This week I was denied a service because the company’s
values are at odds with the values that Alliance Defending Freedom stands
for—values I personally hold. And guess what? I’m okay with that.
Allow me to explain.
As a writer, I’m always looking to improve my skills. And
working for a no-debt ministry like Alliance Defending Freedom, which can only
take on cases and clients as the funds are provided through our generous
Ministry Friends, fundraising is an important part of what we do.
Using my work information, I signed up for an online course
created by Moceanic, a team of talented fundraisers who have created a coaching
and training business to help writers better connect with donors. I’ve read
blog posts and books that the team has produced, and I truly admire their
talents. They have a gift for connecting with people.
What I didn’t know when I signed up for the course, however,
is that Moceanic does a lot of work with organizations such as the ACLU,
Planned Parenthood, and LGBT activist organizations. If you know anything about
ADF or have read my blog posts before, you know that ADF and these
organizations don’t exactly share the same values.
I received login information from the course and was excited
to get started. But late last night I received an email notifying me that they
had refunded the cost of the course with no explanation as to why. I was a
little perplexed by the email and when I logged into their website this
morning, the course was no longer available to me.
That’s when I starting digging deeper into the brains behind
Moceanic, and it didn’t take long for me to discover the values statement on
their website. Here are a few key excerpts:
We work with progressive charities and movements…This
includes LBGT+ rights, Planned Parenthood, ACLU… We won’t work with
organisations that oppose these movements.
is important to us, and we reserve the right to choose not to train people
working directly for, or on behalf of, organisations whose missions or values
do not align with ours.
My first thought was; “I get it—no
further explanation needed.” I mean, why would they want to train someone who
is going to work to raise money for their opposition? My second thought was “We
actually have more in common than they think!” This is somewhat like the kind
of freedom that Jack Phillips and numerous other
ADF clients are fighting for.
ADF recently argued on behalf of Jack at
the United States Supreme Court. Jack was sued because he politely declined to
design a custom cake celebrating a same-sex marriage. He believes that marriage
is sacred—between a man and woman—and designing a cake that celebrated a very
different message than his religious beliefs was not something he could do.
It’s not that Jack had any problems
serving the couple requesting the cake. In fact, he offered to design them
cakes for other occasions or sell them any of the premade goods he had available.
But Jack’s faith is important to him, and as an artist, he has the right not to
create art that contradicts that faith.
And it’s not just the cake artist or Barronelle
Stutzman, the florist, whose case we have appealed to the U.S. Supreme
Court. Alliance Defending Freedom is defending website
production companies, and other small business owners who are fighting for
the same freedom in court—the freedom not to betray their most deeply held
beliefs and values.
Our clients serve
everyone, they just can’t custom design material that sends messages that
violate their faith. But Moceanic has taken it a step further. They denied me
not just their coaching program involving customized material—they declined to
serve me entirely, even refusing to allow me access to a pre-existing course.
Moceanic shouldn’t be forced to coach me on how to speak in a way that
generates excitement and engagement for a cause that they disagree with any
more than Jack should have to create a cake celebrating a marriage that
conflicts with his beliefs. But they also want to decline me pre-existing
courses lacking any custom designed coaching or content.
Moceanic’s actions go further than protecting against compelled speech, I
understand why they wouldn’t want to advance the mission of their opposition.
We live in a diverse nation where people hold differing views about a lot of
different things. The freedom to disagree is what makes America so unique. If
we’re all forced by the government to adhere to the same ideology, then we are
no longer the land of the free.
Kennedy stated during oral arguments in Jack’s case, “[T]olerance is essential
in a free society. And tolerance is most meaningful when it's mutual.” If
the government can take away Jack’s freedom to speak and create consistently
with his conscience, then freedom for all of us—including Moceanic—is at risk.
realize it or not, it appears the Moceanic team agrees with that sentiment. And
although they might have taken it further than our arguments in Jack’s case, I
wish them all the best.
Help ADF continue to advocate for the rights of all to live consistently with their beliefs.
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