Last night I went into one of our local Walmarts and was greeted by a very pleasant Walmart Greeter Muslim guy. He was all totally smiles and happiness. O.K. I loaded up my shopping cart with stuff like tomatoes, onions and whatever. I went to the cashier, a lady with a burka at the register, very nice. I paid, and then left, wishing all a nice day. O.K. There’s more to recount about Muslim stuff, but this is sufficient for this post. Just to say, it was a nice shopping experience all around. Great!
I didn’t buy any bacon or any pork products. I really never do. Someone had given me some bacon a few months ago, which I really really enjoyed. But anyway, what if I had bought some more bacon? Wouldn’t that force a Muslim to have contact with swine? Is that fair to them? Am I being hateful if I buy bacon at Walmart? Is it a hate crime on my part? Unfair religious provocation? Just some multi-cultural questions in a Dearborn age.
When I was teaching in the Pontifical seminary in Ohio in these USA, one of the seminarians was born a Muslim as his father was a Muslim and that’s how it is. Of course, in studying and being formed as a seminarian on his way to being ordained a Catholic priest, the youngster had converted to be Catholic, a capital crime in Islamic law, as was, in fact, proudly and loudly proclaimed by the local Islamic Cultural Center: the damned kid needed to be honor killed. Of course, the problem with this was, as the now seminarian told me, that his father had himself converted to be Catholic. Ha ha! The cowardly cowards at the Cultural Center cowered, cowards that they are. The seminarian told me that, for them, what counted was being treated with dignity and respect by the Catholics that they knew. They fell in love with the love that Jesus brings to us. Great.
Now, back to my question. Is this respect expressed in being a volunteer dhimmi, one who voluntarily lives under Sharia law because one doesn’t want to offend any Muslim customs, such as not having anything to do with pork? Just a multi-cultural question in a Dearborn age.
I put before you a text from the first generation of Christianity, a text from the letter to Diognetus:
“Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.
And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives.
They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they, rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.
To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.
Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.”
From a letter to Diognetus (Nn. 5-6; Funk, 397-401)
Am I abusing that text? Am I caving to Islam? Can I buy bacon at Walmart?
I am hungry for bacon, but I’m not interested in provoking for the sake of provoking.
What to do?
9 responses to “Is buying bacon at Walmart from Muslims now a hate crime? I like bacon.”
Do what you would do, as long as its moral.
Inspired sacred scripture clearly states we need not be bound by the Jewish
dietary laws, that applies even more so to all Islamic laws.
Diognetus is not inspired sacred scripture. Christians are free to live in the
world (though not of the world) as well as out of the world (monastically, etc).
Let’s not forget that Muslims are also free to chose not to work at Walmart.
All things in charity, of course.
We are not under sharia law. It is not unlawful to buy bacon in this country. They have a job that requires them to sell all kinds of products. In this country the Muslim could be sued for not selling bacon because Christians were sued for not selling cake.
Jesus drove devils into swines who were being shepherded by Jews(?)who don’t eat pork also. Maybe there is someone who only puts out and checks out pork products there. I would bacon there. It is my constitutional right! 🙂
I also wonder what wall mart’s policy is regarding Muslim cashiers (and those stocking shelves) handling products that are forbidden by their religion
They are individuals. Maybe they are personally okay with handling packaged pork products. It’s not for us to insist that they follow islamic rules, or that orthodox Jews keep kosher or etc. Maybe it is good for them that they have concluded God is not bothered by them selling bacon at Wal Mart to support their family.
At the food pantry sometimes I assist Muslims to get food, for instance a lady this past Friday did not want anything from the meat freezer case and I made the logical assumption why. People do appreciate being treated courteously. I am also always wearing a long skirt and I think this puts some immigrant Muslims at ease. This lady had the best behaved little boy and beamed when I said how good he was. (naturally, although I hoped that they would be so happy with my helpful courtesy that they would become Catholic, I refrained from asking to buy her pagan baby so I could baptize him. 😉
The law (man’s law) obligates employers to make accommodations to employees in certain, well defined, circumstances. I wonder if your question asks if we, as Christians, are obligated by God, in His Commandments, to make a licit accommodation in this instance. I would say yes.
But if your question asks if the novel condemnation of men make us guilty of hatred for licitly exercising our freedom, then I would say no. Especially if there is no hatred in our hearts. But what if the Adversary knows this and seeks to implant doubt in your heart by suggesting that your freedom is evidence against you?
——a different train of thought——
Consider a Christian working at Planned parenthood. Would a patron be committing a “hate crime” against a Christian who procures an abortion? Weather the patron asked specifically for a Christian to provide the abortion or not is beside the point, I think.
Charging a Christian with hypocrisy for even being employed by Planned Parenthood would not be an unjust accusation. What of the Muslim working at Wal-mart? I would think that fellow Christians, would be the first to attempt a correction of their brethren so employed. Indeed, such efforts are to be found everywhere (40 days for life). What similar efforts are being made about Muslims by Muslims? Could a Christian (Muslim) licitly work at PP (Wal-mart) as long as an accommodation was made? Does such a question make us fall into the trap of equating Islam with Christianity?
Some random thoughts:
It has been said that “in Rome, do as the Romans do.” This, too, is text. And without context is pretext.
The accommodation for Christians in PP would be?
The accommodation for a Muslim at Wall-mart would be?
Islam forbids eating pork products, not selling them.
Here there are several issues, already pointed out. First, Muslims applying for cashier jobs where pork is sold are aware that their job is to scan the products. Refusing to scan, sending customer to alternate cashier, requesting alternate cashier scan pork or requesting customer scan pork are problems.
There’s a large Somali population on Minneapolis, large enough that several years ago they could require us to fall into dhimmi status. There were complaints of Target cashiers attempting the above listed options. Ultimately, the cashiers were reassigned if they chose to be and that stopped.
Somali cab drivers have a virtual monopoly locally and don’t treat women well. In one case a 14 year old girl yook a cab and Somali driver raped her and was astonished to be prosecuted. They also refused rides to same sex couples, those with dogs and airport pickups with visible bottles of alcohol, claiming religious freedom.
However, cabs are common carriers and it is well settled law that they can’t discriminate. They also failed to realize that their freedom of religion ends when it impacts a customer.
Buy your bacon st Wal-Mart. The employees signed up to sell it to you upon taking the job there.
Goodness! for clarity, let me change the 4th graph to this:
Charging a Christian with hypocrisy for even being employed by Planned Parenthood would not be an unjust accusation. What of the Muslim working at Wal-mart? I would think that fellow Christians, would be the first to attempt a correction of their brethren employed at PP. Indeed, such efforts are to be found everywhere (40 days for life). What similar efforts are being made about Muslims working at Wal0mart by fellow Muslims? Could a Christian (Muslim) licitly work at PP (Wal-mart) as long as an accommodation was made? Does such a question make us fall into the trap of equating Islam with Christianity?
I would approach it from a Christian charity perspective. If your reason to buy bacon was to cause the Muslim trouble that would be wrong. If you would be buying it no matter who the cashier was that would be OK. If you refrained from buying it out of concern for the Muslim’s feelings that would be virtuous.
THIS CAME IN ON A TXT MESSAGE ON MY PHONE:
“Hey Father George! I hope you are doing well. I was just reading your blog post and had a thought. I used to be a “courtesy clerk” (bagger) at Bi-Lo, and most Bi-Los commonly sell contraception. I wasn’t officially Catholic at the time but it seemed morally wrong for me to have anything to do with it so I wouldn’t bag, stock or otherwise have anything to do with the stuff. It seems to me that it was better to lose my job than to violate my religious beliefs, but then again I am privileged enough not to have to worry about starving to death.”