Sunday, July 29, 2012

Checking In With the Chicken

Here’s the thing about the Chick fil-A argument… 

If you don’t read the news and you aren’t on Facebook, perhaps you haven’t heard about what’s going down with the Chick-fil-A controversy.  Let me give you a re-cap.

Chick-Fil-A is a “Christian” fast food chain that sells chicken.  And they have lots of  advertising signs along most major highways sporting cows advocating the consumption of chicken.  Cute.  Everyone loves cows.

However, they’ve more than once garnered national attention with their openly anti-gay agenda.  And yes, I use the word agenda because it’s not just that the president, Mr. Cathy, openly says he and his family and his company support a biblical view of marriage - that would certainly be his prerogative to believe and even share his beliefs in this lovely free country that we live in.  However, he and his company’s charitable arm, Winshape, have donated almost two million dollars to “Christian” organizations whose mission is, in part, to “heal” people from being gay.  Not $2million to Christian organizations like Compassion International, World Vision, Bread for the World, etc.  $2million to organizations that utilize “anti-Gay therapy.”  That’s an agenda.

So there’s been a host of meme, some of it funny, some of it sad, flooding social media sites and there have been several articulate responses from people (probably “Christians”) about why it’s ridiculous to communally or personal boycott Chick-fil-A.  And truthfully, it is not to Chick-fil-A or Mr. Cathy that I respond today, it’s to these other people weighing in on whether or not to buy that crispy fried white meat on a white bun with crunchy waffle fries (as if the healthiness factor weren’t enough to enlighten you).

The tagline for one article I read stated: Do we really want a country where people won't do commerce with those who have beliefs different than their own? To which I respond…
  • One: Yes. 
  • Two: This isn’t about beliefs. 
  • Three: Welcome to living out your Christian faith. 
Stick with me on this one.

In case you missed the paragraph above when I mentioned the two million dollars donated to “pro-family, anti-gay” organizations, Chick-fil-A owners aren’t just anti-gay for themselves & their personal families.  They put their money where their mouth is and support agencies that seek to turn people straight.  We typically call acts like that hate crimes. I sign petitions against them in foreign countries.  Just because “Christians” in America aren’t raping women to turn them straight, I’m not sure that sending teenagers to camp where they are indoctrinated and brainwashed to find people of the opposite gender sexually attractive is much better. 

And if you think I’m on some far and away diatribe against freaks named Fred Phelps and no one really tries to turn people un-gay, let me enlighten you.  I had a roommate who was gay (I’ve had several, actually).  But the one to whom I’m referring has “Christian” parents who don’t believe that homosexuality is a viable Christian option for humans, or specifically, “Christians.”  They attended a seminar this year on how to turn your child un-Gay.  Wow.  Kudos to my former roommate for still loving her parents and hanging out with them and buying them Christmas presents.  There’s not enough therapy in the world that would get me through that.

But that happened.  This year.  In my house.

I’m digressing.  My point is that yes, Americans who believe in the bill of rights, and love that America was built on freedom, have every right to boycott a food chain that spends MILLIONS of dollars donating to organizations that not only seek to politically deny people basic human rights, but to turn them into something they’re not. 

“Do we really want a country where people won't do commerce with those who have beliefs different than their own?”

Beliefs, no.  Agendas, yes.

Let’s turn the table.  Let’s pretend like the president of Chick-fil-A was “Muslim” instead of “Christian.”  Let’s say that he donated two million dollars to organizations that strove to politically oppress the rights of slaves in Muslim families: ma malakat aymanukum.  No, wait, let’s keep to the topic of altering sexuality so we’re on level playing field… how about this hypothetical Muslim president of Chick-fil-A donated almost $2 million to “Muslim” organizations supporting female circumcision?  What if he and Winshape gave money to organizations seeking to politically continue suppressing the rights of women (to not have this done to them) or donated to organizations that were actually performing female circumcision on infants, children and teenage girls?

Would you want to boycott Chick-fil-A if the owner said he believed in a Qu’ran-based definition of family – one where the man is the head and the women are guaranteed to be pure?  Yeah, me too.

And that’s the kicker, you guys.  It’s our right to boycott restaurants, clothing stores, even industries if we disagree with them, especially if they have agendas.  It’s like, the American dream.

Not only that, but it makes us human.

It makes us human to not just live by convenience or via hedonistic cravings for fried chicken.  It makes us human when we think about what we do and how it affects the people around us.

So, no, I’m not going to shop at WalMart when I know they overpower local businesses and don’t always treat their employees fairly with regard to wages and benefits (when the CEO and WalMart families have more money than God).  I’m not going to buy clothes from Nike when I know they’re using sweatshops employing teenage girls at 14 cents an hour.  And I’m not going to eat at Chick-fil-A when I know they donate millions of dollars to organizations that politically seek to stifle gay rights and hold conferences to turn people straight. 

That’s my right.  And thank God I live in America where the government can’t force me to shop at Wal-Mart or wear Nike or eat Chick-fil-A.  Neither can the government tell me where to go to church or how to practice my faith or how many times a day I should pray. 

And thank God I live in a country where compassionate, thoughtful, people of faith seeking to live holistic lives can put their money where their mouths are and choose to shop or not to shop at stores whose integrity they can get behind or find severely lacking.

Quite frankly, I wish there were more people in this nation and in this world who think that what we eat, what we buy, and how we treat other people matters

Because if your going to be a person of faith, it does matter.  And it matters a lot to me because I do call myself a Christian.  In fact, I am an ordained Baptist minister.  And I don’t believe there is a biblical definition on family, and if there is, I’m not interested in living by it.  I’ve never been a fan of levirate marriage, pologomy, or arranged marriages.  And if you want to play the New Testament card, Jesus never once mentions homosexuality.  But that’s a blog for another time.  Oh wait, I already wrote that one

So I say, boycott on, America.  Whether you’re religious or not, live by your convictions and when you see an agenda or policy you can’t get behind, don’t.  Stand it front.  And stand with your sign held high.

P.S. I imagine if I were a Muslim Iman, I would believe sinilarly to what I currently belive as a minister about Christianity, that Islam promotes the notion of absolute equality of all humanity.  Female circumcision is in no way shape or form the norm for Islam - let me be clear - I was just trying to use another religious, sexist example of an atrocity in culture. 
P.P.S.  Want to know more about not buying from sweatshops: check this out.  Or this.


Lindsey Cummings said...

Awesome job Ann!

SaraToday said...

Hi Ann,

I really appreciated this post. You have answered this question much more eloquently than I could have.


Aaron Sacco said...

Well said!

Mike Young said...

!!!Excellent!! (as always)

Unknown said...

love it, Ann!

Anonymous said...

no proof and speeking from the mind. No proof. Not true. Just like everyone to try and down play Christians. Nice get off your high horses and get real. Christians are for all people because of the fact that the penilty of our sin is death going to hell and being seperated from christ. If you understood that then you would not be fighting so hard to point out all of peoples faults. Christians would do anything for other people. The problem that everyone always sees and comments about is that we are all still sinners and will always fall. We are not perfect we all are damaged goods. Thank God for Jesus and that sacrifice he made so that I can be in Heaven not Hell with most of the world. Sad you guys have closed minds. Maybe should look at your lives.