argument top image

#CakeGate: can you refuse service on the basis of faith?
Back to question

Service can be refused on religious grounds, but not in all cases

In terms of personal beliefs, there are certain things that should be lenient. Diet is one of the things any person can practice on their own terms without interfering with other’s who don’t hold the same values. However, mixing beliefs with business is not idea in a society with values that continue to change.


According to America’s Civil Rights Act of 1964, a business owner can refuse business to anyone. However, sexuality and gender norms are included according to states. Because of this, Jack Phillips, a Christian, easily refused service because of his religious beliefs. But now that equality has begun to expand to different genders and sexualities, the reach of discrimination has broadened as well.

The Argument

Religion is the belief of a higher power who rules the universe. People follow their religion’s laws very piously. Even if it means changing their physical health or diet, religious people follow the religion’s laws to the letter. For example, Muslims and Jews cannot eat pork because of their religion. Because people take religion so seriously, it would be best to respect some of their practices. No one should force someone what they eat, drink, or do with their bodies. The only times dietary religious customs were broken was through trickery or torture. One example of the that is China’s Xianjing region. There are reform camps for Chinese Muslims that involve forcing them to drink alcohol and eat pork through means of torture and starvation.[1] Outside of dietary or physical restrictions, there shouldn’t be discrimination against people who don’t believe the same religious views. Denying business services is not something religious people should do. This tactic was used during American racial segregation.[2] Currently, in Japan, there are stores and restaurants that will only allow Japanese people to congregate.[3] Service is supposed to benefit the customer, not the owner. Therefore, the owner is not breaking their religious practices because they’re not participating in actions against their religion.

Counter arguments

Religious beliefs should be respected entirely. In most religions, the believer is held accountable for condoning sinful behavior. To condone means to treat something as harmless or acceptable.[4] In the Bible, Israel condoned the worship of idols after the nation split into two. Even though some people remained faithful to God alone, they were taken into slavery along with those who disobeyed god because they did nothing to stop the worship of idols. Although service is supposed to benefit customers, the business reflects the owner of the store. The store’s reputation is determined by the type of customers that come through. Having undesirable customers negatively affect the store’s reputation. Because of this, customers should not force the owner to go against their beliefs. The business owner’s religious beliefs in entirety should be respected. The owners should not be condemned for what they believe in. Instead, the people who don’t believe the same things that the owners do should find a different business to buy from. No one should have to give up their religious beliefs for others.



[P1] Religious beliefs that affect the believer’s lifestyle should be for believers only. [P2] Believers shouldn’t hold non-believers to their religious standards.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Religious beliefs of an individual should be respected by everyone, including customers. [Rejecting P2] Non-believers should respect the standards of believers.


This page was last edited on Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 16:53 UTC

Explore related arguments