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Fr. Brian W. Harrison, O.S.

Opinion,

Catholic restaurant under LGBT fire over refusal to host lesbian ‘wedding’ rehearsal dinner

Fr. Brian W. Harrison, O.S.

MISSOURI, June 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Several days ago some of us learned from the St. Louis media that Madison’s Cafe, a restaurant in O’Fallon, MO, is earning the shocked indignation of the progressivist apostles of tolerance and inclusivity for politely declining – yes, even during their hallowed “Pride” month! – to host a wedding rehearsal dinner for a lesbian couple “marrying” the next day. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a report here.

The woman whose request for a pro-lesbian “marriage” event was turned down by Madison’s presented herself to the media as a tolerant, compassionate victim of bigotry: she’s reported as saying that she wasn’t really interested in causing trouble for the restaurant since she didn't want to “repay hate with more hate.” (In that case, one wonders, why did she talk to the media about it at all? Given their firm and well-known support of the militant homosexual agenda, that was a sure-fire way to make trouble for the restaurant’s proprietors.)

In any case, I read this report last Monday morning and figured, “This restaurant deserves our support!” And since I had to go out west that day for a sick call at the Lake St. Louis Hospital, it was providentially convenient for me to drop in at Madison’s for lunch on the way back to my church in downtown St. Louis. 

Now, the other American individuals and companies who have incurred the wrath and legal harassment of the “LGBT community” for refusing to compromise Christian teaching on homosexuality (notably Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who was vindicated — sort of — by the U.S. Supreme Court, Washington florist Baronelle Stutzman, and Kentucky county registrar Kim Davis) have all been Evangelical Protestants. So I assumed that Madison’s Cafe would also be an Evangelical establishment. (The Post-Dispatch report doesn't say what denomination the owners belong to.)

Well imagine my pleasant surprise when, as I was starting my lunch, the co-proprietor, Mrs. Julie Kuhn, who had noticed my priest’s collar, came up to me, introduced herself, and said quietly, “Father, I’d just like to thank you so much for coming to eat with us here.” 

It turned out she is Catholic, and indeed, a daily Mass-goer at nearby Immaculate Conception parish. Julie and her husband Tom are the co-owners of this fine Italian restaurant. We had quite a talk and she told me they are getting a lot of harassment, nasty phone calls and texts, etc., and indeed, a movement seems to be gearing up to get the restaurant boycotted and even closed down. She asked for my prayers and a special blessing, and I said, certainly, and that I would also put an announcement in our parish bulletin this Sunday, not only encouraging St. Mary of Victories parishioners to pray for the Kuhns and their restaurant, but to patronize it if they are out in that area. 

Julie impressed me immediately as a lovely and genuine person, full of strong faith, but very gentle and modest — quite the opposite of an aggressive or harshly judgmental “gay-bashing” type. And yet (of course!) she and her husband are being accused stereotypically of “hate,” “bigotry,” and “homophobia” by the LGBT activists.  You can get an idea of the general tone of Madison’s Cafe from the home-page of their website, where they actually have a Christian “Mission Statement”: Go to www.madisonsofallon.com

I would strongly encourage readers to pray for this family restaurant, since it looks as if battle lines are being drawn up. And if you happen to live in Eastern Missouri (or are driving through), please go and dine there. (Meals are available throughout most of the day and evening. I found the food excellent — and of course, not being run by puritanical Protestants, Madison’s offers a good selection of wines and beers!) If you call to make a reservation — or just to offer encouragement and a prayer! — Mrs. Kuhn will quite likely be the one who answers the phone, because she told me she doesn’t want their younger employees having to handle the insulting and threatening phone calls they’re getting. Their address is 2974 Highway K, O’Fallon, just north of the intersection with Hwy 364. But it’s part of an enormous shopping center there and took me quite a while to find. There are dozens of shops on both sides of Hwy K, and my “Mapquest” search located it on the western side. But it turns out to be on the eastern side, somewhat removed from the main road, a little beyond Steak ‘N Shake, which is visible from Highway K. 

We have seen from numerous cases in other states just how intolerant and intimidating the “LGBTQ community” can be, and now is the time for Missourians, in particular, to follow up our recent fine performance with pro-life legislation with prayerful and practical support of this business run by a devout Catholic couple who are bravely standing up to that bullying rather than compromise their Christian principles. We can all take heart from Jesus’ words: “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me before you” (Jn 15: 18).    

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