The Archdiocese of Denver has been doing a “Theology on Tap” program in which they hold gatherings in bars to talk about theological questions. The idea is to meet people in unorthodox places to talk about the Gospel and everyday life. I’ve been to meetings like this in other cities, and they’re great.
Well, a bar in Denver has ended its agreement with the Archdiocese after a local auxiliary bishop gave a Theology on Tap talk about religious liberty and the HHS decision. From the story:
Shortly after the talk, however, organizers were told to find a different location for the program because of its “controversial” content and the fact that that some of the bar staff said they would refuse to work the event again.
“It’s ironic that the talk itself pertains so well to what happened,” said Chris Stefanick, director of the archdiocese’s office for youth, young adults and campus ministry who helps run the event.
Unbelievable. A Catholic bishop cannot give a talk on religious liberty in a barroom, of all places, without being thrown out?! Some bar staffers refuse to serve Catholics who hold different opinions about religious liberty than they?! I suppose it’s good to know that Stoney’s Bar and Grill has standards. You can presumably get pie-eyed drunk in the place, as long as you don’t talk about religious liberty. What a bunch of p.c. prisses. You people run a bar, not a finishing school.
The archdiocese quite rightly concedes that Stoney’s, a sports bar that hosts various events by area groups, has the right to decide what kind of events it will allow. But it ought to be useful information for Denver-area Catholics to know that this is how Stoney’s sees them and their bishop. If Catholics want to come drink, that’s fine — just leave their opinions about liberty, and their talkative bishop, outside.
UPDATE: You might be thinking, “Hey, it’s a sports bar, it’s understandable that they don’t want to be known for being a political place.” Nope, sorry. Last summer, they hosted a big event for the Denver Young Democrats.
UPDATE.2: Before you post a comment, understand that neither I nor the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver contend that the bar broke the law here. This is not a question of law, as far as I’m concerned, and as far as the Catholic church in Denver is concerned. I’m trying to moderate this discussion, so I’m not going to allow people to post something that’s factually untrue, or not at issue. Unless you believe somehow that the bar broke the law, and can show why, don’t muddy the issue by bringing First Amendment law into this discussion.