Walking the Talk

tippingI came across a news article the other day about a server who received no tip; instead, he received an anti-gay message.

On the back of the bill was written:  Thank you for your service, it was excellent.  That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to God.  May God have mercy on you.

Now, whatever opinions you may hold about God, the LGBT community/lifestyle, and sin, you are entitled to your opinion. But this action is totally, completely, and inexcusably wrong.

Having been a server, hearing about anyone who doesn’t tip makes me incredibly irate. Tipping for service is about paying for a service rendered. Just as you’d tip a bellhop or the maid at a hotel, just as you’d tip a valet or bartender or massage therapist or nail technician or any of a thousand other jobs where the service provider relies on tips for their income, stiffing them is cruel and downright wrong. It’s part of the dining experience and should be calculated into your budget if you’re planning on going out. If a server truly is a bad server, it’s understandable that you’d tip less. It’s a method of getting what you pay for. In the same way, good service should be tipped accordingly.

The thing is, tipping isn’t optional. There’s a technicality there, because sure, you could walk out without tipping (as evidenced clearly in this case). However, in this society, it is assumed. Most servers make between $2-$5/hour. Their hourly wage is based on the assumption that they will be tipped for their service. Tips ARE their income. Serving you is their job, and it is the custom in this society to tip for services rendered. Not tipping, while it may not have any tangible effects like having your service shut off, is still wrong.

You don’t get to decide not to pay your cable bill because you don’t like some of the programming that is offered. You don’t get to not pay your mortgage because the bank manager is a greedy jerk. You don’t get to not pay your utilities because you think green energy is the morally correct way to do things. And you don’t get to not tip a server based on his sexual orientation. Or anything else, for that matter.

Would you refuse to tip a server that had questionable tattoos? You wouldn’t leave a note saying, “Your service was excellent, but your tattoos promote Satanic bands, so I can’t tip you.” How about a pregnant server who mentioned she wasn’t with her babydaddy any more? You wouldn’t leave her a note saying, “Your service was excellent, and even though I’m aware you’re going to have to raise your child alone I’m still not going to tip you because you should’ve thought of that before you slept around.” Or one you overheard gossiping or talking about how they didn’t believe in God? You wouldn’t say “Despite your excellent service, the fact that you’re an atheist and I believe in God means that you’re not worthy of my God-blessed money, so thanks for your hard work, but sorry, no tip.” Of course not. Refusing to tip based on sexual orientation is no different. It is not your place to judge that person for that sin, it’s God’s. And it is not your place to arbitrarily decide which sinners deserve to be paid for their work and which don’t. This is his job. You don’t get to decide not to pay him for it because you don’t like him.  The point is, if you go to a dining establishment and are provided with excellent service, that service should be tipped accordingly. You’re not tipping his lifestyle, you’re tipping his service, which in this case was excellent. If you’re not going to tip, don’t claim it’s because of moral superiority. At least have the decency to leave an honest note. “Thank you for your service. It was excellent. However, I’m a cheap, selfish weasel, and therefore I choose to keep my money and stiff you of what you’ve rightfully earned.”

This kind of thinking and judgment is exactly why Christians have such a bad stereotype and why the world hates us. They don’t hate us for Jesus’ sake, they hate us because we’re a bunch of judgmental jerks who arbitrarily decide which sins are more unacceptable than others and which ones we’re going to condemn loudly and vocally and at someone else’s expense.

Please don’t misunderstand. This post is not about gay rights or condoning that lifestyle. This is written to Christians about our behavior and our actions. The word “Christian” means “follower of Christ.” If you are claiming to be a Christian, you are representing Christ with your actions, and choosing to steal (yes, I’m using the word steal–refusing to pay what is owed is the same as stealing) the tip from a server based on his sexual orientation is in no way Christlike.

If you feel so strongly about not rewarding sin by refusing to tip servers who are sinners, I suggest you stay home and cook your own meals. If, however, you’re going to go out in public and claim the name of Christ, then you owe it to Him to behave in a manner that honors Him.

(If you’re interested in reading the article I read, you can find it here.)

About Avily Jerome

Avily Jerome is a writer and the editor of Havok Magazine. Her short stories have been published in various magazines, both print and digital. She has judged several writing contests and is a writing conference teacher and presenter. She writes speculative fiction, her ideas ranging from almost-real-world action/adventures to epic fantasies to supernatural thrillers.

5 comments on “Walking the Talk

  1. Amen. I thought at once of these verses, taken from the version I grew up reading:

    (1 Corinthians 5:9 RSV) I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with [sexually] immoral men;
    (1 Corinthians 5:10 RSV) not at all meaning the [sexually] immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
    (1 Corinthians 5:12 RSV) For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?

    If we withdrew our financial or other support from every person or institution in the world at large involved in some blatant violation of God’s commandments, we could do nothing, and say nothing. That’s why, for example, I don’t “do” boycotts of companies who support the LGBT agenda simply because they support said agenda. There’s no stopping the slide down that slippery slope once you’re on it.

    A good guide: An ambassador doesn’t interfere with or participate in the policies of his host nation. Rather, he represents the policies of the nation which sent him.

  2. I shudder to think what sort of demonstration must have taken place during the serving of the meal that the diners could know with such certainty that the server was gay. Or is it possible they made an assumption? No…

    Great post, Avily, and you are so right about workers’ wages. I often wish we’d do away with tipping and just pay people what they’re worth, but there are bigger fish to fry in the workplace.

    I’ve heard it said that servers actually dread serving Christians because on average they get fewer tips. That’s just wrong. Christians should be the most generous tippers in the world, and should be generous with kind words as well.

    • I agree completely. Sunday afternoon is the worst day to work because the church crowd comes in and are notoriously bad tippers. It’s a horrible witness and reputation to have earned.

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