Indonesian Baker Won’t Write “Merry Christmas” on Cake for Religious Reasons

Here’s a story that will surely delight your conservative Christians relatives: An Indonesian baker refused to make a cake citing the fact that the customer’s requested message went against the owner’s religious beliefs.

Just one difference: The customer wanted the cake to say “selamat hari Natal keluargaku” — “Merry Christmas my family” — and the owner of Chocolicious Indonesia is Muslim.

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Dengan segala kerendahan hati dan segala hormat. Sebelumnya kami mohon maaf yang sebesar-besarnya. Kami dari Chocolicious Indonesia belum bisa memberikan atau menyediakan tulisan ucapan selamat Natal dan semisalnya. ㅤ Bukan berarti kami tidak menghargai agama mas/mba. Akan tetapi dengan segala hormat inilah yang harus kami jalankan dari prinsip agama kami. Sekali lagi kami mohon maaf dari hati kami yang paling tulus dan rasa saling menghormati dan menghargai sebagai anak bangsa Indonesia. ㅤ Kami tetap menyediakan kartu ucapan dan papan cokelat sebagai kelengkapan pesanan mas/mba. Silakan diberikan ucapan sendiri. Sekali lagi, kami mohon perkenaannya. ㅤ We love you, Chocolovers ㅤ Hormat kami, Chocolicious Indonesia

A post shared by CHOCOLICIOUS INDONESIA (@chocoliciousindonesia) on

“With all due respect and humbleness. First of all, we would like to offer our deepest regret. We from Chocolicious Indonesia are not yet able to write merry Christmas or other similar expressions,” stated the bakery.

“This does not mean we do not respect your religion. But with all due respect this is what we have to practice based on our religious principles. Again, we sincerely apologize from the bottom of our heart and the feeling of respect and honor as Indonesians. We will still provide greeting cards and chocolate boards as additional services for your order. You are welcome to add your own writing. Again, we wish for your understanding.”

Oh, the irony…

There is a difference, of course, between discriminating against a certain type of customer who wants to buy a cake you already sell — which is what the Supreme Court will soon decide in regards to Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado — and the Indonesian bakery saying they won’t print the Christmas message for anybody.

But for a statement as innocuous as “merry Christmas,” it’s hard to understand how saying that would offend anybody’s religious sensitivities. It’s not like the message was “Accept Jesus or burn in Hell.”

The question for Indonesians in the predominantly Muslim nation is whether it would’ve been okay for an owner to act the same way if a customer wanted the cake to celebrate “Idul Fitri,” or Eid al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan).

Journalist Dandhy Dwi Laksono tweeted: “In the case of Chocolicious, what if the word ‘Christmas’ in the decorous sentence were replaced by ‘Idul Fitri’? Or what if the same attitude were displayed by chocolate farmers in Flores who refuse to serve their buyers who celebrate Idul Fitri?”

Despite the religious laws in some parts of the country, there’s no rule preventing Muslim business owners from saying “Merry Christmas” or honoring the Christian holiday.

For what it’s worth, the man who ordered the cake, Arnold Serestyen, told reporters that he respected the baker’s decision. He has ordered other cakes from them in the past without any problem. When they said no to this particular request, he canceled the order himself.

That doesn’t let the bakery off the hook entirely, since the ethical question is still up for debate, but for now, it’s just a theoretical question since there’s no lawsuit or upset customer to think about.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Kevin for the link)

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