Tag Archive | Chick-fil-A

Chicken is cheap; talk is costly, part 3

This is the third and final installment on Joe Dallas’ blog post about his failure to engage in conversation with a man protesting outside Chick-fil-A.

And away we go:

So put yourself in our shoes. If the owner of a restaurant chain said he favored same sex marriage, and in response a city councilman and two mayors of major metropolitan cities committed themselves to shutting his business down, how would you feel? Wouldn’t you be inclined to say that, wherever a business owner stands on homosexuality, city and state officials have no right trying to shut him down? Wouldn’t you feel you’d just time- warped into some totalitarian regime where the wrong words or beliefs could bring you ruin?

Oh, dear lord, here we go.  “We white, Christian men are so put-upon because of you Big Bad Gay People who want to take away our freedom to hate the kind of sex you have behind closed doors.  *sob*”  Have a hankie, wipe your nose, and suck it up.  You wouldn’t be saying the same thing if this were a race issue.  (Or maybe you would, now that I think about it.)  This is a case where the people in the majority, the people benefiting from the power structure in place, are the ones who need to have consideration—not the other way around.  Oh, and by the way?  Those things Mr. Dallas listed?  Yeah, those are real things that do, in fact, happen to LGBT people.  Every day, LGBT people are threatened or attacked for who they are.  Every day, even out LGBT people in supposedly “welcoming” environments are told not to be “too gay.”  Every. Damn. Day.  You wanna talk about discrimination?  A guy protesting outside a restaurant with a sign ain’t it.

So would we. I don’t think we turned out by the thousands to support Chick-fil-A just because of its owner’s positions, but because elected officials tried to punish him for those positions. That’s more than disagreement; it smacks of government intrusion. And believe me, if government officials try to shut a business down because of its pro-gay position, I’ll be there for them, too.

I’ll believe that when I see it.

I drove away sad after seeing you, because I was reminded how divided we are. I wish we could have talked. I’d have been interested to know what brought you there, how you were being treated by the people you were protesting, and what your basic world view was. I’d have shared a bit if my own story, including the years I believed as you do, acting on and promoting those beliefs. I’d have probably looked for opportunity to encourage you to look into the claims Jesus made about Himself, and to consider whether anyone claiming not only to be God, but also God’s only sacrifice for sin, and thereby the only way to Him, shouldn’t be carefully investigated. I might have even gotten pushy and asked if I could pray with you, though any push back from you would have been respected.

Aw, Mr. Dallas went away sad.  I can think of another person who went away sad.  Remember the rich man in the Bible who left after Jesus told him to sell all his possessions and follow Him?  Yeah, me too.  I always held out hope for that guy.  I think his sadness was a good sign.  I used to imagine that the rich man one day learned, and that perhaps he became a follower of Jesus, too.  That one day, he really did sell everything and give it to the poor.  That the message got to him.  Maybe there’s hope for Mr. Dallas after all.

On another note, it burns my butter that Mr. Dallas assumes Sign Holder isn’t already a Christian.  Because, as we all know, there are absolutely no LGBT Christians.  Nope.  Not one.  And also that no real, true Christians would imply that *gasp* other Christians are hypocrites, or hold up a sign with a Bible verse in protest.

But, as the old proverb says, “wishes won’t wash dishes.” Maybe you will have the conversation I wish we had, but later, with someone else, under different circumstances. Meanwhile, let me honor your willingness to take a stand, even as I strongly oppose the stand you take. Let me tip my hat to the way you presented yourself. And let me re-commit to remembering that when I engage in a cause, as I did last night with my dinner purchase, there are genuine, likeable and valuable people on the other side of the aisle protesting what I applaud. They matter. You matter. And while I feel called to represent my Lord’s standards to a culture seemingly bent on rejecting them, I’m just as surely called to represent His attitude of love and care.

Well.  That was full of pretentious condescension, n’est pas?

More assumptions that this person isn’t a Christian, right along with a note about “representing His attitude of love and care”…all while failing to do so.  A piece of advice to Christians: Talking down to people, assuming you know something about who they are or how they feel, and saying they’re “rejecting” your Lord’s standards?  Not loving.

And I hope, whatever else you experienced while demonstrating against us, you felt some measure of that love. Because if you didn’t, then no matter how many thousands turned out for yesterdays’ event, it wasn’t the success it could have been.

God’s best to you, my friend unknown.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that this man wasn’t feeling any love from the people who showed up to eat chicken.  Just sayin’.

If anyone is really, truly serious about that whole “love your neighbor” thing, then it needs to start with real conversation.  Not fake, blog-posts-you’ll-never-read, clearly avoiding real dialogue conversations.  No, I mean face-to-face, listening.  Not claiming that you “know” who anyone else is because that person held a sign outside a restaurant.

Well done, Mr. Dallas.  You’ve just highlighted exactly why it’s important to stop and talk, instead of worrying that your chicken might be getting cold.

Chicken is cheap; talk is costly, part 2

I’m back again with part 2 on Joe Dallas’ post about the Chick-fil-A protestor.  Let’s get right to it:

First, the sign with the Bible verse. I’m glad you’re checking the Bible out, but please check it in its entirety, New Testament as well as Old. Since your sign quoted Old Testament death penalty proscriptions for sexual sinners, you no doubt think we’re hypocrites for saying we believe the Bible, even though we don’t condone executing adulterers, homosexuals or prostitutes like some verses in Leviticus advise. We also don’t comply with Old Testament ordinances calling for us to abstain from shellfish, mixed fabrics or contact with unclean animals. We’re therefore guilty, you say, of picking and choosing which scriptures we obey and which ones we ignore.

Well, score one for Mr. Dallas.  Yes, those of us who support equality do indeed think it’s wrong to take part of the Levitical code without taking all of it.  In fact, even Paul says much the same in the New Testament.  Yes, we are accusing people of “picking and choosing.”

But the Leviticus code was written to and for the Hebrew Theocracy, a nation God created to be ruled through a Priesthood, not an elected government. The commandments within these laws do indeed express how God feels about certain things – adultery, witchcraft, and yes, homosexuality – but in a democracy like ours, these things become a matter of conscience, not law. So Christians can and do speak on them without demanding blood from people we disagree with. St. Paul, for example, told the Corinthian church that he had no business judging non-believers, limiting his judgment authority to the church, not the culture.(1 Corinthians 5:12)

Clearly, Mr. Dallas is not a biblical scholar, or he would know that it’s not the “Leviticus code” but the “Levitical code.”  It’s a picky detail, but if one is going to style oneself as being knowledgeable, then at least do some research on terminology.  Might also help, while you’re at it, to have a better grasp of the meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures.  They weren’t merely an expression of “how God feels about certain things.”

I also love how Mr. Dallas talks out of both sides of his mouth on this one.  He says that we live in a democracy, where all of these moral issues are a “matter of conscience, not law.”  He goes on to cite Paul on not judging non-believers.  Hm, I think he just made my case for me.  What he seems to want is for his “matter of conscience” to trump that of LGBT people and their allies.  We shouldn’t judge non-believers, especially those terrifyingly sinful gay people, but we should definitely make laws that prevent them from living our their convictions.  Right?  Riiiiight.

(But just for the record, there are clear prohibitions against homosexuality in the New Testament, written to people not under Hebrew law, but under God’s grace as believers, so the Bible’s condemnation of this behavior isn’t limited to Old Testament texts. Check it for yourself here (Romans 1:24-27) and here (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) and here) (1 Timothy 1:10)

Those “clear prohibitions” are not really so clear, if one wants to make the effort to study a bit on the matter.  I would know; I’ve spent years on this.

That doesn’t mean we’re indifferent to the culture where vital issues are concerned. In fact, we take clear positions on abortion, violence, and the definition of marriage. We vote on them, and lobby regarding them, not just because of what the Bible does or doesn’t say, but because they’re basic issues affecting all of us, Christian or not.

No.  No, these are not issues that “affect all of us.”  If the two women who live down the street from me want to get married, it doesn’t affect my life even one little bit.  (In my state, they can.  So far, I don’t feel any different than I did last year around this time, when the law took effect.)  In any case, Mr. Dallas is right about lobbying and voting on the issues that are important to us.  I doubt that eating chicken is going to have that kind of impact, though.

So while it’s un-Biblical for a Christian to marry a non-Christian (2 Corinthians 6:14) we don’t want laws on the books criminalizing such marriages, because not all citizens are Christian, and don’t submit their lives to Biblical standards. It’s also un-Biblical to take an innocent life, but on that issue we seek legal enforcement, because people of any faith or no faith will generally agree that life should be protected. Likewise, we believe children are best raised by the complimentary male-female union, and that future generation’s emotional stability and productivity will be impacted by our protection or revision of marriage’s basic structure. That’s why we support traditional marriage, and we oppose its re-definition.

So, it’s okay to break “biblical” rules on certain kinds of marriage, but not on others.  Wonder how he feels about interracial marriage?

Right after that, he shows his true colors.  This isn’t about how the word marriage is defined.  Marriage is marriage—two people creating a life together and enjoying all the legal benefits that entitles them to.  This is about his personal definition of what it means to be in a marriage relationship.  Citing complementarianism (which he spells wrong, by the way) proves that he has a pretty narrow view of what it should look like.  I guess my kids are going to be emotionally unstable and unproductive as a result of having parents who are in a fully egalitarian marriage.  Perhaps he would like to have the church come and discipline us so that we fit the definition of traditional marriage a little better.  And don’t even get me started on whether or not same-sex couples make good parents.  Instead of judging by what comes out of highly biased literature, why not get to know some couples with kids?  Find out whether their kids are like?

I could write a whole blog post on the “redefinition” of marriage.  The definition has changed in so many ways over the history of the world.  Heck, even in the Bible variance was allowed.  I wish people would be honest that what they mean is that they want a very specific kind of marriage: One man, one woman, first marriage, in which both people chose each other.  I find it very interesting that the people who rant about redefining marriage don’t seem to want to outlaw divorce or prevent divorced people from remarrying.  After all, doesn’t divorce supposedly prevent “emotional stability and productivity”?  Don’t we all want what’s best for society?

That’s where you and I part company. You see same-sex marriage as a civil rights issue; I see it as an experiment jeopardizing our future health and well-being. Not much common ground there

Well, at least he’s honest.

But maybe we can find common ground on broader questions of fairness. When Chick-fil-A’s owner Don Cathy said during an interview that he opposes same-sex marriage, he was told “take a hike and take your intolerance with you” by Philadelphia City Councilman James Kenney. Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel added that “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values”, and Boston’s mayor Thomas Menino, claiming the chain “advocates against people’s rights”, publicly opposed Chick-fil-A opening a location in his town.

Back up a second.  All this, because a dude outside Chick-fil-A had a sign?  For real?  If the problem is what politicians are doing, then shut up about the one guy with a sign and go protest some actual people who are doing something wrong!  (I may agree with the sentiment behind what those politicians have said, but my understanding is that they can’t legally refuse to allow a Chick-fil-A to set up business in their cities.)

Tomorrow, I’m wrapping up this series.  See you all then!

Chicken is cheap; talk is costly, part 1

So, Joe Dallas wrote this.

I’m not in the habit of responding to most of the crap that’s out there on the Internet, because I have a life and I prefer to live it.  If I tried to address all the stupid things people write, I would end up spending the day in my bathrobe eating Cheetos for lunch while laundry and dishes piled up around me.  Forgive me if I just don’t think it’s worth it.

This one, I decided, deserved the effort, for a couple of reasons.  First, a number of people shared it and expressed the opinion that it was “well said” and “showed love.”  Second, I think this piece sums up very nicely what’s wrong with pretending that “love the sinner, hate the sin” is either loving or biblical (hint: it’s neither).  I’m going to take this article point by point, quoting it in its entirety so that no one can accuse me of taking Mr. Dallas’ words out of context.  I’m splitting this into multiple parts, because it’s long.

To My Gay Angry Friend

Given the fact that Mr. Dallas never actually has any kind of conversation with this man, I find it interesting that he assumes the man is gay just for showing up to protest at Chick-fil-A.  Because, you know, only gay people support equality or have issues with where Dan Cathy spends corporate funds.  This must be the world where no bisexuals, transmen, or allies live.  Don’t even get me started on the way he’s phrased it, his assumption that this person is angry, or his reference to the person as “friend.”

Last night my son and I visited our local Chick-fil-A to show support for the company and its owner. (Click here if you’re unfamiliar with the controversy) [The link is not to a news article about the Chicken War but to another marginally related post by Mr. Dallas.] After an hour’s wait alongside scores of other like-minded customers, we passed a lone gay protestor standing in front of the restaurant, quietly holding a sign with a quote from Leviticus. He was a solitary voice, a man I disagreed with but who made an impression on me nonetheless.

I couldn’t tell him so at the time. I’d like to tell him now.

Well then.  Let’s just get right to it.  The guy made an impression, but apparently not enough to warrant an actual conversation?  Okaaaayyy…  (Oh, and also, again with assuming this man is gay.  Mr. Dallas never talked to him.  He does not know whether this man is gay or not.)

You looked as lonely as you must have felt.

The crowd was, after all, hugely in favor of what you opposed. Scores of us were celebrating the scores of others who were there, happy with the turn-out; loving the solidarity.

Then there was you, quietly standing firm with your sign quoting a verse from Leviticus which demands that non-virginal brides be stoned, your point being that we Fundamentalist/Evangelical types don’t really celebrate the Biblical definition of marriage, though we say we do, otherwise we’d execute females who fornicate.

More on that later.

I love how he makes assumptions about this man.  He was lonely?  Really?  You could tell that he was feeling that way, without actually talking to him?  This man was “quietly standing firm.”  Sounds like he was exercising his right to protest in a perfectly appropriate way, no?

You looked calm, angry and unfazed. And believe it or not, I liked you immediately. I liked your courage, especially, and your willingness to voice a note of dissent. There’s a pro-gay counter-protest scheduled this Friday for Chic-fil-A’s around the country, and hundreds of demonstrators will no doubt show up en masse, enjoying the comfort of like-minded activists. But you opted to come alone Wednesday, making your statement right in our socially conservative faces, and you did it like an adult. No theatrics, no loudspeaker, no screaming obscenities. I gotta salute you for that. I admire chutzpah, so I admire you.

“Calm, angry, and unfazed,” but apparently he also looked “lonely.”  So which is it?  Sounds like “lonely” merely refers to the fact that he was literally alone, not his internal feelings.  Let’s not conflate the two.  (I think I’ve established the fact that Mr. Dallas wants to be a good writer, but isn’t.)

Then Mr. Dallas goes on to semi-mock him for showing up two days before the “real” protest.  This man is “making [his] statement right in our socially conservative faces.”  Well, yes, in part because you are eating your chicken sandwich right in his non-socially conservative face, in your joy over the show of solidarity.  I should note here that at least Mr. Dallas is honest about the fact that he is socially conservative.  At least he didn’t say “our biblically conservative faces” or “our morally conservative faces” or “our religiously conservative faces.”

Still, after making digs at him, Mr. Dallas goes on to say that this man was protesting “like an adult.”  I’m glad that Mr. Dallas was able to admire his “chutzpah,” though.  I mean, it’s not like the guy was actually just standing there holding a sign in peaceful protest or anything.

I wanted to talk, but the meal I’d waited over an hour for was getting cold, and with a hungry family to feed, conversation wasn’t an option. But can I raise just a few points I wish you’d consider?

Let me get this straight: Mr. Dallas waited for over an hour for his meal, but didn’t have time to engage this man in a face-to-face conversation?  Yes, I can tell he really wanted to have some dialogue there.  Sheesh.  His family couldn’t have stood in line and ordered for him while he took a moment to talk to the protestor?  This is ironic, considering the fact that apparently, this is what Mr. Dallas does for a living.  I find it really hard to believe that “conversation was not an option.”

Just a side note here.  Failing to actually talk to someone in the moment, then addressing a blog post to that person that he will never read, is a cowardly act.  And for the record, I’m not doing that here.  I am well aware that Mr. Dallas will likely never read my words.  But I’m not talking to him, I’m talking to the people who read my blog.

I’m going to stop here for today.  Join me tomorrow when I pick this back up.

Notable News: Week of July 28-August 3, 2012

Obviously, the big news this week was the Chick-fil-A war.  Here are some links to the best of what I’ve seen on the subject.  I’ve also included some other stuff to provide perspective on why I think this is a big deal.

1. Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A, confirms his opposition to marriage equality.

You can start with the Baptist Press interview, then read more and watch the video here.  And if you want to read something cringe-worthy, check out this LA Times article.  (What had my eyes popping was the part where it says that companies supporting gay rights are also under fire, citing the examples of Oreo and JC Penney.  Excuse me while I scream.  Neither JC Penney nor Kraft has donated money to any hate groups, have they?  I hardly think it’s a fair comparison.)

2. Rachel Held Evans, Slacktivist, and John Shore respond.

RHE is good, as always.  I linked to her post the other day, but she’s worth a second mention.  Shore’s post is a bit snarky for my taste, but I know some of you will get a kick out of it.  (And for those of you who don’t care for sarcasm, please just don’t read it.)  Fred Clark does an excellent job explaining just what the problem is and why it should matter to us.  (He also has a series of related posts, just browse his blog for them.)

3. Family Research Council

One of the reasons so many people are up in arms over the Chick-fil-A thing is that Dan Cathy is known to donate corporate dollars to organizations such as the Family Research Council.  The Southern Poverty Law Center certified FRC as a hate group back in 2010.  Now, before anyone gets all huffy about that, it should be noted that they don’t call organizations hate groups just for holding the opinion that homosexuality is a sin.  The problem with FRC (and other groups) is that they spread outright lies about LGBT people, including that they are pedophiles.

4. In other news…

These posts from around the web should give you a good idea why this matters to me:

NJ Bed & Breakfast Owners Rip Lesbian Mom on Facebook, Tell Her God Invented AIDS to Punish ‘Queers’

I don’t swear a whole lot (at least, I try not to).  But after reading about all of the above, my only reaction was to say, “Shit.”  This, right here, is why I care so much.  This is why I blog about it.  This is why I tell my friends and family as often as I can, in as many ways as I can, how much I love them.  This is why I stand alongside them to fight the hate.  It takes a special kind of person to be unmoved by news that yet another LGBT teen has taken his or her life; that yet another LGBT person has been beaten, stabbed, raped, or threatened; that another LGBT person has been denied a job, a home, or a family simply because of who they are.  You can pretend that “love the sinner, hate the sin” is “biblical,” but when you look the other way when someone faces this kind of hate and prejudice, you’re actually failing at the “love” part.

Let’s get out there and make this world better, people.

Reminding myself why

image courtesy of jeltovski

Yesterday, my Facebook page and my Twitter feed were clogged with post after post about Chick-fil-A.  (Tomorrow, I’ll wrap up the week with a summary of the Great Chicken War of ’12.)  There were a few people with respectful comments, some with interesting articles.  But the vast majority were arrogant and nasty, and a few were downright hateful.  Let me tell you, it was so draining that I eventually logged off.  I couldn’t take it anymore.

There were too many things to respond to, too many times that I wished I had the right words to express what I wanted to say.  I didn’t even feel like I could blog about it, not in that frame of mind.  I begged off and wrote about writing, then went and did some actual writing about non-bloggy things.  It was very therapeutic.

What I saw most frequently was a lot of obnoxious statements about how the protests were a “violation” of free speech, followed by people demonstrating that their free speech has not, in fact, been “violated” at all.  (People really, really need to go back and review the definition of free speech; last I checked, boycotting a company falls into that category.  Where were you all when people were boycotting Nabisco and JC Penney?)  I ran out of things to say to people who claimed to be eating chicken for freedom and justice.

It made me tired.  Tired, because I feel some days like I’m not doing anywhere near enough to make a difference.  When I see an endless stream of “gay people want to take away MY rights,” I no longer know what to say.  Sometimes, I want to give up.  I want to say, “Yeah, I know it’s wrong and all.  But couldn’t somebody else step up now?  Couldn’t somebody else try to get the Church to just shut up and listen for a moment?”

And then I remember why I write about this so often.  I remember why I find others who think like I do.  I remember why I go out of my way to urge others to listen.

  • I see the faces of people I hold dear, people who have come unexpectedly into my life and made a difference.  They are members of my family, by birth or by marriage; friends from school or work or church; even random strangers on the Internet.  Real, live people who have stories to share.
  • I read the articles and blog posts, the ones that defend “biblical” marriage.  Most of them fail to recognize the legal ramifications of preventing partners to marry, and the writers like to play word games about the definition of the word “marriage,” as though that word has some magic power that might be taken away if everyone had the right to use it.
  • I listen to sermons and podcasts in which the preacher details the most deviant sexual behavior, attributes it to gay people, and then explains that this is why God doesn’t “allow” homosexuality.  These same preachers also like to “explain away the gay” with childhood trauma; equate homosexuality and pedophilia; and cite sixty-year-old “research” that has since been discredited.
  • I have conversations with acquaintances who want to remind me that “this issue is important,” meaning that it’s important that I agree with them.  Sometimes, these people like to remind me that being gay is just as bad/sinful as stabbing a gay person, because “sin is sin” (yes, really).  Or sometimes, they tell me that being gay is okay, but acting gay is wrong (whatever that means).  Other times, they just tell me they hope I don’t ever plan to talk with their kids about it (no worries, wasn’t planning to).

I don’t keep on doing this because it’s my battle to fight, or because I’m going to be the “hero.”  I do it because I simply can’t sit here and do nothing while I watch people I love be hurt by the Church.  I do it because I simply can’t sit here and do nothing while I watch the Church I love hurt the people in my life.

If you ever feel like this, you’re not the only one.  I would love to hear from you.  Share a comment, send me an email.  Tell me your story.


I’m leaving the comments open for now, so that people can share their stories.  If it gets ugly, I will close them, though.

Bawk, bawk? B’gawk!

So far, I’ve tried to stay out of the Chick-fil-A debate, an endeavor which has been largely successful.  I’ve posted a few comments on friends’ Facebook statuses, but I’ve otherwise remained quiet.  I don’t have much to say that hasn’t been said, usually far better than I could have.

I’m breaking my vow of silence today.

I have to be honest here.  I don’t live anywhere near a Chick-fil-A.  I’ve never eaten at one.  I don’t see myself eating there in the near future, not because I’m protesting, but because it’s not likely we will be visiting a city that has one.  I could easily make a promise never to eat there and keep it.  In a literal sense, my refusal to eat there would have zero impact on the company.  This is not a statement of my belief that my actions carry no weight; it’s a statement of the fact that Chick-fil-A is already not getting my money.

For me, this raises a larger concern.  In what ways am I responsible for supporting businesses that fund organizations I find distasteful?  Because no matter what I do, there is always that potential.  Even if I choose to shop at the local grocery store, my purchase helps pay someone’s salary.  That person could be a secret member of a hate group; donating to an anti-LGBT organization; buying electronics with illegally obtained parts.  That employee could be voting in a way that I don’t like.  That employee might even have participated in a hate crime and was never apprehended.

I realize that it’s an imperfect analogy.  I don’t know what store employees do or don’t do with their money, while I know for certain what Dan Cathy does with his.  My point, though, is that it isn’t enough to declare that I will never frequent businesses that use their money in ways I would not choose.  It’s not enough to protest, online or at the restaurant’s door.  No matter how hard I try, there is no way to be certain my money goes only to the places I want it to go.

Instead, I actually have to live my life in such a way that I show ordinary, everyday love to my LGBT brothers and sisters.  I must personally demonstrate my support in the lives of individuals.  Because behind the collective that many people imagine, there are real human beings.  My LGBT friends and family are not my “cause.”  I’m not the powerful protector who is responsible for doling out their rights, as though I’m still somehow superior.

Instead of making an empty promise not to eat at Chick-fil-A for the rest of my life or until Dan Cathy retires/changes his stance, I’m choosing to humbly serve.  I’m choosing to ask my LGBT loved ones, “How can I be a friend today?”  I’m wiling to bet that they will tell me.  And maybe, just maybe, that will be enough.