I got this in last week from reader Mike Moore (whom some of you might recall from A Good Week to Hate Christians), and thought it worth sharing. What do you think of Mike’s bold action? Is it something you would do? Why or why not? Would you change your mind knowing it would end for you the way it did for him?
On a recent night out with my husband at 12 Bones, our favorite BBQ place here in Asheville, NC, I recognized Pastor Bruce sitting at a table enjoying lunch with his wife. The pastor’s denomination, Southern Baptist, was a driving force behind the anti-same-sex-marriage law passed in North Carolina last year. Given the vile things said during the election about gay people and their ability to be good parents, and given the “protect our children” mantra used by such churches, I thought I’d try an experiment.
Without invitation or preamble, I slid into an empty seat at their table.
“Hi Pastor Bruce,” I said. “I was wondering. Do you and your wife honestly consider yourselves capable of being good parents? And how’re things in the bedroom between you two? What do you like to get up to in there?”
I wanted the pastor and his wife to understand, in real time, from a calm voice, and face-to-face, what it feels like when a stranger forces themselves and their values into their life and then judges them, their parenting skills, their bedroom antics, and their morality. I wanted them to know how it feels to have a stranger attack them on personal matters which are none of their business and about which they know nothing.
What ensued was a quite scary. Things between Pastor Bruce and I got pretty ugly very fast.
I went back later that afternoon, tail between my legs and glaring husband in the car (a diehard BBQ fan, he had said to me, “If you have gotten us banned from 12 Bones I will kill you dead”), to apologize to the restaurant’s crew at for what I had done at their restaurant. My apology was sincere; I had put into a very bad situation a super-cool, super-nice staff whom I adore. I felt that their business was, after all, an inappropriate place for such a confrontation.
John, I was truly shocked when as a group the staff not only thanked me for my apology, but told me it was unnecessary—and then treated me like a hero. The employees—right back to the kitchen staff—all gave me big smiles and waved at me. They told how they disliked the guy and his church. How disgusted they were with the things Pastor Bruce’s denomination had said about gay people during the election. They told me they were jealous of me, of how many times they’d played the roll of polite servers when what they really wanted to do was dump a plate of BBQ on the good pastor’s head.
A week later one of the guys who seems to always be working at the restaurant came out of the kitchen to introduce himself to me. He told me how much he appreciated what I did. He said he hadn’t seen Pastor Bruce, a regular customer, since the incident.
“And good riddance to him,” he said.
He thanked me for running off one of his regular customers!
I made a lot people happy that day. I spoke for them in a setting where it would be inappropriate for them to speak up. And I learned that a whole bunch of straight people have our backs in ways and depths which I would not have ever imagined.