While Christians in the marketplace are willing to serve all customers but not promote all messages, one restaurant in Virginia has decided it is not willing to serve Christians because of their Bible-based message.
Metzger Bar and Butchery in Richmond, Virginia, was supposed to host a private dinner gathering last week for 15 to 20 people, sponsored by The Family Foundation (TFF), a Virginia state family policy council and ally of Focus on the Family. About an hour and a half before the event was to start, the restaurant called and canceled.
Why? One of the restaurant employees researched TFF’s organizational beliefs online, and shortly thereafter, the waitstaff decided they couldn’t serve the Christian gathering because of TFF’s views on things like marriage and abortion.
In an Instagram post, the restaurant said it “prided itself on being an inclusive environment,” and therefore it had to exclude the Christian organization.
“Many of our staff are women and/or members of the LGBTQ+ community,” the post continued. “All of our staff are people with rights who deserve dignity and a safe work environment. We respect our staff’s established rights as humans and strive to create a work environment where they can do their jobs with dignity, comfort and safety.”
The irony of the restaurant’s position was not lost on TFF.
“Welcome to the double standard of the Left, where some believe Jack Phillips must be forced to create a wedding cake as part of the celebration of a same-sex ceremony but any business should be able to deny basic goods and services to those who hold biblical values around marriage,” TFF’s president Victoria Cobb wrote in a December 1 blog post entitled “We’ve Been Canceled Again.”
On December 5, of course, Denver website designer Lorie Smith was fighting at the U.S. Supreme Court for her right to operate her business according to her beliefs. Not to refuse service to people she doesn’t approve of, but to be free from government-compelled messages over same-sex marriage. Even as her attorney argued for the recognition of her basic free speech rights, all parties to the lawsuit stipulated that Lorie happily serves all customers, including those who identify as gay or lesbian.
She just doesn’t want to be forced by the government to promote messages that violate her deeply held beliefs.
That’s the same position baker Jack Phillips has been arguing for over a decade, and he’s still in court trying to vindicate that right!
Unwittingly or not, the Metzger Bar and Butchery restaurant committed the very offense that the Left has wrongfully accused Jack Phillips, Lorie Smith and other Christians of doing with their businesses: denying service based on who their customers are.
It’s remarkable that the Left never has an “ah-ha” moment where it looks in the mirror and sees its own contradictions on that issue.
And the restaurant, according to Virginia’s public accommodations law, can’t discriminate against anyone “on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, or military status” (emphasis added).
Of course, the restaurant doesn’t admit its denial of service was because of TFF’s religious views. It characterized its denial of service as “political.” TFF, as an organization, advocates on behalf of the family in the Virginia legislature and in Congress.
But the restaurant wasn’t being forced to create a message it didn’t agree with, it simply didn’t like the message that its would-be diners advocated for.
The logical implications of the restaurant’s action – if its “policy” were to be the new rule to be applied everywhere – are that people’s beliefs can be checked out before they are allowed in the door of any business. Gay, straight, faith or no faith, Republican or Democrat, you may have to submit a form outlining your views on a host of subjects or consent to a social media search before you are allowed in.
What a wonderful world that would be. (Sarcasm alert).
But let’s be real here. Christians who believe what the Bible says understand there will always be opposition to its message. Christians are forewarned and forearmed against criticism from the world. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you” John 15:18 (ESV).
That’s why Christians react so differently to marketplace situations like the Metzger Bar and Butchery restaurant than the Left does when it comes to such things as Jack Phillips’ designer cakes.
Other than pointing out the double standards the Left employed here, TFF has quickly moved on.
The organization simply found a new restaurant that same evening that would host its soiree’. No official complaint filed with state agencies, no lawsuits.
TFF’s perspective is: If you don’t want our business, fine. There’s another restaurant right down the block that does.
My, wouldn’t it be great if everyone had that same attitude? There are plenty of bakers, florists, photographers and website designers to accommodate the demand.
Meanwhile, Jack Phillips is still enduring his third lawsuit since 2012 when he announced he could not use his artistic talents to promote a message contrary to his biblical beliefs. And Lorie Smith must wait months for the Supreme Court’s decision to see if she can avoid a fate like Jack’s.
Please pray for a Supreme Court victory for Lorie and a change of heart from the Left because of it.
Photo from Shutterstock.