Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Why I Won't be Eating Chick-Fil-A on August 1

Conan O'Brien recently remarked that it's a shame that our nation is divided along line lines of where you buy your fried chicken sandwiches. Of course, when he said it, it was funnier. But I'm having a hard time finding this episode funny any more.

As you no doubt are aware, Mike Huckabee appears to have gotten a lot of support for his declaration of August 1 as Support Chick-Fil-A Day. Clicking http://www.isupportchickfila.com/ will take you to the Facebook page he has set up, inviting people who agree with CFA CEO Dan Cathy regarding same-sex marriage to show their support by spending money at Chick-Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1.   Over half a million have agreed, by "Liking" the page, and have pledged to go.

I won't be one of them.

For the record: I love Chick-Fil-A. I also hold a biblical view of same-sex relationships. Just a guess, but I'll bet Cathy and I vote very similarly. Additionally, I am very disturbed at the reaction from pro-gay individuals and organizations over the past week, much of it very unfair, and some of it (threats by local politicians to keep CFA from doing business in their respective cities) is not only illegal but a blatant example of bullying.

So what reason could I possibly have for not participating in an event which is designed to demonstrate support for a company that has been on the receiving end of this kind of treatment?

Simply put: there is nothing about the "in-your-face" reaction that reflects Christ. You won't find anything, anywhere, in Scripture which directs Christians to stick it to those who disagree with them. You won't see Jesus advocating this kind of response to those who persecute you. Whether you believe that the anti-Chick-Fil-A crowd is guilty of persecution, or if you want to tame that accusation down to bullying, there is no biblical precedent for teaching the bullies a lesson in this way.

Take a look at the few times that Scripture mentions how Jesus, (or, after His ascension, His followers), deal with opposers. When Stephen was the first martyr, did the Church protest? When Paul and Silas got jailed, were the other Christians beating their chest, demanding their rights? No, they were in a house, praying.

[This is not to say that the anti-CFA people are persecuting Christians, certainly not on the same level as we see in the book of Acts, but it's the closest example we have in the bible. The focus here isn't on the pro-gay adherents. I'm trying to draw your attention to the reaction of the early saints.]

Besides the aforementioned reason to not respond this way, there's also the unfortunate result: counter-protests. Already, several pro-gay organizations are arranging events such as the same-sex kiss event on Friday Aug. 3.  If this thing becomes a tit-for-tat fight between the two sides, then Chick-Fil-A stores will become the center of multiple protests. People who don't want their kids to see men kissing men will stop eating there. Is that what we want?

When His followers tried to drag Him into political and culture battles, Jesus repeatedly replied that His kingdom is not of this world. Who among us thinks that by flexing our muscle on August 1, we're going to change anyone's heart? That we're going to help even one person know Him better?

I don't know what I'll do for lunch tomorrow: I'll certainly pray. I encourage Christians to ask WWJD? and do the same.