Here’s a question. Is it possible to love people and still turn them down? I think if you’re a parent, you can answer that question. We can’t give our kids everything they want. We could, but if we did that, what sort of adults would they grow to be?
Now obviously, someone in business and refusing a service is far different than parenting. But at least one of those questions above still applies. Can I love someone and still turn them down? Let’s see.
A few years ago, I was approached to market a project by some people who very much wanted me doing their PR/Marketing. They’d heard about some earlier projects I’d done and they knew they wanted me on it. So I investigated it. (This is where I should inject a side note. I will never take on a project unless I feel I can do great work with it. I feel very strongly about this and I pray over each project I take on. When I pick up a project, I will be actively promoting and marketing what they do. I have to believe in it. I have to be excited about it. Are all of my projects Christian? No. And honestly, that bothers some people. That’s fine. I know I am where God placed me – even on non-Christian projects. ) In this particular instance, I turned down the project. I was not the right person for it. And I explained that. No big deal. The potential client and I parted ways. They were disappointed in my decision but they weren’t angry. There was no vitriol and no comments were slung.
Why does this apply here? Because the project I had considered was financed by a homosexual pornography company.
Now, let me clarify. he film I was approached about was NOT in that genre. I could have promoted it easily. But I wasn’t comfortable taking the money from that outlet. And I wasn’t comfortable with the fact that they had been hoping to use this film to gateway people to their other films. That’s not my project. It doesn’t jive with my company. But if I lived in Oregon, it appears that state laws would make that particular decision impossible for me. (I’m not an expert – I’m happy to hear from people who are more knowledgeable than myself, but if you want to comment here, I won’t allow vitriol or nastiness from either side. Please be aware of that.) I struggle with that. I’m not sure how I feel either way. I think blanket laws can’t cover all businesses. No store should be able to say that you can’t shop there because you are a certain color or gender or religion or..whatever. But should I be required to accept every project that comes my way? Even if I don’t agree or believe in it? I don’t think that’s really great either – for obvious reasons.
My business is not a “Christian business” so to speak. I work across the board (as mentioned earlier). But as sole proprietor and a Christian, it is a Christian run business. So there are some things I don’t take on because of that. But with each of those, I do my best to treat people with love and respect. No one, to my knowledge, has ever left feeling discriminated against or even, hopefully, hurt that I’ve said no. I pray that each person I deal with has understood – we’re just not the right fit for each other at this time. Maybe something else will come along that WILL be a right fit. That filmmaker could come back to me with a new project financed elsewhere that I may embrace completely. One of my current clients could come to me with something that doesn’t work at all. I really do feel like I need the right to be able to say yes or no to keep running a business with integrity. (And so many marketing companies don’t. They will take money for any project but they won’t deliver results. Just work. There is a difference.)
So where do we land with this? I can’t say I know. But I do know this much. This whole Oregon baker story breaks my heart on many levels. There’s so much vitriol and anger being slung by both sides that it feels like we’ve forgotten some very basic manners. On ALL sides. Not just one or the other.
It might sound “out there” but the reality is that we are all on this journey together. We aren’t all going the same place or with the same goals, but we are all on the road together. I sin. I mess up. I’m not perfect. But if you’re walking next to me and you drop your bag, I’m sure as heck going to help you pick it up. I’m going to see if you’re okay. I might hug you if I feel you need it. I don’t care who you are, who you voted for, or what your values are. And I think (in my very humble, not theologically educated opinion) that this is what Christ would want of me.
If everyone had just talked and been able to bear one another’s burdens in this bakery thing, I think it could have gone much differently. But it didn’t. And now we’re here. And my little blog entry isn’t going to do much. I understand it’s the equivalent of spitting into a hurricane. But it’s my little corner of the internet and here, it’s my hope that people can find peace. Maybe some answers. Maybe some clarity. But always – love, respect, and appreciation.