Last week, an Atlanta-based pastor named Alois Bell gave a stellar example of religious morality and all its self-important baggage that litters the landscape of human decency.
Some of this baggage reared its ugly head after Bell and her fellow connoisseurs of fine dining finished their meals in a St. Louis, MO, Applebee’s restaurant with a party of at least 10 people. As is customary in many restaurants, an 18% gratuity charge accompanies a table of guests whose party exceeds a specified number. Since Bell and her party met this condition, an 18% service charge was added to each bill. In response to this gratuity, Pastor Bell used a pen to mark over the amount, write in a “0” for the additional tip and wrote an unambiguously insulting question which read, “I Give GOD 10% Why do you Get 18” [sic]. This conduct was not, and is not, merely insulting. It is demeaning, sanctimonious, and a despicable display of arrogance dishonestly rationalized by the fallacy that religious belief bestows license for people to be exempt from personal accountability and justly warranted benevolence.
But, it doesn't end there...
A waitress in this particular Applebee’s, Chelsea Welch, took a picture of the rancorous bill and posted it online only to see it go viral with great haste. Once word of this exposure reached Pastor Bell, she was very publicly apologetic for her behavior. According to Welch, Bell had been feeling so remorseful for what she did that she called up the restaurant and insisted that not only Ms. Welch be fired, but that Bell’s server and management staff also be terminated. Praise the lard and pass the overcooked potato skins! Pastor Bell repented for her abhorrent conduct... after she got caught... after Welch was terminated from her job... after she began to lose members of her congregation... after being revealed to be a spiteful excuse for a human being to the general public.
Sure, she’s profusely sorry. She can’t apologize enough. She wants everyone to see that she’s a good person deep down inside. She needs to convey that the way she acted when she thought she could get away with it was a temporary lapse in her pious nature that prompted her to be a condescending twit in the name of her invisible wizard in the sky. Yeah, she is filled with an overabundance of sensationalized remorse. Can you see her from the back? One more time for the cameras...
In the meantime, Chelsea Welch was terminated from employment by Applebee’s. After all, such a prestigious establishment of culinary delights must protect their image. They must continue to move forward with insufficient employee compensation, labor exploitation and celebrating the exciting mediocrity of their menu.
In all seriousness, it is unfortunate that applying moral courage against a miscreant in the shallow environment of this image state often results in the perpetrator being given a platform to play the misunderstood casualty. Ms. Welch should be commended for speaking up and laying bare the true character of yet another pompous religious person hiding her own nasty character behind a contrived piety.
Pastor Bell feels that giving her magical man 10% for basically being a nonexistent custodian to global human suffering and injustice excuses her from contributing proper compensation for a real person who struggles to make a living by taking orders and serving food. Further, she also feels that her tithing justifies a self-righteous jab designed to belittle a restaurant server.
Being part of a waiting staff is not an easy job – it requires attention to detail, the ability to cordially interact with complete strangers (who are often strange and not completely cordial), acting as a hub for constant two-way communication between customers and restaurant staff, physical & mental endurance, and a significant measure of patience.
Alois Bell made a conscious decision to abuse her position and self-appointed status as a bible-stroking superstar to spread the love selectively and hold onto the money of which her god seems to desperately need so much. Since she is a pastor, who exactly is collecting that money and who exactly is getting paid this 10 percent?
Alois Bell should try a job that doesn't involve making a living by pushing antiquated superstitious delusion. Since that also rules out tarot card readings and astrology hotlines, the service industry may be a viable option. At least in that environment she would be paid to tend to real people, rather than an imaginary sky daddy. She might even discover that humanity exists quite well outside of narrow biblical constraints. Maybe Applebee’s is hiring...