Should I support Chick-Fil-A tomorrow or not?

Chick-fil-A Austin-TX

Chick-fil-A Austin-TX (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s not easy to keep quiet. My practice is to stay away from politically charged discussions. There are some who I may someday influence for the cause of Christ who would stray if they knew my stand on political issues.

One of the first sermon series I did in our church plant during the last presidential election was called Going Purple. There are few things that cause division among people than politics, but our Christian communities need to be places where people can disagree on things and still worship together. Churches shouldn’t be blue or red.

I remember a pastor pointing out that numbered among Jesus’ disciples were Simon the Zealot and Matthew the tax collector. Talk about extremes in political thinking! Zealots wanted to kick out the Romans and re-establish the kingdom of Israel while tax collectors were Jews who gathered up taxes that supported the foreign occupiers. I’m sure Jesus was intentional about this. The Bible doesn’t record it, but I wonder if those two hashed things out from time to time. Maybe they didn’t. Maybe the purpose and power of God among them helped them to see the greater cause? This thought prompts me to stay quiet in such times. However . . .

Christians have as much right to our opinions as everyone else. That some people lay it on thick and scare people away should prompt us to proceed with caution for God’s sake isn’t to say that we shouldn’t speak at all. I believe that marriage is between a man an a woman not just because it feels right to me, but because my God says it’s right.

Chick-Fil-A representatives never said that they would treat anyone differently because of their lifestyle choices. Christianity Today reports that there has never been evidence of discrimination of any sort on the part of the restaurant. So, once again, this is an issue of a particular people paying consequences for speaking freely. The mayors of Chicago and Boston have a right to disagree with the opinion of anyone else. But, they are denying these Christians of their right of doing business because they spoke out in favor of keeping the definition of marriage between one man and one woman.

These politicians have proved once again that they not only lack an elementary understanding of the Constitution they have sworn to uphold, they have foolishly become the epitome of what the world has so often (and justifiably in so many cases) claimed to be a major downfall of Christ followers: hypocrisy. They are outraged at the unfair treatment of Christians against the homosexual population by denying opponents of same sex marriage of their right to the pursuit of happiness.

When I take a bite of that chicken sandwich tomorrow, don’t misunderstand me. It’s not a political statement. I’m not condemning my gay and lesbian friends to hell, which I don’t have the power to do anyway. I am supporting the first amendment right to free speech. And, most of all, I’m casting my vote to help influence society in what I believe is the proper course in these confusing times – just like my friends on the other side of this issue are doing. And I hope that we can remain friends.

So on Wednesday, August 1, I will speak out in support of what I believe is right – both spiritually and constitutionally. I will have lunch at Chick-Fil-A (if there are any seats available). And for those who may take offense, please understand that I will not think differently of you if you don’t.

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27 thoughts on “Should I support Chick-Fil-A tomorrow or not?

  1. I have been following this, which is quite big news even this side of the pond, and frankly it comes as no great surprise to me given certain things, such as provisions of the Affordable Healthcare Act.
    It seems to me, and I am no theologian, that the CEO of this chain (one I have yet to sample) is living out Matthew 5 v 11. This gentleman has taken a principled stand in keeping with his self proclaimed faith, he has not, contrary to many reports declared some sort of war on the gay community but has, as any Christian should, called them to repentance of a life contrary to Gods will. The conduct of certain elected officials does not shock me since they have made their position equally clear.

    I am much more disturbed by some Churches and church people who claim to follow Christ yet in order not to confront sin and sinners cosy up to a way of life which is contrary to that we know to be Gods will so as not to cause offence. We have an Anglican Priest here who is openly gay, though he claims his relationship is celibate with his “partner”, who plans to sue Canterbury on the grounds of discrimination because he was not elevated to a Bishopric. He embraces an unchristian way of life and then objects when he is not entrusted with pastoring and shepherding Christ’s flock.

    I have immense respect for this CEO and every Christian should support him and his corporation by going to eat at Chick-fil-A. I apologise for the rant but this is something I really feel strongly about, and it is not my intent to offend so if I have I apologise.

    • It’s very disheartening to hear that people who claim to represent Jesus Christ willingly oppose his Word. But, what amazes me about the Chick-Fil-A thing is that the restaurant chain isn’t telling other people to become like Christians, as far as I know. People are free to live how they want to in our nations (note: Frank is from England). This dispute is about keeping the definition of marriage in tact. There is no call to outlaw homosexuality. After all, it wouldn’t be right for Christians to tell those who aren’t that they have to live like followers of Jesus. And, if we outlaw sexual preferences, it would be the start of the forfeiture of our freedom. Besides, from a Christian perspective, we’d have to be consistent and push to outlaw all other sins recorded in the Bible. The Apostle Paul notes the impropriety of homosexuality in Romans, and follows it up with a list of other sins that are seen in the same light by God (Romans 1:28-2:1).

  2. Over the years, Christians found biblical and churchly backing for moral stances we now find horrendous: slavery and the rights of women to be members of society come to mind. Christianity as it is practiced is too often trailing the moral growth of culture. Enjoy your damn chicken sandwich.

    • Hey Kirk. That’s what I’m talking about, my friend. The church has spoken out to much on the wrong side of issues. We’ve allowed cultural influences to guide our faith. Slavery is wrong. The rights of women were badly misrepresented. But, as a Christian, my morality isn’t based on culture. Truth is truth, and God is the only one Who sets the standards for me.

      When the church has misrepresented God, it has been a disaster. And even now it is happening. I’ve gladly had gay people worship in our churches because I believe Jesus would have (and even may have) hung out with them. And, we live in a country where I can do that without being prevented from doing so by Christians who do not approve. And if we’re really holding to God’s moral standards we must also hold our own kind accountable for the sins we’ve overlooked among our own such as anger, gossip and other things the Apostle Paul equates with homosexuality.

      By the way, in the early history of Christianity homosexuality was an accepted part of culture. There were even prostitutes in the temples of other gods who were seen as holy! So, it’s not an advancement of the moral code of culture that the Bible isn’t keeping up with. God has been quite consistent in the face of cultural pressures. And so must we.

      • God in the Bible never bothers to say “people shouldn’t be property, yo”. Even if you give some allowance for what “slave” meant in a particular cultural context, that stuff in Leviticus is pretty direct.

        So the problem is that most every Christian church in this country, especially ones with “literalist” or fundamentalist leanings, thinks it has a main line to the one true correct Will of God. At very best, every one of these denominations is viewing Godness through a twisted and otherwise blurry lens, and cultural context is just one part of that distortion. The very fact that there are so many denominations, well meaning people with sometimes surprisingly big differences in interpretation, tells the story about how God is fundamentally unknowable, that claiming to have the one true interpretation is essentially worshiping the artifacts (the scripture, the church tradition) themselves (which is a form of idolatry) rather than God Itself, which is fundamentally unknowable.

        Which means your in partial denial about the character of this culture war– trying to (almost heretically!) claim that your stance arises straight from God rather than admitting that no, it’s partially a human construct, one that strongly favors a certain kind of traditionalism. And there are *some* things to be said for this kind of stance, and for finding a balance– here’s a quote from a book I recently read that this dialog has brought to mind:
        “My research confirms the common perception that liberals are experts in thinking about issues of victimization, equality, autonomy, and the rights of individuals, particularly those of minorities and nonconformists. Conservatives, on the other hand, are experts in thinking about loyalty to the group, respect for authority and tradition, and sacredness. When one side overwhelms the other, the results are likely to be ugly. A society without liberals would be harsh and oppressive to many individuals. A society without conservatives would lose many of the social structures and constraints that Durkheim showed are so valuable. Anomie would increase along with freedom.”
        –Haidt, Jonathan (2006-12-26). The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom (p. 242). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.

        (And yeah I had to google “Anomie” 😉

        In the end, those waffle fries are putting you on the wrong side of history. Just given my knowledge of societal trends, I’m predicting that decades from now, you’ll be viewed in the same light as those would-be Good Christians making extra sure to support businesses that African-Americans were protesting because of their racist policies.

      • Kirk, we agree on more than you may realize. Churches tend to view their knowledge of God through a blurry, and often twisted, lens. Churches also tend to get bent out of shape about denominational perspectives and end up approaching God as if we know everything about him already. I’m learning more about God all the time, so there’s no way I have a main line to the one true correct Will of God. And even the Bible can be a source of idolatry. Jesus’ main objects of criticism were people who did just that (The Pharisees). Nobody can fully know God because, although I do know him in part, only when I’m with him for eternity will I know him fully. Until then I use the best form of his selfrevelation to me as the ultimate guide. Cultural context often distorts our view of God, so we need to strive to see him as objectively as possible. I’ve certainly messed up in that area many, many times. And you nailed it when you stated that church itself is too often the source of idolatry for a community of believers because we can put more emphasis on tradition than on God.

        Hold on to your seat here. That quote from the book you’ve shared? I am far more in agreement with it than not. Does that surprise you?

        Most important to our topic, you point out the Christian stance for traditional marriage is culturally motivated. I believe you are correct in many, many cases. There are those eating chicken their damned chicken sandwiches today who are doing it out of hate for people who they believe hate them. Be sure of this: I’m not included among them. There are many more who fall in my category.

        But I can’t help but point out that you seemed to know all about me based on this one action I have taken. First of all, I haven’t had waffle fries in at least a year ;-). Just like you assume I’ve eaten them because I went to Chick-Fil-A like so many others today, you’ve also predicted everything about who I am and what I believe based on this blog that is from a Christian perspective. And you are clearly wrong on a few of them, as I’ve pointed out already.

        As much as anything else, my blog is about government officials preventing people from the pursuit of happiness because of a religious and/or political perspective. I’m sure you can see the hypocrisy in that!

        As for your prediction about how I will be viewed a few decades from now, I hope you are wrong. I’d like to think that I would have been on the right side of the slavery issue, but it’s all speculation because, as we both agree, culture plays a huge role in our perspectives. But I know that I’m doing the best with what I have now, and I look forward to the day when injustice will be completely overcome at Jesus’ return.

        Thanks again for your comments, Kirk.

  3. Pingback: Black Pastors: Banning Chick-fil-A From Cities ‘Same Thing’ As Banning Blacks From Restaurants « CITIZEN.BLOGGER.1984+ GUNNY.G BLOG.EMAIL

  4. Hmm, not sure why I can’t reply directly to your last message. Probably wordpress hinting we should knock it off.

    You’re right in pointing out in many ways we aren’t that far apart, and I’m not surprised you agreed with much in that passage from the book; it’s a nicely middle of the road position and you aren’t an extremist.

    I wouldn’t look to much into my waffle fries comment, which was meant as a jokey symbolic shorthand, much like making a publicly announced effort to support Chik-Fil-A today or this week is symbolic shorthand. I do think Chik-Fil-A-Day is a skirmish in a culture war, but thought I picked up a hint that you agreed with the idea that it was Religious vs Secular intent, when I believe it’s more purely cultural, with religious and secular aspects to both sides.

    This discussion led me to recheck the origins of the spat. You paint it as “denying these Christians of their right of doing business” but when an organization funds things liked Exodus International and the Family Research Council, they are not just citizens speaking their minds (and frankly public announcements should be regarded more seriously than privately held views) but financial combatants in the culture war. Menino didn’t take action to ban them, just wrote a letter (I guess there might be an implied threat that the licensing would be difficult.)

    After Sarah Palin — symbolic figurehead — wades into the thing, you can’t say the chicken sandwich is “not a political statement”, whether you intend it to be or not. (Not to mention the gay slur her grandson used, with no real chastisement from his mom.)

    • Kirk, Sarah Palin is a private individual and you cannot hold the CEO of Chick responsible for what she, or anyone else thinks or says. As the owner and CEO of the business he has the right to use the funds to support whatever and whoever he sees fit, or do you also condemn Bill Maher for contributing to secular projects as well. And yes it IS a cultural conflict but Christians are required to not only live the life but to proclaim Christ and His values to everyone, even those who refuse to listen.

      Just a thought.

      • Frank, I agree with what you’ve said. But I believe Kirk’s point is that Sarah Palin’s participation in the discussion makes it a political issue, not just a religious one. Whether or not she’s a private citizen, she’s a prominent political figure. It is, for that reason, a political issue for some (and maybe even most). But it’s not for me.

      • Of course owner/CEO has the right to use funds as he wants, and proclaim those uses to public forums all he wants. And he has the right to watch his brand taking a beating in various brand quality surveys. And people have the right to boycott and generally indicate their displeasure, and other people have the right to proclaim a special “lets all go to Chik Fil A day”. The same rights would be allowed for whatever business Bill Maher has set up too.

        “proclaim Christ and His values to everyone, even those who refuse to listen”… I often suspected an annoying proselytizer model was a more authentic version of Christianity than the lukewarm bathwater we’re all swimming in the USA, but that doesn’t mean I’d dig it. (There are fundamentalist atheists too, I don’t dig their approach either.)

    • Fair enough, Kirk. I did get the symbolism of the waffle fries comment as a joke! I apparently failed miserably in trying to respond in a similarly creative way. “Religous” is a very confusing word. I see myself as less religious than most Christians for the very reason that we are having this rather open conversation.

      Thanks for taking the time to consider what I’ve written. You make some great points, my friend.

    • Fair enough. But in the here and now, we need to have a morality that everyone can buy into, no matter what flavor of eternity (Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, ‘None’, ‘Not sure’, etc etc) they think is The One. (Also, bonus points for morality that contains its own justifications, rather than just being what you do because you (greedily?) hope for something better “after” or (cowardly?) fear for something worse)

  5. Pingback: Why Supporting Chick-Fil-A Does Not Equal Supporting Jesus | The Reformed Wesleyan

  6. I truly appreciated your blog and plan to reblog it. I couldn’t have said this better. For years I have also stayed away from political-talk, but haven’t been without opinion or concern. Most of my concern was with evangelicals.- which a long time ago I refused to identify with because of what that meant politically. I am a Christ-follower. However, lately I’m finding I can no longer keep silent as before. It burns within me. I must speak. I do this on I my blog, also when an opportunity presents itself. Yet, I still don’t count myself an evangelical. I’m a Christian, that is all. Mostly, I confuse evangelicals with my concern for them. They don’t understand how unbiblical they are in so many ways that this may someday become a blog! 🙂

  7. Pingback: A Look Inside My Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day Brings Opportunity for Christians | Scott Fillmer

  8. Hi Dave. A very good take on this, good friend. I’m wondering if an equally pertinent question might be, “Should I (as a Christian) support Chik-Fil-A on Friday? Wednesday was great as the support was there for fellow believers, but will we be a testimony of the love and grace and mercy of Jesus on Friday? …or will we refuse to be seen there? …will we be embarrassed to be seen with sinners (just like us)? Just a few other questions to add to the already difficult ones finding their way into this situation. Blessings in the name of Christ.

    • Nice: “or would we be embarrassed to be seen with sinners (just like us)?” That’s the mose important tough question about this situation so far. It’s so much easier to be a Christian when we’re surrounded by them, or when it could be seen more as a political statement. Thanks for reposting my blog, Sweats. Lots of people have read it from your end.

  9. Reblogged this on Pasture-ized and commented:

    So, I’m in vacation mode now. While I’m in Florida for the next week or so I’ll be posting some of my most visited blogs over the post year and four months. Here’s the one with the most. Catch ya on the flip side.

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