I’ve been sitting on this blog post for a while. I didn’t want to write it. I really didn’t. I wanted to sit back, listen to the conversation, watch the controversy and just be quiet. It’s so much easier that way. And nobody would yell at me, either.
I think the time has come, though. I feel compelled to write about my observations, and I hope you won’t yell. You can disagree, but I hope you won’t become mean and nasty, because I won’t. And you shouldn’t either. There’s simply no reason, nor does anger ever solve anything.
There sure has been a lot of anger and emotion in the headlines recently, though, hasn’t there? Name-calling, accusations, hatred. It’s a tough world out there, and the media is adding plenty of fuel to this wildfire. It’s strange to me that they don’t ever try to use their visibility and position to bring people together, but instead create more discord and drama. Wouldn’t it be cool if the media tried to bring solutions and better understanding? Sadly, they might not think that’s as good of a story.
Anyway, you’ve probably guessed by now that I’m alluding to the comments made by the President and COO of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, and the media storm that swiftly followed.
Just in case you’re one of the few people on the planet who hasn’t yet heard, Cathy was recently interviewed by a Christian newspaper. When asked specifically about his support of traditional marriage, here is how he commented:
“Well, guilty as charged.”
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit,” Cathy said. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”
Almost immediately, headlines surfaced across the newswires, blogosphere, television news and virtually every social media platform. I repeatedly saw use of the words “discrimination,” “hater” and “bigot.”
I’m now watching as people are boycotting the quick-service restaurant, vowing never to eat there again and discouraging their companies from doing business or maintaining association with them. The cities of Boston and Chicago have also made public statements strongly discouraging (if not outright trying to prevent) Chic-fil-A from doing business in their markets. Heck, The Muppets even removed themselves from the kids’ meals.
There’s been a giant reaction, to say the least.
I keep re-reading Cathy’s quote. Over and over. I see where he talks about what he’s supportive of, what he’s proud of, and what he believes in.
Where does he say he hates gay people? Where does he encourage anyone to do or say anything against them? Where is there any rage in his comment that equals the rage being directed at him and his company?
Doesn’t he have the right to say what he believes in and supports? Doesn’t he have a right to his faith? This isn’t his opinion after all. He even states that his belief is coming from the Bible, the most printed, most read book in the history of the world. It’s a book, by the way, that is believed by many CEOs. Should we start exploring who they all are, so we can spew hatred and boycott all of them too?
Now, before you get too deep in your opinion of me, my blog or what you think I’m about to say, let me share a few important facts about me. I have several family members on both sides of my family who are gay, and I love them. I don’t believe they chose to be gay. It makes their lives harder in many ways, and I think they would have chosen the “easier route” if that felt natural to them. But it doesn’t. And, so they are who they are, and I love them, without condition.
I also have close friends who are gay. I love them too. I don’t judge them. I don’t feel like it’s my place to do that. They are wonderful people, and what they do behind closed doors is none of my business. I don’t want to know what ANY of my friends are doing in their bedrooms, quite frankly. Some things are meant to be private.
I, personally, am not gay. I am also a Christian. I don’t know how I could survive without the love and grace of Jesus Christ. This world is too hard, and He saves me every day, over and over, and into eternity. I’m grateful and undeserving. (As much as I try with my Type A initiative, I am SO far from perfect!)
I don’t have all the answers from the Bible. I don’t think anyone does. I don’t think it’s meant to give all the answers, either. If it did, it would be a science book. Instead, this book asks us to rely on faith and what we believe about God and his love for us. We are repeatedly assured that He is our Heavenly Father, and He loves us as his children.
If you analyze Cathy’s follow up comments on a radio show days later, he said this:
“I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about.”
Cathy believes fully and completely in the Word of God; the Bible. He is following the guidelines that He believes God put in there for the best life possible; one filled with joy, adventure, hope and abundance. It’s clear that he believes God defined marriage in the Bible as being between a man and a woman. It’s also clear that He believes God truly is all-knowing, all-being, fully omniscient.
If anyone slows down to read what Cathy said, it’s important to note that his request is for God’s mercy. His amazing grace (which I totally need.) Although perhaps not worded in the most tender way, he is indeed asking for God’s love for those that may disagree with this biblical marriage definition. It’s quite the opposite of the accusations that say Cathy is “condemning” gays to hell. In fact, he’s coming to God on their behalf.
Dan Cathy was asked what he believed, and he answered honestly. He responded according to his values, knowing it might not be a “popular” response. That’s hard to do, but he acted as a leader. (He’s not a political leader either, by the way, so he’s not creating any laws to prohibit or allow anything.)
I would also expect any other business owner who supports gay marriage to speak his mind truthfully when asked. That’s his choice. He’s free to speak, whether anyone agrees or not. I would also hope he could speak without fearing harsh ramifications.
Do people really need to suffer for not agreeing with you? That doesn’t seem right to me.
I’m not an employee of Chick-fil-A, nor am I a theologian, but here’s what I do believe with confidence:
- God is a loving God. So much so that he sent his only son to be sacrificed on our behalf. We are his children and so He loves us unconditionally, always desiring a closer relationship with us.
- Dan Cathy is a good man with solid integrity. He runs a fair and valuable service-oriented restaurant business and he works to make a positive impact on people’s lives and in the communities where we live.
- Gay people deserve God’s love and grace just as anyone else on the planet.
- God is sad when we suffer or cause other people suffer. He wants joy for our lives, just as any parent wants the best for their children.
- Every person alive has a purpose and that purpose is important. They should focus on how they can have a positive impact on the people around them by leading from who they are and creating action toward fulfilling their purpose.
- Anger is human, but should be controlled. Always.
Look, folks. Here’s what I would encourage you to think about. Every single day, people are killing and torturing other people. Young girls are being sold into sexual slavery. Men are beating their wives. Spouses are cheating on each other. Adults are sodomizing children. Drug dealers are enticing not-yet-addicts. Factories are enslaving children and immigrants. (The list goes on…)
These things happen daily. These need to be the headlines. (Why aren’t they?) These issues need to be the ones that people are passionately protesting. This is where we should channel our anger and turn it into positive action!!
Shouldn’t we focus on stopping people who endanger lives? Shouldn’t we protest businesses who worship profit over working conditions? How about stepping up to protect those that are being physically or sexually abused on a regular basis?
Why not allow people to express their beliefs, because we simply want to have that same opportunity? If you think those beliefs are ignorant, you have that right. If you want to express an opposing opinion, go for it. Let’s not slay each other for it, though. There’s no need to make them pay a price for not believing what you do.
A chicken sandwich boycott will not change Dan Cathy’s beliefs or their policies (which, by the way, are not discriminatory.) If we tried hard enough, we could find something we don’t agree with in almost any corporation. Should we boycott everything? Should we poll everyone about marriage, and if they don’t agree with our opinion, then we break all association? What about all of our other strongly held beliefs? Is that the best use of our time and energy?
I wish someone would have asked Cathy if he believes that God loves people. All people. Everyone who has committed any kind of sin at any time in their life. (This includes every single one of us, people. Regardless of sexual orientation, gender, race or anything else you can think of.)
I think he would have said “yes.” God might not always love what we do, but He does always love us. It’s a shame that wasn’t an interview question. It’s a shame we live in a world of sound bytes.
Love, I believe, is stronger than anything. Love, I believe, wins. The Bible even tells us “love never fails.” In the end, I believe we will all find this to be truth.
Please stop the vengeful behavior. Lead with love for your cause.