In April of 2015, Robert Mannarino called Florida-based Cut the Cake bakery and asked for a cake with the inscription “Homosexuality is an abomination unto the Lord.” Cyndol Knarr, who owns the bakery with her mother Sharon Haller, responded with sarcasm, assuming this was a prank call. She said each letter would cost $150, bringing the cake’s cost to nearly $6,000.
Mannarino said she was discriminating against him before hanging up… and later filed a lawsuit against the company alleging religious discrimination.
A Florida administrative law judge just recommended the lawsuit be tossed out for a number of reasons, but the details of the ruling are entertaining as hell because of how pathetic Mannarino’s claims were.
To begin with, Mannarino never even told Haller that he was a Christian.
During his phone call with Cut the Cake, however, Petitioner did not reveal that he was a member of any religion or affiliated with a religious organization.
His Christian résumé wasn’t very impressive, either.
Currently, however, he does not belong to a specific Christian denomination and rarely goes to church.
Petitioner testified that he reads the Bible often. When pressed at the final hearing, however, Petitioner was unable to provide another biblical verse from memory. Petitioner was also unaware of the significance of the Torah. Petitioner explained that he chose a quote from Jewish scripture for his cake instead of a quote from Christ because Christians respect the Old Testament as much as the New Testament.
It also didn’t help that Mannarino lived more than 100 miles away from the bakery, which suggests he sought them out for the purpose of suing them after they rejected his hate speech.
For the record, bother Haller and Knarr are Christians themselves and they regularly put Christian messages on cakes when customers request it. But this hate speech, which they assumed was a prank phone call, really took the air out of any claim of religious discrimination.
It’s also worth noting why they assumed this was a prank phone call. Just weeks before Mannarino called them, evangelist Joshua Feuerstein called up the same bakery, asked them to write “We do not support gay marriage” on a cake, got rejected, recorded the whole call without their knowledge, and posted it online without their permission. Those last two things are illegal in Florida, though no charges were ever pressed against him.
Feuerstein’s followers, who are as gullible, angry, and oblivious as he is, began calling the same bakery to harass the owners.
The calls were so venomous that Haller and Knarr feared their lives were in danger.
“It’s hurt our business not only because of what they’ve done but because of people writing false reviews on Google and Yelp,” Knarr said.
Feuerstein never apologized for any of that, and Mannarino told a judge he was unaware of Feuerstein’s video… which seems hard to imagine.
In any case, rejecting hate speech in the name of religion is not religious discrimination. And Cut the Cake bakery isn’t even a place of “public accommodation” as defined by the law because customers don’t eat the food on the premises — so even if they did discriminate against Christians, which they didn’t do, it wouldn’t be against the law.
On every argument, Mannarino failed, making this yet another false claim of Christian persecution.
Judge J. Bruce Culpepper told the Florida Commission on Human
Relations that they should dismiss the case on all counts.
Feuerstein has been noticeably silent about the decision on Facebook.