I never thought the day would come when eating a chicken sandwich would be a polarizing political statement.
Obviously, though, I was wrong. On Wednesday, crowds flooded Chick-fil-A at Mike Huckabee’s request to show support for founder Truett Cathy’s statements on gay marriage. Today, in response, members of the gay and lesbian community have staged a “Same-Sex Kiss-In” at various Chick-fil-A locations to let their opinion on the matter be known.
Honestly, this whole idea of expressing a political statement through chicken is amusing to me. In a few months, I’m expecting life in the chicken business to return to normal. The battle over gay marriage will carry on, but I don’t see Chick-fil-A being at the forefront of it much longer (and my assumption, based on their company statements, is that they would prefer not to be immersed in this battle).
Much has been written on these two days of political expression, so I see no need to express a further opinion on it. If you’re looking for something more to read, especially on the Christian perspective of things, I’d recommend this article by Matthew Paul Turner.
Instead, I’d like to focus on another aspect of the story that hasn’t gotten as much attention. The mayors of Chicago and Boston have each made interesting statements on this issue, essentially stating that they wish to ban Chick-fil-A from their respective cities. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Boston Mayor Tom Menino said the following: “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion.” Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel expressed similar thoughts.
Many who oppose Chick-fil-A have expressed support for Emanuel and Menino. Essentially what they’re saying is this:
- Chick-fil-A’s owner wants to ban something with which he disagrees.
- Because we tolerate all viewpoints, we won’t tolerate this.
- Therefore, because we disagree with them, we should ban Chick-fil-A.
See the inconsistency there? I’m certainly not saying that Christians have handled everything perfectly, but I think there are issues on both sides here. I’m definitely bothered by Christians who make homosexuality out to be the primary problem with our society. I don’t agree with gay marriage or homosexuality in general, but I don’t see it as worse than any of a million other wrongs that go ignored in today’s society. The fixation that some Christians have with homosexuality is out of control and it’s problematic. However, those on the other side of the spectrum that are fixated with hating those who hate really aren’t any better. What if, instead of Chick-fil-A, a mayor wished to ban something else? A gay bar? A Muslim temple? If any politician even so much as thought about saying something like that, the media onslaught would be tremendous. Why, then, is Chick-fil-A different? Why are Christians okay to hate?
I think both sides of the issue have something to learn here. For Christians, we need to focus on love. Honestly, it’s nice to see Christians being for something rather than against something for a change. I’ll admit it’s being for something that’s against something, but reading headlines involving the words “Christian” and “appreciation day” is still a nice change. Growing up, Christians often made the news for the things they were thought to hate: homosexuality, alcohol, Disney, etc. Instead, Christians should be known for our love. It’s only then that we reflect Jesus, who gave his life for us out of love. Showing hate accomplishes nothing except turning people off from Christianity for no good reason.
For those who are against Christians, Chick-fil-A, and “intolerance” in general, it’s time to see your inconsistency. You want everyone to be treated equally, even homosexuals? Treat everyone equally, even those who disagree with you (and even those who don’t treat everyone equally!).
I truly believe if people from both sides of this debate could cooperate despite their differences, progress would be made. Unfortunately, both sides still have lots of work to do. Maybe this starts with simply recognizing that neither is doing things “right.”