The Chick-fil-A fiasco is no different. I read these articles and watch the outrage role in on Facebook, but somehow I find it hard to get whipped into a frenzy over this. There are parts of me that rage a little, but not in the way you might think. Or even hope.
It irritates me to see how the media twists words to make a better story. Case in point, the words of Chick-fil-A president, Dan Cathy. Here's his statement:
"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 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."
What I hear Cathy saying here, as well as at other times, is that he is pro-marriage. What the media translates this into is that he is anti-gay. One of the articles I read spun it so far as to say that he was practically paying people to bully homosexuals. Seriously, are we five years old? Now, maybe he is those things, I have no idea, but that's not what he's communicated.
What I understand him to be saying, and I would say I agree with him on this, is that marriage is a biblical concept. It was designed by God. To be between one man and one woman. And to be an unbreakable covenant. Which means not only is "gay marriage" somewhat of an oxymoron, but really so is "first marriage" or "failed marriage" (aside from situations where there are biblical grounds for divorce).
So at this point you might think, that's not really the gray zone, it's pretty black and white. And you'd be right. But here's where I get pulled over into the gray. Again and again and again I am here writing about this, and I will continue to do so because I feel it is so important. Arguing over the biblical definition of marriage will do absolutely nothing to save the soul of a person. Telling them to "eat more (heterosexual) chicken" might make you giggle, but its not going to do much at all to show them the love of Christ. There's no grace in that. So while I commend Mr. Cathy for standing firm on biblical principles, even in the face of such hostile opposition, I cannot commend all of his supporters. Because for so many Christians it seems like this is just one more bandwagon to jump on and champion our cause. And what is our cause?
Well, preventing gays from having any right, of course.
Except that, that's really not what we're called to do. We're called to love. And in order to love, we have to be concerned with the heart. Gay marriage is not the problem. The problem is the heart. And I've never seen a hard heart softened by being beaten into submission. Quite the contrary, I've seen them turn to stone.
Now don't get me wrong, we cannot change hearts. But we can be vessels of Christ's love. Can and should.
Support Chick-fil-A, I think that's swell. But honestly, even if you don't, this isn't going to hurt their business. Sadly enough I believe that Americans are controlled more by our stomachs than by our convictions. But I would really ask you to consider carefully what message you are sending by your public support of this. Is there really any reason to shout it from the roof tops? Because here's the thing, this is pretty raw right now. So as unfortunate as it is, saying that you support this restaurant will undoubtedly be translated (by some) into: "I am pro marriage . . . anti-gay . . . and I occasionally pay people to beat up fags." (I use that word only to make a point)
I believe in standing firm in our convictions, but the ultimate goal isn't to be bold. And it isn't to look like a good, moral Christian person. The ultimate goal is to win others. So consider your methods. And by all means, enjoy your chicken.