Religion

Sarah Huckabee Sanders was refused service at the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia. And conservatives reacted as if Sanders had been boiled in oil by marauding MS-13 gang members. But was their hysteria justified?

Mike Huckabee. sire of the benighted press secretary, was quick to offer his immoral support of his mendacious offspring. On Twitter, he offered this nasty and dismissive attack on the eatery:

Gov. Mike Huckabee‏@GovMikeHuckabee

Bigotry. On the menu at Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington VA. Or you can ask for the “Hate Plate”.  And appetizers are “small plates for small minds”

It is an odd sentiment form someone who has gone to the mat defending the religious freedom of people to discriminate against gays.

I have no idea how you can justify denying service to people based on sexuality when you think it is beyond the pale to deny them service based on their politics.

Sanders also had thoughts on her banishment.

 Sarah Sanders‏@PressSec

Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.

Let’s have a look at her statement. Firstly, there is the snide suggestion that she is faultless and polite, while the owner has some explaining to do. Sanders casts the owner as the sinner in the situation while she is a victim of an unwarranted expulsion. But hasn’t Sanders supported the same behavior among the religious?

Secondly, in the face of all daily televised evidence to the contrary, Sanders claims she does her best to treat people she disagrees with respectfully. Anyone watching her press briefings can’t fail to notice her acerbic and dismissive rejoinders to reporters. But let’s take her at her word, that it is her best. In which case her best is a dismal show — a failing grade.
Stephanie Wilkinson, the owner of the Red Hen, isn’t backing down. In talking with the Washington Post she said she would do it again. And she has her money where her mouth is. The Sanders were a party of eight. In a restaurant the size of the Red Hen turning them away would surely make a noticeable dent in the night’s take.
Wilkinson then told the newspaper what she had said to Sanders.
“I was babbling a little, but I got my point across in a polite and direct fashion,” Wilkinson said. “I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation…I said, ‘I’d like to ask you to leave.’ ”

Is there anything in “ honesty, and compassion, and cooperation” that wouldn’t meet with Jesus’ approval?

The moral of the story is clear. If society carves out an exception to the rules for ‘sincerely held beliefs’ in the free flow of the market, then I don’t know where you draw the line.

In the current state of play, Wilkinson is entitled to and justified in giving Sanders the boot. But the better solution is to get rid of commerce by conscience. If you own a business you shouldn’t be allowed to ban customers based on any group affiliation — whether it be sexuality, politics, race, religion, ethnicity, gender and the rest.

Which doesn’t mean you can’t enforce “no shirt, no shoes, no service” and prohibit drunks and other anti-social types.

Finally, let’s consider one other time Mike Huckabee made a stupid observation. In defending ‘religious freedom’ he brought up Jewish dietary laws. And in doing so said that requiring a storekeeper to support gay marriage is like:

“asking somebody who’s Jewish to start serving bacon-wrapped shrimp in their deli.”

No law mandates what a store must or must not sell. You can be a baker and not sell wedding cakes. Auto parts stores cannot be required to sell knitting supplies. And no Jewish deli has to sell bacon-wrapped shrimp. But if for some reason they decide to, they shouldn’t be able to pick and choose who they sell to.

Discrimination isn’t in picking what you sell, but in restricting who you sell it to. And either you support discrimination or you don’t.

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