Friday, August 3, 2012

Chick-fil-a: News and Notes

The Chick-fil-a appreciation day continues to create noise and news.  Below are a few selections from around the web.

Brian Mattson had a great post prior to the CFA day.  Be sure to watch the video he has at the beginning of this post.

One would think, given the outrage, that somehow Chick-fil-A was banning homosexuals from entering their premises or even working behind the counter. Nope. Not even close.​ The simple fact that they give money to pro-family organizations means that they have been declared enemies of the body politic. Supporting marriage and family, according to progressive activists, is beyond the pale.
The mayor of Boston vowed that if Chick-fil-A attempts to open a restaurant in Boston, the necessary permits will be denied: "If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult — unless they open up their policies." What policies would those be? Are they discriminating against somebody? Of course not. "Policies" means "unless they agree with me on a controversial public policy." I hardly need to explain how frighteningly anti-American that sentiment is. It is one thing for a person or group of people to choose not to go to Chick-fil-A, as they are free to do. It is another thing altogether for the government to actively seek to damage Chick-fil-A.
Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel opined that "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values." Really? He knows that each and every person in Chicago supports same-sex "marriage"? On the contrary, Chicago has a very large black population, a demographic whose majority consistently opposes same-sex "marriage."​ A pretty arrogant and ignorant attitude. I know, shocking coming from Rahm Emmanuel.
So here we have it. A hugely successful company renowned for its philanthropy, a company that has done nothing but positive social good in the course of employing of tens of thousands of people, is thuggishly castigated, threatened, and boycotted for not bowing to elite orthodoxy.  ​
Trevin Wax on his Gospel Coalition blog states that the boycott of Chick-fil-a by various political officials is really all about Jesus.
 What we are seeing today is a massive cultural shift that permits leaders to label Christians as intolerant and bigoted simply for expressing their views about how society should function. But strangely enough, the same social ostracism and cultural condescension are not extended to Muslims and faithful adherents to other religions. No, the prejudice appears to be directed toward Christians who dare to speak publicly about their deeply held religious convictions.
That’s why, at the end of the day, this conversation isn’t really about marriage, gay rights, or restaurant permits. It’s not about the cultural divide between north and south, liberal and conservative.
It’s about Jesus. It’s about the radical sexual ethic He put forth in His teaching – a moral zealousness that hits our current culture’s sexual permissiveness head-on. And it’s about His forgiveness offered to all sexual sinners, so long as we agree with Jesus about our sin and embrace Him instead.
As weary as we may be of the culture wars, the Chick-fil-A controversy is a harbinger of further ostracism to come. In the United States, the words of Jesus are coming to pass for those who hold tightly to His vision of sexuality: You will be hated because of Me. 
So how should we respond? We’ve got to go beyond boycotts and political statements and feigned offense at perceived persecution. We’re called to love those who ostracize us, not boycott back. So let’s trumpet the message that Jesus is for all kinds of sinners, from the self-righteous deacon to the promiscuous transsexual, no matter what kind of vitriol comes our way.
The world tells homosexuals, “It gets better.” The church tells homosexuals, “Jesus is better.”
And that is why this boycott is really about Him.

Barnabas Piper thinks the whole CFA appreciation day is a "bold mistake."
Homosexuality is one of the most defining, contentious, and complex issues facing this generation of the church. We cannot sacrifice our biblical convictions but neither can we sacrifice the church’s ability to serve people of opposing viewpoints and lifestyles. The 452,000 people supporting Chick-fil-A are delivering more than one message, and the message the homosexual community and its supporters see is “us versus you.” The event also sends a message of separatism and territorialism in the “reclaiming” of those restaurants that are being boycotted, a collective action easily seen as a shaking of the fist or a wagging of the finger.
Convictions, especially biblical ones, will divide people. That is inevitable, but not desirable. The separation of believers and unbelievers, when it happens, must be a last resort or an unavoidable result. Actions to the contrary, those that clearly promote an “us versus them” mentality, are most often unhelpful. There is a time for Christians to engage in boycotting, such as when a business deals in obviously immoral areas or is clearly unethical in its methods. But for a mass of Christians to descend upon Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country tomorrow to support the leadership’s view on this issue is, I believe, a bold mistake.
Michael Kruger responds to Barnabas Piper's "bold mistake" claim:
However, I confess I find this whole line of argumentation problematic on many levels.  Let me mention a few:
1. Such reasoning would require us to avoid all public displays of support for contentious moral issues.  Couldn’t we make the same argument about abortion?  Should we stop all pro-life rallies (or public events) because it might make pro-choice people think its “us vs. you”?
2. I suppose that some people might see support for Chick-fil-A as “shaking the fist” or “wagging the finger.”  But, I am not sure that is a reason not to show it.  Any public display of support for biblical marriage would be construed as “shaking the fist” or “wagging the finger.” The media is quick to portray any public event where biblical issues are defended as bigoted, hateful, and intolerant—even if they are done with respect, sensitivity, and courtesy.  In fact, I would argue that Piper’s reticence about the Chick-fil-A event is good evidence that such tactics are quite effective.  We are all afraid of how we might look.  But, I do not see how such a fear is a solid basis for suggesting that a display of public support for a biblical position is a “bold mistake.”  Indeed, one might argue the contrary, namely that it would be a “bold mistake” to stop public events on the basis of such fears.
3. Piper argues that a public show of support for Chick-fil-A would create a “separation of believers and unbelievers” which “must be a last resort.”  But, I confess I don’t understand what he means be “separation” of believers and unbelievers.  Sure, making public declarations about truth certainly can cause division between us and those who disagree. But that is inevitable when you proclaim the truth.  The only alternative is that we don’t ever make public declarations!  Since Piper surely doesn’t mean this, I can only surmise that his main advice is essentially “don’t go around picking fights.”   Fair enough, but I don’t think eating at Chick-fil-A can be construed as picking a fight.  Rather it is standing up for biblical truth and against some of the most blatant anti-Christian aggression from government officials that we have seen in quite a while.
Rachel Held Evans practically ditched the faith due to the CFA appreciation day!

Images of lines snaking out of fast food restaurants, taunts and jeers on Facebook, tearful conversations with gay friends, failed attempts to understand and explain both sides
Is this what following Jesus is supposed to be about? Eating a chicken sandwich to prove a point? 
Is this what mobilizes the people of God? 
Suddenly, my religion is alien to me—small, petty, reactive.  My faith has lost its bearings. I don’t feel like praying anymore, not even for the mom who begged me to pray for her gay son who vowed yesterday never to return to church again. 
Can I blame him?  Perhaps it is better if he stays away.
I am hanging by the tips of sweaty fingers on this ledge of faith, wondering if letting go will bring freedom or death. I’ve hung on before—through the science wars, the gender wars, the Christmas wars, the culture wars—but I’m just so tired of fighting, so tired of feeling out of place. 
This was a bit overmuch as even one of her supporters pointed out in the comments section:

Crap. I like you Rachel, but this is overly dramatic BS, and I think you're better than that.  

Do you seriously believe your faith is so dependent on the Denny Burks and Mike Huckabees of the world that when they go eat chicken to support some guy's right to say what he thinks about gay marriage, your faith might dissolve?  That you might renounce your faith altogether because a bunch of folk disagree with you and act out? I don't believe it. 
I'm pretty sure you believe Jesus is the messiah of Israel, the savior of the world, the Lord of heaven and earth, the one who says that 'if you love me you will obey my commands' yet you write like He has no purchase in your life, like he is not worthy of worship. Like a bunch of brothers and sisters with whom you disagree can determine whether Jesus is real for you or not. Are you really "hanging by the tips of sweaty fingers on the ledge of faith"? I don't believe it.
Jesus is real, he's alive, he is not dependent on our notions of fairness, our ideas about what the church should look like. Gay people need to know that their master is Jesus, not a group of brothers and sisters who read Scripture differently from them. When did Jesus become so weak, so uninteresting, so non-compelling that faith in him depends on how Doug Wilson or Denny Burk behaves?
Brian Mattson also responds to Rachel Held Evans with these words:

Christians have been fed to lions, crucified, had their loved ones arrested, tortured and killed, their property torched to ashes (as they were yesterday in Cairo), yet a little unpopularity causes Rachel to "hang by the tips of sweaty fingers on the ledge of faith." Seriously?

And later he writes:

Our therapeutic, feel-good, tolerant, relativistic culture tempts us to think that what non-Christians really want and need is Christianized versions of Elliot Richards, most "emotionally sensitive man in the world." Christians so focused and intent on not "offending." Christians who think there is no disagreement that cannot be massaged away by attending to others' feelings. Christians who take the soft, "middle ground" on any and every disagreement. Christians who think that everything is a negotiable "conversation" and that real conflict and confrontation doesn't exist. Christians like Rachel Held Evans (Really: read this piece.) I believe the long-term result is a loss of respect. Squishy, emotionally sensitive, chameleon Christianity that prizes feelings to the neglect of Truth engenders contempt, not respect.
You can let down your guard, give in, and go to bed with the world. It won't respect you in the morning.
The number one, go-to weapon of anti-Christian, Christophobic activists is make Christians feel alone, isolated, aberrant, backward, "on the wrong side of history," outnumbered, outgunned, hopeless, and helpless. They boldly pretend that pro-traditional marriage forces are the distinct minority. They blithely ignore the fact that every time marriage laws are put to a vote, same-sex "marriage" advocates lose. Big time. Such activists absolutely love it when Christians cower into embarrassed self-loathing. They do not "respect" such opponents: they mock them.
This is why a Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day is a bigger thing than it might seem. It is a visible reminder that Christians are not alone, isolated, aberrant, backward, "on the wrong side of history," outnumbered, outgunned, hopeless, and helpless. I am encouraged by a massive number of Christians and like-minded well-wishers who oppose government "thought police" standing up instead of cowering.