GoFundMe Disables Campaign for Christian Bakery after Pressure from Bakery’s Competitor

Because pro-marriage Sweet Cakes by Melissa has already been charged with violating an Oregon law against "discrimination," the crowd-funding company has pulled the bakery's campaign.

By Jay Richards Published on April 25, 2015

The next campaign in the war on marriage has begun.

Last week, I argued that one way to fight back against the campaign of destruction against lone bakers, pizzerias and florists who resist the war on marriage is to crowd-fund the victims. It worked with Memories Pizza in Walkerton, IN, which was the target of a search-and-destroy mission from a South Bend news crew. After the daughter of the owners of Memories Pizza told the news crew that they wouldn’t really want to cater a same-sex wedding, the pizzeria suffered vicious attacks from the activist swarm. In response, Dana Loesch set up a GoFundMe campaign, which quickly raised almost $850,000 for this little mom-and-pop operation.

It’s a promising strategy. The enemies of marriage and religious freedom pick out a small business owner, then the rest of us use their market research to discover who to support financially.

Well, a similar campaign was set up to help a Christian-owned Oregon bakery called Sweet Cakes by Melissa. For declining to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian “wedding,” the owners, Aaron and Melissa Klein, have been ordered by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries to pay a $135,000 fine. Let that sink in. If Aaron Klein had been caught shoplifting or driving 110 miles per hour on a busy interstate, the penalty would have been trivial in comparison.

But before we could even report on the Klein’s crowd-funding campaign, the campaign was disabled. Why? Because they have already been charged with a crime in Oregon.

A competitor of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Lisa Watson of Cupcake Jones, contacted GoFundMe to alert the crowd-funding company that the Kleins had violated the terms of service. She complained:

This business has been found GUILTY OF DISCRIMINATION and is being allowed to fundraise to pay their penalty. The gofundme terms of service address hate speech, bigotry, criminal activity and sexism among other things in their campaign … The amount of money they have raised in a matter of a few hours by thousands of anonymous cowards is disgusting.

And Watson promptly got the response she was hoping for. Here’s the statement from GoFundMe:

After careful review by our team, we have found the ‘Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa campaign to be in violation of our Terms and Conditions. The money raised thus far will still be made available for withdrawal. While a different campaign was recently permitted for a pizzeria in Indiana, no laws were violated and the campaign remained live. However, the subjects of the ‘Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa’ campaign have been formally charged by local authorities and found to be in violation of Oregon state law concerning discriminatory acts. Accordingly, the campaign has been disabled.”

Get it? The campaign for Memories Pizza worked because they were targeted by a news crew, but had never declined to cater an actual same-sex wedding. Since Sweet Cakes by Melissa has already been charged with a violation, GoFundMe has pulled their campaign. So if your throat is already under the government boot, you’re out of luck.

This is a form of cronyism — of collusion between a private business and the state to destroy that business’s competitors. But it’s a form of cronyism in America I had never before imagined. Note that Lisa Jones is motivated by disgust, not only at her competitor, but at those who stepped forward to help her competitor in a time of need.

Rather than dwell on that depressing perversion of justice, however, I’m hoping there’s an entrepreneur reading this who is interested in both doing well and doing good. There is a growing need for a crowd-funding company that can help the victims of grotesquely unjust laws like the one in Oregon. One of GoFundMe’s current competitors may be able to step in. If not, then there’s a growing and unmet need that calls for another company in the market.

Either way, that company won’t have to worry about competition from GoFundMe.

 

UPDATE: Several readers have notified me that the Christian non-profit organization headed by Franklin Graham, Samaritan’s Purse, is now receiving donations for the Kleins:

Samaritan’s Purse is raising funds to help the Kleins pay their fine and meet other expenses. “They have taken a stand for the Word of God, and they should not have to stand alone,” Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham said. “I believe that Christians across our nation will rally around Aaron and Melissa and their five children.

“Please pray for Aaron and Melissa, and pray for our nation. When our judges are punishing Christians for practicing what they believe, that’s persecution, plain and simple.”

This is the traditional way such crises have been dealt with. Christian non-profit relief organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse as well as legal defense organizations such as Alliance Defending Freedom have led the way, and are both doing important work. Some problems are best dealt with by non-profit means, some by for-profit means, and still others by both. We should let a thousand flowers bloom. At the same time, for-profit crowd-funding is a third option that had not occurred to anyone until recently. We should explore that option even for controversial causes, rather than being driven out of the sector prematurely.

 

Jay Richards is Executive Editor of The Stream. Follow him on Twitter at @FreemarketJay.

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  • anilpetra

    It’s time to create at the state level a form of legal organization that offers sole proprietors and partnerships limited legal liability without the fiction of a “legal person”, which gives the Left their “corporations are people” demagoguery. Most businesses are incorporated (or LLC) to protect against litigious outrages of the far Left trial lawyer lobby. That way, the religious freedom of individual owners is at issue.

    • William Maddock

      anilpetra, the problem there is that corporations really are people. They are set up by people, they are run by people, and they employ people. In short, they ARE people. The fact that the Left Wing Elites refuse to see this is a reflection on them, not those that try to help the people who are those corporations. Corporations ARE people, and people have rights; rights that are worth defending.

      • anilpetra

        No, the problem is that the forward looking Left already made sure that the RFRAs in most states and at the federal level exclude “legal persons”. YOU are fighting the last war. This proposal hits them where it hurts. Get nimble and get something done!

        • William Maddock

          I am not ready to abandon all those people who are involved in corporations, especially not for mere expediency. Through and through, corporations are people.

          • anilpetra

            OK, you can fight to amend the RFRAs in all the states to add the Indiana provision — a fruitless exercise and subjecting yourself to a decade of LGBT sponsored litigation in federal court.

            Or get off your tush and **do** some innovative that pulls the rug out.

          • William Maddock

            I follow the lead of the two witnesses in Revelation and keep speaking out, for the duty is ours, the results are His.

          • anilpetra

            gobble gobbledegook of the ignorant. shame on you. do us a favor and READ a little before posting here, ok?

          • William Maddock

            Fine. Give me one example (just one) of a corporation that was formed and run without people somehow being involved. Corporations ARE people, because without people there would be no corporations.

          • Max

            That’s another way of saying “The result of my faith is a few internet comments. Righteous or what, huh?”

          • William Maddock

            When’s the last time you really got your hands dirty DOING what is needed, Max? As for me, I am a TV producer, editor, and director for a station that is housed in a church that also hosts a homeless shelter. When’s the last time you shook hands with the homeless, Max? When’s the last time you sat down and ate with the homeless, Max? When’s the last time you slept in the same place as the homeless, Max? It is a way of life for me, Max.

          • Max

            I can barely see you up there on your high horse. Such flagrant self-righteousness is so unbecoming. Your hands will start to bleed if you keep patting yourself on the back so hard.

            I’m glad you’re doing things for the homeless. Maybe you could remain on topic in future though.

          • William Maddock

            If you had chosen to leave your insulting attitude at the door instead of spewing it at me I wouldn’t have had to pin your ears back. While hiding behind a computer screen you spout insulting comments at and about people you know nothing of. That mirror you’re looking at is showing your stained carcass, not mine.

          • Max

            This flagrant self-congratulation isn’t impressing anybody but you. Pin my ears back? I guess you’re not letting up with this pathetic masturbatory fantasy about how great you are. A little humility (and a reality-check) might go a long way for you. Just a suggestion.

            “While hiding behind a computer screen you spout insulting comments at and about people you know nothing of.” Hypocrite. You’re guilty of this very thing right now. Maybe you should practice what you preach, Billy Boy.

            I bet you thought that last line was really clever too. In fact it makes zero sense.

          • William Maddock

            I’m not the one that went around spouting insulting comments at someone I knew nothing at all about. That’s not on me; that’s on you. Live with it, or repent.

          • Max

            Repent? Are your feelings hurt, Willy?

  • William Maddock

    Jay, there are some typos in your article, and they need fixing for parts of it to make sense.

    Paragraph 2: “then the rest of use their market research”

    Paragraph 3: “a similar campaign was set us to help”

    Please fix these, Jay. It will help the argument.

  • Red Fred

    Maybe Lisa Watson would like to feed their 5 children. What a load of feces. Recommend people leave Oregon and move to a state with religious protections. $135.K fine is outrageous! Would highly recommend Klein family enter a counter-suit to make them prove all these emotional illnesses. Poor little flowers suffered so much over a cake.

    • BXVI

      There won’t be anywhere to go in the United States after the S. Crt. decision in June. What we are seeing now is just the beginning. It is going to get much worse. The vast majority of Christians are going to cave in to the homosexual agenda in order to get along in the world. We are going to find out who means it when they say they are worshipers of the One True God and disciples of Jesus Christ.

      • Max

        Yadda-yadda-yadda. Life will go on. No need for the melodrama.

    • Max

      Maybe she should’ve thought about it before disobeying the law. The site can’t break policy just because this lawbreaker uses Jesus as justification for it.

      • Red Fred

        Maybe someone should check into why Judge Alan McCollough fined them this enormous amt. without benefit of psychiatric professionals testing for long term effects of refusal to bake a cake. Personal agenda. Many states now have religious protections in place for businesses who refuse to participate in what their conscience disallows. Certain this family thought about it and made the decision to follow their conscience.

        • Max

          And look where it got them. Crime doesn’t pay.

          • Red Fred

            If this is your idea of crime I’d love to see your idea of war. Guess you didn’t see how much money has been donated. 🙂

          • Max

            I did see how much money has been donated. But can every bigot business be saved by these “loving” christians? Nope, such giving isn’t sustainable.

            Breaking the law happens to be my idea of crime – not exactly controversial there. My idea of war is just as conventional.

          • Red Fred

            Oh it’s sustainable. You may try to force people to go against the moral values they live by, but the real ones will not comply. Funny how you critique Christians by your sarcastic “loving” description, but truth is authentic love. Christian people living by the values in the Bible know these acts are not permitted by the Creator, and their desire to please their God far overrides their desire to please others. You seem to be an anti-Christian bigot, the thing you label others.

          • Max

            I have no intolerance though, so I’m not. I believe people can believe what they want, but have no right to impose that on others – which is exactly what the conservative christians in America are currently trying, hence my opposition.

            Anybody who believes that their god would favour giving money to intolerant bigots over homeless shelters/charities can’t claim to be following Christ’s message. Any god who would favour the help going to the intolerant bigots over homeless shelters/charities isn’t worth worshipping anyway.

          • Red Fred

            No, you’re bigoted against people different from you who live by a code of ethics you oppose. Name calling continues like a middle-school kid. Cruz is a Harvard educated atty. who represents citizens who have different ideas than you so you call him names. You are the intolerant bigot, the very thing you claim to disdain. Your hatred for people who believe in the Bible, who refuse to live by the degraded morality of society, accept it, approve it, is strongly evident. You are a fascist. Virtue does not reside in you.

          • Max

            If only you were intelligent enough to understand the irony to be found in your rabid diatribe. Thank god you people are dying out.

          • Red Fred

            Profound example of tolerance. “Thank god you people are dying out.” Death comes to all men, even those who refuse the free gift of salvation and strive to impose their will on others through appointed justices against the will of the people.

          • Max

            “strive to impose their will on others through appointed justices against the will of the people.” – sorry, have you heard of Right Wing Republicans? I’d hardly call it intolerant for wanting to live in a country where we can choose what religion we follow, if any, instead of being forced to follow the rules of just one. If you knew anything about fascism (you named me fascist earlier, despite evidently not understanding the concept), you’d realise these RWNJs are demonstrating a far better example of this than the likes of me.

            Indeed, I’m grateful that people are waking up and leaving the church in huge numbers. Your brand of lunacy is coming to an end.

            Please elaborate on ” the free gift of salvation”. Sounds totally legit.

          • Red Fred

            When an appointed judge makes legal what has been voted against by the electorate you have an override of the desire of the people. Many states do not want gay marriage. Are people waking up and leaving the Muslim religion too? Their way of dealing with homosexuality is far more extreme than any Christian principle, but them you will accept. Oh, and incidentally, they refuse to take part in gay marriage as well.

          • Max

            Your aside about Islam is completely irrelevant. Please stay on topic.

          • Red Fred

            No it’s completely relevant. You oppose one religion yet Islam is a religion that OPPOSES gay marriage and also refuses to bake cakes for gay weddings. So not only are you an anti-Christian bigot, you’re a hypocrite.

          • Max

            I beg your pardon, when did I state that christianity is bad but islam is ok? Where exactly? Why don’t you cool it with the hatred, Jesus boy, and relate your comments to statements which have actually been given.

          • Red Fred

            “Jesus boy.” Hatred to YOU is pointing out the obvious. 🙂

          • Max

            Aaaaaaaaand you didn’t answer my question. Figures.

  • Zmirak

    Indiegogo was willing to serve as crowd-source for an expose about Kermit Gosnell. Perhaps they’d like the business.

  • Submission Accomplished

    will never contribute to another Go Fund Me campaign.

    • Max

      Maybe just give your money to charity instead then.

      • Colossus

        Good idea, max. I’m donating hundreds of thousands to Right to Life, Heritage, and Mass Resistance….and Hobby Lobby.

        • Max

          Your money, your choice.

  • John G.

    What started as a campaign to protect minorities, including homosexuals from harassment and bullying, has now turned full circle. It is now the all powerful LGBT that is destroying any business or person who refuses to promote their lifestyle. Their deception has worked..

    If you are a Christian, now is the time to take action .. any action!

    • Max

      “All powerful LGBT”? That’s laughable. 83% of the USA is christian, so if you’re losing out to gay rights, it only shows how weak your side’s own arguments are.

      • JdL

        if you’re losing out to gay rights, it only shows how weak your side’s own arguments are.

        Gays have become very accepted in the U.S. today because the majority of people understand that it’s unjust to discriminate against them. Now, by trying to force individuals and small business, those very few who refuse them service, to cater to them, gays by their own foolish actions have started the pendulum swinging back in the other direction. The majority of Americans also understand that (in spite of unjust laws to the contrary), individuals have the right to choose whom they associate with or decline to associate with.

        Your language shows that you think “winning” can only be accomplished by cramming gays down everybody’s throat. That’s going to backfire big-time. It already is.

        • Max

          How is it already? The “religious freedoms” bills? Those businesses are destroying themselves, and they can all have GoFundMe pages to save them.

  • They can’t stop freedom loving Americans from simply mailing a check… Bummer gofundme, you lose your 20%.

    Signed, not a coward.

    • Max

      At least they have their integrity.

      • Colossus

        I think you mean, at least they age their discrimination against religious freedom, which is supposed to be a constitutionally protected right.

        • Max

          Has nothing to do with religion. It was to do with the ongoing criminal case. The victimhood complex is never-ending with you people.

          • Colossus

            “You people?” Prejudice much, Max?

          • Max

            “You people” means prejudice towards christians? All you’re proving is that my previous comment, concerning the victimhood complex, was totally justified. Grow a pair, dude.

            Maybe learn what “red herring” and “straw man” mean before just throwing them in erroneously too.

  • Steven Mosier

    The difference between the Indiana business and the Oregon business was not because of a competing cupcake shop, it was because of the LAW! Sexual orientations is a protected class in Oregon, just like race and gender. Sadly, that is not the case in Indiana. You would know that if you did any kind of research into this article. Nice Journalism here.

    • BXVI

      I sent them money and you can’t stop me, hater.

      • Steven Mosier

        I’ve never tried to stop anyone. If you calmed down and stopped your own hate for two minutes you would have realized that. I was only correcting the article. Unless you like reading lies and being misguided. That’s your choice.

    • Golovolomka

      But nobody was discriminating based on sexual orientation. Melissa’s Sweet Cakes has baked custom cakes for gays before on numerous occasions. The issue was they weren’t going to support something that they found morally objectionable, namely same-sex marriage.

      Presumably, the bakers would have done the same had two heterosexual men or two heterosexual women who wanted to get married wanted a special cake baked for them. And if a gay man and a gay woman wanted to get married, they probably wouldn’t have had an objection to it.

      Sexual orientation didn’t have anything to do with their refusal, and the court was overstepping its authority when it so ruled.

  • BXVI

    $135K for their “mental anguish”? What a joke. A kangaroo court with a political agenda to make an example out of faithful Christians. And gofundme should be ashamed.

    • Max

      If you knowingly break the law, be prepared for the consequences.

      • JdL

        If you knowingly break the law, be prepared for the consequences.

        Great line! I’ll bet you would have used it with gusto on, say, individuals who helped slaves escape before the Civil War? Doing so was strictly illegal. Some people think there is a higher law that must be honored, but there will always be those who heckle from the sidelines, “You’re breaking the law! You’re breaking the law!”

        • Max

          “I’ll bet you would have used it with gusto on, say, individuals who helped slaves escape before the Civil War?”

          Nice straw man. Glad you’re so familiar with my personality, you must have been observing me for some time now. If you come up with anything relevant to say, I’m all ears.

    • Max

      Apparently lesbians’ feelings are very expensive.

  • -S’Cipio

    I’m guessing all the legal defense funds for those facing criminal charges will now be shut down on GoFundMe. Yes? Yes? No?

    No. In fact as of now there is still a legal defense fund for someone facing drug charges on the front page of GoFundMe. I imply nothing about the person one way or the other, but the hypocrisy is clear. GoFundMe is afraid of the hate they began getting from pressure groups. And they should be ashamed both for being so weak and so transparent.

    Thank god for Rev. Graham.

    • Max

      It’s not hypocrisy – that person was not convicted of a crime. These christian loonies were though. Hence the lack of hypocrisy.

      You know what is weak though? Christian arguments against the gay lifestyle. Barely surprising given the spurious content of the bible.

      • Colossus

        At the very least you recognize that homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle. That much you got right.

        • Max

          Where did I say it was “chosen”? Calling it a “lifestyle” in no way implies that I believe it’s a choice. Way to make up your own version of events.

          • localhistorywriter

            You old fool

          • Max

            So you offer insults and no actual counterpoints? Typical. The hallmark of the unintelligent.

          • Colossus

            I stand corrected. Nowhere in your message, Max, do you use the word chosen. However, your deeming homosexuality a lifestyle unequivocally makes it a choice, and your defending your use of the word substantiates the point. Spin it how ever you like, Max, but if my lifestyle dictates that I cook, I have chosen the lifestyle of a chef.

          • Colossus

            Actually, yes calling it a lifestyle does imply that homosexuality is a choice. And your attempt at defending the term to the contrary substantiates my point. Ask any homosexual about their lifestyle and they will tell you, unequivocally that it isn’t a lifestyle; It is the way they are, they’ll tell you while casting a scornful eye.. If I choose to cook for a living,I have adopted the lifestyle of a chef. See how that works, Max? Furthermore, diverting attention away from my original position (Red Herring) also proves my point. And quit your idiotic attempts at distorting my argument in order to try and attack more easily (Straw Man). Here’s another tip:
            You first need to work on synthesizing the topic and then try an attempt at a well-ordered thought. You’ve done neither of those things with your Red Herrings and Straw Men. You’re also guilty of the fallacy of an Appeal to Authority and an Appeal to Popularity. In fact, your woeful argument(s) lack credibility to the point of appealing to a cornucopia of logical fallacies.

          • Max

            Choice or non-choice doesn’t even matter; it’s a non-issue. Speaking of straw-men (a term I’m still not sure you understand), your diatribe on choice, picking on one line that wasn’t even remotely important to my point, isn’t relevant at all to this discussion.

            Remind me where I diverted attention away from your point? Oh right, nowhere. Way to make up your own version of events (again). Classic fundie christian tactic.

            Why not just stop your boo-hooing about gay people seeing as it doesn’t affect you?

          • Colossus

            “Choice or non-choice doesn’t matter.” Oh, I see. Now it doesn’t matter, when that was the entire basis of the debate. Loser.

            Fundie Christian? Uh huh. And you say I’m making stuff up. Get some reading comprehension for God’s sake. I promise to send you fifty bucks if you can go through our thread and find a single think that alludes to me being a “fundie Christian.”

          • Max

            Since when was that the entire basis?

            Funny how I’m the loser, when gay marriage is about to become legal all around the country. You insult my reading comprehension, yet you seem unable to deduce that you’re on the losing side of this argument. What I say doesn’t even matter. Gay marriage is here to stay, and you can suck on that.

          • Colossus

            You’ve got a rude awakening coming. And no, I am not on the losing side of this argument. Way to stay away from the fundie christian comment, too.

          • Max

            Rude awakening? Please enlighten me. I’d love to hear what rude awakening you think I have coming.

            By the way, I already live in a country where gay marriage is legal – society hasn’t changed at all, fireballs haven’t started raining from the sky, the church hasn’t been silenced and men haven’t started marrying little boys. Funny, huh?

  • JdL

    I don’t call myself a “Christian”, and I have no problem with doing business with gay people, but I wholeheartedly support the right of individuals to associate with whomever they please, and to decline to associate with whomever they please. The persecution of Aaron and Melissa Klein by the government is completely unjust, as is gofundme’s supine suspension of their account. I’d encourage everyone to contact gofundme; I pulled no punches in my message to them.

    • Max

      I bet your strongly-worded message really got through to them… lol

  • Max

    Conservatives have one serious disadvantage in the culture war – we can’t out-hate the enemy. These people get energized b their hate, it gives them a sense of purpose.

    but don’t lose heart. Christianity is not about lying on a featherbed.

  • Colossus

    Bleeding-heart liberals have one serious disadvantage in the culture war-they resort to distortions of facts, the oppositions words and fallacies. Liberals love to spin an argument rather than concede they’ve lost holding out hope that the liberal Appellate Courts will bail them out in an I-told-you-so kind of pseudo-win. Take Max’s comment below. She’s used the word “Conservative” in the beginning of her point, and the word “Christianity” at the end. The comment Implies that Conservatives and Christianity are automatically one in the same when, in fact, the two are often mutually exclusive. The arguer then pulls the Ad Hominem attack of their playbook and attacks character: See Max’s comment regarding Christianity below. And if all else fails, pile on the Ad Hominem attacks: Racist, bigot, sexist, hateful et al. Here’s are two facts:
    The overwhelming majority of states accept that one man and one woman makes a marriage. The overwhelming majority of states have voted for either amendments to their states constitutions validating this point or they’ve voted in favor of a referendum confirming the point. Also, it has taken the votes of judges to thwart the will of the people. These are irrefutable and easily verifiable facts and any thinking person, liberal or conservative, knows this.

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