Word from the Center: Friday, September 7, 2018
Welcome to “Word from The Center” FRIDAY, a Two-Kingdom, practical reflection on the issues of the day from the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty, I’m Gregory Seltz, Today’s topic/issue….
Does Every Deli have to be Kosher?
When I was working in New York City, I must say that I not only loved the varieties of food, I loved the varieties of the people that made the city unique. Restaurants didn’t just serve cuisine, they served a culture, an environment, a style all their own. I had my favorites, that’s for sure. In the neighborhood there was “Pete’s Place,” a Greek restaurant that was to die for. Around the corner was a German restaurant that decked out their joint out in style for each season of the year. And, of course, who could compete with the delis, especially the kosher delis, in NYC. You would get up early just to get in line for a cup of coffee and a morning bagel and cream cheese toasted to perfection. This week, I thought back to those days, all those different people, each able to be themselves, open for business, open to serve….on their terms for the sake of their customers.
When I think about the diversity, the tolerance, and the service that was a normal part of the neighborhoods in the city back then, it makes me sad to see what is happening to people like Jack Phillips in Colorado today. (For more, see https://jimdaly.focusonthefamily.com/the-state-of-colorado-is-harassing-baker-jack-phillips/) He is under siege again. They, a kind of sexual-orientation lynch mob, are after him again. Isn’t it amazing? Think about this attitude that is becoming more normal in our culture. Think about the busy-body nature of so many today. Think about their willingness to use government coercion, intimidation, even violence to silence views that have been around for thousands of years, undergirding healthy, civil, tolerant societies, views that have enabled many to be tolerant of other viewpoints different from their own. There is a new spirit among us today. Those who object to Phillip’s view of sex and marriage don’t just value the freedom to shop at another bakery, they must litigate, eviscerate, and destroy dissenting views to the contrary.
Here’s a question that I’ve been asking. In a civil, tolerant society, “Aren’t there other bakeries who can serve you?” Does your right to be who you are demand that others MUST agree with you? I knew I was on to something when both Bill Maher and the Family Research Council are both asking the same question. It appears that this, as so many other lawsuits today, has nothing to do with cakes, or business, this is about silencing speech and most of the hate is coming from one direction.
So, aren’t there other bakeries to bake the particular cakes of your choice? Is it a civil right’s issue now to coerce someone to bake whatever you demand that they bake? Should Jack Phillips have to bake cakes to celebrate satanic or pagan rituals? Why can’t he limit his services to those things that he can honor and esteem? He didn’t limit any of his in-store creations to any of these customers. What right does the government have to coerce people to a certain understanding of “healthy relationships?” If Phillips won’t bake a cake for a couple that’s living together, will he be sued for that as well? Is living together a constitutional right? Once the constitutional protections of individuals before the law became government protections and even enforcement regarding various couples and lifestyles, the absurdities become endless.
In a country where marriage as an institution is being devalued, the last thing this culture needs is government involvement in the discussion of what a “healthy relationship is to be.” Wouldn’t it be better to live and let live, and to allow the faith traditions of people to be honored and held in esteem, especially those that have proven beneficial to the temporal liberties and freedoms of such a diverse culture like the America? Why does every baker have to hold your worldview? Why does every Deli have to be Kosher, or not Kosher? They don’t. And in a free country, thank God they don’t have to be…..at least not yet.