I love Chik-Fil-A. My family does too. If I am not in the right frame of mind, diet-wise, you will see CFA bags or a sweet tea cup in my car. The chicken sandwiches are amazing and the waffle fries are perfect and every once in a while, there is nothing better than a cookies 'n cream milkshake.
I also love their customer service and their stand for Christian values and their support of traditional marriage and the family and their scholarship programs and charity work and, well, just about everything.
In addition, I think that Dan Cathy, the Chik-Fil-A CEO had every right to answer a question about his support for traditional marriage and the family the way he did. That is his belief and he should be able to speak it. He was also right to speak out in favor of his Christian convictions on marriage and the family and more of us should do the same. I also think that it is totally wrong for the mayors of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and other protestors around the country to try and keep Chik-Fil-A out of their cities because of their beliefs and positions.
One more thing: I also think that today's support of Chik-Fil-A is generally a good thing and I am glad that people have a desire to see businesses who stand for the right things do well.
But . . .
I am feeling a bit uneasy as the day goes on. Something in my gut is wondering if those supporting Chik-Fil-A by eating a chicken sandwich today did not end up accelerating the culture war to a new height, and not in the way that is best. Here is what I mean: Dan Cathy did not specifically say anything against gay marriage. He simply said that he supported the traditional family and marriage. But, this protest is very clearly a response to the backlash against Cathy and Chik-Fil-A by homosexuals and their supporters. So, by nature, the long lines of people at Chik-Fil-A today are counterprotesting the protestors, thus, making a statement against them that Cathy and Chik-Fil-A still have not made. They have just kept doing their work. Is this what Chik-Fil-A would have wanted?
Secondly, buying a chicken sandwich and waffle fries today and standing in long lines to do so does not really support the things that Cathy and Chik-Fil-A said they were in favor of. It can come across more as a show of power to those who would try and exercise power against us. Where does Jesus' teachings on "do not resist an evil person" (Matt. 5:39) come into play here? Granted, this is not resisting in a negative way, but instead, it is a positive affirmation of Chik-Fil-A. It is almost a silent protest of support. No problem there - it can actually be a good thing, but I wonder if in the contest of protests and counter protests, it doesn't come across as a show of power, especially when we get really excited about the long lines and how many people are on our team?
Chik-Fil-A will now forever be known as the "anti-gay" restaurant chain, which is not who they are at all. They are not "anti" anyone nor are they discriminatory. They have no policy in either hiring or service against homosexuals. Instead, they are "pro" traditional marriage and family. But, I wonder if that message is being lost in the sound and fury of the culture wars?
A lady in our church, Molly, updated her status on Facebook today by saying something very poignant, I think, which stopped me in my tracks and got me to look at the larger picture here. While not criticizing those at CFA today to show support, she asked how many people would be at Chik-Fil-A on Friday night when the homosexual protest took place to show love, concern, compassion, and to engage in conversation and share the gospel. That got me thinking and I have not been able to shake the thought all day. Standing in line to buy a chicken sandwich and support the business of Chik-Fil-A can be seen as more about us (not saying it is, but it could be construed that way). It could be seen as Christians and Conservatives trying to protect those institutions that promote our way of life and to give them more power - economic power. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, per se, but I wonder if Jesus would have shown up to buy a chicken sandwich today, or if he would be sitting in a booth on Friday night dining with "sinners?" I wonder if the way of Jesus here is not something altogether different - not exercising power to build up Chik-Fil-A or attack sinners and also not saying that homosexuality is the right course and the issue doesn't matter. Perhaps the way of Jesus would be to bring something altogether different to the conversation - the new life found only in Him, forgiveness, and the crucifixion of our way of life so that we can walk in His way.
These are just thoughts. This blog is the workshop of my mind and it is often a big mess. I am not questioning the motives of a single person who went to Chik-Fil-A today. I am NOT criticizing anyone who went to CFA today to show support for their family friendly values. I would have gone there too and was pretty excited about the whole thing this morning. I might go tomorrow. But, I am attempting to think "big picture" here. I am trying to see this through a gospel lense. If it wasn't for Molly, I probably would not have thought too much of it. But, apart from the individual motives of all the people who went to Chik-Fil-A today because they wanted to do something good, I just wonder if collectively we didn't fall for the world's old ploy that tries to get us to protect our way of life through trying to hold onto our place in the world instead of realizing that we already have a place in God's Kingdom and we are free to lay our lives down in love - even for those who would take action against us?