So I went into the local kosher deli and demanded a ham sandwich.
"I'm sorry, we don't serve ham," said the snarky, smarmy, prejudicial deli owner.
"WHAT?" I said. "I'm a customer and I demand a ham sandwich."
"We don't even have any ham here."
"Well, you'd better get some!"
"But you're not even trying!"
Finally he admitted the truth: "We can't have ham here! It's a kosher deli!"
"So, we're not allowed to have ham!"
"Our dietary laws forbid ham."
"Ooooh, so your ancient and crusty old religious rules, invented by some toothless impotent old white men, force you to discriminate against ham sandwich eaters, is that it?"
He shook his head like he was tired, but I knew he was just brimming with hate. "Listen, mister, I'd like to help, but one thing I can't do is give you a ham sandwich, all right?"
"Sure!" I said. "Haters gotta hate, right? How about a lobster roll, or are you hating on that too?"
"Say," he said, now suspicious, "are you here just to pick on us? You must know shellfish isn't kosher either."
"What I know is, you'll be hearing from the ACLU!"
"The what? Hey, fella---"
"You get me my ham sandwich or you'll be sorry!"
"But... what about religious liberty? You can't force me to give you ham and lobster!"
"The ACLU doesn't care about religious liberty anymore!" I cried, playing my trump card. "No one does! You're discriminating against me, and I'll sue! All the courts and the entire weight of the federal government stand behind me!"
Now he looked nervous. "Why should all those people care what kind of business I run?"
"You're impinging on my freedom. Is this what we fight and die for? We supposedly spread freedom elsewhere while losing it here?"
"You're in the military?"
"Well, no," I said, realizing my rhetorical error. "I'm an adherent of the Sciencey Church of Atheism, and we believe war is an evolutionary throwback. I'm a conscientious objector."
"Wait a second---so the government couldn't make you pick up a gun if an enemy was marching into town, but it will use force to make me to give you a ham sandwich?"
"I see what you did there!" I spat. "This isn't about me!" (But of course it was. Me! Whee!) "This is about your prejudice! There will be consequences for your bad thoughts!"
"Listen, please!" he said, waving his hands. "There's no need to get excited. Look, there's a Subway down the street, and a Blimpie two blocks east; they'll give you all the ham you could want. I'll call them and tell them to make something nice, okay?"
"You're a bigot!" I screamed, really getting into it now. Oh, you should've seen me. "Where's your lunch counter? I'm going to sit there until you give me a ham sandwich! Just like we did in the old days in the south!"
"You did? You don't look old enough---"
"But I would have served the black people! Just not ham! It's against my religious law! Isn't there any tolerance for religion anymore?"
"You're the intolerant one!" I hollered. "First we're going to get the gym teacher to burn this place down. Then we're going to get Apple and Walmart to refuse service to you. Then we're---where are you going?"
"I'm closing the store," he said with a sigh, turning his sign around. "Probably forever."
Another victory for me! Me, the ACLU, and all the others who put down this so-called religious tolerance and enforce conformity!
But strangely, when I went to demand a ham sandwich at the Halal place down the street, no one came to back me up.
Freedom of religion. Feh. Whoever heard of such a thing? Like something bad could ever happen without freedom of religion.