Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that some time last week Chik-Fil-A president Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press his company was ”guilty as charged” for backing “the biblical definition of a family.” The backlash that has ensued has caused a social media explosion, a boycott, and a counter-boycott support effort launched by former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
There are countless Youtube videos like this one calling Cathy’s statements bigoted and asking people to boycott the nation’s largest chicken sandwich franchise. Likewise, proponents of the company’s stance have agreed to flood the company with business in response to the boycott. One person on Twitter reported that his location had already run out of burritos (tortillas?) before 8:00AM.
So as I type this you probably want to know my stance on gay marriage. If you know me, you know my views on this issue, and the specific reasons I hold those views. But if I talk about that issue, we are missing the point. THIS IS NOT A POST ABOUT GAY MARRIAGE OR “BIBLICAL” MARRIAGE. The issue at the heart of this matter has nothing to do with whether or not gays should be allowed to marry. The issue is about human relationships and how we choose to treat people with differing views from ours.
Boycotting is an age-old strategy to give folks a “taste of their own medicine.” But when, in the modern era, has a boycott (or it’s knee-jerk counter-support) won anyone over to a particular view? That is what we are trying to do is it not? Don’t advocates for the LGBT community wish that Cathy and his company would be more open minded? Don’t the supporters of the chicken chain wish that the boycott supporters would accept Cathy’s comments as biblical truth? Yet in an effort to win people to our own viewpoints, we do something to spite them, hoping they will suddenly start to see things our way.
The irony of this all is that while people around the world are starving, we are up in arms over the political message someone is sending by ordering a #1 with waffle fries and a lemonade on Wednesday, August 1. Honestly, I pity the casualties caught in collateral damage…you know, the guy who is oblivious to the comments and the boycott and he’ll walk back into the office with a takeout bag of Chik-Fil-A and will lose half a dozen friends due to his own ignorance. But I digress…
The Master put it this way…
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[h](AT) 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.(AU) 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.(AV)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i](AW) and hate your enemy.’(AX) 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,(AY) 45 that you may be children(AZ) of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.(BA) 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?(BB) Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.(BC)
I believe we should know what we believe and why. However, I think Cathy’s comments were polarizing and did nothing but create more division in an issue that already has enough division. Similarly, I’ve shared before that I don’t believe boycotts are a good way to win people over. It goes against logic to believe that reconciliation between opposing views can or will occur if the two sides are firing arrows at one another.
So what is the answer? I guess that’s for us to work together to find out. Will it hurt Chik-Fil-A to lose a little revenue based on the comments? Maybe, but I don’t see them going under any time soon. Political views aside, they are a quality business with a great product, even without the Christian community supporting their conservative values. What if the LGBT reached out to Cathy to open dialog? What if Cathy reached out to them?
We live in polarized times. I’m not trying to ride the fence. I just know that unless people of opposing views can come together with dignity in a spirit of dialog and understanding, the lines that divide us will continue to grow. In case you’re wondering, I will not be eating at Chik-Fil-A today–there’s not one around here for 50 miles. How do you feel about this issue? Let the DIALOG begin.