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The Owners of The Red Hen in Virginia Are the Real Bigots. Not the Christian Bakers

The Red Hen Restaurant in downtown Lexington, Va.

Have you noticed that the people cheering about Sarah Huckabee Sanders getting denied service at a restaurant are the same people who were outraged when Christian bakers didn't want to violate their faith to bake cakes for gay weddings?

I certainly have.

Of course, these people who were outraged that Christian bakers wouldn’t make custom cakes for gay weddings think somehow that outrage over what happened to Sarah Huckabee Sanders makes conservative hypocrites, while their enthusiastic approval of her being kicked out of The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, doesn’t make them hypocritical in the least.

But, I’m going to explain why what happened to Sarah Sanders and her family is actually worse, and why the people who celebrate that denial of service are the real hypocrites and bigots.

The key difference here is that baking a custom cake for a gay wedding is not the same thing as blanket denial of service at a restaurant. None of the Christian bakers ever denied service to gay customers — they just didn't want to make custom cakes celebrating a lifestyle they believe to be sinful. Media coverage of various incidents has likened the cases of Christian bakers not wanting to create custom cakes for same-sex weddings as refusing to serve homosexuals. However, this is simply not true.

Masterpiece Bakery, owned by Jack Phillips, the complainant (and victor) in the recent Supreme Court case, never refused to serve gay customers.

...from the beginning, Jack has seen his business as an expression of his faith (hence the name), and that has led him to reject business throughout his career. For example, he’s refused to make custom cakes for Halloween and divorce celebrations, and he’s turned down requests for lewd cakes for bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Back in 2012, two men asked Jack to design a cake for their same-sex wedding. Now mind you, back in 2012, the state of Colorado didn’t even recognize same-sex weddings. Jack told them that he would gladly sell them any item in the store—including cakes—but that he could not, due to his religious convictions, use his cake-design talents to participate in the celebration of their ceremony.

So Mr. Phillips went out of his way in an attempt to accommodate the gay couple. This was not a case of denial of service.

How about Sweet Cakes by Melissa, the Christian-owned bakery in Oregon? In this case, the lesbian couple that had wanted a custom cake for their wedding had been customers before the incident that resulted in the bakers being fined $135,000 (which ultimately forced them to shut down the business). There was no refusal of service by owners Aaron and Melissa Klein. The Kleins, in their own words, “declined to create a custom cake that would have required us to express a message our faith teaches against.”