Huffington Post is reporting this morning that Chick-Fil-A is ceasing to support pro-family groups who lobby to oppose same-sex marriage, such as Exodus International, the Family Research Council, and Focus on the Family. The organization, The Civil Rights Agenda, states in a press release:
September 18, 2012 – Chicago, Illinois – The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA), Illinois’ leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights advocacy organization, has learned that Alderman Moreno has finalized his negotiations with Chick-Fil-A. Alderman Moreno has confirmed that Chick-fil-A will no longer give money to anti-gay organizations and that they have clarified in an internal document that the company will treat every person equally, regardless of sexual orientation. The Civil Rights Agenda worked closely with the Alderman in an advisory role as he negotiated these concessions with the executives at Chick-fil-A. Additionally, members of TCRA spoke directly with executives at Chick-fil-A during negotiations to aid in educating their decision makers about anti-discrimination policies and issues affecting the LGBT community.
In a letter addressed to Alderman Moreno and signed by Chick-fil-A’s Senior Director of Real Estate, it states, “The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.” Winshape, a non-profit funded by Chick-fil-a, has donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT groups, including some classified as hate groups, such as Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage. In meetings the company executives clarified that they will no longer give to anti-gay organizations.
My take: This is the world we live in. I am not supporting giving to these organizations. But, that is beside the point. There are many companies that give money to groups who are pro-gay and pro-gay marriage, even though the concept is illegal in over 80% of states and is against Federal Law, so supporting companies who take a side on this issue is clearly not taboo. Many religious groups and pro-traditional-family groups have opposed these businesses with boycotts, but that has not stopped the growing tide of acceptance. With an initial small minority, the pro-same-sex marriage position is gaining steam and by labeling all who disagree with them as hate groups, they have won the emotional argument. This approach is catching on. My guess is that Chick-Fil-A, while maintaining a pro-traditional marriage stance, does not want to be associated with culture warriors who are oppsing the swelling tide. This could come from a principled position of a desire to stay neutral, or it could be because they know which way the winds are blowing and don't want the backlash.
At any rate, if this is true, it is another sign that the legalization of gay marriage is almost a certainty. I have stated before that Christians long ago abandoned a principled position on marriage when we acquiesced to the idea that marriage is about romantic love and the right of two people who love one another to choose to be together. When we made marriage about us and about love, no-fault divorce was the eventual result. If two people don't love each other any more, then why should they stay married? Christians, believing that marriages should stay together because the Bible says so, then tried to get married couples to be "in love" with each other so they would stay married. But, this idea is based on a fallacy. Biblical marriage is not based on romantic love. It is based on God's covenant love and commitment to His own glory and to us - which transcends feelings of romance or satisfaction. Biblical marriage is relationally between a man and a woman and it originates in God. Sure, love is involved - even feelings romantic love as a result. But, that is not the proper foundation, at least in a human sense. Biblical marriage begins is worship of God. The covenant between God and man illustrated through Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross is the true picture of marriage and that covenant is irrevocable. Marriage is a picture of this heavenly reality. But, when we stop worshiping God and looking to Him as our Source, marriage falls apart. We made marriage about us and not about God or Christ and His Church and so we philosophically lost the whole thing. Then, when two gay men or lesbian women come together and say they want to get married because they love each other and marriage is about two people loving each other and why can't they have what straight people have, Christians have no idea what to say except that it is wrong - which means nothing. They have us at our foundational argument. Gender doesn't matter because "love" is supreme. God is love and love conquers all and who are we to say who can love someone else? So, our argument falls apart because essentially, we agree with them. We have no strong argument against divorce except the negative argument that God hates it. Then we try to get couples to fall in love again and when they no longer have feelings for each other, they throw in the towel and we say, "how sad." Our argument against gay marriage is essentially a gender argument which is not compelling because gender lines were erased a generation ago.
The Biblical answer is found in a true picture of God and His creation, Jesus and His Cross, Salvation, the Church, and what Christ's inviolable covenant with man actually is. But, most Christians don't know this, so how can we expect them to understand covenant marriage? All that we are left with when it comes to the gay marriage argument is that "it is wrong." Once you throw out absolute truth and locate the moral governor within the individual, what is right and wrong becomes relative to what makes someone happy or not. And, if it makes you happy, you should do it - right? Christians eaten up with various forms of the prosperity gospel and humanism and a belief that God really does want us to be happy, stumble off stuttering under their breath, "But, but, but, it's wrong . . . isn't it?" Then, when the culture says that they are hate-filled hypocrites because they don't want people to be happy and follow their heart, the once strong opponent to gay marriage caves completely, not wanting to be on the wrong side of what society declares a good person to be. Our own definitions of good and bad are based in society's approval and not in any transcendent sense. After all, if society does not approve of us, then we are no longer relevant and irrelevancy means we have no identity and no success and favor is based on success and acceptance and if we don't have that, then God is no longer with us and if God is not with us, then we are condemned, or so it often seems. So, to be declared a hate-filled hypocrite by society is essentially a judgment of damnation and of being "cast out into utter darkness." It makes us wonder who our god really is. Think about it. As people who subscribe to Divine Revelation, this is a strange set of circumstances we find ourselves in.
So, this move by Chick-Fil-A will be the move of the rest of culture, including the church - eventually, because any opposition to gay marriage is only now seen as hate. There can be no other reason for it in people's minds. Unless we recover a transcendent, Biblical view of marriage that is based in Christ and His Church instead of our feelings and personal experience of love, romantic or otherwise, we won't even understand what is happening. We will continue to demonize gay marriage supporters without ever seeing that we are part of the problem, that we vacated this playing field generations ago, and that what is happening now is a natural result of our own abandoning of truth and fidelity. When "Christianity" dominated the culture, we did strange things with it (slavery, racism, greed, power-plays, oppression) to support our own way of life instead of losing our life daily, and now that our consensus has fallen apart, the chicken sandwiches have come home to roost, so to speak (pun intended).
I understand that it is hard to keep this view in mind. We all fall short. Grace is needed. Christian marriage is hard because it requires a daily dying to self. It is attractive to fall for the larger culture's definition of marriage based on romantic love. That feels better. But, it does not last. Romantic love in marriage is a gift of God and is a by-product of other things. But, it is not the foundation of marriage. God is. And, God is faithful and true, even when we fall short in our understanding and practice. So, we need grace and hope and that is found in God too.