Less than a month after we launched our Dump Angie initiative, 2,290 former Angie's List members have canceled their accounts following the company's attack on the rights of Christians and other faiths, and an additional 4,938 have written the company with their disapproval, saying they would not be using Angie's List in the future. Thank you to all who have made the Dump Angie pledge!
In addition to thousands of marriage supporters taking action, now a second victory has emerged from our Dump Angie petition: Bill Oesterie has “surprised” everyone by voluntarily stepping down from his position as CEO of the company. Having co-founded the subscription service in 1995, Oesterie is leaving at one of the company’s rockiest times, due to its decision to withhold business from Indiana after the state passed a bill protecting the religious freedom rights of its citizens.
What Oesterie quickly learned was that discrimination against Christians is still, in fact, discrimination, and that does not sit well with the American people. However it seems that Oesterie does not want to publicly let on that the reaction to his stance against religious freedom influenced this latest decision:
Oesterle's public reasons for leaving the company are to "re-enter politics" -- although the last several weeks would suggest he never left them. Feeling the pain of a boycott, the pinch of another downward year (the Indianapolis Star says the business "relies heavily on investor money to stay afloat"), and a public decision to put his company at odds with the First Amendment almost certainly contributed to the sudden departure. Still, Oesterle says, his goal is to reverse the "shellacking" Indiana took in the RFRA debate.
"I can maybe do some things to help resolve some of the state's issues." His position as CEO, he explained, is "incompatible" with his political involvement -- a view that was no doubt reinforced courtesy of former subscribers. Even when Governor Mike Pence (R-Ind.) watered down the language protecting the freedom of belief, Oesterle complained that he didn't go far enough. "I abhor discrimination, I just do. I certainly support religious freedom... right up to the point that [it] discriminates against somebody else and actively does so." Like so many faux religious liberty supporters, he wants to protect everyone of discrimination but the true victims: men and women of faith.
Whether Oesterie or the media will admit it, it was the men and women who believe in their religious freedom rights who showed Oesterie the real effects of attacking the first amendment. Oesterie is one of many who have learned the hard way that marriage defenders are not submissive: they are refusing to compromise on something as important as marriage and family.
This is a great victory for religious freedom, and there are many more to come!