Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chicken Politics

"For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.

"Therefore thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.

"They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine."

—Isaiah 29:20-24

I don't like politics. And this recent embarrassment surrounding Chick-fil-A demonstrates exactly why.

In case someone reading this doesn't know, my understanding is that basically the CEO of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, was interviewed by Baptist Press, and "came out" in support of preserving one-man-and-one-woman marriage law. Those who support changing the law to include same-sex couples decided to boycott Chick-fil-A. So, those who side with keeping the law as-is decided to turn out en masse to buy chicken sandwiches.

Whereupon, people supporting same-sex marriage have decided to criticize the event, and pull out the usual name-calling of bigotry, hatred, callousness, etc.

And I think that both sides should be embarrassed.

Oh, not for sticking up for what they believe in. I admire those with the moral fortitude to put their money where their mouth is. But I think they should be embarrassed for demonizing the opposition. Whatever happened to the capacity to disagree with someone while still conceding that the other side has a point?

Those who identify themselves on their sexuality have a point: refusing to extend marriage privileges is a cultural signal that their relationships are not valued. It also has legal repercussions.

But those who wish to preserve one-man-one-woman marriage have a point, too. Changing that law also changes the fundamental basis of morality that the country was founded on. And there have already been legal repercussions for refusing to support such relationships.

But rather than concede the valid points of the "other side," people prefer to namecall (hater, bigot, and those from the conservative side which I don't care to repeat) or dehumanize the opposition.

I don't think there will be any strides made in reaching an understanding until both sides recognize that the other side is supporting values we, too, hold dear. Those who are gay are often deeply spiritual, and don't necessarily want to take away the rights of those who do not support their relationships, and those who wish to keep the law unchanged don't necessarily wish to withhold the rights of inheritance, medical support, etc. from those who have built a life together.

Those who support gay marriage don't necessarily REALLY think you are poisoning your families by teaching them God's values, or poisoning society by preaching Christian morality. And those who support the one-man-one-woman marriage law aren't necessarily completely unable to recognize that there is genuine love and some good in same-sex relationships.

So rather than behaving like petulant 2-year-olds, rather than throwing grown-up temper tantrums, let us show some maturity, some ability to bridle our fear and open our eyes.

Yes, all parties involved should be embarrassed. Particularly those of us who purport to follow God. We are taught to master our passions, and to practice Christian love to all, especially those we would esteem as enemies. That doesn't mean that we have to compromise our values, but it does mean that we have a responsibility to turn the other cheek, to listen to the pain of others, and to comfort them as much as it is in our power. As followers of Christ, we are representatives of Him, we need to emulate Him; stand as His witness, yes, but also reach out our own scarred hands to succor those who need to feel the love of God.

Ours is the greater burden to demonstrate patience and peace. We have made covenants with our God to do so. Let us begin by praying for an increase of wisdom and understanding in our country.

We're going to need it.


  1. I really dislike it when people demonize those on the other side.

  2. I think you said it perfectly. Although, I felt sad at the turnout at Chick-fil-A, not because it was a hateful thing. It wasn't.

    It was just one more day of "us vs. them", and that is sad.

  3. I don't think we can avoid "us vs. them" when the choice is there to stand up for traditional marriage or stand up for marriage redefinition. These are serious issues, and they require you to engage.

  4. I hope that we can at least engage with those who are different, or hold different views, from us. If we create a false "us vs. them" situation, we are stepping outside of civil discourse. I think that the first step in civil discourse actually comes before we say that there is another valid argument. I think it really starts with meeting and talking to people whose beliefs do not match your own.

    I don't see this as a two-sided issue. That may be because I know a lot of people who have been involved in creating the civil union, defense of marriage and same sex marriage legislation in Oregon. I try to do more listening than talking, and I am glad that I don't have to make the final decisions about how the laws will be shaped.

    I personally think that a law which seperates out religious marriage and civil marriage. If civil marriage/civil unions were the standard for all couples legally and marriage was defined by religious institutions that the strife would be greatly reduced. I honestly don't understand why the church supports many European countries whose marriage laws are structured that way, but there does not seem to be a movement in the US for a similar solution. Instead we seem locked into a polarized fight, and I just don't understand why. Then again, I was raised in Oregon, and several cousins who grew up in Utah assure me that all of Oregon is going to hell. ;-)


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