"Skepticon is NOT welcomed to my Christian Business." That is the sign that greeted customers at Andy Drennen’s Springfield, MO, gelato shop this past Saturday (11/19/11). He posted the discriminating declaration in response to a Skepticon Convention attendee whom Drennen said was delivering a mock sermon and cursing the Bible. “There was this guy who made very vulgar comments about my faith. He was just really disrespectful. Very, very disrespectful toward my Christian views."
Skepticon is an annual assembly of religious skeptics. According to the event’s organizer JT Eberhard: “Skeptics conferences are an important part of the movement. They not only grant people access to the icons of the movement, they also arm those in attendance with information; the key weapon for the side of reason. They also provide a sense of community for a group of people who can often feel isolated in a largely religious population.” The event is sponsored by the mock Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (or “Pastafarianism” as they term it). This should tell you something about just how sincerely skeptical organizers and attendees really are.
After reconsidering his own negative attitude, Drennen quickly removed the sign, but not before someone posted a picture on the web. Soon after,internet animosity went viral. He made a public apology Monday saying his hasty response "was completely wrong and unacceptable" and that no one was actually turned away.
There is no doubt that Pastafarians take great delight in ridiculing and deriding Christianity and people of faith. Nevertheless, is banning them from our businesses really the message we want to be communicating to a group which already finds us narrow-minded and intolerant?
Jesus went to great lengths to welcome doubters! Remember his response to Doubting Thomas? He laid open not just his heart, but even his very wounds to him.
"Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Matthew 20:24-29