Saturday, May 31, 2014

Jack O'Lantern Farms Boycotts Shirey Ice Cream

Selectively Civic Minded?

In the early years of our blog, we often showcased local businesses. As does our good friend OB, we believe in keeping our money here in the Shoals when possible. After Pen-N-Sword and the Quad-Cities Daily arrived on the scene, the need decreased for our blog to feature these businesses. Both local news sources do a great job of making the public aware of what’s new out there.

One such local business we featured was Jack O’Lantern Farms. Our blog didn’t have the readership it now has, but the article still reached approximately one thousand readers. The owners never contacted us concerning the blog, as many featured businesses did. At the time, we assumed they were simply too busy or perhaps were not aware of our showcasing their products.

Some time later we became aware that Jack O’Lantern Farms was aligned with a group that had for a short time taken over the Weeden Home. We at Shoalanda had found much lacking in the group’s handling of the historical site and often blogged about it. A website owned by this group once suggested crucifying and burning alive someone they disliked (no, it was no one here at Shoalanda) as well as making cruel remarks about two others they perceived as gay. This didn’t seem to bother Jack O’Lantern Farms at the time, but now the local produce company has sprung into action. It’s taken up a protest against Shirey Ice Cream.

Someone once called our blog anti-gay. We have no idea what produced that conclusion since we’ve rarely addressed any of these social/religious issues. We’re going to address them now.

We really don’t care what you (that’s anyone reading this) do in your bedroom if it’s consensual. We do care if you, no matter what your sexual orientation, force yourself on any person, especially a child who can’t fight back. We do care if you steal from taxpayers or anyone else or break the law in other ways.

In other words, if we have something negative to say about you here, it’s not because you’re Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, a Drag Queen, or anything else. We don’t enjoy your conversation, posts, or whatever any less if you’re not heterosexual. You are no less our friend. If you aren’t our friend, it’s not because of your romantic or sexual interests.

We cannot think of one instance in our lives when we’ve ever insulted anyone because he was different...for whatever reason. We do not condone anyone else insulting least because of your sexual orientation. Your driving skills on the other hand may be a different matter.

As for Shoalanda herself? I’m quite heterosexual, thank you. I primarily contain my moral improvement speeches to myself unless others are being hurt. On Judgment Day, the only one I’m responsible for is me. If you desire any spiritual guidance, I’m happy to help, but I’m not going to tell you that you’re going to hell, rather tell you how to get to heaven. If you’re not interested in God’s plan of salvation, nothing I say will make any pronounced difference, and I’m not going to ram it down your throat. I will ask here which is more harmful to society, two men who live their lives in a committed relationship or a man who marries five times and blames the first four wives for the problems life dishes out?

So what about those who do have negative comments about gays? The same goes for you. You may be anti-gay, anti-fluoride, or anti-finger nail polish. Just because we disagree on a subject doesn’t mean we’re not friends. As long as you aren’t out there physically abusing others because of their beliefs, you’re entitled to matter what any Hollywood stars may say.

After that small interruption, we now return to the subject of Jack O’Lantern Farms. Earlier this month, one of the three brothers who own Shirey Ice Cream posted some Tweets that many found offensive. When we read them, we found them odd and wondered if perhaps Mr. Shirey had been into the cooking sherry before he made these pronouncements.

Now, it seems the Shireys’ new business venture in downtown Florence is at best on hold. Florence loses along with the Shirey family. Yet it wasn’t just the Shireys’ would-be business partner that bolted. It seems that Jack O’Lantern farms also decided to jump on the rickety misguided bandwagon. There’s even a Facebook page dedicated to boycotting Shirey Ice Cream--even though only one of the three owners seems to have been involved in this brouhaha.

The problem with boycotts is they can work both ways. If Jack O’Lantern Farms can participate in a boycott against the Shireys over some personal ill thought out anti-gay rhetoric, then those who support the Shireys’ right to do business can boycott Jack O’Lantern Farms, a business that once aligned itself with what could properly be called a hate group. The owners of Jack O’Lantern Farms may soon be surprised at just how many prefer Shirey Ice Cream to their produce.

In the end, it’s up to you, gentle reader. Your money talks. Just remember this, if we truly knew the beliefs of every businessperson we gave custom, just how many would we continue to patronize? We looked at Mr. Shirey's FB page--he seems also to like guns and killing the lesser of God's beautiful creatures. Why not kill him with kindness? Boycotts are a slippery slope.



  1. Have you read the original tweets from the offending Shirey?

    And now I'll go see what else I didn't know about the farmers, as I was unaware of their involvement with the Weedon home...

    1. We've read two. One commented on gays in Boy Scouts, while the second seemed to veer off into abortion rights. There certainly may have been others. Not sure if any were ever deleted. This was on the personal account of one of the three owners.

  2. Yes, they were tweeted on his personal account. I support his right to maintain any personal opinion he chooses, but when he publicly voices how hilarious he finds it when anyone is denied service by discriminatory practices I cannot support that or by extension his business.
    Screenshots of the tweets
    The conversation here is worth reading, and some excellent points are made (in my opinion).

    Having been raised in an atmosphere where shaming tactics were a daily "teaching" method I make a conscious effort to remove those dysfunctional thoughts from my environment. As such if anyone I am friends with or following on social media were to refer to the Boy Scouts of America as "sissified effeminates" following their decision to rethink exclusionary policies regarding gay people then I am going to object. After that, I am not likely to have any future contact with them. In the case of Garrett Shirey (and many others before him) hiding behind Christianity is an inadequate excuse. As a private church of Christ high school alumni raised in a conservative family as the colloquial black sheep (I am religious, spiritual though not Christian) I believe people spewing hate like those tweets and then hiding behind Christianity are disgraceful to the Christians I grew up with. While they may not agree with Boy Scouts or may not support gay people, never would they express their disapproval in such a way. Nor would they support discrimination and express finding it hilarious. These are the people who taught me that God is love and that even as one who is different and a non-believer I am still worthy of kindness and entitled to be treated as a whole person. There is a way to disapprove and not spew hate.