GoShunnedMe: Fund Site Dumps Christians, Changes Policy
No one knows how much Aaron and Melissa Klein will raise toward their $135,000 fine — but we know one thing: they won’t be raising it on GoFundMe. The charitable site wasn’t so charitable to these bakers, who lost their shop and two years of their life fighting for the right to exercise the freedom the Constitution guarantees them.
When the government slapped them with a $135,000 punishment for turning down a same-sex “wedding” cake order, Americans across the political spectrum rushed to their aid, giving generously to the cause of free speech and religious liberty. Eight hours after the fund launched, the spigots of charity stopped. At midnight, when the Kleins were just shy of their goal, GoFundMe abruptly pulled the plug and told visitors that the campaign was closed. (Donations are still being collected here.) Publicly, they cited a policy that barred funding for “formal charges of heinous crimes,” but judging by the hateful posts by non-givers, that wasn’t the only reason.
Would-be supporters were furious at GoFundMe’s interpretation of the policy, which they also applied to Barronelle Stuzman, the beleaguered owner of Arlene’s Flowers, who is being sued for a similar reason. Although we were disappointed and frustrated by the Fund’s decision, we respected the company’s right to set its own policies — much as Aaron and Melissa should have had the freedom to do in their business.
Now, however, GoFundMe has moved beyond its initial Terms and Conditions to the wild west of crowdfunding requirements. The new policy, the Washington Times explains, “includes a ban on campaigns in defense of ‘claims of discriminatory acts’” — a more expansive and intentionally ambiguous standard that could crowd out crowdfunding. As FRC’s Travis Weber pointed out, the new code creates more problems than it solves. “Who will determine what a ‘discriminatory act’ is? Will the term be decided according to legal standards? If so, which standards? Or will be subject to the same arbitrary decision-making we’ve seen from GoFundMe so far?”
Kristen Waggoner, Barronelle’s attorney from Alliance Defending Freedom, understands all too well where this is headed. Her client’s page was taken down despite the fact that Stutzman hasn’t been charged with a crime. “There have been other campaigns on GoFundMe that haven’t been shut down. To me, this may be discrimination based on religion.” Discrimination in the name of non-discrimination. Where have we heard that before?
Rhodes Rage: Conservatives Fire Back at CBS President
“Be prepared to be ambushed.” That’s the advice of Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell to Christians across America. “Be prepared to be slandered. Be prepared to be verbally persecuted.” Like a lot of people, he watched with shock my interview last Sunday with CBS’s Bob Schieffer and was taken aback and how quickly the tables had turned on social conservatives.
All week, I’ve heard from people who were stunned that Bob Schieffer would bring up the very hate group that prompted the shooting in our building as a legitimate source in my interview on “Face the Nation.” Many are upset that Bob would give any validity to an organization that sparked what could have been a mass murder in our building. As I said on Monday, it’s disappointing to see that any media outlet would rely on a group like Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which actually been linked to domestic terrorism in federal court and traffics in politically motivated, inaccurate, and biased claims.
And I’m not the only one who’s disappointed. Conservative leaders across the country see this as a much bigger problem of liberals seeking to silence and push those who oppose their failed policies from the public space. Over 50 of those leaders sent CBS President David Rhodes a blunt letter, demanding an apology for using a disgraced and discredited resource like SPLC. Under the banner of the Conservative Action Project (CAP), they write, “The interview was more than sloppy journalism. It was an assault against Judeo-Christian people of faith. The work that FRC and its president Tony Perkins do to promote healthy families and traditional values is irreplaceable in our culture. To suggest, as Schieffer did, that FRC doesn’t represent Christians flies in the face of reality. The millions of Americans that we, the undersigned, collectively represent are proof of that.”
What’s worse, they continue, “is that Schieffer went on to cite the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and its characterization of the FRC as an anti-gay hate group. For CBS News and Schieffer to cite this radical group to smear the FRC is outrageous given that an SPLC supporter shot and wounded a security guard inside the FRC’s headquarters in 2012… The homicidal SPLC supporter admitted that he attacked FRC headquarters because the SPLC’s website map identified FRC as a ‘hate group.’ As a result of this crime, the federal court linked the SPLC to domestic terrorism in 2013.”
Since that time, the FBI, Defense Department, and U.S. Army have all distanced themselves from SPLC’s materials. Yet CBS, the leaders point out, “continues to use them as a ‘resource’ to smear upstanding Christians and Christian leaders such as Tony Perkins. It is now clearer than ever before that the liberal media — including CBS — along with the radical Left, aided by the Obama administration, will stop at nothing to use their power and the power of government to silence, shame, punish, and fine Americans who embrace traditional marriage and other politically incorrect truths. This is an unacceptable trend in a free society with a ‘free press.’”
Would it be okay, Bozell suggested to Todd Starnes, “if Fox News cited a white supremacist group to call into question a liberal group? Of course not… The character assassination underway against Christians is something that five years ago was unimaginable.”
Baltimore Ravin’: Libs Take Liberties with Leaders’ Quotes
Congressman Bill Flores (R-Texas) knows more than he’d like to about the character assassination of Christians. The Texas Republican found out about RightWingWatch’s misinformation machine the hard way [last] week, when the brainchild of liberal billionaire George Soros took time out from distorting FRC to put a bulls-eye on his back. Flores became the object of the blog’s smear campaign for a conversation he had with me on “Washington Watch” Tuesday.
In it, he talked about the breakdown of the family and how the violence and unrest in Baltimore is a symptom of a broader cultural problem. “The single best indicator of whether or not a child is going to be in poverty or not is whether or not they were raised by a two-parent household or a single parent household, so the breakdown of the family has contributed to poverty. Look at what is going on in Baltimore today. You see the issues that are raised there. Healthy marriages are the ones between a man and a woman because they can have a healthy family and they can raise children in a way that’s best for their future, not only socially but psychologically, economically, from a health perspective.”
This is hardly an extreme line of logic. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) made an almost identical statement [last] week on Laura Ingraham’s show. “It’s something we talk about not in the immediate aftermath, but over time,” he said. “The breakdown of the family structure, the lack of fathers, the lack of sort of a moral code in our society. This isn’t just a racial thing. It goes across racial boundaries,” Paul explained. FRC’s MARRI team has volumes of research demonstrating exactly that.
Still, RightWingWatch’s bullies pounced on the interview and manufactured a phony controversy that Politico fueled with the headline, “Congressman Links Baltimore Crisis to Same-sex Marriage.” That’s a leap of Grand Canyon proportions. Yet the media continues to perpetuate and propagate these lies to damage the careers of well-meaning, principled conservatives.
Bill Flores didn’t link the Supreme Court case on marriage to the Baltimore riots. He simply refused to back away from the evidence-based argument that redefining marriage leads to the dissolution of marriage, which will result in cultural chaos. That may be a foreign concept to liberal operatives like RightWingWatch, but it isn’t to a majority of Americans.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.