief diversity officer? By that standard, any faithful Mormon or Catholic who supports their church’s teachings on the definition of marriage can similarly be fired or demoted. How is that NOT religious discrimination?

              2. I beg to differ. I think the government could. There is at least one case involving a Catholic school who fired a teacher who entered into a same-sex marriage. The Little Sisters of the Poor – a Catholic charity – are fighting a legal action to avoid being forced to fund contraception. Catholic Charities has already been forced out of adoptions in some states. Hillary is already on record as saying “religious beliefs” vis-a-vis abortion “have to be changed.” In this case, it may be worth taking her at her word.

              3. Compelling a baker to create a customized cake (which most wedding cakes fall under) is a whole different kettle of fish than trying to buy milk and groceries or to get a tire fixed. Nobody’s going to die, and the couple in question in Oregon found another baker who had no problems with making a cake for a same-sex wedding. Yet that was not enough, it seems. This is pure vindictiveness – because the Kleins simply did not wish to convey a the message that they believed making a customized cake for a same-sex wedding would convey. In some of these cases, people are literally being forced to express a message they disagree with – or face mob tactics and to be punished by the state. Are you seriously arguing that using the state for the purpose of coercing expression is ethical?

              • 1. No, simply by signing a public document that reasonably would lead students who needed to believe she cared about and respected them she disqualified herself as a useful counselor. Say its unfair, unfortunate, anything you like—if her private opinions become public and undermine trust by those who must trust her, then she’s no longer able to do her job. You’re just saying that it shouldn’t be like this in life, that one’s private positions shouldn’t have a impact on one’s job. But they do.

                2. None of these point to a sudden repeal of the First Amendment. You are misleading in all of your examples. An employment lawsuit regarding a Catholic school firing a teacher for pourley private personal decisions doesn’t support your contention that the government could force a religion to change its teachings. The Little Sisters of the Poor – a Catholic charity – are fighting a legal action to avoid being forced to fund contraception by their employees, not in their charitable activities. Catholic Charities haven’t been forced out of adoptions, they have chosen not to engage in them because they refuse to avoid discriminating….if they claimed letting black parents adopt was against their religion, then they would have to get out of adoptions for that purpose too. Religion isn’t a blank check. Hillary was talking about changing culture. That’s no different from what I talk about here every day. We just favor different changes.

                3. I agree that the application of public commodity to customized cakes is wrong—was this customized? The law can’t force a baker to make a pro-gay cake. Or are you fudging here too? Show me: what was the cake that was refused? Was it different in kind from what the bakery sold to anyone else—was it just a wedding cake? If so, your characterization is wrong.

          • Re: Your number 5, it’s going to interesting to see what happens when the ‘Far Left’ suddenly realize that their darlings, Radical Islam, would cheerfully behead any and all in the LGBT community.

  3. Jack. You focused on “heinous” but skipped over “hateful,” which today is any conduct or opinion with which the left disagrees. In today’s whacky world, refusing to bake a wedding cake is clearly “hateful.” Didn’t our supremely hip President repeat the Nike mantra “haters gotta hate?” So for gofundme, this was a no brainer.

    • I was going to say to Rick: this scenario cannot be fairly ascribed to hate. I’d say, with all due respect, SMP’s various comments on this and related topics verge on hateful, but absent more, refusing to sell a cake might be one of 4 things:

      1. Misguided morality
      2. Ignorance
      3. Hate, or
      4. Jerkishness.

      This one, in my assessment, is either 1 or 2.

      Nothing to be proud of, in any case.

      • You missed my point. You’re being reasonable and analytical. The current use of “hate” by the, your term, snowflakes requires the application of neither reason nor analysis. All that’s required is a knee to jerk.

          • Note that I said “you could make a case…” That’s somewhat short of an endorsement of the position, merely a recognition that GoFundMe’s position–were it consistent–wouldn’t be completely outrageous. Jack, you include “hate” on your list of possibilities. I agree that it’s a possibility, but not to be assumed. I just think it’s more of a possibility than you do.

            • We’re not in disagreement. The point is that GoFundMe can’t use hate as its excuse without something more than speculation. It seems to be saying the act is intrinsically hateful, and that’s clearly wrong. I have no idea which of the four is behind this. I’m guessing like everyone else.

    • Help persecuted Christian couple who refused to serve lesbians doesn’t help the argument (and mine) that the baker/florist action isn’t based on hate, and thus doesn’t violate the GoFundMe criteria.

      A lot of hateful folks are behind those donations. They still should be able to contribute. If one side can boycott the other side must have the right to fight the boycott.
      .

      • Yeah, but GoFundMe still is funding legal defense for folks accused of committing violent crimes.

        The reliance on thuggery, bullying, and coercion to advance same-sex marriage has been clear ever since Prop 8 passed. It’s become the preferred tactic of gay rights activists. Same-sex marriage never even won a popular referendum until after the Form 990 of the National Organization for Marriage was illegally leaked (and the only penalty for that was a $50,000 payment by the IRS – the actual person who illegally acquired the document, as well as whoever leaked it have never been prosecuted).

        Seriously, Jack, they have taken “the ends justify the means” to a point where the ends can no longer be justified.

        • You just articulated my position on increased gun control, but I don’t think it applies here, where core human rights and civil rights are being denied. Were the sit-ins at eateries that banned blacks in the 50’s engaging in legitimate social activism, or targeting an innocent business and victimizing it for exercising its rights? There are valid arguments for and against gun control. There is no valid argument to justify not allowing one class of American from forming recognized, respected, legal bonds of love and commitment that are not designated as lesser unions than marriage by virtue of a distinct label, unless you adopt SMP’s “They’re all vile perverts, and to Hell with them” (I’m paraphrasing) theory, which I charitably describe as pathological. No, “It’s always been this way” and “My religion says I can treat other people like shit if I don’t like their sex life” are not valid justifications.

          If there are people who deny you your humanity and assert the right to be disrespectful and gratuitously cruel—and I designate refusing to sell a damn cake to a perfectly nice couple as qualifying—I cannot sympathize too much when you get angry and strike back.

          I think the gay activists’ boycott and harassment tactics are excessive, counter-productive and wrong. And if their opponents weren’t arrogant, ignorant and insulting fools, this stuff wouldn’t be happening.

  4. Enjoyeԁ reading this, verƴ good stuff, thankyou .
    “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” by Archilocus.

  5. The owners’ decision not to fulfill the request was not unethical, misguided, jerkish, or a blight on religion. The bakery was being asked to enter into a business agreement. This goes beyond “reasonable accommodation.”

    • Keep telling yourself that. Making a cake violates religious belief. Nonsense. Doesn’t even pass the giggle test. The offense is called: “Being a jackass.”

      But the fine is ridiculous.

  6. This is so sad.
    Can you imagine a straight couple suing a lesbian cake shop for refusing to serve them?

    Probably not.
    Because a straight/religious couple would NEVER seek a cake made by homosexuals in the first place…… Why did these lesbians go to a cake shop that specifically catered RELiGIOUS weddings?

    Why were these poor bakers framed as “discriminating against lesbians ” rather than “practicing their religious discretion, which IS a factor in their PRIVATE business”
    ??????????
    If other RELIGIOUS people who want catering from a business that is aligned with their own values see that business make exceptions to it’s business model, they will be turned off and the business will lose it’s ENTIRE TARGET MARKET for the sake of ONE WHINY BITCH WHO WANTS A CAKE.

    This video goes to show that that is exactly what happened here.
    SO horrible that a random reactionary lesbian can come along and strip you of your right to refuse service to anyone at anytime.
    Private businesses DO have that right.

    A wedding cake shop is NOT a place of “public accomodation”.

    HOW DID THESE LESBIANS HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO TAKE THIS TO COURT?
    Seriously, did they spend all of their wedding money on ruining these people’s livelihoods?

    Is that what liberals really want? Someone refuses to “serve” you and you get to destroy their lives?
    HOW VERY BOURGEOISIE.

    Fuck you people.
    This story is a tragic example of a couple of real-life barbaric cunts. I can’t believe they have kids ((super nasty kids who probably go around bullying their peers religions just like their moms do)).
    This family looks like the shittiest people ever.

    I would have baked them a cake and then peed on it before they could have a slice.
    Seriously,
    someone should turn around and sue these lesbians on behalf of the pain and suffering endured by the bakery due to false accusations/a hate crime.

    • Boy, THAT went off the rails quickly!

      Can you imagine a straight couple suing a lesbian cake shop for refusing to serve them?

      Sure I can.

      Because a straight/religious couple would NEVER seek a cake made by homosexuals in the first place……

      Huh? Who cares about the sexual orientation of business owners? Do religious straight women get their hair done by men? I presume so. Odds are a male hairdresser is gay, and who cares?

      Why did these lesbians go to a cake shop that specifically catered RELiGIOUS weddings?

      If the wedding is in a church, it’s a religious wedding.

      Why were these poor bakers framed as “discriminating against lesbians ” rather than “practicing their religious discretion, which IS a factor in their PRIVATE business”
      ??????????

      Why? Because baking a cake isn’t the practice of religion. Read the opinions. The religious argument is DOA.

      If other RELIGIOUS people who want catering from a business that is aligned with their own values see that business make exceptions to it’s business model, they will be turned off and the business will lose it’s ENTIRE TARGET MARKET for the sake of ONE WHINY BITCH WHO WANTS A CAKE.

      A public business should serve the entire community, not just groups it likes. Society doen’t function otherwise.

      SO horrible that a random reactionary lesbian can come along and strip you of your right to refuse service to anyone at anytime. Private businesses DO have that right.

      In fact, they don’t

      A wedding cake shop is NOT a place of “public accomodation”.

      The law says otherwise, and since “public accommodation” is a legal term, your statement is ridiculous.

      HOW DID THESE LESBIANS HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO TAKE THIS TO COURT?

      Who cares?

      Seriously, did they spend all of their wedding money on ruining these people’s livelihoods?

      They didn’t ruin anything. The baker could have made a damn cake. This is called a “pay the two dollars” problem.

      Is that what liberals really want? Someone refuses to “serve” you and you get to destroy their lives?
      HOW VERY BOURGEOISIE.

      All ethical Americans want a society where all citizens are treated with respect, fairness and kindness in all aspects of daily interaction, including commerce.

      Fuck you people.

      These are not the sentiments of an “ethical American.”

      This story is a tragic example of a couple of real-life barbaric cunts. I can’t believe they have kids ((super nasty kids who probably go around bullying their peers religions just like their moms do)).This family looks like the shittiest people ever.I would have baked them a cake and then peed on it before they could have a slice.

      This section is called “signature significance.”

      Seriously,
      someone should turn around and sue these lesbians on behalf of the pain and suffering endured by the bakery due to false accusations/a hate crime.

      Good luck with that.

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