Who knew the statements of the president of a chicken sandwich serving restaurant could cause such a divide in our country? We’ve seen recently the horrific actions of one man shatter our community, but know the speech of one man is causing an uproar across the country? Lately we’ve seen how the American society is like a weathered bridge. It’s fine when a few cars go over it, but the second a moving truck or semi comes along, the cracks become evident. We have some serious flaws we need to work on.
One, we need to be informed on what’s actually said and how it’s said.
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that.We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
-Dan Cathy, COO of Chick-fil-A-
This does not sound very hateful. He expressed his opinion in a respectful manner and held to his beliefs. I hadn’t heard his initial comments until I took the time to dig for them. We are fed snippets, soundbites, and short paraphrases of what’s actually said or done. We need to filter what we hear and see.
Two, there’s a huge difference between hating someone (discriminating) and disliking what they do. Dan Cathy was holding to what he believed in, the validity of the bible. And it says,
“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”
That being said, our two greatest commandments come from Matthew 22 when Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And, love your neighbor as yourself.”
So there’s a conflict there. We’re told it’s wrong but we are told to love everyone.
I had the privilege to meet a manager for a local Chick-fil-A and he donated a large sum of food to an LGBTA event this past year, because he cared for the group and wanted to reach out to them. Another story I heard recently was that of coworker’s friend. She is a lesbian, and went to Chick-fil-A yesterday with an “I’m Gay” t-shirt on. And she was delighted when they served her with a smile on their face. She didn’t agree with him, but she respected the way Dan voiced his opinion and the strength he exhibited.
You can love people, and not agree with what they do. We all make mistakes and sin. I don’t agree with underage drinking but I care for all my friends who do. The reason this is such a tough issue is that homosexuality is so visible. It’s easy to spot two men or women holding hands in public, whereas, stealing, lying, and adultery are kept more in the shadows.
Regardless of the degree of visibility, it is possible to combine the two, and sadly we’re not hearing that in the discussion of this issue and it’s preventing healthy discourse.
Lastly, leaders in the roles of upholding and enforcing laws have to have backbones and honor our freedoms. Mayors stating they won’t allow Chick-fil-A to build in their cities are allowing the opinions of one group while punishing another group for their opinions. Lately, many leaders (cough cough Penn State administrators, NCAA president, and politicians) are trying to be so politically correct and concerned with the opinions of particular groups, that we restrict the freedoms of others. To say that no one will get hurt in a “free” society is not being realistic.
“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.”
All that to say, I’m glad Dan Cathy voiced his opinion. It has brought to light the issues that already existed prior to his statements. Many are scared these days to voice their opinion, even if they have good reason for believing in it. We need to remember how we interpret what we see and hear, remember that this country is founded on freedom, and that we can disagree with a person’s actions and still love the person.
I hope we can push forward and in ways, revert back to the roots of this nation. We heading down a slippery slope right now if we can’t have healthy debates and respect the freedoms of others. And, running out to support or protest Chick-fil-A is not going to change this (although I am feeling a chicken sandwich and waffle fries right now). It’s not about the definition of lines between us. It’s realizing, like in those stories above, that we can reach across them, see eye-to-eye, and still care for each other despite our differing beliefs.