It seems only fitting that I write a post regarding the whole issue with Chick-Fil-A, since that’s a hot topic right about now. Many gays and their allies are calling for boycotts of the restaurant after it became public that CEO Dan Cathy has donated to the Family Research Council and other conservative groups that argue for traditional understandings of marriage, and hence oppose the extension of marital rights to the gay community. Some have gone so far as to refer to these as “hate groups.” Chick-Fil-A’s supporters by contrast, decided to designate August 1 as “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” and eat there en masse.
I went to one such restaurant on that day, and it was indeed packed, with the line stretching out the door. The whole experience kind of fused a bunch of thoughts into my head together, which I’ll try to summarize.
The first thing I’d like to note is that there has been significant rhetorical dishonesty from certain portions of the left. Some of my more liberal friends have referred to general moral disapproval of homosexuality as “hate speech” and “bigotry.” Sorry friends, this is not right on your part. Merriam-Webster defines bigotry as “one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance” Our culture has to descended to the point in which telling someone that what they do is wrong constitutes hatred. It is, in my opinion, extreme cowardice on their part. Furthermore, there are legitimate concerns about freedom of speech, as certain mayors have made statements indicating their intent to block Chick-Fil-A for their stance on homosexuality. That bothers me, as saying that gays should not marry, even if, theoretically, is bigoted, is not sufficient grounds for government to block it.
On the other hand, some on the conservative side have overplayed the free speech concerns. Many have acted as though the gay community’s boycotts are themselves an attack on free speech. I have seen this attitude rampant on Facebook. However, the fact is that gays and their liberal allies are fully within their constitutional right to boycott and picket Chick-Fil-A. Freedom of speech only protects one’s statements from government retribution. It does not mean the public cannot show their disapproval through economic and rhetorical means.
I think it’s a good thing that people want to show solidarity with someone who has made a statement in accordance with what he believes to the biblical view (and I believe as well). However, it also seems that the culture war mentality has gone a bit too far. What I sensed among many of my conservative evangelical friends was almost a belief that we were akin to St. Stephen because we were eating at Chick-Fil-A. Part of me is bothered that, when Christ has called us as Christians to be a voice for voiceless, it seems like an incorrect priority to claim to be standing up for Jesus by patronizing a multi-million dollar corporation. Furthermore, in I Corinthians 6, our bodies are referred to as the temple of the Holy Spirit. Are we really glorifying God, therefore, by eating this incredibly unhealthy fast food? And like most fast food chains, they likely utilize factory farming, in which animal and worker alike are subject to less-than-ideal conditions, which I also feel is against God’s plan.
In summation, I’m glad to see Christians willing to take a stand in solidarity with someone who dares to speak what they believe to be right in the midst of our postmodern culture that dishonestly labels its ideological dissidents. And I enjoy the occasional tasty Chick-Fil-A sandwich. However, what I would like is to see that action coupled with action on behalf towards the poor and downtrodden, including in the realm of corporate malfeasance. As one meme that I’ve seen circulating Facebook notes, why don’t this many Christians ever seem to line up at homeless shelters, prison ministries, etc?
I am all for standing up for what is right. I am hesitant to designate eating at a fast food restaurant as a moralistic crusade.