I've had many THOUGHTS and FEELINGS about the Chik-Fil-A hubbub this last week and every time I sit down to write about the massive confusion of narratives and perceptions in this whole debacle, I get angry. I get angry because I have a lot of friends who were hurt, who were in tears, over the things that were being said about them and their identities. I get angry because self-righteous Christians in America chose being "right" over being loving. And I'm angry that, once again, Christianity and homosexuality are being set up as two mutually exclusive groups, forever at odds with each other, when I have good friends who love Jesus and are also gay. They exist. I have some things to say publicly, then I'm going to leave the rest to a link dump. Most of what I would say has already been said by people smarter and more eloquent than I. But here's what I have to add:
Christophobia? Not a thing. Claiming that it is just highlights how incredibly privileged you really are.
Someone disagreeing with you? Not persecution.
Someone calling you a "hater" or a bigot because your theology has helped to make their life a living hell? It doesn't feel nice, but it's not persecution.
Someone posts a picture on FB that makes you have a sad? Aw poor baby....still not persecution.
This Chik-Fil-A thing? Not persecution. This is the free market at work, honey.
A pushback on a discussion is not persecution. Being able to drive to eat a chicken sandwich to support a multi-million dollar company run by Christians, one that's even closed on Sundays? That's pretty damn free.
Your brothers and sisters in Christ are having to worship in underground churches for fear of being thrown in jail. You got your feelings hurt over someone disagreeing with you.
You've got a damn cushy life; you are not persecuted.
You live in a country where most major businesses are closed on your religion's big holidays. That's not persecution and that's not Christophobia. You live in a country where you can EXPECT the people running for office to be the same faith as you, to the point that you're actually upset when they're not. That's not a Christophobic nation. You live in a country where your ability and freedom to worship is not only considered a given, but enshrined in the constitution. That's not persecution. Many of you live in an area where you can walk into a full fast food restaurants and reasonably assume that at least a couple of people in there share your same faith and beliefs, and you don't have to worry if you choose to pray over your meal. You are not persecuted.
You've got it damn good if you are a mainstream Evangelical Christian in the United States of America. The flood of "supporters" at Chik-Fil-A on Wednesday prove that. When you complain that America doesn't cater to your beliefs and your ideas as much as it did in the past, what you are whining about is people getting the same freedom of worship and expression that you've always had. It's like an older brother whining that the little brother is taking away his parents attention.
That look doesn't suit anyone, much less a grown-ass adult eating junk food in a show of support or solidarity or whatever.
That said, here are some very good posts specific to Chik-Fil-A:
But please remember, our allegiance is to Jesus Christ, not a restaurant. Rallying behind Chick-fil-A at this time can come across as tribalistic, petty, and divisive. Please know that when you post a picture of yourself defiantly holding a Chick-fil-A bag on Facebook, it may send a hurtful message to your LGBT friends who—fair or not—have come to associate Chick-fil-A with anti-gay organizations and anti-gay remarks. There are better causes than "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" around which Christians can rally. (Feeding the hungry perhaps?) There is no need to cause unnecessary offense to folks who have already been so ostracized by the Church, no need to wave a red and white banner through yet another culture war. If you really want to love your gay friends and neighbors, shoving Chick-fil-A bags in their faces right now is just not the way to do it.
Money is speech and Chick-fil-A used money to promote hate.
This is why I, and many others, choose not to patronize Chick-fil-A. Not because we disagree with the owner’s views on marriage equality. Not because we believe that denying marriage rights means that you hate those to whom you are denying those rights. Not because we believe that Dan Cathy’s statements constitute hate speech.
But because Chick-fil-A has funded a hate group.
Now, put your Bibles away for a second. I know what they say. But I urge anyone who truly loves LGBT people to ask an LGBT Christian how he/she interprets the Bible. I urge you to listen to them, and even if you continue to believe that homosexuality is a sin, I urge you to think about the fact that some people interpret the Bible differently than you.
And you interpret the Bible differently than some people.
I know people who believe that the Bible was clear that rock music, women praying without a headcovering, and using birth control (even as a married couple) is a grave sin. You can jump in and say, “Well if you’re interpreting the Bible THIS way…” You interpret the Bible differently than someone else, and you do so with the best intentions.
Why you refuse to consider LGBT Christians and allies who do the same thing?
Yesterday’s hoopla surrounding CFA did nothing to prove that Christians don’t hate gay people. Oh I know that most Christians will say, “I don’t hate gay people!!”
But did supporting CFA Appreciation Day prove that?
Trust me, I understand that most people who ate chicken sandwiches at CFA yesterday did not do that as an act of hate. I get that. And that’s cool and all, but did the act of going out of your way to CFA prove that to be true? Do you think that the GLBTQ communities believe you? Would you, if you were gay, believe you?
Now before you answer that, remember that yesterday’s CFA Love Day was just one action in a long line of many. Because let’s face it: Christians go WAY out of their way to “hate the sin”–i.e., by voting against gay marriage, voting against civil unions, voicing their angst about gay people adopting children (just to list a few). Is it possible that Christians lose the ability to truly “love the sinner” because they’re so busy “hating the sin”? Do Christians put anywhere near the energy into “loving the sinner” as they do “hating the sin”?
All I know is that the GLBTQ communities are becoming quite used to feeling unloved by Christians. And with good reason.
How many times do we hear Christians say something like, “I don’t hate gay people. I may not agree with their lifestyle. But I don’t hate them… ”
If you were gay, would you believe that? Think about it. Would you feel loved by somebody if they included rules, context, and/or explanations about your lifestyle every time they spoke about how much they don’t hate you? Only when talking about gay people do Christians feel the need to preface their “love” or “non-hate” with some variation of “I don’t agree with your lifestyle, but…” Christians don’t talk about any other group of people like that–only gay people.
So, I want to believe Christians when they say “I don’t hate gay people.” But sometimes proof of that is necessary. And yesterday did not prove that. Honestly, yesterday proved little more than how shallow Christians can be sometimes.
Not only did supporting CFA Appreciation Day declare that Christians believe that an issue is more important than people, that declaration was made by the mass consumption of junk food. That fact doesn’t need a punch line. It is a punch line.
Yes, on some level, yesterday was successful. I’m sure that today CFA feels really loved. And I’m sure Mike Huckabee feels loved, too. And I’m sure lots of people, many Christians included, feel great pride for supporting the cause. But there’s also a large group of people, good people, people you might disagree with, that today, feel really unloved.
If it’s true that Christians don’t hate gay people, today would be a really good day to prove it.