August 1st has come and gone and I am sure that Chick-Fil-A feels really loved. I am sure that they had record one day sales. Some places even ran out of chicken! I am also sure that many in the LGBT community feel “put in their place” by the Christian conservative community. Free speech may have "won" but for some reason this whole thing doesn’t feel right to me. It seemed to me that Wednesday’s Cluck-pocalypse may have done more harm than good, if it accomplished anything at all. Maybe I’m wrong but I have some questions jumbling in my head that I feel are important.
Whose rights were actually trampled on during this fiasco? I know there were some threats made but which group was actually denied a right in this situation? Overall there was plenty of free speech to go around and there was never any serious or credible threat to liberty. Unless of course you are a homosexual and then you left the party with certain rights still denied to you. You left with a resounding “we don’t care about you” ringing in your ears from a large number of Christians. In the end what were we hetero Christians getting all miffed about? Are we so childish that we can’t stand it when the media or Rahm Emanuel disagrees with us?
Were we loving to the least, the last and the lost? Who was stopping to wonder why the LGBT community would be offended by what Dan Cathy was saying and what/who Chick-Fil-A supports. Yes I know it is “biblical” to say what he said. It is “biblical” to say alot of things about marriage (see below). At the end of the day though; what point did the Christian community make on Wednesday? Can we honestly say that we were standing with our Jesus? Were we standing against him?
Marriage as defined by the Bible...do you really want to go there? Marriage in the Bible is a very complex idea. It is “biblical” for one man to marry many women (Exodus 21:10 and Deut 21:15) It is “biblical” to force a woman to marry her rapist (Deut 22:28-29). It is “biblical” to require a woman to marry her brother-in-law if her husband dies and leaves her childless (Deut 25:5-6). How that squares with Leviticus 20:21 which states such a union would be childless anyway is anyone’s guess. Gee this is complicated!
“Wait!” you say, “Those are part of the Old Testament purity code and no longer apply to us!” If that is true then we may have a problem. Many of the commands against homosexuality are found in those same books. “Wait” you say, “Later in scripture doesn’t it say that men should only have one wife (1 Timothy 3:2).” That is true but it also says that men who can’t control their children are not fit to be ministers (1 Timothy 3:5). Applying the Bible is something that we must do but we have to admit that it is also something that requires great care and attention to detail. If you are going to cry “Biblical Marriage!” every time someone brings up marriage equality please do so only if you have a consistent and well thought out pattern of interpretation and are willing to admit that you do a fair amount of picking and choosing. We all do it. Everyone ignores some aspect of scripture. The sooner we can admit that, the sooner we can have some real dialogue as opposed to throwing useless proof text grenades at each other. We look really foolish when we do this.
For example: We often refer to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19) when we speak about “God’s Judgment” coming to our nation. We assume that we will be judged for our allowance of homosexual practices because we assume that is why they were judged. There is some element of that in the passage but that is far from the whole story. There are reputable scholars that believe the greater sin in the ancient world would not have been the threatened homosexual rape but the arrogant dominance and lack of hospitality such a threat implies. Jesus alluded to this interpretation in Matthew 10 when he tells the disciples that the towns that do not welcome them will be worse off that Sodom and Gommorah. Hospitality was a big deal back then. Furthermore, when speaking of Sodom the prophet Ezekiel names the city’s most detestable practices as being overfed, arrogant and unconcerned for the welfare of the poor (Ezekiel 16:49). The prophet of God does not specifically mention homosexuality at all. I wonder how overfed, arrogant and unconcerned the American church was on August 1st? If judgment is coming I think there are much bigger ticket items in American history that marriage equality.
In the end, what did all this posturing accomplish? Did it make Christ more attractive to those outside the Church? Was free speech purchased with a waffle fry? Do you really think that gay marriage is somehow defeated at last because you ate a delicious chicken sandwich? What did it really do? I am convinced that overall homosexuals and people sympathetic to their cause walked away feeling unloved and unwanted by the very people that are called to be loving to all. To me this is a tragedy far greater than allowing homosexuals to be married.
For those wrestling with how to respond to homosexuality Philip Yancy has a great Q and A.
For those wishing to hear the other side of the story here is an article on Huffington Post on Why we are not arguing over Chicken.
For those wondering what biblical marriage means, this blog, outlines the 8 different kinds of marriage found in the Bible and links to more scholarly presentations of the same material. It is a little unfair in places but it does underscore that this is a complex topic.
Oddly enough, The Daily Show has done some of the better reporting on this issue. I will warn you it is a little vulgar but will give some insight into how silly this looked to those outside the community of faith.
As usual Rachel Held Evans has some great insight for Christians on both sides of this conflict. She has further links about Chick-Fil-A’s support of a group that has been classified as “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. This is not an issue completely without merit.
And now...Talk amongst yourselves.
(Edited to clear up some fuzzy points in tone and spelling errors, I am sure there are still more ;)