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Thursday, August 02, 2012


I did my "Chick-Fil-A" thing yesterday. I went to my local Chick-Fil-A for lunch. That was remarkable because I rarely go to lunch, let alone to Chick-Fil-A. But it was a solidarity day, a day to stand with others to say that we appreciate the company, its values, and the right of its management to hold their point of view and voice it. I have to say, though, that I was somewhat surprised.

I went early. I like to avoid the crowd. Turned out that wasn't possible. An hour before the noon lunch break, the line was out the door. By the time I got my food, it was out the door and out to the edge of the parking lot. That's saying something when you realize that this is Arizona and people were standing out there in nearly 100° heat without shade to get in there to get a sandwich. When we left, I took a gander at the drive-thru line. It went out the parking lot, across the larger parking lot, out the street and almost to the signal. It was probably a half-mile long. On the other hand, while there was a host of Chick-Fil-A supporters out there, I didn't see a single picketer. All positive.

As I said, I was somewhat surprised. The guy behind me in line told me, "I'm here to pick up 70 sandwiches that I ordered yesterday. I'm taking them back to work and handing them out." That's something. I was surprised by the volume of the support. Given that many wouldn't hear about the Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day and many who did wouldn't particularly care and many who did wouldn't care enough to actually act on it, this seemed like an incredible number of people. And all around me I heard conversations telling me that these weren't just casual lunch-crowd folks, but genuine supporters. Sure, some were Christians in support of a Christian company with Christian values, but many were just there to say, "I support free speech even if I don't support what he said." It seemed, to my surprise, that the buycott was actually having an effect.

I don't anticipate that a good day of business for Chick-Fil-A will either make Chick-Fil-A a thriving organization or will stop foolish people from being foolish in their foolish complaints. I don't expect the tide of public opinion to change today. I don't even anticipate that an upswell of patriotism and Christian faith will make a better country tomorrow. It was just gratifying to see more people than I would have thought participating in a statement on the subjects of free speech, the freedom of religion, and support for traditional marriage and family. The food filled my stomach, but the sentiment warmed my heart.


Craig said...

This morning a guy on the radio made the point that there are rekigions that are much more hostile to homosexuals than Christianity, so why aren't these folks protesting buisnesses owned by folks who practice those religions?

Naum said...

In Jesus’ day, the religious lawyers used to meals to pronounce moral judgment on their neighbors. They ate with those they deemed to be keepers of Moses’ law and shunned those they considered to be sinners. Tax collectors, shepherds, adulterers, drunks were all considered to be unworthy dining company. To eat with the unrighteous was to endorse their behavior.

So forgive me if the boycotts and the “Appreciation Day” both evoke déjà vu. We’re using Chick-Fil-A to draw clear lines over who our tribes are. We’re discovering which people share our views of family and politics. We’re discovering who the Sinners are, who we’d rather not break bread with. Truthfully, the wrangling whether to eat or not eat at Chick-Fil-A is not interesting or skillful. We’re all falling into dusty, tribal meal rituals traceable all the way back to the Book of Genesis.

Jesus, on the other hand, found a far more interesting way to make a point with meals. He used meals to communicate his radical love for the moral misfits. The Gospels are filled with accounts of Jesus eating with Sinners: People who made careers by stealing from others, people who worked in shady occupations and people who even ignored God’s rules about the use of their sexual organs. He ate with them all. By doing so he communicated that a Heavenly King wanted to extend his protection and Lordship to these people, knowing full well who they were.

Eating with the moral misfits also communicated that Jesus enjoyed them. He loved their smiles, their ideas, jokes, and dreams. He was for them.

Stan said...

@Craig: I find the duplicity and cognitive dissonance hard to fathom. No one was up in arms when President Obama was against gay marriage, but let a member of a business management team express support for traditional family without any reference to "gay marriage" and they're up in arms. Against the Muslims who kill homosexuals? No. Against a company that doesn't even discriminate against them. "We're an inclusive city, so we're excluding these people." Doesn't even make sense.

Stan said...


Funny thing. Neither in my experience in the business (conversations all around) nor on the news that I saw was anything at all said about "We're opposed to gay marriage!!!" Almost to a person the theme was "We're in favor of free speech!" They even interviewed some on the news who said, "We're in favor of gay marriage, but that guy should be allowed to express his view without having everyone come down on him." The statements from the COO that have people so up in arms didn't address "anti-gay marriage", but "pro-traditional family". So you're distinction of "who we'd rather break bread with" appears to be "Am I supporting free speech and pro-family or am I opposed?", not "sinners".

And suggesting that Jesus "enjoyed" the company of sinners and was "for them" in the sense that He endorsed, encouraged, or even remained silent about sin is neither biblically supportable nor reasonable. When faced with a woman purportedly caught in adultery, He didn't say, "That's okay. I like sinners. I like your jokes, your ideas, your dreams. You keep it up!" He said, "Go and sin no more."

Dan Cathy didn't say, "I'm opposed to ..." anything. He said, "I favor ..." biblical marriage and traditional family. I would guess, then, that you oppose them?

Naum said...

It is really shocking how little Jesus is shocked by human failure and sin. In fact, it never appears that he is upset at sinners. He is only and consistently upset at people who do not think they are sinners. This momentous insight puts him centuries ahead of modern psychology and right at the center of rare but authentic religion. So much so, that most Christianity itself never notices or addresses this pattern. It is an “inconvenient truth."

Stan said...

I guess I'm trying to figure out your point. I know I'm a sinner, so you can't be talking about me when you reference those "who do not think they are sinners". I'm not "upset at sinners", so that wasn't directed at me, either. So I don't really get the connection of the comment to the post or its author. But beyond all that, is it your suggestion that Jesus doesn't care about sin? "Go ahead and sin to your heart's delight. It's of no real consequence anyway." I don't really think that is where you're going either. So I don't really understand what you're trying to get across.

Naum said...

Regarding "biblical marriage and traditional family" -- we've been over this before -- "biblical marriage" is vastly different than most conservative Christians conceive -- that is, if we go solely by the text:

Nowhere is polygamy forbidden -- at least in the sense of 1 man, many wives (in NT, 1 Tim 3:2 recommends overseers be the husband of "one" wife, though the Greek word used can also mean "first" too). David and the patriarchs are never brandished for multiple wives and their concubines. In fact, any other notion in that ancient culture would have been viewed as alien, and totally against the scriptural law they understood and lived. This is not conjecture -- it is the consensus of the best bible scholarship today. And for most of Jewish (and just about all cultures until the last century or two), women were second class human beings, treated by law as objects in possession of a man (father, then husband), similar to livestock and coin. Please inform me where the Bible plainly forbids taking of more than one wife. Even in a conservative (Baptist) seminary I attended, it was taught that OT law sanctioned polygamy.

Not to say that the model Jesus taught and modeled sublated that Torah wisdom. Or even that the commandment to "love God, love your neighbor" trumps the previous broken thinking and that monogamous relationship model best actualizes the "love" commandment (given that polygamy and misogyny go hand in hand).

And it not a free speech issue at all -- Cathy is free to voice whatever his opinions are. But giving money to hate groups (Southern Poverty Law Center has classified FRC and FOF as "hate groups" for their (a) public statements supporting criminalization of LGBT brothers and sisters, (b) support of foreign governments that wish to enact legislation obedient to OT law to execute LGBT brothers and sisters is going to incite outrage. Just as someone speaking out in favor of Hitler and anti-semitism would.

starflyer said...

I don't know, Jesus seemed shocked and upset with the sinners when he cleansed the temple.

Stan said...

Yes indeed, we've been over this before. What you term "definition" I term "practices". "Multiple wives" to you is a definition and to me it's not. That is, in the days of polygamy in the Bible, marriage was defined as "multiple wives", so those guys who married only one woman were not, by definition, married. Got it. Clear enough. We disagree.

Nice that Southern Poverty Law Center has classified FRC and FOF as "hate groups". No problem. Based on the very loud and very angry voices in the press and Internet, "Christian" is classified as a hate group. Glad to know. It's not rational and it's not fair, but that doesn't normally bother anyone, so we're all clear on that, too.

What I haven't seen, what I'm not getting, what I don't know yet is what you're trying to say to me. How does any of this relate to 1) the post and 2) your comments on this post? I'm not outraged that there are gay people. I'm not even outraged that gay people want to change marriage. I'm not beating on the doors of gay people warning them to repent or burn. I'm not advocating new laws on the subject or treating anyone in anything less than a respectful way. As such, none of what you said seems to pertain to me or anything I said in the post. What are you trying to get across? I mean, I'm not even complaining. I just want to make sure I get what you're trying to give.

Stan said...

Yes, starflyer, it cannot be rationally argued that Jesus wasn't vocal about sin. He was pretty animated on the visit to the Temple that you reference. He was pretty loud when confronting the Pharisees. He was not vague when He told the woman caught in adultery, "Go and sin no more." He called on Zacchaeus to repent from ripping people off on their taxes. And the prostitute that washed His feet didn't do so because He favored her action. She did so because of repentance. It was Jesus who said, "I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven--for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little." That's not apathy toward sin.

Naum said...

1. "Go and sin no more" is not in the original scripture. It was a later scribal insertion.

2. Again, Jesus cast harsh words at the Pharisees and religious leaders -- those who thought they were without sin, the "moral police" of the day. Kind of like the conservative/fundamentalist Christians of today, IMV. Nothing in your comment pushes back against this.

Stan said...


I suppose, then, that this is as far as we'll get. "My comments have no bearing on anything you wrote about in your blog today. I just want to protest your protest of what you consider to be a change in the concept of marriage ... and this post today seemed vaguely related. Oh, and just because it's in the Bible doesn't mean it's of value. Your examples of Zacchaeus and the woman who anointed Jesus's feet, for instance, are only references to Pharisees and religious leaders. True Christians will have nothing to say about sin at all except when it's the sin of recognizing sin." All clear. Thanks.

starflyer said...

Wow, FRC and FOtF are hate groups because the Southern Poverty Law Center said so? Wait...who?

Naum, if you think these groups are hate groups you don't know anything about them. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I've heard others make that false accusation also.

Stan said...

Now, starflyer, remember, a hate group is "any organized group or movement that advocates and practices hatred, hostility, or violence towards members of a race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or other designated sector of society." "Hate" is defined as "anyone who disagrees that what I want to do is good". Since the FRC and Focus on the Family both claim that homosexual behavior is a sin and they are both organized groups, by definition they are "hate groups". Of course, the fact that groups hate Christianity and Christians doesn't classify them as hate groups, but we live in a world of cognitive dissonance, so don't expect anything different.

Naum said...

@starflyer, not sure why FOF is on their list, but FRC definitely qualifies as a "hate group" for their (a) public statements in support of criminalization of LGBT brothers and sisters and (b) their support of foreign governments (in Africa) enacting punitive OT law measures against homosexuality like imprisonment, execution, etc.…

and i believe to a lesser degree, for propagating lies about LGBT brothers and sisters, that, for instance, to be gay is the equivalent of being a pedophile. in addition to advancing assertions and claims about LGBT brothers and sisters more founded in superstition than science or research (or resorting to quackery or discredited, antiquated studies & research).

Stan said...

Naum and Starflyer,

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, all on the religious right are classified as "anti-gay" and, by that definition, a "hate group". Transgressions include calling the acts of homosexuals "perverted". Ergo, all organizations that believe in the Bible will be classified by the SPLC as "hate groups".

Just as "love" has lost its meaning by its misuse and "marriage" has been losing its meaning by its misuse, "hate" is quickly becoming unrecognizable by its misuse.

Naum said...

@Stan, now your sardonicism is over the top.

if a group argued that jewish people, or people of a certain religious faith, or a certain race of people should be outlawed, imprisoned, and/or executed as sound legal policy and/or cultural mores, would that not fit the very definition of a "hate" group.

that is what FRC had exhibited, in leader statements and support for foreign governments in that regard.

but read the SPLC report here.

you have a right to your OPINION. but not the FACTS. and it is well documented the lies and slander FRC engages in.

Stan said...

That wasn't mocking. I simply took it from their page and their definition. According to their page that I linked, the primary culprits of "anti-gay" rights is the "Christian Right" and "the religious right" (quotes from their page). They classify as "defamation" such things as "describing LGBT people as 'perverts'". Beyond the SPLC, you can be quite sure that nearly all who believe that homosexual behavior is a sin are classified as "anti-gay" and "hateful" by those who disagree. I'm not engaging in hyperbole or sardonic wit. I would venture to guess that even you would classify me as "anti-gay" and "hateful" and "anti-gay rights" and even "bigoted" and "narrowminded" for my stance on the subject (despite the fact that none of those claims are accurate). I'm not exaggerating. I simply referenced your source and their definition and the standard line of argumentation.