As mentioned in the last post, there are legitimate civil issues brought up by the Chick Fil-A episode that ought to be part of civil discourse:
- can government agents grant or deny permits on the basis of unpopular speech?
- can an open society put limits on how the majority treats a minority?
However, as Christians, we have bigger issues to discuss before we can get to these.
We are hurting people.
Our gleeful chicken-eating may give us a sense of solidarity with one another, and connection to the cause, but it says to the gay community: “we despise you.”
And this is a message we have no business sending.
A friend shared with me a post from one of his Facebook friends who had recently told his church community he was gay. It didn’t go well. His post was along these lines…
As a gay Christian, one of the hardest things for me about this Chick Fil-A episode is the way my Christian friends are acting. As they stood in line, there is a carnival atmosphere of solidarity and glee. It is like were saying to themselves, “I am knowingly and joyously supporting an organization that contributes to prejudice against you.”
As Christians, it is a whole lot more important that we champion the cause of the wounded than that we make sure people know they are sinners. It has always been our mandate to embrace the outsider; to include the excluded.
Whatever we’re doing in our chicken-lines… it’s not that!
Christians of good intent come to very different conclusions about God, the Bible, and homosexuality. But even if yours is the most intolerant of interpretations, as Christians, we have no business making a carnival out of hurting others.
Most Christians who lined up at Chick Fil-A share the same set of rules for interpreting the Bible. Using those rules, there is just as much said against divorce as there is about homosexuality. However, we wouldn’t imagine protesting divorce with the merriment and self-congratulation we did with our chicken sandwiches.
Why is that?
It’s because we all know somebody who is divorced. We wouldn’t dream of hurting them. We might disagree with divorce. We might believe our friends should have worked harder on their marriage. But we would never rub our beliefs in the face of our divorced friends. They are our friends.
But yet, we take pictures of ourselves eating a chicken sandwich and post it on the web, saying to gay people, “I am proud to be taking a stand that hurts you.”
That is just not the Christian way.
If gay people want to follow Jesus, they have enough troubles already without the rest of us showing them how little we stand with them in their struggle. The Christian way is to enter into one another’s struggles and share our burdens together.
Say what you will about the Chick Fil-A protest…
it is surely not that!
Love your take on this. How can we be Christian and do such non-Christian things to each other. How can we be Christian and do such non-Christian things to all others?
Wasn’t it Christ that invited Mary Magdalene to the group? The persecutor, Paul, to speak for him?
I think part of the problem in trying to reach a broader audience for publication might be that some of the readers outside your new way of thinking will be torn like I was between the social Gospel to help the wounded and the traditional moral Gospel that is so deeply entrenched in one way of thinking. Some might grab onto the parallel you make with the divorce thing…theoretically. Its a big jump to invite people to abandon their safe, secure, already worked out moral system…unless you can gradually and persistently help them feel comfortable in challenging it, that it is acceptable and safe to challenge it. But you can provide a nudge to those who are already motivated to begin to question.
Also there are younger people who seem to naturally accept gays. Some of them may be relieved to find a path to unite part of their religious background with acceptance of gays. They can have the best of both worlds.
I can’t help but think of the “judgemental” part of things. As Christians.. are we not taught to be “NON-judgemental”. Yet here we have Christians almost showing off with proud in their judgement! Sad…