Living on the Edge: ‘Bethel is my Church’

My name is Diego Tantardini. I own and run Tantardini’s Bakery and Deli in Redding. I opened this business five years ago because I have passion for food and I want to share my passion with the fantastic community of Redding.

I’m from Italy but I love Redding and the USA like I do my home country.

Owning a small business is hard. For two years I used to wake up at 3:45 a.m. and not go home till 6 p.m. after running deliveries, getting supplies and doing office work six days a week.

The last three years I’ve been taking it a bit easier, starting at 6 a.m., and finishing at 5-5:30 p.m.

It is a long day, but it is providing food on the table for my family.

There is a group of people who are boycotting my business because my family and I go to Bethel Church. Basically they say I’m “Bethel affilated”.
Affilated means : ” Of a subsidiary group or a person officially attached or connected to an organization”, which doesn’t apply to Tantardini’s because we are not affiliated with Bethel.

We go to church at Bethel and are proud to! But my business is owned 100% by myself. Bethel DOES NOT take any interest in my business (this is public record, and you’re welcome to verify it), Bethel DOES NOT pay for my visa, and I DO NOT pay Bethel.  I just simply go to their/my church.

I pay my taxes, I hire employees, I create wealth and contribute to the Redding community.

When the Carr Fire was happening we provided free food. When the Coronavirus broke out I decided to supply and deliver personally for free to elderly who needed it (it’s on Facebook, you can look it up).

Every two  years I have the obligation to submit applications to renew my visa with the risk of being denied if my business doesn’t perform. I live always on the edge. I cannot fail! The visa application costs $6,000, two weeks of work, and I have to produce 4-inches thick of paperwork.

Bethel does not vouch for me, because we don’t do business, it is just my church.

I love the USA and I love my country. I’m a veteran. I served as a Corporal Major in the Italian Paratrooper, which is the elite corp in Italy, and I would serve in the USA as well if necessary. I fought for my freedom and I love the USA because it is the land of the free.

Why are there people out there, who because they don’t like Bethel, want to hurt my business? I did not hurt you.  I do not know you. I never met you.

I serve everybody who enters my shop. I do not ask where you go to church before serving you.

In this state of chaos most of the people in this world came together because all of us suffered because of the pandemic, and the solidarity brought us together, erasing all the differences.

I would have those who hate Bethel Church consider that boycotting my business because I choose to go to a church is discrimination. Remember when you post on social media saying,”I do not support Tantardini’s because they’re Bethel affiliated,” you are hurting my business, which in turn is hurting my ability to provide for my family.

I do not know you personally, but just know that if by chance I see you on the road and you need help, I will help you. I would not ask you where you go to church before helping you. I understand and respect your opinion. If you do not like Bethel, you have the right to do so.

Finally, I want to close by informing you that boycotting my business is  sabotaging me on a personal level, and you are hurting another human being who is trying to honestly provide for his family.

Enough is enough. Please stop.

If you have something against me personally, I will be happy to talk face to face and have a constructive conversation about our differences. I will be happy to have you contact me so we can talk.

God bless America and God bless Redding

Diego Tantardini came from Milan, Italy, to Redding, Calif., in 2012 with his wife and two children. The Tantardinis came to Northern California in order to join Redding’s world-renowned Bethel Church and attend Bethel’s ministry school.

Back in Milan, while still in high school at the age of 15, Diego started working in a bakery. He learned to craft beautiful breads using only the purest ingredients, with no sugar or preservatives. He discovered a passion for baking, as well as a natural talent for sales and building customer relationships.

Tantardini’s Bakery is located at 2931 Churn Creek Rd., Redding, Calif., 96002. It is open 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and can be reached at (530) 645-8958. Food can be purchased in person, or via DoorDash delivery.

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221 Responses

  1. Avatar bruce vojtecky says:

    Diego, thank you for this informative letter.

  2. Avatar Johanna Anderson says:

    They seem like very kind people and I hear their food is delicious! While the emotional plea is sweet, the idea that people are trying to harm his family by boycotting the business, well … the other end of the spectrum is that people are not supporting businesses that are trying to harm THEIR families… families that include LGTBQ+, families that support and need reproductive health care, people that don’t welcome the misogynistic and racist ideals of the POTUS. I don’t care what church people attend, but I do care about values and human rights and the rights of my LGTBQ+ fellow humans. Except for a couple very rare situations, I don’t patronize business whose owners knowingly attend/support Bethel because our values do not align. I can’t knowingly support businesses with values that oppress women’s rights to reproductive health care, nor those that tell our LGTBQ+ that they are somehow flawed, or support the POTUS. I don’t give money to the NRA because my values do not align with theirs; likewise, I do not support Bethel-related businesses.

    • Johanna, thanks for expressing your thoughts in a civilized, respectful way.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        Apparently I’m not going to be allowed to express my thoughts in an equally civilized, dignified manner, since I’ve so far had two brief and entirely truthful comments removed.

        If no one is allowed to discuss the #1 reason most people boycott Bethel attendee-owned businesses – or to defend themselves against the accusations of religious prejudice in the article above – perhaps a disclaimer should have been posted to that effect.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      You are being unfair Johanna. You are holding these people up to a higher standard than any other business in town. The 7-11 down the street is owned by a very nice Muslim family, I love their Slurpees, the Muslim religion is also anti-gay, matter of fact in many Muslim countries it is against the law to be gay. Are we now to go through every Muslim owned business in Redding and boycott them?

      How do you know that the Tantardini’s are anti-gay? Have you asked them? The Catholic Church considers homosexuality a sin…are you ready to boycott Catholics too?

      So tell me Johanna, do you take the time to vet every business in town to insure that their beliefs align with yours? Do you ask every business you go into if they voted for Trump? As someone that has been to Tantardini’s many many times and have enjoyed their food and have chatted with them, they are a lovely couple and I can’t imagine that they have a bigoted bone in their body. As I said, I have hired tons of Bethel kids in my business, I have never met one that wasn’t accepting, kind and friendly to anyone, even LGTBQ folks. I have even hired gay Bethel kids.

      This place needs our support, I enjoy authentic Italian food, I love immigrants coming to the US to open authentic food from their home country, or boycott them force them to close and we can all go to that authentic Italian restaurant, Olive Garden.

      • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

        Doug, you know I hate to agree with an Air Force pilot, but you make some valid points here.

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        Bethel DOES NOT allow gay/bi members at their mega church including gay/bi at Bethel School of Supernatural students. They have expelled many people simply for being gay…if your hiring any out of country BSSM students, your most likely violating federal laws because if the BSSM students are here on a student visa, attending Bethel, they cannot by federal law hold a paying job. Here’s how Bethel businesses get around that law ..they have the BSSM students “volunteer” at their business and they don’t have to pay taxes, insurance or unemployment. Free slave labor is what it really is. These Bethelite owned businesses then don’t need to ” hire” locals because they have free labor. Yep, this has all been verified. Is it legal?is it helping Redding’s local economy? Is it something church members should be doing? You decide if you want to support a bethelite owned business. Freedom of choice of where you choose to spend your money. I prefer a business that plays by the rules and doesn’t play in a pity pool. The writer appears to want a pat on the back because he did something during the Carr fire….as a Carr fire victim myself, I have to say there were countless businesses that offered assistance to Carr fire victims but never asked for a pat on the back or free publicly as did ALL of the Bethelite owned businesses I saw during the Carr fire. Seems they thrive on being in the spotlight and love any attention!

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          “…Bethel DOES NOT allow gay/bi members at their mega church” Sorry Patrick, that is just not true. I had a couple of openly Bethel students working for me, and they were more than welcomed in the church

          • Avatar Patrick says:

            I personally know people who were asked to not attend Bethel because their choice if lifestyles doesn’t align with Bethel’s teachings …those teachings are gay conversation therapy, which Bethel has on staff. Bethel’s group is called “changed” allegedly for people who have gone through gay conversation therapy then they can attend Bethel…. changed group has a Facebook page if you don’t believe the truth….. BTW conversion therapy has been proven dangerous & ILLEGAL.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        Doug Cook,

        Catholics and Muslims are not admittedly taking over every aspect of local society for their religion, which Bethel is doing by leaps and bounds, per its “7 Mountains Mandate”. Bethel leaders have even written books on world religious domination, with Redding as its test case.

        Bethel’s so-called “Expansion Mandate” claims that “God” gave Bethel the City of Redding so that it could become a world-wide example of how to turn an entire city into its version of a theocracy.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Are the Tantardini’s trying to take over Redding? No…they are trying to sell croissants. and I’m looking out my window again, Patrecia…still don’t see Bethel taking over the city. leaps and bounds?

          It’s like the anti Bethels that believe Julie Winters shouldn’t be on our city council, that we should have a religious litmus test for who should run for office.

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:


            I could write a very long list of the ways in which Bethel has so far succeeded in taking over Redding, but I doubt it would remain on this thread for very long before being removed.

            As to Julie Winter – as Redding’s Mayor she hosted a “Christians Only” town hall meeting with Senator Brian Dahle to assure their Christian constituents that they are governing straight from the Bible (with special consideration for Christians), which generated a letter of censure from a national separation of church and state legal organization.

            She has also badgered City Staff members behind closed doors (the same City Staff the City Council has the power to fire) to officially recommend that the Council approve things Bethel wants. She claimed to be acting strictly as a Bethel Church Elder, but she was still a member of the City Council. In my opinion these are two examples of abuse of power.

      • Avatar Johanna Anderson says:

        Hi, Doug. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I will try to address each point in the order that they are laid them out. I love it when people use my name in comments! It feels so conversational and kind. 🙂 Thank you, Doug.

        I try to hold every person and business I know to the same standard, but you are correct that I do not vet EVERY business that I enter. However, I don’t shop at 7-11’s, nor Walmart, nor Home Depot. To be honest, I try to avoid “big box” when possible but that’s tough these days (I drive a car so I have to get gas). I do shop at Costco and Target regularly, and though I am not naive enough to think their hands are totally clean, they do publicly claim values that align with mine. Further, I am not anti-Muslim, in fact I am the opposite, and I thank you for your inquiry.

        You are correct, Doug, in that I don’t know that the Tantardini’s are anti-gay and I don’t need to know that to determine that I won’t spend my money there. It appears they have been asked several times here the “wedding cake” question (the suspense is killing me – not) and have yet to answer. Again, I can say with honesty, that the answer will likely not sway my opinion as that is but one facet of a larger issue for me.

        And lastly, Doug, I don’t eat out very often at all. Maybe once or twice a month and it’s generally tacos or Thai. To pre-emptively answer your question: No, I have not asked them of their political opinion nor religious beliefs, but neither have they found a need to make such a statement, as Tartardini’s apparently has. Hey, Doug, I am totally comfortable with you eating out as often and where ever you want to. I hope it’s delicious, and I hope you enjoy yourself.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Johanna, Like you, we don’t dine out very much. I am married to a frugal woman who works hard at keeping my spending under control. When I do go out, I want excellent service, good food and preferably not a big chain restaurant. That’s about all the requirements I have. Someone’s religion doesn’t matter to me in the least. By the way, if you like Thai food. Thai Cafe on Butte. Best in town.

          I am not a member of the Bethel Church, but I ran a large restaurant in Redding, and I had the pleasure of hiring and working with a rather large number of Bethel students over the years. What I found is that almost overwhelmingly, the Bethel kids turned out to be some of my best employees, the customers loved them, they were kind and friendly to the entire staff, I never met one that was homophobic or racist. At one point, the president of the company held a GM meeting in Redding for all the managers in the chain, so they could see the quality of my staff first hand. So it pains me when I read such disparaging and ignorant comments from others on here (Not so much from you, but others) about members of the Bethel Church. I for one am one that thinks Bethel has been a net positive for Redding.

          The first time I went to Tantardini’s, I didn’t know they were Bethel church goers, I like Italian food and wanted to try it. The food was excellent, the couple were delightful to talk with.

          I think the wedding cake question is irrelevant. They say in their letter, “I serve everybody who enters my shop” Many Christian churches have been slow in accepting gay rights, which is unfortunate. But as I said, the Catholic church still considers homosexuality a sin. Heck, it was only 10 years ago that President Obama was against gay marriage.

          What I am saying is that without exception, of the many Bethel students that I have hired and grew to know…from all over the world, I have never met one that wasn’t kind and accepting of people from all walks of life. Including members of the LGBTQ community.

  3. Avatar Damon Miller says:

    His food is great, his business aptitude not so much. You have an authentic continental bakery and instead of putting it downtown where it belongs, you put it in one of the most nondescript and lifeless shopping centers in a remote and fairly rundown corner of town, and then you give it little to no ambiance inside?

    If he weren’t Bethel, he would have closed his doors long before now.

    • Maybe the rent was cheaper in that strip mall. Just a guess.

      • Avatar Damon Miller says:

        I’m sure it was, but one wonders if it’s maybe not that great of a bargain to pay less rent and be in the middle of nowhere compared to paying more for a better location.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      The location is very likely an overhead issue, but who knows? Being downtown doesn’t guarantee success, nor does being in a strip mall mean failure—the owners of Wilda’s can attest to both. The owners of the former French-style bakery across from The Cascade threw in the towel—not because of the high rent, but (I’ve been told) because running a bakery is grueling. The people who opened up a nice little crepe shop downtown went under and are now serving up crepes out of a wine shop. There was a cool little eatery on the east side of town where Bechelli dead-ends that was very “Bay Area” in terms of food and ambiance. I think it folded almost entirely because the location sucked about as much as a location can suck in this town.

    • Avatar Joe says:

      Downtown? Lol….downtown is a complete disaster. If anything I would rather go to out of the way locations to avoid the transients, drug addicts, and dregs that cover downtown Redding. I will take a short drive to an out of the way location to avoid having to step over feces or have my car burglarized every day of the week and twice on Sunday. There is a reason downtown Redding has never amounted to anything despite decades of city support and its own marketing association.

    • Avatar Belinda says:

      Have you tried their food?
      I’m not a huge foodie, but I’d drove across state for their croissants.
      When I’m in Sacramento, I go to a sketchy part of town to visit a certain Moroccan deli. And it seems like everyone in town goes out to east Redding to visit Smokin Joe’s.

      • Avatar Joe says:

        Yes, I like their food and their canoli. They are nice people too, I am not a Bethel fan but as long as nobody tries to shove their religion down my throat while I am eating, I don’t care what their affiliation is. Good food is good food.

  4. Avatar Shannon Hicks says:

    Diego- thank you for reminding many of your right as an American to practice your religion freely. Sadly, many in this town (‘the tolerant) who accuse Bethel members of being zealots are obsessed with any Bethel affiliation and sadly encourage people to boycott many of our local small businesses. I say, live and let live. Ciao!

    • Avatar Anita Brady says:

      He is not an American, or did you miss that. Oh, and we do not encourage. We have a closed group Facebook Page that people can join IF THEY ARE CONCERNED about their consumer dollars. We don’t take out ads, plaster Yelp with reviews or walk in front with signs. We simply provide information. Ciao.

      • Avatar Shannon Hicks says:

        Anita- ah…apparently I did miss that. Thank you for politely pointing that out. Regardless of his immigration status, he has the right to practice his religion freely.

        If we’re going to play the ‘guilt by association’ game to boycott businesses whose owners attend Bethel- should conservatives boycott businesses owned by progressives due to some of the extremist elements in the progressive left? The fact is that outside of your private FB page there are many who vehemently (and repeatedly) call for the harm (boycott) of many local small businesses- all for the ‘sin’ of the owner’s attending a church many don’t like. Sounds real ‘American’ to me. Gotta love the intolerance of those who virtue-signal their ‘tolerance’. Not so much. Ciao.

        • Avatar AcidV says:

          If we are talking rights, everyone has the right to not spend money at any given business for whatever reason, just because you put out your shingle doesn’t mean people have to support you.

          • Avatar Shannon D HICKS says:

            Absolutely. Sadly the freedom/right to boycott local businesses merely for a religious affiliation only hurts small businesses.

          • Avatar Jennifer says:

            Shannon Hicks,
            This has nothing to do with religious affiliation. Bethel is not a religion. It is a Multi-Level Marketing/Ponzi scheme that we did not sign up for.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Jennifer. With all due respect. Who are you to determine what is and is not a religion? Such intolerance

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:


            Actually (in addition to being a prosperity gospel scam) Bethel is now also a very active political organization. Its leaders openly endorse political candidates from their various pulpits (in violation of the Johnson Amendment), pressure their congregants to become politically active to promote Bethel’s sexist, homophobic, power-hungry agenda, and it has a heavy political presence in both Sacramento and Washington D.C.

            In fact members of the Bethel hierarchy are now being invited to attend “advisory” meetings at the White House, and have had their photos taken standing next to Trump.

            A church should be about religious/spiritual beliefs – not political power.

        • Avatar Jennifer says:

          Doug-Why do I feel that I am allowed to determine what is and what is not? Because Doug, I am an Apostle! I have the certification to prove it.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            You have a certification? Good for you…what other religion or church do you believe is not legitimate?

          • Avatar Jennifer says:

            Shannon Hicks-Please tell us more about your business, Reverse Focus. I don’t recall the reverse mortgage options benefiting Redding locals during the last recession. Remember? Come on Shannon, you said you would never forget.

            Most locals that took reverse mortgage loans during that time ended up losing their homes. More importantly, some LOST THEIR LIVES. But hey, Carpe Jugulum! God bless you and your investments.

          • Avatar Dale says:

            Jennifer- why don’t you tell us why ‘progressives’ like yourself have a tendency to go off-topic and attempt to smear a person based on their occupation or company? Why don’t you tell us how little you understand about Shannon or reverse mortgages? Did you know that the vast majority of reverse mortgage ‘foreclosures’ were because the homeowner failed to pay their property taxes or homeowner’s insurance (same outcome in a regular mortgage). Why don’t you contact him personally before you attempt to level libelous insinuations? Come on Jennifer. God bless you and your ignorance and nastiness of attacking my friend.

            Your attempt is shameful and reflects on your character- or lack of it.

  5. Avatar bruce vojtecky says:

    Diego, I won’t make false implications or guess at your beliefs I will just ask you a question straight out. If a Gay couple asked you to bake a Gay themed wedding cake would you?

    • Bruce, I reached out to Mr. Tantardini with this question:

      “I was hoping I could get a reply regarding whether you would cater or provide food for a gay wedding? Have you ever? Would you?”

      Diego Tantardini: “Absolutely yes. Everyone is welcome at Tantardini’s. We are really close friends with a same sex couple, if you need I’m sure they can vouch for us.”

      • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

        “I have two gay friends! They think I’m swell! They’ll say I’m great! Therefore that negates my involvement with/tithing to an organization that is profoundly anti-LGBTQ!”

        This is the new tokenism. I am embarrassed at the tone deafness.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Tokenism? Why did you ignore the the answer to the question…“Absolutely yes. Everyone is welcome at Tantardini’s.” That is not good enough for you? Will you indict a Muslim store owner for the anti-gay stance of Islam? Where being gay is illegal? I think not. Not every church member believes every tenet of their church. 60% of Catholic women are pro-choice. Come on are being unfair to a hard working store owner that apparently has no bias against members of the LGBTQ community, could it possibly be you just don’t like Bethel?

        • Avatar Matt Grigsby says:

          I agree with Barbara. Anyone who says “I can’t be against gay people, I have gay friends!” isn’t exactly being a good friend. I don’t want *my* friends to refer to me as their “gay friend”, and I wouldn’t EVER want someone to use me as a reference to prove how open and accepting they are. It’s rude and it’s condescending and it’s hurtful.

          In most social situations I am indeed the lone gay person, but you know what doesn’t make me feel like the lone gay person? Friends who see me as Matt, not Gay Matt. No one should use their friendship with a gay couple as some kind of proof of goodness.

          Knowing and tolerating gay people doesn’t automatically make you a supporter of the gay community. Agreeing to make a cake for a gay couple doesn’t make you a hero, it makes you a decent person. You don’t get to claim bonus points for doing something that you should be doing anyway.

          I am happy to hear Tantardini’s is welcoming to everyone, and I hope everyone does indeed feel truly welcome. I don’t want to meet the owner’s friends to find out if I’m welcomed or merely tolerated, I want to feel welcomed just as I am. If you want to flip things around, imagine if I opened a coffee shop and introduced customers to my “Bethel friend”, to show that I’m accepting of members of that church. That friend becomes a prop for my world view, and I wouldn’t want to be treated that way myself.

          • Avatar Candace says:

            Personally, I think Mr. Tantardini would have fared better if he’d limited his answer to “Yes, I’d make such a cake; happy to.” I’d personally hate to be his “gay friend” couple when he puts them on the spot and trots them out as “I’m Ok, cuz gay friends” vouchers. Yikes.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Tough crowd…it certainly is difficult to please you all. Let’s see…we’re going to boycott Mr Tantardini because he must be anti gay…because every Bethel church member can’t possibly have their own opinions. Let’s use a gay wedding cake as the litmus test. I bet he won’t bake a gay wedding cake. He will? damn it…well then he is using his gay acquaintances as a token…see, he’s still a bigot. Good grief…talking about moving the goalpost.

          When I was in the Air Force, in the mid 80’s. I rented a basement apartment from a gay couple that lived upstairs in the small town of Idyllwild . I was never really anti gay in my life, but I didn’t give gay rights much thought back then, but was definitely anti gay marriage.

          Meeting this couple, becoming friends with them, living with them caused me to change my minds on gay marriage. By seeing for myself that a gay couple is no different from a hetero couple helped to change my views. Made me support gay marriage, way before Obama did. I repeat that story often, not to claim tokenism, but to let people know that if you actually take the time to get to know members of the LGBTQ community, you would realize that we are more alike than you think.

          I don’t see his statement as anything but expressing his views that he is as accepting of different lifestyles as all of us are.

          Matt says, “…Knowing and tolerating gay people doesn’t automatically make you a supporter of the gay community. ” Nor does being a member of a particular church automatically makes you anti-gay. I for one, will give Mr Tantardini the benefit of the doubt…because that is the fair thing to do.

          • Avatar Matt Grigsby says:

            As I stated earlier, you don’t get bonus points for being a decent person. You learned not to be a bigot because some gay people taught you to treat them with dignity and respect? Bully for you. You don’t get an award for that, but if you’re repeating this story often, as you say (and as I’ve seen you repeat on ANC multiple times) it sure seems like you expect credit and validation. Look at you!

            And it’s absolutely condescending to claim that if you get to know gay people we’re more alike than you think. You mean you didn’t already know that human beings different than you have things in common? So brave.

        • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

          Barbara and Matt, I’m disappointed. The guy was asked a question about whether he would make a cake for a gay couple, and he answered the question.

          Yeah, I get the tokenism is unnecessary, but to me, focusing on how he answered the question, and how his answer doesn’t meet with your approval, seems just another way to tear down bridges.

          Maybe you could offer just a little understanding to the guy, and acknowledge that there are reasons why he may have felt defensive enough to resort to tokenism.

          If you’re looking for people to disapprove of, I’ll tell you that I was against gay marriage before 1999. I was *for* civil unions, but I thought that tradition was one of the glues that held society together, and that gay marriage might weaken that glue. I changed my mind after the murders of Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder in July 1999.

          Yeah, I changed my mind, but I don’t expect any f*cking bonus points. Just wanted to make that clear.

          • Avatar Matt Grigsby says:

            Hal, I appreciate his honest answer. It’s his words and how he framed his answer that are troublesome for me.

            Literally *everyone* in California got to have a say in whether or not I can get married. Everyone. And most of them said I couldn’t. Obviously, I see that as very wrong. The world has changed regarding this issue, and I’m glad for that. But I still get to remember that most people didn’t want me to ever have the right to marry. And for all I know, they still don’t.

            When someone says something like “I have (whatever minority) friends” it should give people pause. Opinions evolve, minds are changed and hopefully progress is achieved. You suggest that I offer the guy a little understanding for resorting to tokenism, but I assure you that I live a life of having a deep understanding of where people are coming from on this issue. Frankly, I mostly assume they do not want good things for me, which is why I would never hold hands with a man in public. It’s dangerous and stupid. That’s based on people’s opinions of gay folks.

            Perhaps my words have been taken harshly, which was not my intent. My depth of feeling has come at great cost, and a casual comment like his, however innocently it was offered, (and I assume it wasn’t meant harmfully) is an occasion where I feel it’s important to point out the harmful and hurtful results. He may have felt defensive in his reply, but unless someone says something then old ideas are never challenged and minds are never changed.

            And I’m glad you don’t want bonus points for changing your mind. I applaud growth and understanding. Believe me when I say lots of people do indeed want credit for that growth.

          • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

            “”there are reasons why he may have felt defensive enough to resort to tokenism.”

            This is just a wild guess but my feeling is that this is a perfectly acceptable answer within his circle. He may literally not know any better. He may not ever have had anyone tell him that using people as props is deeply insulting and cheap. Maybe no one ever told him it’s the stock tactic of every CIS person who thinks this makes them an ally, same as every bigot I ever knew said they have a black friend. (Because someone will ask: CIS is denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex.)

            My views have evolved too. I used to hold misconceptions about The Other (fill in your choice of non-white, non-CIS people). I am still learning. I’m getting lessons on a near-daily basis about how my actions/nonactions, words and phrases, and antiquted belief system reflects my privilege. Clutching the past like some amulet proving I’m a good person means nothing when I am unwilling to accept that maybe I don’t know everything I thought I did. Change is painful. Admitting I’m wrong is painful. And when you’re in an insular religious group as Tantardini is, stepping out of line and saying, “This church is WRONG about LGBTQ people” – well, that’s social and religious suicide.

            It’s great that you changed your mind about gay marriage. But it is still under attack, as are all equal rights for LGBTQ people. And Bethel church is still flogging Gay Conversion (debunked as damaging by theAmerican Psychological Association and the American Medical Association). When you’re supporting Bethel by tithing, you’re supporting that program.

            Trotting out the “I have gay friends” to prove you’re an all-right guy while supporting an organization that says just the opposite doesn’t add up. He may really believe it. I don’t know. But claiming it’s anti-Bethelism that’s cut his business when all restaurants are suffering during a pandemic SIP – I am having a hard time believing that.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Barbara, Perhaps it is as simple as Mr Tantardini being a fairly recent immigrant to this country is not up to speed yet with the political correctness that consumes this country and this state. Us that grew up in California know not to mention we have black or gay friends, or face wrath of the politically correct mafia.

            I don’t blame Mr Tantardini for being defensive because of the numerous comments accusing him of being anti gay. I would be defensive too. From what I know about this man, and from the letter he wrote, I have no doubt that he is a good decent person that treats everyone fairly. To judge him harshly because of the church he belongs to seems patently unfair. Americans were scolded against doing that towards Muslims after 9/11, right?

          • Avatar Candace says:

            The fact that Matt feels like holding hands with another man in public is stupid and dangerous says a whole helluva lot. I would contend that it’s not stupid and should never feel dangerous . That said, it doesn’t matter what I think or how evolved or un evolved I view myself. Matt’s telling us how HE feels as both a person and a gay man. Listen.

          • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

            And Hal, I appreciate your sticking to the subject at hand and not deflecting into whataboutism, political correctness, misquoting me or misinterpreting my words, or making it unduly about yourself.

          • Avatar Matt Grigsby says:

            Doug, maybe this is all funny to you. Maybe this is some kind of game of semantics and wordplay.

            No one called anyone anti-gay. NO. ONE. It was pointed out that how he expressed himself is a form of homophobia and it was explained why those words matter. Waving the “politically correct” flag is also a way to say “I don’t like people calling me out for saying mean and insensitive things.”

            I would also add neither Barbara nor I made any mention of what church he attends or his faith in any way. We both took issue with what he said about having token gay friends. Either you’re perfectly aware of this or you didn’t read anything of what we said. Since you’re clearly intelligent, I can assume you know what you’re doing.

            Clutching your pearls in false outrage over something that never happened isn’t really necessary. But you know this too.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Saying you have gay friends is form of homophobia? Really? On one hand you said you never called him anti-gay, but then you call him homophobic. Do you really think Diego saying he has gay friends is ‘mean and insensitive’?

            “…Barbara nor I made any mention of what church he attends or his faith in any way. ”

            But that is the theme of this entire thread…Diego and his wife belong to Bethel Church, ergo they must be homophobic. I don’t buy into that hypothesis. In order to satisfy the witchhunt, he had to answer the wedding cake question…but he didn’t answer it to your satisfaction because you have a different standard…if any straight person says they have gay friends, it means they are insensitive and homophobic. Perhaps he was just being sincere…again he is not from this country, maybe in Italy gay people don’t deem that comment insensitive. I don’t know…been a long time since I been to Italy.

            I just think you are judging this fellow unfairly. He seems like a decent hardworking bloke trying to eke out a living, and there is no evidence, other than your declaration of what is and what is not homophobia, that this man has a bigoted bone in his body.

            It’s very confusing out there, I’m still learning about what to call people, I’m still learning how to properly use pronouns. I got chewed out not to long ago for calling someone a ‘he’, actually what I said was, “How you doing, young man?” He clearly was a male, his ID showed he was a male, he had a male name, but I guess he identified, as a female…that’s fine and dandy with me, I’m far from being transphobic…but I am 64 years old, and it is not easy to change my style of speaking. I am improving, I use non generic pronouns as much as possible, but I occasionally slip. Fortunately I work out of Portland a lot that has a fairly robust trans community, so I get a lot of practice improving my language. Sometimes a lack of awareness is just that…nothing more nefarious.

          • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

            I can easily imagine poor Diego, if he actually chooses to read through this thread and make sense of what he’s initiated, shaking his head in disbelief, “Pazzi Americani…Pazzi, Pazzi, Americani.”

  6. Avatar Austin H. says:

    “I would have those who hate Bethel Church consider that boycotting my business because I choose to go to a church is discrimination. Remember when you post on social media saying,”I do not support Tantardini’s because they’re Bethel affiliated,” you are hurting my business, which in turn is hurting my ability to provide for my family”

    Unanswered questions are:
    Do you tithe to Bethel regularly?
    If so, that is directly supporting a group that pushes conversion therapy. Which has been shown over and over to cause pain and emotion distress in those who have to go through such nonsense.

    Hurting your business and family? Well, your support of Bethel, in turn, hurts others, their families, and does so in a way that is asinine in 2020.
    I do not want to support your business if you tithe or otherwise lend support to Bethel, its leaders, and this mentality.

    Freedom of, and *from*, religion, is written into the Constitution last time I checked.

  7. Avatar Linda Cooper says:

    It pays to get up early and read. Several of the comments have been “curated.”

  8. Avatar Damon Miller says:

    It’s super interesting to me how one hand, businessowners are quick to rave about the wonders of the free market and choice, but on the other hand, when customers make a choice to not surprise their business, it’s just an unfettered outrage. They’re so quick to say, “If you don’t like, vote with your dollars,” and then when you do—or worse yet, organize others to do the same—they sure don’t like it.

    It’s almost like they believe they are owed your hard-earned money no matter what, and all of the lip service about freedom and free enterprise is just cover to exploit you and extract wealth.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Diego wants it both ways. He feels wounded by an informal “boycott Bethelite businesses” attitude that he seems to think is a powerful movement. But he’s happy as a clam with the insularity of Bethelites doing business with Bethelites whenever possible—a far more powerful movement that amounts to a great disadvantage for non-Bethelite business owners.

      I’m not cheering for him to fail, but if he does, he’s squandered a huge advantage.

  9. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    True story: I know Tantardini’s is owned by Bethelites and I’ve never been there—and the one has nothing to do with the other. I’m not on the “boycott Bethelite-owned businesses” bandwagon.

    Also true: There *are* a couple of restaurants owned by Bethelites that I do avoid. Why? Because I detest “worship music,” which these particular places play incessantly. Most of it is basically Creed-style cock-rock, with the lead singer shrieking and wailing about his bro-love Jesus. After sitting through 30 minutes of it, I have to check to see if blood is coming out of my ears.

    So, if anyone can testify that Tantardini’s doesn’t play that crap all through lunch, sure, I’ll give it a try. And on a larger scale: I lived in Redding before the eager-beaver Bethelites showed up and started opening cool businesses. It sucked. It sucked HARD. Not to mention, half our youth used to go off to college and never come back. Nightlife downtown was basically sad and angry 35+ alcoholics. So, while I continue to be baffled by how many thousands of seemingly bright young people can be taken in by a pair of theological lightweight country rube Trumpster-preachers, I do appreciate having these young people around. And their businesses….most of them.

    (Whenever I point out the improvements that the Bethel population has brought to Redding, I feel bad if I don’t also mention The McConnell Foundation.)

    As for Diego’s plight: Waaaaaah. The restaurant business is tough, dude. People decide where to spend their money for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons might be that they don’t want to contribute to whatever tithing he’s doing that helps line the pockets of money-grubbing owners of J&V Enterprises—and that’s their right. I don’t feel sorry for Diego, because businesses owned by Bethelites enjoy the advantage of Bethelites favoring Bethelite-owned business. That’s a HUGE advantage.

  10. Good morning. I should have gotten up earlier to head off the comments at the pass.

    With all due respect to those who hate Bethel Church and who boycott the businesses of those who attend, today I welcome this piece from Diego Tantardini to allow him to share his perspective as a human being who lives and works in our city. I am allowing him to tell what it’s like to be targeted and boycotted because of the church he attends.

    I’ve already removed a few comments and will continue to remove comments that serve no purpose other than to criticize the Bethel Church.

    Today I ask that we hear what Mr. Tandardini has to say, and really listen to him. I ask that today, this space is not filled with more column inches of Bethel church bashing. I ask for compassion and humanity and ask for readers to imagine what it’s like to be boycotted because of a religious choice.

    No exaggeration; but over the years here in the comments section we’ve published literally hundreds of thousands of column inches of criticism about Bethel Church. And we’ve published hundreds of thousands of column inches of articles written by professional writers who’ve reported on Bethel Church. Most of those articles have been critical of Bethel Church. I’ve written some of those articles. And I still have grave concerns about Bethel Church in this community.

    We know from our reporting that within Bethel there are members who are gay, and many who take issue with the church’s stance on many things, but they still attend. That’s their choice.

    However, today I ask that we show respect to Mr. Tandardini and let him have his say without being eviscerated by negative comments, simply because he and his family attend Bethel Church.

    I’m tired of the hate and negativity. Let this man, and everyone in this community, live and run businesses in peace.

    • Avatar Jana Hamblin says:

      Thank you, Doni.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Thank you Doni…very well said, my guess is you will be very busy today with your deleting button.

    • Avatar keith says:

      If any other businesses were boycotted because of any religious or social affiliation everyone would rightly be outraged. Why is it PC to hate and discriminate against Christians or certain Christian churches? Very bad form!

  11. Avatar bruce vojtecky says:

    I am the total opposite of Patricia Barrett but if you are going to delete her comments delete mine too.

    • That’s sweet, Bruce, but my plan is not to delete all of Patrecia’s comments, just the ones that I think stray from the specific topic at hand, and are more generic Bethel-bashing.

      With all due respect to Patrecia, she’s had a platform here to publish many, many column inches of her opinions about and hatred for Bethel. Today’s not that day.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      It’s not “hatred” Doni – it’s a passionate belief in the separation of church and state, which (in my highly knowledgeable and heavily researched opinion) Bethel is violating Big Time.

      Where I now live I’m also involved in two separation of church and state issues (one is a lawsuit, and the other involves demonstrations), which have nothing whatever to do with Bethel.

      Thousands of people are being accused in this article of religious prejudice, and it seems only fair that they should be allowed to defend themselves against those unjustified accusations.

  12. Avatar CHRISTIAN Gardinier says:

    Diego Tantardini,

    Sir, my heart goes out to you. I am personally completely in support of religious freedom of choice, as long as the religion or church leaders don’t spread hate, and as long as the separation of state (meaning political – economic and legal) and church is clear. Bethel in Redding has a clear problem with this political – economic and legal separation between church and state. We have a choice to decide what church or business we wish to go to. Deciding what political – economic and legal system to “go to” is a bit different. You state there is no economic tie to your business and Bethel. How about social?

    I think the question is well put above; if I go to you and ask you to craft a cake for an LGBTQ wedding, or cater wonderful Italian Food to such a wedding, would you? Of course you don’t have to, as the the Supreme Court has ruled you don’t. And of course, no one is mandated to do business with you.

    So Sir, what say you?

  13. Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

    I like fancy breads, but those seeds of revival get stuck in my teeth.

    • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

      I gotta admit. I took the bait, and took a look at the online menu. Impressive. Wholesome.
      Reasonably priced with loads of options – an unusual combination of offerings for Redding.
      I’ll be sure to check it out. Thanks for the heads up, Diego…

  14. Avatar Pamela says:

    I choose to not shop at Hobby Lobby as I disagree with their ownership practices. Same is true for me for Walmart. What about Crossfit? Choosing how to spend our money is part of a free economy. Personal choice. I understand my choices impact others, so I make them based on my own values and principles. I don’t see that as hateful; I see it as responsibility.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      What are Hobby Lobby’s practices that you are against?

      • Avatar Mary says:

        I can’t speak for Pamela, but I boycott them because they refuse to cover contraceptive prescriptions to women that work there full-time and are on their healthcare plan.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Except that is not true…Hobby Lobby’s health plan pays for 16 different kinds of contraceptives for their employees. There are 4 contraceptives that they do not approve of, such as morning after pills and IUD’s. Hobby Lobby does not prevent its female employees from using any of these four types of contraceptives, they just won’t pay for them, which the Supreme Court agreed with.
          So Mary…you are boycotting them with a false premise. Hobby Lobby does in fact pay for contraceptives.

          I’m assuming that female employees that accept the terms of employment also accept the health insurance conditions. They make that choice, don’t they?

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            IUD’s are – by far – the most effective form of birth control (9 times more effective than the pill), and are highly recommended by the CDC. However, the IUD process can easily cost $700.00 or more, which is beyond the budget of many working women.

            Hobby Lobby and other owners of for-profit corporations that employ the general public are free to consider a fertilized egg a full-fledged human being in their personal lives, but that doesn’t make their belief scientifically accurate, or something that should be allowed to seep into the workplace (no matter what Trump’s Supreme Court said).

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Nevertheless…Mary said she boycotts Hobby Lobby because , “…they refuse to cover contraceptive prescriptions to women .” That is not true, correct? So her boycott is not genuine. Maybe she is boycotting simply because the owners are Christian? Could that be?

            By the way, it wasn’t Trump’s Supreme Court that made that was Obama’s, .the decision came out in 2014.

    • Avatar Pamela says:

      For me it’s the choice I get to make about where and who to patronize. If we are to co-exist in our communities, we must respect individual choices, not manipulate or agendize those. If A goal is to collectively work together to improve a community, I’m good with that. Ifa goal is to infiltate, propagandize, and dominate a community, say for the “Glory of God”, I am not good with that and would view it as unAmerican. But that’s just me.

  15. Avatar Anita Brady says:

    One of the hallmarks of capitalism is that consumers spend their $$$ based on many tangible and intangible factors. My husband will never spend another cent at the ACE Hardware in Shasta Lake City. They have a Trump section of merchandise. We will never go to our nearby grocery store because they sell State of Jefferson items. Never will food from Giff’s pass my lips (no matter how good the smells when I get my hair trimmed nearby) because of the political wall decor.

    Yes, if you have Bethel or any religious music playing in your business I will avoid. If you have a Confederate flag or image in your place, you obviously don’t want my consumer $$$. If you attend Bethel, I will not give you consumer dollars as I know that you tithe to the Cult and % of my money will make it to their pockets.

    Maybe it isn’t covered in the literature that those with VISAs get, but boycotting is not against the law. It is capitalism. It is consumer power. We are not advocating standing in front of the business with signs or taking out ads in media, or plastering Yelp with reviews. If a community member is concerned, they can seek membership on a closed group FaceBook page and find the information.

    When my husband’s ancestors arrived from Ireland via Wales, they faced outward discrimination- No Irish need Apply signs in the window. They applied elsewhere for work. Diego came to Redding because of Bethel. Then he brought his whole family. I guess he’s put all his eggs in one basket and now that the basket it being tipped a bit by those of us that recognize Bethel for what it is (and want to educate others in the community), he feels discriminated against. But really, he opened his business knowing that more than 10,000 people attend Bethel and he would have a built-in customer base. The few hundred of us that are “woke” avoiding his cannolis shouldn’t be a deal breaker. But, maybe I’m wrong and our efforts over the years are making a difference.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Anita — Ironically, your reasons for boycotting businesses—couched in the currencies of consumer choice exerting enough power to make a difference—is why I don’t do it. I only boycott a local business if I’m so offended by something they’ve done that I feel morally compelled—and since I allow for a lot of moral ambiguity, you have to go pretty far out there to offend me that much. Selling State of Jefferson crap doesn’t come close to making the cut. Selling pro-Trump crap does.

      I don’t think boycotting here makes a difference—Redding and Shasta County are what they are. Bethel has changed Redding with its economic, cultural, and political clout, and unless the church implodes, we’re all going to have to take the good with the bad. I’d rather live in a progressive university town, but I don’t.

      I hope to live long enough to retire somewhere else. I’ve always liked Bend area and the Oregon coast.

  16. To Mr. Tandardini: If you enjoyed coffee at a cafe and then you discovered that the person who owned it was a member of the KKK, would you still purchase coffee at that cafe? Oh, but wait, that KKK member has a family he needs to provide for, and he is also a U.S. Veteran. So, you don’t agree with the KKK, but you like the coffee and well, the guy is just a normal guy, living his life of freedom in the good old U.S.! I mean, he has every right to believe what he does, right? So what if he donates to the KKK with some of the money he earns? I am not comparing Bethel to the KKK, but just saying that when you feel strongly about your beliefs, and you want to live with personal integrity and in NO WAY contribute or be associated with something you find personally offensive (or even deplorable, as some people find Bethel), then it does make sense to not shop at the store owned by someone who supports the deplorable or unpleasant group. I own a business that many people find upsetting and offensive and I don’t expect people to shop there just because I also have a family and a passion for my craft. Indeed, the signs in Redding with my business name are vandalized on a fairly regular basis, so trust me, I know “the struggle is real!”

    • Avatar Miguel says:

      Good illustration. Exaggerated somewhat for effect (quite allowable), but it does kind of get to the crux of the situation. There are obviously things out there that are ‘a line too far.’ Decisions about who we will and won’t associate with, and by extension, who we will and won’t support or patronize are clearly valid personal and ethical decisions. One could say among or most basic ethical decisions. I am not a member of any organized boycott here in Redding .. but I think it is almost impossible to make the argument that such action is unjust or misguided. That’s kind of up to those individuals to decide on their own. Mr. Tantardini has every right to try to persuade that we/they are wrong in making those judgements .. but it’s also pretty clear that those judgements rest on solid ethical grounds.

      If association or membership in an organization (Bethel) is a bridge too far for some people .. that is absolutely valid.

      • I feel I should have mentioned that this choice to not patronize his business has nothing to do with Christianity in general, and everything to do with Bethel specifically. For me, at any rate.

  17. Avatar Maureen Chenoweth says:

    I understand that individuals can choose to or not choose to do business with which they have similar or different opinions. But when individuals promote group discrimination towards a business due to a religious preference, I believe that is in an anti-democratic action.

    I am not a Bethelite, nor a Christian, and I strongly abhor conversion therapy (and have participated in protests about it), but I support the right of an individual to run a business with religious views not my own. By the way, he is an extremely talented baker and people seem genuinely happy to work there! I also believe that all independent businesses in Redding need our support more than ever.

    • The United States government allows certain businesses with Christian owners to practice group discrimination. Discrimination based directly on religion. Do you consider that “democratic”? Not trying to pick a fight here, just respectfully asking.

      I won’t get into the definition of democracy here, or an exploration or criticism of our government, but I would say that choosing where we spend our hard earned money based on whatever we want to base it on is very “democratic.” Some people can express their morals and principles by wearing a t shirt, some can express it by making donations to charities, some join groups. And it is another choice to stand by our beliefs by not giving our money directly to people who stand in opposition to what we believe in.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:


      Very few people care about what Bethel adherents do in the confines of their church and homes.

      However, Bethel is a heavily political organization whose leaders actually tell their followers that they risk being struck dead by God if they don’t support Trump, and who have often encouraged their eleven thousand attendees to become politically active in order to force their homophobic and sexist beliefs into law.

    • Avatar Miguel says:

      That would all kind of depend on how abhorrent those religious beliefs were, wouldn’t it? I’m not going to get into naming names .. but there are some fairly ugly things that go on under the guise of “religious belief.”

  18. Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

    I’m kind of a fence-sitter about Bethel. I think gay conversion therapy is utter horse poop, and the 7 Mountains Mandate, to me, is just un-American.

    Still, I can’t wholeheartedly jump on the Boycott Bethel bandwagon. If Mr. Tantardini will address the scenario posed to him by others on this thread–about baking a cake for a gay couple–then I’ll make a point of stopping by.

    Meanwhile, I’d like to mainly patronize businesses owned by folks who are pro guns rights yet anti death penalty. What the heck, if I’m going to narrow the field of businesses I’ll frequent, why be half-assed?

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Hal — I’m pro-2nd Amendment, but anti-dumb-ass gun-humpers and their endless fantasizing about finally getting to “defend” themselves. (“A’course the 2nd ‘mendment is all about self-defense! Tha’s wut makes it about ME!”

      I think some people just need killin’, but I’m anti-death penalty because I don’t thing the government is anywhere near competent enough to kill the people who need it. (“Wut?! The gum’mint cain’t do nothin’ right, but that ain’t no reason t’ stop fryin’ people who prolly got it comin’ fer sumpin ‘r ‘nuther!”)

      And I don’t particularly like people who are so rigid in their thinking that they see my above beliefs are impossibly contradictory.

      So if I open a restaurant, are we good?

      • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

        “So if I open a restaurant, are we good?”

        You bet, Steve. Will your restaurant revolve around western Colorado cuisine?

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          Trout and steak? I do know 20+ ways to cook trout—I ate trout more nights than not all summer long in my youth. Western Colorado was gold mining country, but luckily we mostly fished the high country up near the continental divide, so the mercury lesions on my brain are probably minimal.

  19. Avatar Patrick says:

    So, a person who up roots his family from Italy, moves to Redding to attend Bethel school of supernatural and attend Bethel church, isn’t associated with Bethel??? That makes no sense whatsoever!. Anyone that thinks Bethel is a good thing for Redding, just missed another big con by Bethel against the taxpayers during a pandemic no less!. Bethel, ( Advanced Redding another non profit hidden under Bethel) leases the civic center for $21,708 a month from the city of Redding. When a state of emergency declaration was made because of the Corona Virus and the county decided to rent the civic center from Bethel to set up an emergency temporary hospital in the civic, because Bethel supernatural classes were cancelled and it was sitting empty. While the temporary hospital was NEVER used, the California national guard was set up for just over a month. Bethel was given over $325,000+- including a $135,000 ” bonus” that the county auditor told the board of supervisors was illegal and FEMA would not approve the outrageous amounts charged by Bethel. The supervisors still approved the gross overpayment which the taxpayers will be on the hook for! That’s just one example of how crooked this mega cult is. Any business owner that chooses to support a con like Bethel, it’s called karma if their business ends up on a list of Bethelite owned businesses. Bethel leaders practice hate towards the gay community, including our city council member, Julie Winter’s and the biggest gay conversation therapy doctor and her business partner, Dr Van Mol. When you associate yourself with the likes of people such as the Bethel leader’s, you have to also accept the dirt that follows them because members are REQUIRED to tithe to Bethel or they’re kicked out! It’s called freedom to spend your money where you wish to spend it and if anyone chooses not to support a con, tax-free cult and it’s members businesses so be it. The profits ultimately end up in Bethel’s leader’s pockets because you’ve got to tithe!

    • Patrick, I didn’t say Bethel is a good thing, and if you’ve read ANC for any length of time, you know we’ve published many, many articles that are critical of Bethel Church in general, and its leaders in particular.

      Despite that, what I am saying is I want to hear from a fellow human being and fellow Redding resident who attends Bethel and has a right to express himself.

    • Avatar bruce vojtecky says:

      Patrick, what everybody is ignoring is that the reopening combined with the protests is projected to increase COVI cases. Those extra ICU beds will have to be set up again in the Civic.
      One thing I have wondered about this charge for use of the Civic is that when I worked at SLC and I5 was closed over the Cascades the Red Cross would come in and take over our gym to house stranded travelers. Not only the gym but the dining area as well. One or two custodians would work overtime to allow access and SLC was never paid anything from the Red Cross. How can Advance Redding charge for the same thing the Red Cross didn’t pay for?

  20. Avatar Heather says:

    This is a fantastic thread. Well spoken about how we feel as a community on this religious establishment.

    I am sickened by Bethel. More so how lavish these higher ups live and the dog and pony show they sell under the clout of religion. Theres so many issues that I simply cant overlook it.

    In all honesty, i been a faithful customer to this bakery and now I’m struggling if I will want to use them anymore.

    If they believe what that church sells – I just cant support his business. And it sucks. I love his pastries.

    My distaste for that church is bigger than my love for baked goods.

    I’m sorry.

    This is going to be a hard choice for him to make. That scam for a church or common sense.

    And unfortunately that church alone wont sustain them.

    Bethel will tell him they can, so they can buy a believer for a day. But I worry it will fall because of this.

  21. Avatar Erik says:

    Well I won’t be going there anymore. I’ve lived in Redding for 28 years and the last thing I want is a cult taking over my home town. You are not welcome here Bethel. Take your blasphemy somewhere else

    • Avatar Nancy Hill says:

      “If true”, I think the story here Doni, isn’t this small business being targeted but the use of the civic center during the pandemic, the board of supervisors/city council allowance of the use and the egregious payment of $460,000.00 to Bethel church from a government entity for rental of a city owned property. Where is the grand jury investigation?

  22. Avatar Doug Cook says:

    I have been to Tantardini’s many times. I don’t go because they are Bethel church members, I go because the food is awesome, authentic Italian and they couldn’t be nicer.

    The Catholic Church considers homosexuality to be a sin, they are pro-life and have many tenets that many on here disagree, will we boycott Catholic businesses? Out of the many many Bethel kids I have hired, I never met one that was anti gay, matter of fact without exception, they were the group that got along with everyone. The Catholic church is anti-abortion, but 60% of Catholic women are pro-choice. Do you lump all Catholic women in the same pro-life group?

    All I can say to the Tantardini’s is welcome…and I hope they realize that it is a very vocal minority that rant and rave about Bethel. Most in Redding are tolerant and accepting, including Bethel members. I really get ashamed when I read these comments.

    • Avatar Damon Miller says:

      If the Catholic Church were trying to take over our city and establish a theocracy, I’d probably boycott Catholic businesses too.

      “Most in Redding are tolerant and accepting, including Bethel members.” – DC

      lol, as long as you’re white, cis, straight, conservative and religious, I suppose.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        I take it, Damon that you have never met many Bethel members. Isn’t it wrong to lump an entire group together? Are all Muslims terrorists? You would never tolerate someone saying that would you? Why is it ok for you to do the same? Bethel is responsible for diversity in this city, there are people from all over the world, all races and ethnic backgrounds. Why is bigotry ok against Bethel members?

        • Avatar Damon Miller says:

          I’ve met quite a few and even worked at a booth next to Diego at a community event once. Diego was nice, but his booth was often closed, especially during high traffic hours, then when he did show up, he would gripe about low sales.

          Many of the other Bethel members I find to superficially pleasant, somewhat spacey, often naive, and usually quite duplicitous when you inquire about their relationship with Bethel. Their favorite method of trying to deflect is saying they are not a MEMBER of the church (which I gather can be quite pricey), even though they are regular attendees.

          • Avatar Lauren says:

            Just for clarification, it is a common Christian practice Everywhere to tithe to the church that you attend. 10%. It’s not a Bethel thing. And nobody gets “kicked out” for not tithing. 🙂

    • Avatar Anita Brady says:

      Do you think there is any single small business in town that is NOT financially suffering right now? Even as things “open up,” there is very little disposable income in the northstate. Even Bethel going folks are probably not ordering the treats that they used to buy. For Tantardini to cry– woe is me– and blame those of us that educate the community members that seek information is disingenuous at the least. Maybe there will be an influx of business immediately following his rant, and that would be a win. I will spend my consumer dollars where I like, thank you.

      I am ashamed that folks like you have been hood-winked by this mega-“church” thinking they are nice, community supporting folks with no ulterior motives. Read items on Seven Mountains of Dominionism and Winter’s guest blog on Vallotton’s site. Educate yourself. This is some scary stuff.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      Doug Cook,

      Your comment above is baseless. The Catholic Church is not admittedly taking over everything in Redding – which Bethel is doing as part of its 7 Mountains Dominionism scheme.

      In addition, the only people who view Bethel with unquestioning acceptance are those who don’t know enough about it. Thousands of people now belong to numerous Bethel watchdog groups, and fortunately their numbers are growing every day.

      • Avatar CHRISTIAN Gardinier says:

        In fact, there is a branch of Catholicism called liberation theology. This was a very important part of Cesar Chavez’s boycott of grapes and lettuce back in the ’60s and ’70s. Boycott is a way we can speak using economic means. There is absolutely nothing wrong with boycotting. I certainly include home Depot as a place to boycott. I really hope we get a response to the question as to whether the gentleman would serve or cater to LGBQT folks. I would really like to visit the restaurant.

        • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:


          There’s a huge difference between Liberation Theology and Bethel’s brand of politics. One strives to safeguard the rights and lives of marginalized groups, and the other seeks to destroy those rights and cause harm to those groups.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      One church promotes a prosperity gospel that is almost the polar opposite of what Jesus preached and demanded of his followers; the other church allowed its clergy to practice and cover up probably centuries of sex with children, and is still doing its best to keep its secrets.

      It’s puzzling to me which of those churches is drawing by far the greater share of our ire.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        For people who care about principles, and about not harming others, it would be very important not to patronize a business where the owner is financially contributing to a political organization (which Bethel basically is) that’s working hard in the political arena to violate the rights of women, the gay community, and others through force of law. Meeting Bethel’s demand for heavy tithes (which all attendees are expected to do) qualifies.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          Patrecia — You seem to think that I’m trying to make excuses for Bethel, so you point out why Bethel is worthy of criticism. But that wasn’t my point.

          You don’t think the Catholic Church has exerted political influence over the centuries, up to and including today, all over the world? And even if that weren’t the case (but it is), its okay to support the Catholic Church financially because their subjugation of women, treatment of the gay community, and systemic kiddy fiddling is done purely via the powers of the church?

          That’s some interesting math.

          So I’m still left wondering…….why the foaming at the mouth by ANC regulars about one church, and absolute silence about the other?

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:


            I apologize for misinterpreting your comment, and I completely agree with you about the Catholic Church. However, Bethel has a much more direct detrimental impact on Redding, as far as I’m aware. I read an article recently that claimed there have been no reported cases of child sexual abuse by the local Catholic churches (of course I know that doesn’t necessarily mean anything).

  23. Avatar Stephen Concklin says:

    Years ago I attended Bethel with my family. It was affiliated with The Assemblies of God. I had attended Bethany Bible College with the intent of serving as a minister. I learned I was gay in Bible College. Still, we stayed with Bethel. It was an impossible arrangement as it turned out. I was outed to my employer and was almost fired.
    I don’t hate. I love and I can be the face of love in the field of hatred. Hatred is self-destructive. I love.

    • Hey, Stephen. Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry for the injustice of being outed by your employer and almost fired. As someone who also attended Bethel in my youth when it was Assemblies of God (maybe we were there at the same time), I know it wasn’t a place that accepted gay people.

      I am so glad you found your way to live your life in love. Thanks for your comment.

  24. Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

    “You are not welcome here Bethel.”

    Am I in the right spot?
    I thought this thread was a about a struggling business introducing their great menu.
    Pass the paninis…then pass the collection plate…
    Hallejuya and hold the hatred for another venue…

    • Avatar Anita Brady says:

      Diego brought up the Bethel connection in all of his media excursions. He did it for one reason- to make his connection to Bethel a highlight, so that huge customer base would funnel to his store. Now that the pandemic has changed that situation, he is crying FOUL. You can’t have it both ways– or maybe they don’t teach that in Italy.

    • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

      I mean seriously…how do ya’ll really decide where you are going to eat out? Hal would prefer to eat where they’d rather shoot you dead before they’d fry your ass in the electric chair. The rest of you apparently have the owner fill out a questionnaire to make sure the restaurant has no ties to Global Warming, the ADL, the KKK, or the Trump re-election campaign before you’ll accept a seat. You’re kidding, right?

      Personally, I tend to olfactory guidance. But, I was gifted with an extraordinary snout. If the place is clean, wholesome, reasonably priced, and friendly – I suggest you give it a try. If you don’t like it, you’re out $30, and you don’t go back.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        That got a smile out of me, Bill…must be very complicated for these people to shop or dine out these days…

        • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

          The link below is to an old Ray Davies tune called “Complicated Life”…
          Ray Davies was frontman for the Brit rock group, The Kinks, and had a really great handle on the human condition before the rest of us even became aware that there was a human condition to consider:


          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            I saw them play in Berkeley at the Greek Theater in ’81 during one of the periodic truces between brothers Ray and Dave. Texan Joe Ely of “The Flatlanders” opened. Great show.

        • Avatar Anita Brady says:

          Along with the Bethel Affiliated Business list, we have a non-Bethel Affiliated Business list. We do believe in supporting local small business. It is not hard to find places to spend our consumer $$$.

      • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

        “Hal would prefer to eat where they’d rather shoot you dead before they’d fry your ass in the electric chair.”

        Bill, thank you for that. In the future, I’m going to use that sentence to explain my political stance.

        Dang. I wish I’d thought of that one.

        • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

          No disrespect intended, Hal, but the comedy of your choices sucked me into the Event Horizon of my response mechanism. Once there, I’ve no choice but to push the “post” button…

          • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

            Bill, I enjoy a good zinger, even if it’s at my expense.

            That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy it more when a zinger is at someone else’s expense.

    • Avatar Candace says:

      Bill V, I get what you’re saying with your “introducing the menu” comment, coupled with your other “I took the bait and looked a the menu” comment (at least I think I do?) but I personally don’t believe (not saying you do either) Doni’s intent was to publish an advertorial disguised as an opinion piece. As an accomplished and ethical journalist and human being, that’s not how she rolls. Like, ever. As far as the guy (?) who was inferring exactly that, and in a really shitty way, ANC’s comment parameters are pretty easy to follow; just don’t be a complete dick. If one isn’t sure if their comment is considered too “dickish”, chances are it is. I’ve personally had one or two such comments which exceeded an acceptable dickometer reading deleted by ANC. Sorry to those of you offended by my terminology; maybe pay attention to the meaning behind the words rather than the words themselves?

      • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

        “I’ve personally had one or two such comments which exceeded an acceptable dickometer reading deleted by ANC.”

        This is no great stretch, and not just for you, but for many here that find they are justifiably impassioned by the subject matter. For my own part, I am more the type to push the envelope wrt the upper ranges of the dickometer, just to solicit an impassioned response. Life is much more interesting with elements of passion and adamance, no?

        For me, these elements belie the difference between “meh” essay and potent, pointed essay. Properly applied, they are really invaluable tools amongst many in a passionate writer’s armamentarium, are they not?

        • Avatar Candace says:

          Bill V, I agree, “meh” is exactly that “meh”; it inspires neither passion nor intellectual curiosity. That said, if one only uses their arsenal of writer’s tools for the provocation of enflaming other’s responses or to simply showcase superior mental acuity without also honestly entering into the debate themselves then it is one-sided and no longer debate and runs the risk of falling into the same “meh” category. Does it not?

          • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

            “…without also honestly entering into the debate themselves then it is one-sided and no longer debate and runs the risk of falling into the same “meh” category.”

            I’ll admit, it’s a risk. The drunken stupor of an intoxifying immersion into one’s own work can compel one to contentiously overestimate the value of the collaboration between pen and paper, overqualify the confidence held within, or over-invest in the time it takes to prove out your thesis.

            In the simplest equation of perceived benefit vs downside risk, I take the gamble every time. Nothing quite like being right, sounding right, and being well received by your peers, is there?

        • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

          Dear God, Bill, please quit making me engage all of those brain cells at once with your comments.

          Sheesh. I need a nap!

      • Avatar Hal Johnson says:

        Where does one find one of these “dickometers”? Amazon?

        • Avatar Candace says:

          Hal, my daughter knit one for me but I’m fairly sure you can find one on Etsy. Be sure to include size preference. (;

  25. Avatar Amanda says:

    Sorry . No. If you go to Bethel and you continue to go or defend going then you are okay with their bigotry. More than likely you tithe to them, therefore my money won’t go to you, because your money goes to them. They are anti LGBTQ+ , they have posted racially insensitive and racist comments in their social media. You choose to follow them, so you choose the patrons you attract.

    • Avatar Candace says:

      Bill V, LOL. Point taken. I agree that using intellectual prowess on parade to score points with peers with whom you deem to be on the same intellectual plane as yourself can be both intoxicating and risky. As I see it the risk lies in both the intoxication becoming addiction as well as running the risk of ending up sounding like I’m sounding right now…a complete and total, uninteresting, pretentious asshole. I can talk like this all day long but that in no way puts me on any superior plane above anyone else; it’s empty and self-serving and unlike you I don’t have the will or the smarts to either keep it up or back it up with any substance. I can do it but I keep seeing visions of myself wearing a William F. Buckley Jr. mask while I dance around in my underwear. I know just enough about not much to be dangerous to myself. I think compared to that, I might prefer “meh”. Perhaps the unexamined life is just fine; maybe even preferable. Nice talkin’ to ya, have a nice evening, see ya in the funny papers.

      • Avatar Candace says:

        My apologies to all for going off topic. I’m mostly staying home cuz Covid with family and friends far away; bored to tears most days and missing human interaction. Still, not my opinion piece, not my right to hijack. Again, sorry to all.

        • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

          I can only speak for myself, Candace, but I enjoyed the hijacking.

          • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

            The way I see it, any diversion that leads to discussion regarding the technological implementation of dick quantification is a worthy topic. I’ve been known to suggest it before, but it applies here as well:

            If less is more and more is merrier…
            I must be the happiest son of a gun on the planet.

  26. Avatar Rita says:

    I can’t even begin to count the number of times a potential client has first asked if we are “affiliated” with Bethel. They want that information before they step in the door. We are a private company but we don’t discriminate and our doors are open to all. That’s what we tell them. However, it infuriates me that people are that biased and have that much hate in their heart for other members of our community.

    • Avatar Anita Brady says:

      It is not hate, Rita. It has resulted from education. While it is against the law for a business to discriminate, it is not against the law for consumers to choose where they spend their hard-earned $$$.

    • Avatar Randy says:

      Anyone supporting Trump, Bethyl leadership does, has to support his lies including the insanity that AGW(man made climate change) is a hoax. How are people supposed to deal with such dangerous lies?

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Rita — I don’t boycott Bethelite businesses, which I equate with banging my head against an oncoming tank. But if I start boycotting such businesses, it’ll be mainly because I think KV is a gold-plated @$$hole and a fraud. I’m a student of religions, and I know a theological mental midget when I see one.

      If that infuriates you, go ahead and be infuriated. Or maybe take up Buddhism and learn how to put a calming chill on all of that white-hot anger.

  27. Avatar Randy says:

    Aside from attempts to ‘lay hands’ on me or proselytize in store parking lots I have no problems with people associated with Bethyl. The intent and motives of the organization itself is another question. Not only are the top leadership of Bethyl in full suppoprt of Donald Trump and all he stands for but are clearly attempting to establish domination over politics and culture in our region. Supporting such an organization without confronting leadership about the egregious policies they support with Trump and the GOP as they trash environmental law and destroy scientific studies of AGW, pollution and habitat destruction. As individuals I ask Bethyl members like Diego, “How do you feel about supporting the destruction of our planet in the name of economic growth?”

  28. Avatar Steve says:

    Please cancel my subscription. You don’t include a link on your site to do that? ?

  29. Avatar Steve says:

    Please for the love of god cancel my subscription!! No link on the actual sight to in subscribe?? ?

  30. Avatar Luther Sinyard says:

    Any idea how it became known that you attend Bethel? From what you wrote I would guess that it is known because you make it known. Classic business owner blunder brother. If you want all in the community to support and patronize your business then you really cannot afford to align yourself with the radical positions espoused by entities such as Bethel. Personally I do not patronize businesses that I know are owned by Bethel attendees because when you tell me that you attend Bethel it makes me question your mental fitness/sanity. How can you look at the “Glory cloud” or the “Angel feathers” or the “Diamonds” and go “yeah that makes sense”? How can I know that you will not apply that same “logic” to the operation of your business. I am sorry that business is down for you especially since you say you have a passion for food and you support a family. You might do well to consider the words of Christ and apply them to the running of your business “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”. I know it only speaks directly to prayer but Jesus was a pretty deep guy and I am pretty sure that it applies to much more. Best of luck

  31. Avatar Lisa says:

    Shasta County’s population as of last year was about 180,000. The facebook group that recognizes Bethel affiliated businesses has a membership of around 1300. Assuming each of those members influences one other, that is about 1.5% of Shasta County’s population. If losing 3 customers out of 200 is enough to affect a business, they might want to rethink their business model. Many businesses go belly up here regardless of their religious affiliation. That the author notices one reason may just be sampling bias.

    • Avatar Lisa says:

      Not being open in the evening and weekends might be a reason too. How is a customer supposed to memorize all the weird hours that the local restaurants have? One reason chains succeed here might be that they are open at normal times that people are off work, going on dates, etc. Tantardini’s is only open twenty hours a week. That they are still afloat might be a testament to the quality of their food, but blaming their woes on some people who disagree with their church might be misguided.

  32. Avatar Shelly Shively says:

    I’m stunned, dismayed and saddened by so many mean-spirited comments. What has happened to compassion, consideration, kindness, and at least minimal attempt at accepting those of other beliefs and persuasions?
    I think of our ancestors, (with exception of indigenous people, or slaves kidnapped from their homelands)who came to this country as immigrants from all over the world: different cultures, religions and language.
    What happened to the premise of what made America great: the melting pot of diversity? We’ve all seen the old photos of thousands of immigrants at Ellis Island, with expressions of fear and uncertainty, risking everything in pursuit of being an American.
    America feels like a powder keg, fueled by anger, fear and injustice.
    Diego Tantardini was invited to speak his mind here on anewscafe, a site which is admittedly not pro-Bethel. I’m ashamed to have Mr. Tantardini experience so many hostile responses. Is this what we’ve become, in boycotting and tearing down an immigrant because of his religion? Where does it end? Do you boycott any business with Catholic ties, given the history of pedophile priests?
    I’m so weary of all the division and hate. We all need one another now, more than ever.
    Thank-you, anewscafe , for extending the format for Diego Tantardini to be heard.

    • Thanks, Shells. It was brave of you to write what you did. xod

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Shelly — As I rudely learned with my last ANC article, sometimes you put something out there with the intention of of having fun or bridging gaps, and it just doesn’t work out that way. I wish Mr. Tantardini’s business continued success, and I won’t be boycotting him or most other Bethelite-owned business on the basis of that association. But his testimony relies heavily on playing the victim card, and I and others are just not buying the sob story.

      That stance is multiplied in the eyes of many here because Bethel’s leaders promote conservative politicians and viewpoints that are the polar opposite of the tolerance Tantardini seeks for himself. His tithes to them go to support the church’s leaders, who in turn support regressive politicians and policies, INCLUDING the exquisites beauty of free markets, which select for the best ideas and products based on consumer choice. In that worldview and by those rules, Bethel is a HUGE winner, and I doubt that the church wants a change in the game.

      Sorry Diego, but consumers picking and choosing for their own reasons is what you signed up for when you started a business.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        I doubt that anyone is boycotting Bethel member-owned businesses because the owner happens to be an immigrant. Personally my objection to financially supporting Bethel by supporting the businesses of its tithe-paying members is its heavy political activity that strives to destroy the hard-won rights of entire groups of people, and its admitted, in-progress efforts to take over the City for its religion.

    • Avatar Damon Miller says:

      It’s pretty easy for white cis-het folks to say “let’s all get along” about Bethel.

      “If peace means this, I dont want peace:
      If peace means accepting second class citizenship I don’t want it
      If peace means keeping my mouth shut in the midst of injustice and evil, I dont want it
      If peace means being complacently adjusted to a deadening status quo, I dont want peace.
      If peace means a willingness to be exploited economically, dominated politically, humiliated and segregated, I dont want peace.
      In a passive non-violent manner we must revolt against this peace.” -MLK

  33. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    Greetings Diego! Thanks for writing this article. As others have already noted, many articles highly critical of Bethel have been published here. I’ve written many of them. Most of them concern the church’s hierarchy blurring the Constitutional division between church and state and their open stance against the LGBTQ community. Diego, did you know your church practices conversion therapy? Do you believe a gay person can be turned straight? These are some of the reasons local people are not fond of Bethel. I personally have never advocated for boycotting any business in Shasta County, because I’m a journalist and I’m not supposed to take sides like that. But people have a right to boycott, it’s free speech! Diego, talk to Bill and Kris, tell them to back the heck off the anti-gay stuff! Tell them to denounce Trump, or no more tithing. I”ll try to stop by and sample your wares soon.

  34. Avatar Shelley Fowler says:

    I am hearing that critical comments on his FB post are being deleted. Questions similar to the ones in this string along with questions regarding the gay conversion therapy. If you are going to post such a dramatic story, you should answer legitimate questions.

  35. Avatar Candace says:

    I have to wonder if rather than suffering from any anti-Bethel FB group influence, like many small businesses, Mr. Tantardini’s small business is suffering more from Covid-19 fallout. While perhaps growing in numbers (don’t know, not a member), this FB group is not new and as far as I know this business is the first to raise concerns about the group having a negative effect on their customer numbers. On the flip side, I do know pre-Covid small business owners in Redding who have struggled (and closed) partially due to the fact that they don’t have a built-in Bethel base of customers and in fact are “boycotted” by other Bethel “would-be customers” because of not being willing to affiliate with Bethel. I’m not a fan of Bethel; I’m also not a fan of “he’s no American” sentiments. I’m tired of all the hate and division as well ( who isn’t?) but personally I’ll continue to not support businesses who knowingly, “…proud to be a member…” support any organization, religious or otherwise, who’s leaders very publicly support and promote our racist president. Do I hate Mr. Tantardini or wish any harm to him or his family? Absolutely not. Do I hate others who frequent his business? Absolutely not. Do I hate what President Trump stands for? Absolutely. Protest comes in many forms and we all have the right to protest in our own, individual ways.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      So when President Trump is no longer president, will you still boycott businesses that supported him? and how will you determine that? Do you now have a questionnaire to present to your mechanic and hairdresser? Maybe a restaurant owner is pro Trump, but the server that works for him is a Biden supporter. you want to hurt the server?

      “… I’m tired of all the hate and division as well ( who isn’t?)” But yet, you are embracing hate and division. I disagree with Bruce Springsteen’s politics, but I had a heck of a time the last time I went to his concert. Why is it the tolerant left that is so quick to embrace division.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:


        When Trump is no longer president Bethel will still be endorsing Trump-like politicians (like Doug LaMalfa and Bethel toady Brian Dahle). It will also still be trying to use the force of law to violate the rights of the gay community, women, and other groups.

      • Avatar Randy says:

        If Trump represents the values and morals of individuals while he is president it is highly unlikely they will change their values and morals once he is gone. So you are, “tired of all the hate and division”,? Well there are many of us who are tired of those who support Trump in his endless lies, his gross incompetence and the endless chaos he creates and attempt to defend the indefensible with,”Thats just who he is”. Anyone who supports the demonstrable lie that AGW is a hoax, who supports the elimination of environmental protections of our ravaged environments and supports opening up our last protected wildlife sanctuaries to extraction by extractors who have been made blameless for the environmental catastrophe’s they create, then you can count on me finding ways to not support you in any way.

  36. Avatar Mark Johnson says:

    Bethel is a church that actively discriminates against and seeks to undermine the human rights of LGBTQ citizens. If you’re so worried about discrimination, are you speaking out against the racism and homophobia in the church? Are you supporting the non-profits and groups that are trying to make this a safe place for historically marginalized groups who have traditionally been targeted by violence.

    Yes, it is not Bethel members who suffer real discrimination. Stop whining and stop the martyr syndrome. If you really don’t like how people are judging, show it with your actions.

    What about Bethel members who patron your store because they know it’s Bethel-owned? Are you kicking them out for being discriminatory?

  37. Avatar Candace says:

    Hi Shelly, I realize you’re addressing your dismay at comments aimed at Mr. Tantardini and I understand the emotion behind your dismay but since you brought up America’s melting pot as an example… I would submit that one cannot simply exclude the indigenous people and slaves from a “melting pot” and still champion it as a shining example of diversity and inclusion as to what made “America great”. America IS a powder keg fueled by anger and fear and injustice; rightful, racial injustice that was and is neither considerate nor kind.

    • Avatar Miguel says:

      And other religions have been discriminated against like CRAZY in the U.S. How long before we had a Catholic president? How many Jewish students making the cut in Ivy League? Chinese labor in the west? Our “diversity” (which IS a strength) more or less happened in SPITE of our best efforts, not because of it.

    • Avatar Candace says:

      *NOT “rightful racial injustice”… racial injustice is never rightful..sorry…poor wording.

  38. Avatar Tyler Brown Cifu Shuster says:

    Thanks for the post, Diego. I enjoy your pastries at my local coffee shop. I knew you attend Bethel.

    You and others may like to know that I generally _do_ avoid businesses owned by Bethel attendees for these reasons:
    – I think the church officially supports dangerous doctrines, which I don’t think it is couth to discuss in a public forum
    – There are business owners who choose to publicly voice their support for those doctrines and identify their voice with their business. As they choose to make their business an extension of their personal life, I choose not to support that financially
    – Many of them are just tacky and have a low-quality product and are propped up by the fact that they have an automatic customer base, especially if they link their business with the activities of the church or school.

    You however a) do not make your religious views a part of your business proceedings and b) you make quality goods.

    I respect you for the business that you run and for the role you play in our community.

  39. Joe Domke Joe Domke says:

    We had a reader leaving nasty comments using other people’s names. The comments have been removed and the reader has been blocked from commenting in the future.

    Sorry about that.

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      Thank you, Joe. Even ANC attracts low-lifes. By the way, ANC made a big splash on the Bethel site on Facebook. The only reason I opened a Facebook account was so that I could have access to the Bethel-affiliated information and also the non-Bethel affiliates. I haven’t “friended” anyone, not even relatives, because I think there is too much personal information available on the Internet including Facebook. But like many who have posted here, I don’t want to support businesses that tithe to Bethel. My $$$; my choice.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Thank you Joe…

  40. Avatar Candace says:

    Tyler B.C.S., So if I’m understanding you correctly, you don’t support Bethel’s “dangerous doctrines” which you deem as “ uncouth” to speak about in public (which would reasonably translate to mean you find the doctrines wholly objectionable and therefore considered not fit for public consumption) and you say you know the owner of Tantardini’s (he very publicly just told us so in this opinion piece) is a proud member of that same church, yet you’re choosing to eat/drink there because he does not involve his religion in his business which I assume means he doesn’t outright promote Bethel in speech (he just did) or decor in his brick and mortar place of business. Eat there, don’t eat there; your choice, your right. To me that’s some serious “have it both ways” pretzel logic regarding what and why you chose to support this particular business. Or “kind of”, “sort of”. Huh?

    • Avatar Tyler Brown Cifu Shuster says:

      No, he doesn’t promote Bethel. He isn’t commenting on their doctrines or extoling their virtues. He’s saying that he chooses to go there and wondering why people boycott his business because of that. I’m offering my commentary on why people might do that.

  41. Avatar ADAM R SANDERS says:

    I have a purely food-related comment. The picture of the soup reminds me slightly of one of my favorite homemade Mexican dishes, albondigas. It would be fun to compare Portuguese kale soup with meatballs, this dish, and spicy albondigas, and Moroccan lamb meatball with couscous soup, to see which is the tastiest.

    • Avatar Candace says:

      Adam S., Ok, so now all I am is hungry. Nicely done.

      • Avatar ADAM R SANDERS says:

        Candace – how about starting an organic soup bar with vegan options in Redding that is areligious and apolitical? I had an organic farm business for a while, didn’t work out, but my goal now is to make enough money that I can afford to loose money on an awesome restaurant!

        • Avatar Candace says:

          Adam S, Great goal! If your restaurant fails, at the very least you’ll feel good about your mission. If it’s a success, even better! I’m not Vegan but I’ve had great Vegan food. Unless you yourself are apolitical and areligious I’m not sure how your business model would work but that’s looking through my own lens seeing as I think most things are political in nature and reflect our individual ideologies and therefore can’t be divorced from our everyday lives. That said, unless invited (and usually, especially not then, lol), I don’t have political or religious conversations with strangers in restaurants. SO. That was my verrrrry long-winded way of saying “Sounds great, I’d try your soup!”

  42. Avatar Margy says:

    I haven’t read all the comments. Maybe some of us boycott eating establishments. Not because of the owners religion. Rather because there isn’t an organic healthy option.

  43. Avatar margy says:

    I haven’t read all the comments – Some of us boycott eating establishments, not because of the owners religion – rather because they can’t find an organic healthy option on the menu

  44. Avatar Kathryn McDonald says:

    Before I retired, I frequently ate lunch at Tantardini’s. The food is delicious—I particularly recommend the Tantardini salad—and Mr. Tantardini has always been very warm and friendly. I would be disappointed to learn that he is a bigot although I have no doubt that Bethel is a bigoted cult.

  45. Avatar The Old Pretender says:

    I went in there a few years ago. Tomato-based sauce was served hot in styrofoam (!). Pastry was nothing to write home about. Diego did something to piss off his wife and she lit into him behind the counter with a ferocity I have seen only from a distance. The guy was a beaten dog and I left feeling like I never wanted to witness that ever again. I was surprised to later learn they were Bethel. I still patronize a couple Bethel-affiliated eateries, but I usually find the young staff are unconcerned about exhibiting good service, and the product is usually mediocre at best. Nothing religious, just want to spend my money wisely.

    • Avatar Linda Cooper says:

      I wasn’t going to comment on this matter, however, you raise an interesting aspect. I was excited about buying some pastries about three years ago. And I mentioned that to the owners. No return smile from them, no exchange. I left feeling deflated. There is a “vibe” there, that I have also witnessed with other Bethel folks. My sense of it is that Bethel folks are not embracing of others. Uh, if you aren’t “in” you are “out.”

      • Avatar Anita Brady says:

        Maybe Diego was tired as he used to get to work 3:45 am. LOL

      • Avatar Kathryn McDonald says:

        That hasn’t been my experience at all. I am not one of the Bethel folk—far from it—but Mr. Tantardini has always been very friendly to me and I disagree that the restaurant has a Bethel vibe. It is decorated with landscapes and food art and it doesn’t play religious music.

  46. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Thank you for this article Diego. I don’t live on your side of town so I haven’t visited your Bakery. I will now. I can’t imagine what it has been like for bakeries, delis and restaurants during this pandemic. The Shut Down has affected the businesses, workers, farmers, ranchers and truckers who are all critical to our food supply. Thank you for helping people in our community after the fire and during the pandemic. I lost my home in the Carr Fire and never heard about much of the generosity of local businesses like yours because my radios, TV and phone were just gone. I understand why people avoid Bethel affiliated businesses, but it’s clear that your business is not affiliated with this church/business. Thank you for speaking out.

    • Avatar Linda Cooper says:

      Oh, Joanne Snyder. You depicted the “after the Carr Fire” situation for me perfectly. I never had a cell phone. And heck, I’m still trying to learn. I too felt out of touch. I recall staying (I won’t call it living) at the hotel for a couple of weeks. So out of touch. We decided to try and eat (that was hard), and went to From the Hearth Bakery in downtown Redding. The clerk at the counter must have heard our conversation. After we ordered, she said, “the meal is on us.” This was so hard for us to accept. And, yet, it was also so sweet. My best guess is that they are affiliated with Bethel. I think it’s time for me to shift my after fire thinking to some extent. That extent would be accept what is offered in kindness. Just for the sweet moment.

      • Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

        Linda, that lack of communication, the loss of our community, and not being about to find or check up on neighbors was horrible. I so appreciate the efforts by small business owners in Redding to make our lives easier.

  47. Avatar Nadia says:

    Why are there even any concerns or debates about this. If they go to bethel the god will provide. No plea for support necessary.

    • Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

      Nadia, excellent point.
      Obviously Diego is not in lock step with the promises Bethel preaches under the guise of Christianity.
      Or perhaps his pleas for acceptance as a main stream business, neglecting people’s choices for supporting a particular establishment, are simply a reality he never considered.

      Diego’s story reminds me of the Muslim bakeries and stores in the Bay Area, who were discriminated against during the 70’s and 80’s. Most of the cries to boycott the Muslim establishments came from the Christian community opposed to Muslim teachings.

  48. Avatar Patrick says:

    Exactly Nadia! If they attend Bethel why is he concerned about his business? They believe prayer’s takes care of everything! Heck, Bethel even has a Dead Raising Team on staff to pray and raise & the dead! Sadly, Bethel’s Dead Raising Team failed at raising Olive, a bethel members 2 year old child from the morgue! However, the parents of Olive did receive a tax free windfall of close to $100,000 on GoFundMe for a Hawaiian vacation & living expenses, even though both parents are employed by Bethel music! Yeah, that happened right here in Redding… Bethel’s dead raising team at our county morgue!

  49. Avatar Gill says:

    I certainly understand that you are dismayed sir. However, it is a right that anyone can exercise, boycotting a business. This can happen for multiple reasons…good & bad. It is your given right to worship where ever you choose and it is also my right to patronize or not patronize a business based on my own views. I among many in the Redding area are fed up with what Bethel has done and continues to do to our city. Redding has become a horribly degraded city because of Bethels influence. I wish you well and best of luck with your business, but I will continue to avoid all businesses that are in anyway connected to Bethel.

  50. Avatar SB says:

    Diego, something that you need to realize, is that nobody cares how you choose to worship or where. What we also want you to realize, is that there are some of us, that are not on board with the idea of your house of worship’s encroachment into this city’s infrastructure. We have many, many churches in this area, and this is the first time that I have ever seen a church immerse themselves into this city so deeply that, they are taking over rental properties and driving housing costs so high that it rivals the bay area, taking over school boards, donating money to the police department, establishing themselves in public schools, using words like “bringing the kingdom to Redding” (what is that exactly?) What about those of us that have been in this area for 3 4 and 5 generations? Those of us who remember when Redding wasn’t so eager to become a theocracy that submits to a church? Yes, this area has always been conservative, but the wingnuttery seems to have escalated over the last 15 years.

  51. Avatar Rob Belgeri says:

    All this talk about “discrimination” is tossed about as though it’s unethical, immoral, or illegal. As consumers and adults, we small-d discriminate everyday. I discriminate again Brussels sprouts every time I hit the produce section. Yeah, yeah, I know they’re great roasted in olive oil and sea salt; sez you. I’ll choke down broccoli first. I discriminate against the NY Yankees in favor any other team (except the Astros; to hell with those cheaters) they play for reasons going back decades. Probably irrational, but discrimination, nonetheless. I’d rather watch golf than the Yankees. The large-D discrimination that Mr. Tantardini seems to accuse others of would exist only if “Italian immigrant deli/bakery owners who attend dominionist churches” were a protected class under a germane civil rights act, either federal or state. That is not a recognized protected class, so he takes his chances in the marketplace of ideas and commerce the same way other capitalists do. His freedom to operate, though, is only that; it is not freedom from consequences.

    On a more personal note, the foodstuffs Mr. Tantardini prepares and sells are among my favorites. I’m half Italian, and my Italian grandmother helped ensure my round stature when I was a kid by feeding us the wondrous concoctions and deli meats and cheeses found on The Hill in St. Louis, the Italian neighborhood where Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola were raised. My father lived in that neighborhood as a child, and I probably still have a relative or two there. I miss the food. I wish there were more choice as to Italian delis between Williams/Granzella’s and the Oregon border. Still, if I choose not to avail myself of Mr. Tantardini’s delicacies, I’ll not only keep the cardiologist happy, but I’m also secure in knowing my status as an ally of the LGBTQ and other communities not favored by Mr. Tantardini’s faith does not end where my taste buds begin. If he’s as strong a member of Bethel as he seems to present here, he likely tithes to it. That means he financially supports any program, including conversion therapy, in which Bethel engages. I see no need to send my money in that direction.

    As far as Mr. Tantardini’s affirmation regarding selling his goods to a gay couple, his unfortunate tie-in with some gay folks he knows may be a cultural thing, or it may be he just needs to concentrate on logic a bit more. For years, as the father of daughters but no sons and the brother of sisters but no brothers, I was accustomed to prefacing my statements against misogyny and rape culture with nonsense like, “Well, speaking as the father of daughters, . . . .” which is garbage, the logical corollary to which is, “Well, Belgeri, if you weren’t the father of daughters and the sister of brothers, would you then have leave to support misogyny?” No, I would not.

  52. Avatar Kristin says:

    I am proud and vocal about putting my hard earned money towards businesses that are NOT affiliated with that business-cult. I do everything I can to expose Bill Johnson and anyone affiliated with his immensely greedy, tax exempt, multi million dollar, fake sketch, ass. The local government is lined with their fools and they are hungry to rule this town and take what they want from it. Bethel is ruining Redding, and everyone who’s not drinking the kool aid, gets it. There is a local website that keeps an up to date list of all the businesses that are affiliated, it’s great because it helps me shape my choices. I bet your food is wonderful, I’m an Italian American who loves to eat. I will not drop a dime in your store, ever. Boycott Bethel. Bethel is a cult.

  53. Avatar David Boone says:

    LOL Bethel Economics, where the Pie is both on your plate and In The Sky at the same time – having one’s economic cake and eating it too. What’s the least amount of cheap lipstick they can put on the pig to make it passable to the most people at the highest price…

    Living and healthy economies circulate Real Value via the convection of fair exchange, but dead ones like these multi-level marketing schemes float their envaluated shit up near the surface (the Sky?) where they think it will slowly trickle down to the waiting mouths eager for bread and circuses (newsflash: it doesn’t.) By all rights Bill and Kris themselves should be Tantardini’s biggest customers, like a guaranteed truckload or two a week judging by their net worth. But are they? Not on your life. Oh I bet they show up in person every now and then for selfie-ops with the kids, buy some token pastries, and everyone shares in those Bethel-branded Barton Fink Feelings.

    Unless Tantardini can invent a creampuff lighter and flakier than what BJ and KV are selling, he’s forever doomed to drive the cheaper sports car. It’s called late capitalism, and it’s been collapsing inward on itself since forever. *THAT* is the biblical “Babylon the Great” that the People are supposed to “come out of”, not rush headlong to participate in – the economic corruption which pretty much infects reality and spells the end of everything Good that anyone has ever tried to build. The reason why Bethelite business stinks so bad to the people who sense something deeply wrong with it, is because its sin is primarily an economic one involved in fleecing masses of people and selling them shitty ideas and empty promises that appeal to their weaker natures. Usury, basically. Pastries or pizza or coffee are just the surface-level symbolic carriers of the deeper systemic deceit – a way to dress up and hide the fact that what’s actually going on is really quite foul. It boils down to concentration and subsequent abuse of power, which is the error in all economic systems built on the maintaining of inequalities.

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