I’ve been seeing this in the news quite a bit in the news over the past few days. “Pizza shop won’t serve gays.” “Flower shop won’t serve homosexuals.” If the headlines were to be believed, you’d think discriminating against homosexuals was all the rage these days. But the fact of the matter is, many of these headlines are deceptive. Some of the articles themselves go so far as to omit certain details, perhaps in some sort of attempt to villainize the business. For the most part, though, these businesses are portrayed as discriminating against homosexuals even though in most cases (you will find the oddball here and there) nothing of the sort is happening.
Take Memories Pizza in Indiana who was forced to closed out of fear for their well being after they stated that they would not cater gay weddings. They were labeled as bigoted, hateful, and discriminatory, even though they stated that they would have no issues serving homosexual customers. Wait. Didn’t I just say they won’t do gay weddings? Yes I did. So how does that work with them not having any issues serving homosexual customers? The two statements may seem contradictory but actually, they’re not contradictory at all. And here’s why.
If Memories Pizza stated they will not serve gays, period, that would be discrimination. But that’s not what they’re saying at all. If a homosexual wants to come in and have pizza, they have no problem whatsoever with that. To them, that person is simply a customer and they treat that customer like every other customer. There is no distinction between the Christian, the Muslim, or the homosexual. They are all the same. They are all customers. Where this changes is when the homosexual (or Muslim, or whatever) asks them to take part in their event. Once you ask someone to cater your wedding, you are no longer just a customer. You are asking them to take part in your wedding. A wedding they may disagree with. If they agree to cater your wedding, they are affirming what your wedding symbolizes. So for Memories Pizza, to cater a gay wedding would be to violate their morals and beliefs. They would effectively telling the world that they believe homosexual weddings are okay.
I’ve used the gay wedding and Memories Pizza as one example, but pizza and weddings aren’t the only thing it applies to. It can apply to any scenario that forces people to choose to obey their faith or violate it. To be clear, participating in an event is not a simple business transaction as the media is making it out to be. Participating in an event is a clear affirmation of what that event is about. It’s not about bigotry. It’s not about hatred. It’s not about discriminating against customers. It’s about not violating your conscience. Scripture calls for us to serve our neighbor, but we do him no service by participating in his sin.