The name Matt Stolhandske probably doesn't ring a bell, but depending on which news circles you run around in you may have come across his editorial in The Washington Post. Stolhandske is raising money for the owners of the Portland-based Sweet Cakes Bakery, who have come under severe financial duress within the past year. The thing is, the owners of Sweet Cakes are Aaron and Melissa Klein.
They're in debt to the tune of $150k in fees and fines - a sum which may well bankrupt them - because last November they refused service to a lesbian couple, an act of discrimination that ran afoul of Oregon's Equality Act of 2007. As is typical, the couple hid behind their religious beliefs to justify their bigotry, though notably their religion didn't step in when it came to serving other sinners.
Stolhandske is a conservative evangelical, so perhaps it's not terribly surprising that he's wanting to raise money to help out fellow Christians, but the record scratch is that Stolhandske is gay...and he's not excusing their behavior one bit.
Despite initial perceptions and the hyperventilatings of some, Stolhandske is actually not being an apologist for the Kleins' behavior. In fact, he explicitly condemns their bigotry while still extending an olive branch to broker for peace and foster good will. You know, like Jesus does in that little book the Kleins claim to hold dear.
Whether he intended it or not, though, Stolhandske has done something brilliant with this offer that completely shatters the Christian Martyr complex that the Kleins have. The Kleins have only two options: accept the money raised, or decline it.
If they accept it, then they're accepting the kindness of a man who is, in this instance at the very least, trying to live as the Bible commands: loving thy neighbor, turning the other cheek, forgiving trespasses, fomenting peace rather than letting a wound fester. They claim to be Christians; he's actually acting like one. Accepting his money would be an acknowledgment of that, and that the gays aren't really out to get them.
If they reject it, then they're cementing their public perception as homophobes and pull back the mask of religion that they're using to hide their odious bigotry. Furthermore, their actions will reflect on all of the businesses that try to excuse their hatred with faith, standing as a testament that it was never about freedom of religion, just small-minded prejudice.
Whatever choice they make, we win. They just decide whether they get to grow along with us.