People keep asking me what I think about the whole Chik-fil-A issue. So here’s my answer. I’ll keep my “Christian” comments at the end.
1. I realize that I’m not invested into these political media issues as much as I might have many years ago. Meaning, I do think it an important issue, but only tangentially, as it pertains to relationships with people I have. I’m not the media, I’m not the news, I’m not a political candidate. I don’t have any ties specifically to Chik-fil-A (other than their tasty sandwiches… which are tasty. You can’t deny that!). I’ve noticed that even in an election year, I’ve calmed down a bit. =)
2. That being said, I look at what sparked the whole controversy, which is when CEO Dan Cathy told a Baptist newspaper (the Baptist Press) the following:
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.
We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,”
We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
Think about that statement. I think any typical Christian business owner might have have said that.
That statement ignited media attention (and thus the subsequent inquiries into Chik-fil-A’s donations and other Cathy comments) and brought down the wrath of the gay-rights advocates, labeling Dan Cathy as “anti-gay” and “homophobic”.
3. Chik-fil-A did not break any laws, nor are they being accused of anything illegal. The company does not discriminate in their hiring or serving practices, have not broken any laws, nor are they being accused of any illegal discrimination. This is a man’s personal views for a company that he runs with his family.
4. It’s true that Chik-fil-A donated money to an organization that advocates traditional marriage.Just like the many other businesses who donated money to advocates of same-sex marriages. I think that’s their choice. I can think of dozens of companies who’s CEO’s or President’s I disagree with, but I’m not going to boycott every company who has a key leader who I have some kind of moral disagreement with. I’d like to think I am that profound (there are some out there who do this), but alas, I’m not.
5. This caused politicians from Boston, Chicago and New York to say the following things:
“Because of (Dan Cathy’s) ignorance, I will deny Chick-fil-A a permit to open a restaurant in my ward” (Chicago Alderman Proco Moreno)
“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. We’re an open city. We’re a city at the forefront of inclusion.” (Boston Mayor Thomas Menino)
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who just recently married her lesbian partner, called upon New York University to kick Chick-fil-A off its campus.
She wrote, “We are a city that believes our diversity is our greatest strength and we will fight anything and anyone that runs counter to that.”
Obviously, these statements needed to be qualified and within days, Moreno, Emanuel and Menino promised to operate within the law. Those clarifications were necessary when legal authorities quickly recognized threatened violations of First Amendment rights.
I thought New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who supports same-sex marriage , was right on: “You can’t have a test for what the owner’s personal views are before you decide to give a permit to do something in the city.”
And yes, they were not only personal, but profoundly religious (again, the interview was to a Baptist newspaper who was interviewing him on being a Christian businessman). So this is in fact a First Amendment issue.
I ask the same questions Trevin Wax asks,
“What if Dan Cathy were a Muslim? What if he had been a Muslim speaking to an Islamic news organization when he said something about marriage and family? Would there have been an outcry against his organization? It’s doubtful. I can’t imagine Rahm Emanuel taking on a prominent, well-respected Muslim businessman, no matter what he would say about marriage and sexuality. (Perhaps that’s why Emanuel has no problem partnering with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan – an outspoken critic of gay marriage – in a crime-reducing initiative.)
Yes, there is a double-standard here, and you don’t have to support or reject same-sex marriage to see it.
Dr. Albert Mohler asks, “When Emanuel and Moreno tell Chick-fil-A to stay out of Chicago, are they audacious enough to deliver that same message to the churches, mosques and synagogues of their city that also oppose same-sex marriage?
When Quinn, one of the most powerful officials in New York, announces, ‘I do not want establishments in my city that hold such discriminatory views,’ is she also threatening the Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Jewish synagogues and Islamic mosques?”
And so, there is this kind of “intolerance in support of tolerance”, which I think is ironic and sad to me.
I guess you can’t “agree to disagree” anymore - or we’ll kick your business out of our city.
6. Notice that Chik-fil-A closes on Sundays. For a franchise like Chik-fil-A to close on Sunday, it’s costing them millions in revenue every year. And the reason for the decision to close on Sunday? Their religious convictions. And even among the most devout Christians, closing on Sunday is not a given (my parents’ grocery store remains open on Sundays, In-N-Out remains open on Sundays)
You see, there’s so much more to Dan Cathy’s business operation being influenced by faith than his support of traditional marriage. If you read the rest of the original article, he talks more about closing on Sundays than his view of marriage. It’s just that the same-sex issue is hot topic. It’s not as sexy for the media to talk about a business’ hours of operation or tithing practices.
7. Finally, to my Christian brothers and sisters: Eat a chicken sandwich if you want (or eat two, like I do), but don’t confuse this with the Gospel. Skip the culture wars. It ultimately doesn’t matter if more people eat a chicken sandwich to show their support for Chik-fil-A. At the end of the day, it’s not going to work!
The bottom line is that the mayors of Chicago and Boston are correct: Christian values don’t fit in. Jesus said that we’ll be hated and persecuted - he wasn’t crucified for his politically correct views that everyone embraced. If that means there will be changes in the zoning ordinances so that moral values are uncovered to determine whether or not you get a business permit… so be it for the glory of God.
Watch out, In-N-Out. Those Bible verses on the bottom of your cups and french fry bags are next…
I’m gonna go eat a Double Double.
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