A news story of the future (perhaps):
Methodists stage sit-in
at Baptist coffee shop
Eight Methodists refused to leave a Baptist-owned coffee shop yesterday when the Baptist proprietor refused to serve them, saying he would not serve people from any denomination that did not practice baptism by immersion.
“They’re sprinklers,” said Andrew Kaffine, owner of Kaffy’s Koffees. “State law says I can refuse service to anyone if my decision is ‘substantially motivated by religious belief.’ I memorized that phrase the day the bill was introduced in the legislature a few years ago.” He was referring to what was Senate Bill 916, enacted by the Missouri General Assembly in 2014 over the veto of Governor Jay Nixon, a Methodist.
“I never had any problem until these militant Methodists showed up. I think they’ve been stirred up by outside agitators. I understand their Bishop was hanging around here a couple of days ago and I’ll bet he started all this, ” said Kaffine.
The Methodists were dragged out of the store after they refused police orders to leave voluntarily. They were led by Wesley Wesley, who claims a distant relationship to the movement’s founder, John Wesley. Wesley said he took time off from his job to be part of the protest. He and the other seven Methodists were released from jail after posting bond. He told reporters outside the Justice Center, “We’ll be back. Our religious freedom is in jeopardy because of this Baptist’s actions. We hope to avoid an open religious war, but if people like him think they can keep Methodists down, he’s got another think coming.”
“Hey,” said Kaffine, “I am going to stand by my religious belief that sins can only be washed away by total immersion.” Although some members of the church he attends are more welcoming to members of other fellowships, Kaffine says the state law is all about protecting individual
interpretations of the scriptures.
Some supporters of the original bill said it was intended to protect businesses that did not want to serve Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, or Transgender people because the owner’s religion frowns on those lifestyles or was intended to protect businesses whose owners do not want employees of other faiths to have health insurance coverage of birth control.
“I’m not accusing Methodists of being any of those people,” said Kaffine. “My whole issue is whether they have been properly cleansed of sin and I just don’t buy the idea that a few drops of water on the head washes away as much as a good full-body dip. And my coffee shop stands for that principle.” Kaffine pointed to several signs in the windows and on the walls of his shop promoting activities of the Brewer Street Independent Baptist Gospel Evangelical Missionary Fellowship where he is an Elder.
He also owns a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in this city. “Maybe those Methodists should start their own coffee and doughnuts shop and call it ‘Sprinklin’ Donuts,'” he said, laughing. “It could be the same as mine but separate because of what they believe. Separate but equal. That’s what the Founding Fathers wanted when they created this Christian nation—freedom of each religion to set up its own coffee shop or hospital or even its own hobby shop. I’m protected by law that allows me the freedom to practice my religion. Methodists are not discriminated against because they can practice their religion with their own coffee shop.”
Wesley said today that his group already has been contacted by the AMLU, the American Methodist Liberties Union, to discuss filing a discrimination suit against Kaffine.