Okay, if you’re not already tired of hearing about Chick-Fil-A then you probably do not reside in America. I might as well say that I’m sick of it too. So, if I’m so sick of it why am I writing more about it? Because I seem to continually find myself being approached by people who want to continue to discuss it. What was intended to be a repost on Facebook of a blog post written by Matthew Paul Turner about a rebuke for the attitude that was exuded by many who supported their local Chick-fil-A on August 1st has created some seemingly never ending conversation. I have been sent a podcast on why MPT is “obviously” wrong, people have called MPT an idiot, and even alluded to my lack of eternal rewards for my stance on this issue. I’m writing this to explain my thoughts on it and why I posted the article in the first place.
Some think that it was a Christian obligation to show support for Chick-fil-A on the first of August. That by doing so it was showing love to a brother who was suffering for Jesus, that our obligation to show love to a brother in Christ trumps the obligation to show love to the lost. They seem to always pick apart MPT’s statement of whether or not there was actual hatred in the CFA support group is irrelevant and that the homosexual group FELT hated and that’s wrong on our part. Maybe MPT didn’t choose the best wording, maybe he was trying to be generous in not saying everyone who went to CFA on 8-1 was a hater. I’ll give him that much, for that’s pretty much how I understood him. So here’s my take on the whole mess.
I am pro-traditional marriage, but I do not hate gays or think they are somehow to be treated with less respect or are less human. Nor would I say they are the ones responsible for bringing down the wrath of God on America (I know plenty of church going people who are doing a fine job of wrath bringing themselves). As a matter of fact, some of the nicest people I know are gay. The fact that I don’t agree with their choice of lifestyle doesn’t mean I hate them or am a bigot. I also happen to think that sex among heterosexual couples outside of marriage is wrong; yet I have quite a few friends who practice that kind of lifestyle, yet there is absolutely no hate I have towards them and (to my knowledge) they don’t feel hated by me. Now, this doesn’t mean that a gay person, or a heterosexual who frequently engages in premarital sex, will never say I hate them. They could say that if they confuse disagreement with hate; but the thing I should try to avoid is to give them reason to confuse the two – like passing around a petition of “Who’s With ME?!” if I’m ever accused of such wrongful attitudes. I believe this is exactly what happened on August 1st.
While Mr. Cathey’s statement was made out to be something it wasn’t intended to be (thanks to the media for much of that) I’m not convinced that Huckabee’s “CFA appreciation day” was the best way to fight that fire (which is why I didn’t participate). As a matter of fact, I’m pretty dang sure it wasn’t. CFA wasn’t about to go under. Sure there were some mayors who were saying they would not allow a CFA in their town due to CFA’s “intolerance” (which was quite hilarious as those mayors were displaying the very intolerance they pride themselves in not having), but I don’t think that was going to cause CFA to go bankrupt. Some say they went to support free-speech, but if that’s the case then the whole argument about standing beside a persecuted Christian brother out of an obligation of love would be irrelevant. From the time I heard about CFA day I began to see Facebook posts by Christians stating that that day was the day to make our voice heard. I was encourage by many to add my voice to the loud “Amen!” by purchasing a meal from CFA. But I had the nagging question in my mind, “What is this going to accomplish?” Sure, I would be letting people know what side of the issue I come down on (which this issue is even a debate in many Christian denominations at the present time), but I’m pretty sure that everyone who knows me knows what I think about it, and if they ever wondered I would be more than happy to talk about my thoughts on the matter. For me, the CFA day seemed to be an “in your face!” as opposed to a “let’s support a persecuted brother”. And for the record,I have purchased items from a persecuted Christian merchant in another country. The other merchants were keeping others from buying his merchandize by spreading lies about him and scaring others away from his business. The man’s family was suffering for even things to eat (not just running the possibility of stocks dropping a bit). The man wouldn’t take money for nothing but insisted I purchase something from his store. Standing with him was not done as I shook my fist at the other merchants, nor did I walk over to his small lean-to with my chest held high in self-satisfaction. I simply walked over, not caring who saw me, but not trying to be seen, and visited with him and his family and made my purchase. That showed love to him and the time spent with him encouraged the both of us. But this CFA demonstration didn’t have the same feel. It felt more like one big conservative “atta boy, Cathey!” as a sideward glance was given to the gay community of “and you thought you’d won this thing didn’t ya?”. Maybe it wasn’t that at all, but it sure felt like it was. And then the day of, I was glad I didn’t participate as I was seeing people posting pictures of their CFA meals on Facebook to let everyone know they went, pictures of notable people they saw there that day, etc. in attempts to drive their point home (whatever happened to Jesus’ teaching that we should let our alms/good deeds be done in secret?). I’m sure some people participated with every ounce of love in their heart for their Christian brother and not a single drop of hatred for gays and lesbians; and maybe knowing this is why MPT said what he did about there may or may not have been hate meant by the CFA day. But the entire feel I got from the anticipation of the event and the day of was not something I would liken to truly Christian, so I refrained from participating. I do think that the Christian community didn’t think this thing through and acted off the whim of a politician. I do not think that the hatred the religious community is accused of holding toward gays is completely unfounded for (at least the movement I was raised in) the gay community has been mocked in sermons and placed on a plain of somehow a more detestable sin that say lying (which Scripture says they are both abominable sins). I was taught that homosexuality is pretty much the last step in reprobation– which Scripture does not teach. And I have had discussions trying to convince bible college students that to ask for another waiter, because the one they had is a homosexual, is absolutely wicked.
I know this demonstration was a chance to make our stance known, but was it the time? Did it communicate what it was intended to? I don’t recall Jesus encouraging all those who followed him to make a public demonstration every time He was asked to leave a town. I don’t remember Him fighting for His right to free speech. When he walked up to a tax collector (an absolutely detestable profession in His day) I don’t see where he qualified His “I want you to follow Me” with a “Now I don’t agree with the way you live, but…”. He was, however, accused by the religious crowd of being an over-eater, drunkard, and a friend of prostitutes and tax collectors. I do recall that He laid down His “rights” and wrongfully suffered (as well as did His followers). We have become excellent and telling the world, repeatedly, what we are against; but we have done a pathetically poor job at letting them know what we’re for. So, to me, CFA day just seemed like one more embarrassing moment where American Christians missed the mark.
A bit of music that I think is appropriate to the topic at hand: “T-Shirts”
PS. I still love CFA chicken and will continue to eat there, so don’t be hate’n on me. =)