If any piece of writing was tailored for the Washington Post's "Post Everything" section, surely it's the short essay from Evangelicals for Marriage Equality board member Matt Stolhandske titled "I'm a gay rights activist. I want to give $150,000 to someone who opposes gay marriage."
The piece, which obviously exists in part to drum up publicity for the month-old initiative that Stolhandske sits on the board of, proposes the most expensive turning of the cheek in recent memory by raising $150,000 and donating it to Melissa and Aaron Klein. The Kleins famously refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding last year. As a result of the ensuing fallout for their bigotry and discrimination, their Sweet Cakes bakery in Gresham, Oregon, closed months later.
"I'd rather have my kids see their dad stand up for what he believes in then to see him bow down because one person complained," said Aaron Klein at the time of the controversy. He made his bed; seems like the thing to do is let him lie in it. Next to his wife, like a good non-abomination.
But Stolhandske proposes another course:
I know this is a lot to ask of Christians like Klein; to shower love on people like me who represent something she abhors. So I'm trying to live that challenge myself.
The Kleins say the $150,000 fee will bankrupt her family. I'm raising money to help offset that cost. I'll send whatever we raise along to the Klein family with a message of love and peace. I don't want them to suffer. But I am also pleading with them and other Christians to stop using the name of Jesus to explain to the LGBT community why we don't deserve access to the civil rights afforded to heterosexuals through the legal institution of marriage.
There's forgiveness, and then there is rewarding bigotry. This post could have been LGBT Causes That Could Benefit from the Proposed $150,000 for the Kleins, Ranked, and it would have been 5,000 items long. LGBT homeless, people with HIV and AIDS who aren't receiving proper care, disenfranchised communities that don't have access to PrEP, gays in Africa, gays in Russia, gays in the Middle East, old LGBT people, trans youth, bullied kids, wig-less drag queens, gay men who can't afford to see Lady Gaga on her remaining tour dates, lesbians who won't be able to afford to see Sleater-Kinney when they tour next year...I mean, the list goes on and on.
Stolhandske's "olive branch" is a symbolic stunt with no guarantee of engendering change. "Thanks, suckers!" could be the Kleins' reply. They already proved themselves to be assholes.