Go Therefore and Wage a Political Cultural War, Legislating In the Name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!

The Battle for Chick-fil-AIt is time for Christians to stop thinking like politicians, to stop attempting to effect change in our culture through political legislation and activism, and to start loving people.  If the values in American society are crumbling it is because people have turned away from God and embraced Secular Humanism—and this problem, the hardening of man’s heart against God, will not be solved through polemics and legislation.  We can rally together at Chick-fil-A, draw a line in the sand, and fight for our rights to free speech; but even if we “win” this battle, it is only a temporary solution.  We are dealing with a deep sickness and attacking the problem with political activism is as ineffective as trying to heal cancer with a band-aid.  The real problem is not a political one but a spiritual one.  The real problem is that people are lost and, in consequence, held captive by vain, irrational, dehumanizing forms of worldly thinking.  While we puff ourselves up, stomp our feet, and scream about our “rights’ as American citizens, lost souls are desperately searching for meaning and love and finding it in all of the wrong places.

The truth of the matter is:  we have lost our youth.  They do not accept objective moral values, they don’t understand what truth is, and they are not interested in the Christian worldview.  They are impulsive, emotionally driven, materialistic, superficial, and have absorbed Secular Humanistic, nihilistic, thinking without even realizing it.  In about twenty years, when these kids in our illustrious high schools are doctors, lawyers, teachers, politicians and entertainers, we will find that all or our political grandstanding was ultimately a waste of time.  The very democratic system that we are currently relying on to fight the “cultural war” will be turned against us in the end; because this was never a political battle in the first place—and, more to the point, truth is not determined by a vote.  So, we are faced with a choice: we can drum up huge crowds of evangelicals to eat at Chick-fil-A, to fight for our right to free speech and “take a stand for marriage;” or, we can start focusing our efforts on loving people.

When I speak of loving people I don’t mean having a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.  I mean loving them with the same self-giving, sacrificial love that Jesus demonstrated on the cross.  I mean that we start truly caring for the left out, down hearted, misunderstood, people in our society.  That we stand against hate crimes against homosexuals and alongside hurting families who have had loved ones commit suicide because they were gay; that we stop drawing a line in the sand and start opening our arms.

This is not to say that we give up our values or compromise our beliefs.  It is to say that we value people more than our own right to free speech.  The fact is, Christians in America are simply scared of persecution.  Much of the political posturing we participate in is simply done out of fear:  fear of losing our right to free speech, fear of Secular Humanistic ethics dominating our legal system.  Fear, however, is contrary to the teaching of Jesus who explicitly told us not to fear and who said shocking things like: “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:11-12).

How many of you considered it a blessing when the media lashed out at Dan Cathy for simply making the statement that he believed in the Biblical definition of marriage?  How many of you rejoiced and were exceedingly glad when the mayor of Boston stated that Chick-fill-A was not welcome in his city?  Or, were you simply indignant, angry, and fearful?  It’s difficult for us to wrap our heads around Jesus’ teaching on persecution because, quite frankly, we have it so easy.  We are not really persecuted in America; but one day we might be if we continue waging a hopeless political battle.

A culture is made up of people; we, therefore, only effect change within a culture if the people who give life to a culture have a change of heart and mind.  People are changed by Christ, not legislation, and this only happens when Christ’s people die to themselves, start demonstrating His love to the world, and make true disciples.  Jesus said it best: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20).  Please note how non political sounding Jesus’ final command to his followers was.  The kingdom of God is brought about through His people bringing the gospel to the world in a tangible way; not through manipulating the democratic political system.  Only love, the self-giving, self-sacrificial, love of the cross can change hearts, renew minds, and ultimately revive a culture.

Boycott’s and Morality

I should state that there are times where the boycotting of a company is necessary. Sometimes the actions of a company are so heinous that one simply cannot purchase from them. Other times, the company is so entrenched in an immoral practice that to engage in commerce is to engage in the immoral act itself (think of the slave trade: if slaves are necessary to make the product, then buying the product makes the consumer part of the slave process). But these times are few and far between and require strength in numbers. One can think of William Wilberforce’s boycott of all slave-owned products; it required a sacrifice, a group of people, a movement, and open dialogue in the streets. The same is true of the Civil Rights movement boycott of segregating businesses. The current boycott against Chick Fil-A, however, doesn’t measure up; there’s no real sacrifice, there’s no real organization, and most importantly there’s no real dialogue.

Most should know my (Joel) view on homosexual marriage before proceeding in what I’m about to write. That said, I think the current boycott is nothing more than what could be called “moral grandstanding.” Moral grandstanding is simply a nice way of saying “hypocrisy.” It’s when people take a stand on an issue that isn’t incredibly controversial in their respective groups, make a tiny sacrifice, and feel they’re doing something. For instance, it’s not controversial to stand up against human trafficking, so boycotting brothels since most trafficked humans end up in them isn’t a huge sacrifice; one isn’t really make a moral stand so much as one is simply being a good human. Speaking up for homosexual rights isn’t really “brave” in the world since more and more people support it; but speaking against homosexual rights isn’t “brave” either considering the majority of Americans still stand against those rights.

Thus, boycotting a company that is against gay marriage isn’t really taking a moral stand, just as supporting them doesn’t make one moral either.

If we really want to get into detail on it, how come we haven’t seen an outcry against Hershey’s over their use of slave labor in the cocoa fields? Why don’t we see boycotts against Apple for the horrendous conditions in their factories over in China? Why aren’t there boycotts against OPEC where their leaders feelings on homosexuals is to kill them? The reason is sadly simple; because it doesn’t impact us.

We’re okay with “those Chiners” being slaves because, well, we don’t have any chance of ending up in that factory. We’re okay with an African child losing an education and being forced to work in a field all day long while receiving little to nothing in way of compensation because he’s not us, he’s not our child. And ultimately we don’t boycott OPEC because (1) the homosexuals they kill don’t live here and (2) that’d actually require a sacrifice beyond saying no to a chicken sandwich.

Ultimately, the reason the Chick Fil A fiasco has grown is because it deals with homosexual rights, an issue that directly impacts people in this country. These other issues, however, don’t impact people and so – to state it simply – they just don’t really care. Some might point to this and go, “Well yeah, that makes sense, we only place interests in what impacts us.” But that’s wrong, because a society that does that is not a society at all. The point of a society, the point of rights, the point of morality, the point of being human is to realize that the world is bigger than you, thus you must care about issues bigger than yourself. The reason people are up in arms about Chick Fil A and gay people getting married isn’t because they’re deeply moral people concerned about rights, it’s that they’re selfish and don’t care about others.

So people can parade around with their false moral indignation towards Chick Fil A, I couldn’t care less because I see it for what it is. It shows me that this country, as a culture, is an abysmal failure. We’ll throw a fit over this issue, but not over anything else because it doesn’t effect us; in other words, we don’t care about principle, we don’t really care about rights, we really only care about ourselves. A society like that won’t continue on, nor does it deserve to.

Some might say that standing up against human trafficking is an easy thing, that fighting for worker’s rights in other nations is relatively easy and non-controversial. Of course, they say these things because they’ve never tried it. They don’t realize how much of our economy is based on these illicit practices, nor do they realize that to stand up to actually stop these things would require one to go against almost the entire United States Congress as well as the majority of our corporations. They don’t realize any of this because they, in all actuality, don’t care. It’s far easier to simply not purchase a chicken sandwich and think you’re making a point than it is to work to bring to light anti-human practices in the majority of our economic practices.

We, as a society, look for the easiest way to do things. It’s within my generation and the generations that have followed. If something isn’t handed to us on a silver platter then we don’t want to work for us; work, which used to be a virtue, which used to be seen as something good in and of itself, is now a vice. Work is to be avoided. Not just a “hard days work,” but working for a better future, working for things that you may never enjoy, but your children will. We don’t want to work for things because life is short, so why waste life on something you may not get. The same is true for how we view causes; why work for something that doesn’t directly impact us? Why should I waste time for someone else?

So we shouldn’t think the boycott of Chick Fil A, or the counter-“buycott,” really mean anything. They don’t. All it means is that people are lazy and cheap when it comes to their morals. They only care about themselves, not about any real moral change or movement in this country.

Bovine Haters, Gospel Loving Chicken Crusaders, and the Fight for Same Sex Marriage

Earlier this week, the president of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, announced in an interview with Baptist Press that he believed in the Biblical  definition of marriage.  Naturally, his comments generated a media frenzy and all out social assault on those proud producers of the most tasty chicken sandwich on the planet.  As a result of his statements, many people are now boycotting Chick-fil-A and some groups are even staging protests.  To make matters worse, the Jim Henson Company announced today that they would no longer partner with Chick-fil-A; therefore, depriving millions of children the joy of purchasing a chicken meal with pictures of creatures form Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.

This is truly a strange turn of events for a company known throughout the world for its staunch support of Bovine Rights.  Yet, in spite of years of stalwart support for one of the most under-appreciated species in our country . . . the cow! . . . Chick-fil-A is now being accused of supporting the suppression of human rights.  On top of this, the mayor of Boston, in response to Mr. Cathy’s revelation,  tragically stated that, “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston” . . . can you imagine how depressed the people of Boston are going to be?  They shall never know the joy of ordering food from a place in which the employee’s say with a huge smile on their face, “it’s my pleasure,” after serving you one of the most flavorful chicken sandwiches ever invented,  next to a massive mound of waffle fries, and a giant cup of ice cold sweet tea!  Nevertheless, one can understand the mayor’s position.  As he further noted in his statement to the press:  “we’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion.”  Considering Boston’s status as being an open and inclusive city, it is only natural that its mayor would seek to exclude Chick-fil-A.

I must confess I’m a little baffled at the level of outrage Mr. Cathy’s comments (which he made to a Southern Baptist news agency) have generated.  I mean, let’s be honest — was anybody truly surprised to learn that the Baptist president and chief operating officer of a company which closes on Sunday’s and has the phrase, “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us,” in its corporate purpose statement, is not a supporter of Gay Marriage?  Why is it that everyone is now up-in-arms over something which, in my mind, was already clear?  The reason, I think, is because everyone (no-matter their age, race, gender, or sexual orientation) loves a good chicken sandwich.  No one wants to boycott a place with such great service and yummy food; but now that the “cats out of the bag” people are being forced to chose between the food they love and their political activism.

For now it seems the majority of people are suppressing their love for great food in favor of their stance on Gay marriage.  However, I wonder how long this will last?  Every day, as people head over to McDonald’s on their lunch break, only to be greeted by a menacing overweight cashier who snaps at you for taking too long to order, a seed of doubt will take root in their mind.  Every time an activist sinks his/her/it’s teeth into one of those greasy, bland, burgers on the value menu or takes a big bite out of a cheap imitation chicken sandwich, a sense of longing will begin to grow in their heart.  Every parent whose child discovers a three-day-old diaper or razor blade in the ball pit will experience an existential crisis.  Soon questions will enter their head: “why . . . why did the cashier blow her nose on her shirt sleeve before handing me my order?” . . . “why are these french fries so skinny and mushy?” . . . “why are their lumps of lard in my ice cream?”

Meanwhile, while Gay Rights advocates come to terms with a world devoid of safe, clean, healthy fast food, Christian activists are rallying together to defend the rights of gospel preaching chicken sandwich lovers around the country.  At the forefront of spreading the good news of Chick-fil-A is Gov. Mike Huckabee who is calling for Christian’s everywhere to order a chicken sandwich on the first of August!  When Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God, suffered and died on the cross for the redemption and restoration of creation, I’m sure He had in mind this day–the day when thousands of His followers would come together and take a stand for good chicken sandwiches.  Just the thought of this brings a tear to my eye.

Finally, evangelicals have found a way to reach out with love to the Gay and Lesbian community and demonstrate the humility and sacrifice of the cross–and the best part is, they get to do it while slurping down a pepper-mint milk shake.  Admittedly it’s been hard to get Christians to rally together and tackle such problems as Human Sex Trafficking and Homelessness; so, it’s good to see so many devout followers of Jesus joining hands and saying with one loud voice, “we love Chick-fil-A!”  I’m certain this massive effort to show their love and appreciation for fast food will go far in helping conservative Christians connect with the Gay and Lesbian community.