Chick-Fil-A: American Culture’s Politicization of the Chicken Sandwich

cq5dam.web.1280.1280I am sure that there are many people in the U.S, even those reading this article, that are weary and tired of the excessive politicization of practically everything in American culture. This politicization has caused innate personal decisions to enjoy Oreo’s without there being a statement about supporting gay rights. Or an individual choice to enjoy a chicken sandwich resulting in being labeled as a person who hates or is a homophobe.

The American cultures ability to over politicize anything has been apparent in the recent escapade that was started by comments by the Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy in response to a question about marriage:

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 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.

The nation is clearly divided based on their personal beliefs and based on the cultural narrative being told by the media. The concern over the later is that the various media outlets, which have routinely spoke out on Dan Cathy’s comments, have persistently told two separate misconceptions regarding his comments. In general, the comments that media sources have stated have been blatant lies about Chick-Fil-A that have rarely been challenged or fact-checked the sources information.

Here are the misconceptions being told:

  • Chick-Fil-A Discriminates Against Homosexuals.

The Major of Boston, Tom Menino, stated that Chick-Fil-A is not welcome in Boston because “You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population.” Similarly, Joe Moreno is leading the charge to block a planned Chick-Fil-A in Chicago due to his belief that If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don’t want you in the 1st Ward.”

It must be asked if these allegations are accurate, and is it true that the company discriminates against homosexuals? When you consider these  questions against Chick-Fil-A’s statements, which are ignored by the majority of activists, the claim is found to be blatantly inaccurate.

Chick-Fil-A has clarified their corporate position to treat everyone equally in a statement:

The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.

The Combination of Chick-Fil-A’s well-known record and this statement are the main reasons why multiple opinion writers that support same-sex marriage have started writing in support of the company. The editors of The Los Angeles Times, who support same-sex marriage, have written that “If Chick-fil-A were to refuse service to gay customers; the city has a right and an obligation to prevent discriminatory actions against its residents and visitors. But there’s no evidence that any such thing has occurred.”

The Chicago Tribune published an article by Eric Zorn – a supporter same-sex marriage – who has written in favor of the company saying that “Chick-fil-A, doesn’t… discriminate against customers or employees” based on their sexual orientation.

Of course, there are many gay people who do not support Chick-Fil-A’s position but do support the companies right to free speech and their right to spend their money the way they wish.

Emily Ruggieri posted on Chick-Fil-A’s Facebook page saying:

I’m gay and I think that Chick Fil A being strong with what they believe in is awesome. I may not agree with it but who cares, its their money that their using from their privately owned company to do so. Instead of complaining about this one company out of many that donated money to certain causes, you all could be looking for ways to support your cause. You’re for gay rights? Awesome go donate money! Chick Fil A happens to be against it, so they donate money also. I don’t see Chick Fil A banning gay people all because they have different beliefs. Do you? Nope! I eat there and they haven’t complained about me for being gay! I’m sure they love my business just the same as a straight persons. So relax, not everybody will always have the same beliefs as everybody else, its called life. People believe in different things. That’s what makes life fun and worth livining (sic).

In short, everyone needs to understand what this whole debate is ultimately concerning. It needs to be understood that Chick-Fil-A is not discriminating against anyone, despite the attempts and false reports to the contrary. The companies president, Dan Cathy simply expressed his opinion on marriage, which is based on his Christian beliefs, when asked. But because of his opinion is counter to others, there are at least two majors of U.S. cities that they are going to do everything they can to punish Chick-Fil-A. This whole situation is not only a matter of morality, but over our constitutional right to free speech according to the first amendment. No matter our views on same-sex marriage, we all need to stand against tyranny that threatens all our liberties.

This whole situation started because Dan Cathy did an interview that was published in the Baptist Press. It appears the story did not go national until the Los Angeles Times reported on the Baptist Press story. There have been subsequent reports on the story that have described Cathy’s remarks in negative terms. The Huffington Post described his stance on marriage as “anti-gay.” CNN reported that Cathy declared himself “guilty as charged” in opposing gay marriage. Time magazine published an article  that spoke of Chick-fil-a’s homophobic attitude.

Ultimately, did Dan Cathy declare himself “guilty as charged” with having a homophobic attitude? Being “guilty as charged” as being anti-gay?  Or being “guilty as charged” against gay marriage?

The fact is that Dan Cathy never mentioned gay marriage or homosexuality at all in his interview with the Baptist Press. I implore everyone to read the interview for yourselves to contemplate what he said in the interview.

It can not be ignored that Cathy’s remarks have implications for same-sex marriage. However, Cathy did not frame his remarks in a negative fashion, rather, he framed his comments in positive terms. In addition, it needs to be realized that his comments need to be placed in context as he was addressing the companies pro-family stance, which Chick-Fil-A has supported throughout its history.

The Boston Herald reported that Dan Cathy stated that same-sex marriage was “inviting God’s judgment on our nation.” But in reality, the Baptist Press interview did not say anything about God’s judgment. That particular phrase was taken from an interview he did a month earlier for a radio talk show. In that interview, the host, Ken Coleman wanted Cathy to address fatherhood and family. As a result, Cathy made several wide-ranging comments about the family in general, and about his father – he never referenced homosexuality in his comments.

In addition, he stressed the importance it is for children to be raised by both a father and mother. On a side note, Cathy added that that is why he believes it is arrogant to attempt to redefine marriage. Once again, he never states anything about homosexuality or even gay marriage to be particular. In short, if you listen to the interview for yourself, you will not hear the words “gay marriage” or “same-sex marriage” anywhere.

I have sat back and contemplating everything that has gone on with these recent Chick-Fil-A events. I contend that the politicization over Dan Cathy’s comments actually reveals a deeper agenda and concern in our culture,  which will place increasing pressure on Christians who stand upon the Bible and its definition of  marriage between a man and a women. In short, it’s my contention that the American cultural discussion about the definition of marriage is not about Dan Cathy’s alleged homophobia, which is assumed over false assumptions, but about the Christophobia of those that are speaking out against his comments.

What does Christophobia even mean? Is that not a strong word to use? Isn’t the use of homophobia and Christophobia strong words to use? Simply, both are strong words to use.  As a result, it is necessary to define the terms being used to understand the situation occurring.

Homophobia is defined as “the hatred or fear of homosexuals – that is, lesbians and gay men – sometimes leading to acts of violence and expressions of hostility,” according to the Anti-Defamation League.

With this definition, lets reconsider Dan Cathy’s comments that started this whole outcry:

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 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.

So, Cathy said, “We believe in the traditional family. Considering the context of his comments, it makes it seem that he was primarily saying about divorce. Despite this, his comments not considered in the proper context, were enough to cause gay-rights advocates to react fiercely upon Cathy and Chick-Fil-A.

Although Chick-Fil-A hires homosexuals and has never treated or served homosexuals differently, Cathy and the company have been labeled homophobic and anti-gay for merely stating the traditional definition of marriage that has been in existence for thousands of years. Thus, if the word homophobic has any meaning, it should be reserved for egregious offensives against homosexuals and not be used to label those that believe marriage is between a man and women.

Christophobia is defined as an “anti-Christian sentiment expressed as opposition to Christians, the Christian religion, or the practice of Christianity.” There have been several majors of prominent U.S. cities who have told Chick-Fil-A that the company would not be welcomed in their cities. The majors comments are stretching their authority or totally overstepping it,  considering that they go beyond an individuals or companies position on gay rights as such comments are about more than an individuals or organizations position on gay rights.

The many majors who have commented on Cathy’s statements are an example of social ostracism that is not simply toward those who hold the view of traditional marriage, but particularly Christians that hold such views deeply and wish to practice their religions beliefs accordingly.

But doesn’t viewing it this way, single out Christians? And what makes this an example of Christophobia? Well, lets reconsider the comments of Dan Cathy with some variables changed.

What would happen if Dan Cathy were a Muslim? What if, as a Muslim, spoke to an Islamic news organization when he remarked about marriage and family?

If this was the preface to his comments, would their of been an outcry against his company? I highly doubt there would be an outcry like there has been, or even at all.

I cannot imagine Rahm Emmanuel, the major of Chicago who spoke out against Dan Cathy, taking on a prominent and respected Muslim business person no matter his opinion or possible comments on marriage and sexuality. This could be the underlining reason the major has no problem having a partnership with Louis Farrakhan, who is outspoken against of gay marriage.

This is where the discrimination lies in the matter, which illustrates a double standard.

Those that are problematic or those that need to be shut down and made to feel unwelcome, are not truly people that believe in the traditional definition of marriage, but are conservative Christians that want to practice their beliefs in the open.

The stark reality is that we are experiencing a cultural shift that allows leaders to label Christians as intolerant and bigoted for expressing their opinion on how society should operate. The unfortunate thing is that Christians  are faced with a double standard as the same social ostracism and cultural condescension are not extended to adherents of other religions. If Christians are tolerated if they keep to themselves and allow their beliefs to be compromised. But when they dare to speak out about their convictions, they are faced with such prejudice as mentioned.

When you consider all of this, the conversation comes down to not being about marriage, gay rights, or restaurant permits. Furthermore, the conversation is not about any cultural divide between any region, a person or families wealth, or an individuals political ideology. Rather, the conversation is about Jesus Christ.

The conversation boils down to be about the ethical beliefs put forth by Jesus Christ and the Bible.  The fact that His moral ideology punches the current U.S. sexual culture right in the gut. In addition, it is also about the forgiveness He offers to all those that have and will commit sexual sins as long as they confess and give up the sin and follow Him instead.

The Chick-Fil-A controversy certainly can leave us weary and tired of culture wars over our individual beliefs. But these culture wars are not going away anytime soon as this most recent one merely is an example of the ostracism to come in our future. Those Christians in the United States that hold dear to the tenets of the Bible, particularly the beliefs involving human sexuality,  are defiantly experiencing  the words of Jesus in their own lives: they hate you because they hate me (Matthew 10:22).

How are Christians suppose to respond?

We can not rely on boycotts, political statements, or react in a similar fashion to perceived persecution. Rather, Christians need to go beyond those type of reactions as they are called to love those that ostracize them. The goal is to express the love that Jesus has for all sinners and live out His Word, no matter what we are presented with.


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