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.”
Bam! I think you may have hit the nail on the head. nice job!
I am an owner of a Chick-fil-A franchise and I want to share what I wrote to my team members and the guest who frequent our restaurant.
“We are very grateful and humbled by the incredible turnout by our loyal customers Wednesday. Our goal was to serve each and every customer with genuine hospitality. While we don’t release exact sales numbers, we can confirm that it was a record-setting day. Thank you.
As we move forward I hope Grace is word we keep close. Yes, Chick-fil-A had a record day but this is about more than Chick-fil-A and we recognize that. People came to the restaurant for a variety of reasons. I can’t begin to name them all. Believe it or not some came just to eat and had no idea of what had transpired in the last few weeks. But the reason I ask for grace is this – there a good people on both sides of any debate; people with human hearts; hearts that rejoice but also hearts that ache. Today let’s acknowledge that while some may be rejoicing others may be hurting.
So my prayer is we put grace in our hearts. I love the way Lutheran pastor and author, Peter Marty describes grace – “it rings with the priority of divine generosity, outpacing every other form of gift-giving ever known to the world. Though it defies any classification, grace is a beautiful word that has a way of intoxicating all who care to load up their hearts with the riches of faith.”
You see, when it comes down to it – all we really have is this one life. How we live it is our choice. I believe every day God will confront us in the most difficult of circumstances of life and every day we will need to choose our response. And every day – if we are listening God will invite us out of ourselves long enough to engage someone – whose fears, wants, loves, and needs are at least as important as ours. When that happens, let’s choose grace over judgment, choose forgiveness over wrath, choose love over — everything.
Nancy, your speech sounds very inspiring. Way to call your team to something higher!
Great thoughts, Jonathan!
There’s a reason why common ground with the political left is impossible: because they hate you.
Creating moral equivalence isn’t a sign of moral righteousness, but rather of intellectual cowardice. It’s tougher to stand for something, than to criticize everyone.
Leftist theorist Herbert Marcuse wrote about this long ago when he advocated toleration to everything to the left, and intolerance to everything to the right. Thus a progressive movement that will tolerate the most heinous pornography, will never tolerate a cross or prayer in their midst.
“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.””
Imagine someone saying this to Moses about Pharaoh.