No Such Thing As “Christian” Pizza: What Christians Misunderstand About Religious Freedom

April 8, 2015

Memories Pizza. The name sounds like I’m going to get pizza, and maybe some glamor shots.

I was a huge Parks and Recreation fan.

And is it just me, or do the fictional citizens of Pawnee, Indiana seem a little bit less fictional and more drawn from life lately? Seriously, the fickle voters of Pawnee could always be counted on to harass Leslie with even the most inane of complaints. “I didn’t say I wanted all the slugs gone, just some of them!” is probably my favorite line of the entire series.

Lately, Indiana has been receiving plenty of completely deserved attention for finally making a stand for all of their persecuted Christians. Pizza shop owners seem to be especially grateful for their newly protected freedom to refuse service to LGBT customers.

Because serving someone pizza is obviously an endorsement of a customer’s lifestyle.

Can we all admit that Christianity, at least in America is getting worse?

This is what Christians do not understand about religious freedom.

You Can Discriminate All You Want

Like most controversies in the Christian culture, this one smacks of predictability and a profound misunderstanding of what it means to be free in America…and what it means to be a Christian in America. I could not have written a more predictable script: Christian owners of Memories Pizza get on TV and declares his right to refuse service. Bunch of Christians donate almost $900 grand to persecuted (American) Christians.

What no one seems to understand is that if you own a pizza shop, a car wash or any other business, you have the absolute right to discriminate, to refuse service, to reserve your business for just the people you want to serve.

It’s called a non-profit.

You don’t have to serve anyone you don’t want to…if you don’t want to make a profit. But we have all agreed that if you want to have a business in America, you are not allowed to make judgments on the strangers who come through your door.

If you want to discriminate because it makes you feel more free, you can make all the non-profit pizza you want.

The Hypothetical ‘Gay Wedding’ Boogeyman

I want to ask a question of all the people who donated to the poor pizzeria:

What do you think your dollars are doing?

Did they cure cancer? No.

Did they help the victims of a natural disaster? No.

How much business do you think Memories Pizza actually lost before they closed?

I don’t think it could have been very much. After all, is it not absurd that the whole argument was based on a hypothetical.

“If a gay couple wanted us to cater their wedding, we would have to refuse…”

Which, by the way, means they never actually were compelled to cater a gay wedding.

When did gay wedding become the hypothetical boogeyman of choice? How many of us are ever going to have the opportunity (or obligation) to photograph, cater, dress or style a gay wedding? For that matter, I sincerely doubt any gay couple, even in Indiana has ever said, “You know what we should serve at the reception? Pizza.” If I think I know one thing about gay weddings, it’s that they probably don’t serve pizza.

If you feel that bad about making money from a gay couple, then donate the profits of the sale to charity. But you know, if the Pope can get down on his knees and wash the feet of some pretty scandalous people, I think you can man up and serve some pepperoni to a gay couple.

Is Your Pizza Making the World Better?

I was recently looking at Harry’s shaving supplies because the ads keep popping up in my browser. One of the founders also founded Warby Parker, an eyeglass company. No statement of faith or anything like that.

Guess what? Warby Parker does the same thing that Toms does: donates a pair of glasses for each one sold. Harry’s donates time and profit to local charities.

Why? Because they say “business should make the world a better place.”

Jesus told his followers that if someone demands your coat, to also give them your shirt.

Let me ask you: is your pizza making the world a better place? It doesn’t look like it.

Are you giving more than people demand? (That’s a rhetorical question. We know what the answer is.)

Once again, I can look across the pasture so to speak, and see greener grass. I see people doing what we are supposed to be doing, better than us. The law of love is written on their hearts. Meanwhile, we are stuck with people who whine and complain and then get a hundred thousand dollars donated to them by knee-jerk, martyr complex Christians.

If you want me, I’ll be starting a lemonade stand. Anyone can buy my lemonade.

2 responses to No Such Thing As “Christian” Pizza: What Christians Misunderstand About Religious Freedom

  1. Well, Matt. I can’t say that I disagree with what you’ve said.

    My disagreement comes from things you did not say. Constitution makes it clear that there can be no law made that interferes with a person’s rights within their religion, they have the freedom of religion. And they have every right to earn an income while they are living their freedom of religion. American Muslim military personnel are permitted to take the time away from their duties to pray, for example. No one can interfere.

    Every American has the right to earn an income, we have laws that protect that equal opportunity. So if you can figure out how to allow a person to remain in business AND be faithful to their religious beliefs without interfering with their rights, THEN you’ve got a point. But if you can’t, then your position is no better.

    Let the market dictate! Stop shopping with those offensive businesses and let economics dictate whether they can remain viable or not! They cannot refuse to do business with someone based upon race, creed or color anyway, so punish them by not giving them their money.

    The problem is American lawmakers are over reacting on both ends. The florist or the baker shouldn’t have been put out of business by local governments, they should fail because no one will want to do business with those nasty, hateful people anymore. If you go and force them out of business because you are the big, bad city counsel, NOW who are the nasty, hateful people?

    If you are wondering where anyone can buy a flower or a cake, I am sure there are more than just Christians who sell that stuff. Because of that, I am now wondering why there is so much focus on Christians? Who have the LGBT folks been buying from before this witch hunt began? Jews? Muslims? No mention in any media about them.

    So, really. What’s this REALLY about anyway?

  2. It is interesting that you mention the instructions from Jesus about giving away your shirt when someone takes your tunic. I had put up a question among friends in Facebook about whether or not we should expect and welcome persecution when we take a stand, whether it is in the form of losing a business slowly for not doing business with LGBT weddings or losing it quickly via a lawsuit or by having your 5 seconds of fame involve public shame for your actions and I used this passage as back up. One friend did not see the connection, but one, not necessarily a Christian, but a kind man, said that only sticking to your principles when there is no penalty is really just preferences. I agree with him.

    My opinion is that no one on either side of RFRA is righteous. The gay couples whose wedding business was refused are whiners for suing the establishments, the business owners who were sued are whiners because Jesus tells us that the world will hate us and to rejoice when others persecute you and lawmakers are arrogant for thinking that a law can change people’s hearts. And if I am really honest, I am a whiner, too becuase I hate rejection and feel it deeply. I am both the gay couple who are rejected by a business and the people losing their business or having to deal with protesters because of their faith in the Bible. And the blood of Jesus covers all this mess, which is the only Good News in the whole situation and is what we should be communicating.