The decision of a restaurant to boot President Donald Trump's Press Secretary Sarah Sanders from its premises has elicited responses from Christian leaders, writers, and pundits who warn this will only yield further discord and violence.
Sanders posted on her Twitter page Saturday that the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia had asked her to leave the night before due to her affiliation with the president of the United States.
President Trump also weighed in on Twitter Monday: "The Red Hen Restaurant should focus more on cleaning its filthy canopies, doors and windows (badly needs a paint job) rather than refusing to serve a fine person like Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I always had a rule, if a restaurant is dirty on the outside, it is dirty on the inside!"
The story went viral over the weekend and the owner defended her actions, saying she would kick Sanders out of her restaurant again if given the chance.
"Talk about discrimination! I've met Sarah, and she's a nice lady," commented an incredulous Franklin Graham on Twitter upon hearing about what had transpired.
Al Perotta, managing editor for The Stream believes the episode highlights how polarized society has become and remarked that this is the work of a devilish spirit currently operating in America. Coupled with Rep. Maxine Waters call for people to harass Trump administration officials when they are in public places, and actor Seth Rogen's bragging that he refused to take a photo with House Speaker Paul Ryan, the recent events reveal a spiritual warfare that portends even greater darkness, he argued.
"Disconnecting from each other as human beings is a dangerous game to play. It's disconnection that makes it okay to pour bullets into a classmate when you're peeved at the world. It's disconnection — like we find with this movement that sees the other as 'evil' — that leads to widespread violence. That is straight where we're headed," Perotta said in a Sunday op-ed.
The Red Hen owner and others are playing with fire, he added, and went on to argue that the antics from other left-wing figures are intended to disrupt and destroy.
"The spirit that has been unleashed on this nation is one of destruction. It has but one goal. Remove Trump from office? No. You're deluded if you think it stops there. He's just one rather large chunk of flesh and blood. The goal is consume in fire. To consume common decency, to consume friendships, to consume civil discourse, to consume any hopes of compromise and problem solving, to consume our nation."
Messianic Jewish scholar and host of the Line of Fire radio broadcast Michael Brown, likewise, in an essay decrying Maxine Waters' calls for harassment of Trump administration officials, warned that these tactics will only cause society to further deteriorate.
"A famous liberal will be refused service based on political beliefs alone, then some conservative pundit will say, 'If you could do it to Sarah Sanders, we can do it to you.' And from there, it will only degenerate," Brown predicted.
"The situation is toxic enough as is. The last thing we need is for a public figure to throw more fuel on the fire."
Rod Dreher, who blogs at The American Conservative and is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Benedict Option, said that kicking Sanders out of the restaurant only helps President Trump, and is further evidence of the cultural left's self-righteousness.
"Conservative people see this, and they imagine themselves being thrown out of a restaurant, either by the owner or by left-wing protesters, because they are conservative. They see themselves being driven out of the public square by the left — which all the while congratulates itself on its superior morality — and it makes them furious," he wrote Saturday.
"For the woke left, even trying to eat out with your spouse and your friends at a restaurant is now political, and must be punished."
Yet others took a more sober approach.
National Review's David French, who is a former attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, opined that the Red Hen owner had a right to refuse service, and that Sanders has a right to complain.
"Potential customers have a right to make their own decisions. I have a right to try to persuade people to stop politicizing everything. Freedom is easy to figure out-hard to execute," he said Saturday.
The Washington Post editorial board argued Sunday that Sanders and other Trump administration officials should be allowed to eat their restaurant meals in peace.
"Those who are insisting that we are in a special moment justifying incivility should think for a moment how many Americans might find their own special moment," the Post's editors said.
"How hard is it to imagine, for example, people who strongly believe that abortion is murder deciding that judges or other officials who protect abortion rights should not be able to live peaceably with their families?"