Why people hate people who call themselves Christians UPDATED

Image via KMBC, and referencing this story

I just can’t even:

So, a server went to pick up a check after restaurant patrons had eaten, and found this message on the bill:

“Thank you for your service, it was excellent. That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to GOD. Queers do not share in the wealth of GOD, and you will not share in ours. We hope you will see the tip your fag choices made you lose out on, and plan accordingly. It is never too late for GOD’S love, but none shall be spared for fags. May GOD have mercy on you.”

The server has responded to the incident, saying “The offers to help pay me back are much appreciated, but not at all needed. I’d prefer to let my work ethic and my service do the talking, nothing else.”

That’s a classy response to a rank hatred.

If you’ve wondered what a “Christianist” is, this is a pretty fair example. It’s someone who uses Christ Jesus or the teachings of his church as an excuse to justify bigotry, to endorse a thoughtless ideology and to expose a heart full of hate.

Yesterday we read about a cop who saw the human person before her, not just a crime, and tried to help.

Today we read about people who sees nothing human in another, just a sin, and try to punish.

When Jesus was asked, “what is the greatest commandment?” he answered

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
(Matt 22:37-39)

The first commandment, if it is truly lived, actualizes the second. Judgment belongs to God, and he in turn has bestowed it upon Christ; from the rest of us is desired only mercy, and repentance.

These are not my ideas — they come from Jesus’ own lips:

“Moreover, the Father judges no one but has given all judgement to the Son.” (John 5:22)

and

“Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’ for I came not to call the righteous but to call sinners to repentance.” (Matt 9:13)

I love that verse and ponder it often. I think our human, egotistical instincts invite us to think Jesus is making an actual distinction, here, between some vague gang of righteous folk and the rest of us poor slobs — and we believers like to think we’re a part of the former, not the latter, right?

But that would make no sense within the pageant of salvation, not only because, as Saint Paul tells us, “none are righteous, not one” (Romans 3:10); the notion would argue against itself by suggesting there are some humans excluded from God’s concern — as though God is sitting on his throne inspecting one area and saying, “yes, you people are just fine, carry on!” and then peering the other way and saying, “but Jesus Christ those people need help! Go to it, Sonny!”

There are no righteous, of course, except in our own minds. Christ comes to call all of us, and we are all sinners, most especially if we think we are among the “righteous.” When we look at the saints — at people we think of as truly righteous — there isn’t one of them who would not look back and say, “I am a sinner!”

So, these restaurant patrons — who allowed a server to attend to them and benefited from the server’s professionalism — felt like members of the elect. Perceiving the server as a sinner, they chose judgement (which was not a sound option, because it belongs to Christ) over mercy, and acted in a way that mildly diminished the server’s earnings and humanity but greatly diminished their own.

There is no worship of God or Christ in this act, rather, it is a very good demonstration of the thesis of Strange Gods. These folks have an idea of themselves — they’re righteous dudes! — and as Gregory of Nyssa said, “ideas create idols; only wonder leads to knowing”. By their action, the customers exposed their obedience to their own self-worship, and to whatever malicious little shoulder-demon they have made welcome.

It’s kind of like the Pharisee in scripture, voicing a prayer we might imagine to be: “I thank you, God, that I am not like that homosexual sinner over there! I go to church! I proclaim the name of Jesus! I tithe! Don’t you just love me, God?

It seems to me, we should feel offended and angry for the sake of the server; we should pray over the wound to a human person who was treated cruelly by some who have perverted Christ’s message, in order to use it as a self-satisfying social scythe.

But we should also remember that “hurt people hurt people” and pray, too, over the soul-wounds of those have swung the scythe, because Christ is in fact, a double-edged sword, in which justice and mercy are met. And his piercing brings a harrowing at its depths, even as it heals.

UPDATE I:
Speaking of hate, there is plenty to go around: Flush with Bigotry: Florida professor compares a priest to a toilet because “they’re both full of shit.”

UPDATE II:
As noted here,
this restaurant is about an hour’s drive from a very ugly so-called “church.”

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Peony Moss

    Isn’t depriving the worker of his wages one of the sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance?

  • jmm

    Hate the sin, not the sinner. I have several gay and lesbian friends and they know I do not approve of their life style. They also know that I will do anything for them as long as it does not violate my morals.
    Those people belong with the Westboro Baptist Church. They are cheap to boot.

  • Almario Javier

    “It’s kind of like the Publican in scripture”

    I take it you mean “like the Pharisee”?

  • James Young

    I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said here, but wonder how these people drew that conclusion? If the waiter was flaunting it in their faces, and thereby demanding a reactions, it’s unsurprising that they gave him one.

    Oh, and they’re apparently cheap SOBs, too.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    First of all if it’s true, then what that person wrote is horrid and he should be publically disgraced. But somehow I find it hard to believe that someone would actually go to the trouble and write that, unless it was a prank. Call me skeptical.

  • RelapsedCatholic

    In fairness, this shithead, err, wonderful child of God probably attends some mega church that has some flashy bleached-tooth smile prosperity preacher that uses the Gospel day in and day out to enrich himself. This customer is just doing what has been modeled for them week after week. Preach the Gospel, screw over your fellow man, make a buck, repeat.

  • MeanLizzie

    sigh. already corrected, but yeah…I do that all the time. It’s like I have a damn mental block.

  • MeanLizzie

    You don’t have to “flaunt it in their faces” for people to assume you are homosexual — people do it all the time. They could have made that assumption about someone who was totally straight, too.

  • Almario Javier

    I can attest to this – as a child and teen people would call me all sorts of homophobic slurs – and I am definitely, one-hundred-percent attracted exclusively to the female sex. Why? Apparently because I preferred reading to sports and the company of women (largely because they spoke about things other than sports and -gasp- I was attracted to them!)

  • Almario Javier

    Yep. In trying to condemn one sin crying out to heaven, they commit another. I think this is known as irony.

  • http://ontheotherfoot.blogspot.com/ Joel

    I notice that they were able – in good conscience – to accept the sort of service for which a tip is customary. I can respect people taking a stand on principle, even on principles I think are wrong. But this isn’t a principled stand; it’s merely assholicism.

  • maddermusic

    What a shameful and disgusting story. BTW, as a young man, I was once assaulted by a group of men who simply assumed I was gay, because I have a fairly high-pitched voice. So believe me, there are people who think they can tell.

  • perpper

    Or it could be that the patrons were not Christians, but Christian-haters or just principle-free “joyriders”, operating under a false flag for a cheap thrill. Well, they’re getting their 15 minutes now.

  • TopRahamic

    Gratuity is not a wage, by definition.

  • tj.nelson

    What a terrible thing to do to someone. That poor guy.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    come on……..this is a typical Saul Alinsky style liberal trick to create negative press for Christians.
    Look at the wording……that is not they type of words a Christian would use even if they were offended by the waiter.
    Elizabeth……you have been taken.

  • Dan

    Yeah, I think part of it was that they were cheap and looking for an excuse not to tip. Of course, they compounded their greed with hate.

    Unfortunately, as servers who work Sunday breakfasts will tell you, many church-going Christians are poor tippers.

  • MeanLizzie

    Google “Westboro Baptist Church.” There are certainly people who call themselves “Christian” who use this terrible language.

  • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

    “Proselytism is solemn nonsense.” (PP Francis)

  • Almario Javier

    Aye, some of whom at least in theory claim to be good Catholics, and should thus know better.

  • jeannebodine

    Color me very skeptical. These over-the-top “hate” episodes are so often revealed to be hoaxes perpetrated by the victims to make conservatives, the right, Christians, etc. look bad. These incidents always get huge play in the media and on the internet, reinforcing the intolerance of any traditional American values. If the incident is debunked, however, there is ….silence.

    In any event, isolated, sensational stories – blech! That’s what we have HuffPo & Drudge for.

  • SteveP

    Anchoress – I’d say the “self-satisfying social scythe” was used on all sides. Is that not the main purpose of social media: spread outrage as quickly and widely as possible? I do hear you that prayer, communication in Christ and through Christ, is the effective salve for the perpetual wounding given and received. All, acknowledge or not, need the Healer.

    Peace be with you.

  • Jonenred

    baloney!

  • Alexander S Anderson

    This is unfortunately not true in the restaurant business. No one could possibly live on the “wages” in restaurants that rely on tips.

  • Steve

    I don’t know if you’re from the U.S. or not, but in the U.S. wages are absolutely part of a waiter’s wages to the extent that employers can pay them below minimum wage because it’s just taken for granted that people tip waiters significantly. It’s a very necessary part of their livelihood.

  • quisutDeusmpc

    Define or describe “proselytism” and draw a distinction between it and “evangelization.

  • Tzard

    Playing word games is not what justice calls for.

    The reality is that it *is* considered a wage – by the IRS who will tax you on an imaginary 15% and by the employer who doesn’t have to give you the minimum wage if you receive tips.

  • spudnik

    I’d be leery of anonymous notes like that. It could be another false flag like the lesbian who had her girlfriend beat her up so she could go to the police and claim a homophobic assault, or like Internet trolls who pose as those they are against and act as obnoxiously as possible.

  • spudnik

    Lizzie, WBC is essentially the “Reverend” Fred Phelps and his extended family. There is a reason they are so often cited as the example. They are the exception, not the rule.

  • John Robert

    It makes one think of that powerful short story of Flannery O’Connor entitled “Revelation”. Ruby Turpin is a “respectable” Christian who smugly and self-righteously looks down upon everyone else who is not of her kind as low-lifes and freaks. Until she experiences the ego-stripping grace of God. She ultimately realizes in a “revelation” that all the freaks are ahead of her going into heaven. She is bringing up the rear. Not unlike another powerful story which the Church will hear this Sunday in the Lucan parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.
    One wonders what our restaurant clientele will do when it is revealed to them just how many of those they have judged “unworthy” are in fact in front of the line leaping their way into heaven. “The last shall be first and the first shall be last.”

  • sky

    I am not so sure it was not a real event. I had a co-worker Pentecostal minister friend who openly stated all “queers” would burn in hell. Most fundamentalists and even a good number of evangelicals seem to have pretty firm condemnations of all homosexuals and little room for understanding the complexities of why and how they are what they are.

  • Jeffrey Quick

    Re the professor: the proper response to his picture would have been, “Both remove matter which is dangerous to your health.”

  • Thomas

    Just reading a few of the remarks below and it is clear: what one sect of Christianity thinks the meaning of being “Christian” is, and what the RCC thinks, are quite different. This is the problem with the fissure in Christianity and the defections from the RCC. I cannot tell you how often I read combox comments by so-called Christians who combine vitriol with their arguments, or who try to contest homosexuals and atheists with weak biblical and theological arguments. The fundamentalists cannot argue as effectively as the educated Catholic because the Catholic has authenticity on his/her side. It is really quite embarrassing to see. Fix the house and speak as one in unity, adhering to the Church.

  • Athelstane

    It’s more than a little ironic that the banner ad Patheos is running with this blog post is for the TV show “Modern Family.”

  • FW Ken

    Here’s the problem: ideologues lie. A lot. The Cause is too valuable to let mere facts stand in the way. Specifically, gay rights advocates (which is not saying gay people) lie. It’s now coming out that the Matthew Shepherd murder was due to meth, not “homophobia”. Actually, that was known in 2006, although you will still read gay rights advocates refer to it.

    In this case, it might be true. There are Christians just that trashy. But it wouldn’t be the first false flag flown.

  • Fiddlesticks

    You’d think if they really objected to the person’s lifestyle they wouldn’t have eaten the food! So can I refuse to pay my cleaner because my cleaner smokes and I don’t agree with smoking?

  • Gregg Goodbrod

    See…. This is what is so damned sick about this. These Assholes who call themselves Christian never, ever say this upfront. They always get the service they want and THEN say this. They are just entitled, superior assholes.

  • Jack

    Proselytism is converting someone’s faith or opinion, evangelization is specific to converting people to Christianity.

  • THX1139

    The cardholder’s name and picture should be published so restaurant owners who don’t want to serve bigots should have the right refuse service next time

  • Skivon

    Very unfortunatly, ’tis true…Here’s one of many links http://thestir.cafemom.com/food_party/150488/holierthanthou_pastor_refuses_to_tip

  • Skivon

    There is a reason I use both ‘xtain’ and ‘Christian’ to describe people who claim to be Christian….The first are the idiots like that ‘pastor’, and the others who seem to have no knowledge of what their religion teaches…and the second is for those who truely seem to care for their religion, and practice it appropriately.

  • artorius317

    Not all true. In some states, the labor law states that if your weekly tips+ your hourly wage($2.13/hr when I served) doesn’t add up to the standard state minimum wage(again, $6.25 when I served), the employer is required by law to make up the difference. This is a VERY little known law and I was surprised to read about it the first time myself.

  • http://codemonkeybryan.com Bryan Elliott

    > Florida professor compares a priest to a toilet because “they’re both full of shit.”

    Well, in the field in question – psychology and behavior analysis – religious teaching tends to be harmful at the worst, and merely wrong in the best cases. So I don’t disagree – though I can understand why the language can be seen as bigoted; he spoke of people and not doctrines.

  • hartthorn

    I’ve encountered this behavior and others like it hundreds of times in my life, and they used words just like that note.

  • hartthorn

    What does this even have to do with anything? I’ve seen this and acts like it hundreds of times, personally. Many spoken from the persons own mouth. What is this growing obsession with the concept of “false flag” operations?

  • domaug

    “I do not approve of their life style. They also know that I will do anything for them as long as it does not violate my morals.”

    Well, with all due respect, I seriously doubt that you’re their friend in reality. “Sin” is man-made and has no actual bearing on what anyone does, did, or will do. If you let something like “sin” affect how you feel about people that you consider your friends, then they’re most likely not really your friends and you don’t deserve them as friends.

  • James

    It’s sad, but whenever someone goes out of their way to make sure that I know that they’re a Christian, that’s when I know they’re trying to screw me.

  • Jay B

    This is factually true, but you have to realize how the restaurant business works. If a restaurant owner has to do this, chances are he or she will hold it against you and this may only happen once before the server is let go. In the business, an owner knows that if this has to be done, there’s a good chance that the server is just not an effective employee. Therefore, by not tipping your server you are probably endangering their employment. That’s why it is considered a wage.

  • RPTMS

    Yes. So is sodomy.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    That’s not a news worthy link. That carries no authority. That looks like a blog.


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