Bakeries to Burgers — who can a business NOT serve? Where does freedom end for companies – and begin for customers?

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Jun 5, 2018 No Comments ›› admin

By Lynn Woolley

Every now and then I’ll see a sign on a store window:

“We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”

But can any company really refuse anyone who asks for service?

The answer, according to the Supreme Court – is yes.

In a 7 to 2 ruling with two liberals joining the conservative majority, Christian baker Jack Phillips won his case after having refused to make a wedding cake for two gay men.

The High Court ruled that that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed an impermissible hostility toward religion – but the justices did not issue a definitive ruling on religious freedom to guide future cases.

Baker Jack Phillips at Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo. (Bruce Ellefson / Alliance Defending Freedom)

This leaves us to wonder how free people or corporations really are to decide whom to serve. It’s not just a religious question – it’s also one of morality with a big helping of political correctness. And it’s still to be decided.

Whose sign is really valid?

This is about the sign we mentioned above about “refusing service to anyone.” It is apparent that no business can legally (or morally) deny service to blacks, Asians, Hispanics or anyone else on the basis of race. So that particular sign can be ignored with impunity.

What about this sign?

“No shirt, no shoes, no service.”

If I had to guess, a homeless person without shoes being turned away would not be acceptable in these politically correct times.

The sign is obviously intended to keep the riff-raff out of nice department stores or restaurants. But yesterday’s derelicts are today’s victims. I can only imagine that the Supreme Court would rule for the homeless person’s right to be served. That’s without considering the question of how the homeless person would pay the bill.

How about this sign?

“No one carrying a concealed weapon may enter these premises.”

Yes, folks, there is discrimination in the United States and around the world against people who wish to carry a firearm for protection.

C. J. Grisham official Army photo

As Open Carry Texas founder C.J. Grisham told KTBC-TV in Austin last weekend, the school in Santa Fe, Texas was the ultimate in gun control – a gun-free zone.

Whataburger and guns.

Pin me down and I’ll tell you the best fast-food hamburger comes from the Texas chain Whataburger. The company has a gun policy and, sometimes, it gets them into trouble.

In its Texas stores, Whataburger does not allow open carry, but it has an exception for law enforcement officials. You can concealed-carry at Whataburger with no problem. So what would happen if a plainclothes officer, openly wearing a gun, came in for a meal?

At the store on Parkwood Drive in Friendswood (near Houston), a manager refused to serve such an officer. His gun was holstered near his badge and he explained that he was a Friendswood officer – but the employee would not serve him. Whataburger had since apologized.

Video: (Sept. 16, 2015) 2 Officers Refused Service At Texas Whataburger “We Don’t Serve Cops”

Back in October, Whataburger fired an employee that cursed at two Denison officers and refused to serve them. The company also fired a worker at a Lewisville restaurant that would not serve two officers in 2015.

Where does freedom end for companies – and begin for customers?

Sometimes, I think that companies, business, stores and such ought to be able to make the decision as they see fit. We already have laws against discrimination on the basis of race and gender – categories we have no choice in, as we are born that way.

But what about the courts stepping in, and dictating its opinion on other things?

Suppose a liberal store owner doesn’t want to serve conservatives? Or vice versa? What if a company takes the position that “gender identity” is left-wing silliness and doesn’t want to serve men dressed as women? What if a store doesn’t want to serve some whacked-out right-wing talk show host?

I think I’m good with all that.

We’ve decided that we, as a society, will not discriminate on the basis of race or gender. On that, we all agree – or a preponderance of us does. But if some store wants me out, then I’d prefer to go somewhere else. I’ll bet I can find a similar store that will take my money. I’ll get served, and the store that didn’t want me has its freedom.

As for the two men what wanted a cake based for their same-sex wedding, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, I suspect they were trying to make a point for their community. They should have left Mr. Phillips alone and found another bakery willing to make their cake. Mr. Phillips’ freedom would have been preserved and the two husbands could have had their cake and eaten it too.

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