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This week a restaurant in Richmond, Virginia decided to refuse service to a faith-based organization that holds constitutionally permissible beliefs that servers in that restaurant found objectionable. It was blatant viewpoint discrimination.

The Virginia Family Foundation, founded decades ago to advocate for conservative faith-based policies in Virginia, sought to have a private lunch at Metzger’s Bar and Butchery. About 90 minutes before the group’s arrival, the proprietor of the establishment withdrew the reservation, informing the Family Foundation that some of their servers objected to waiting on a group that advocates for traditional marriage and the sanctity of human life. They speciously claimed such positions violated “basic human rights” of women and same-sex couples.

This is a typical strategy of far-left anti-Christian bigots who chaff under the idea of traditional mores. Frankly, these virtues interfere with their preference for hedonism, which they find more appealing than the well-worn and proven societal configurations that produce strong families, civilized people, and citizens worthy of self-governance. Our founders warned us repeatedly that only a virtuous society can sustain freedom, one that doesn’t put an ax to the root of the liberty tree. But that truth seems to have escaped a generation of Americans who place more value in limiting speech than encouraging a robust debate over ideas, even those one might find offensive.

The most recent viewpoint bigotry comes in the form of refusing to serve a meal to paying customers based on the views they hold. That is similar to demanding that an artist, whether designing a wedding cake or a website, produce art that violates their deeply held and conscientious beliefs. It’s a favorite strategy of the woke sexually liberated counterculture to silence those who resist embracing their life-style choices, even if doing so forces a person to violate their deeply held religious convictions, particularly if they are Christian beliefs that hold that some things are sinful. But one sin the far-left particularly tolerates is hate; especially hatred of Christians who advocate for the traditional family, civilization, and a virtuous society that can sustain freedom. These days, the far-left roots for the lions of the colosseum.

No longer are they willing to tolerate debate over the objects of their advocacy. Unacceptable to them is any evidence of behaviors or practices that results in broken lives. Promiscuity, drug use, vulgar language or acts, and gangster-like crime that is destroying urban society are deemed inadmissible and excluded from debate. Indeed, introducing facts that might be probative in demonstrating an inconvenient truth cannot be allowed. It must be unspeakable. For them, denial of the truth is the perfect truth. And the shortest path to that obstruction is to claim that a viewpoint with which they disagree is “hateful,” “intolerant,” “racist” or behaviorally “-phobic.” Suffixes to the latter are legion.

Enter the Family Foundation of Virginia that advocates for this:

We believe there is no square inch in all the universe over which God has not claimed “Mine,” and that includes the arenas of civil government and public policy where we spend much of our time. We advocate for policies based on Biblical principles that enable families to flourish at the state and local level. We are uniquely positioned at the center of a national, state, and local coalition, which includes being associated with Focus on the Family.

They are candid, which is why a restaurant refused to serve them. The eatery’s justification? Because the Family Foundation believes in the very same principles that our Founders embraced when they launched a ship of state crewed with virtuous citizens committed to sustaining a free society. The Family Foundation’s greatest sin—their intolerant distractors would insist on condemning—is found in their core vision and mission.

A Commonwealth of strong families guided by faith, protected by a principled government. The Family Foundation preserves and promotes the family in Virginia as God’s foundation upon which all free and thriving societies are built.

To their credit, the Family Foundation will not take the restaurant to court, preferring forgiveness over recrimination. Yet action is necessary.

First, we must hold fast to the truth expressed in the annuals, writings, and teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition that undergirds the founding of our society. The Family Foundation is doing so.

Second, we must reject out-of-hand the fatuous arguments of the far-left by insisting on a public debate that is unfiltered by would-be thought police in government, our schools, and in social, electronic, and print media that excludes speech concerning conservative viewpoints.

Finally, we must oppose all illegal discrimination in public accommodations while respecting the legal viewpoints of the proprietors. However, that means restauranteurs distinguish between their customers based on the diner’s selection from a menu, not a patron’s personally held and constitutionally permissible beliefs. That’s called freedom. Bon Appétit. 

Former Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter is a retired Army colonel and the author of “Desert Redleg: Artillery Warfare in the First Gulf War” (University Press of Kentucky). He served in the Virginia General Assembly from 2002 to 2018 on the House Education Committee.

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