- Politics and Social Issues
Chik-Fil-A And The Fall of Western Civilization
Unless you’ve been at an extended bible camp or perhaps a really long homosexual orgy, you’re already aware of the great Chik-Fil-A controversy. Accusations that Chik-Fil-A has pursued an anti-gay agenda have dogged them for years, which company president Dan Cathy has steadfastly denied.
But during a recent Baptist Press interview, Cathy finally fessed up: “Guilty as charged,” he said, perhaps thinking that nobody paid attention to Baptist Press except good god-fearing Baptists, not an unlikely assumption. He dug in deeper on a syndicated radio show when asked about his comment, where he went on to speak of “the biblical definition of the family unit,” and how Chik-Fil-A operates on “biblical principles,” and “we’re inviting God’s judgement.” Yeah, the bible is all about discrimination, hate, and lying I guess, since Cathy had lied about it for years.
The admission led to a firestorm of accusations back and forth with people taking either the anti-gay side or the pro-freedom side. Freedom of speech; homophobia; the bible; discrimination; the charges fly back and forth like dog turds being thrown over the fence by feuding neighbors. I propose that it’s no longer a fight about homosexuality or whether gays should be allowed to marry, and maybe it never was. Instead it’s a street fight between liberals and conservatives over the very future of our nation. The issue of whether gays can marry is just along for the ride.
The Bible references alleged homosexuality eight times, and none of the references are by Jesus. Consider that there are several hundred references to money and the necessity for justly distributing wealth, many of them by Jesus, but when was the last time you heard these people demanding higher taxes on the rich and using the bible as their justification? Furthermore, these homosexual references are frequently interpreted incorrectly, according to Dr. Virginia Ramey Mollenkott in her essay titled, Christianity and Crises:
Mollenkott writes: “Much of the discrimination against homosexual persons is justified by a common misreading of the Bible. Many English translations of the Bible contain the word homosexual in extremely negative contexts. But the fact is that the word homosexual does not occur anywhere in the Bible. No extant text, no manuscript, neither Hebrew nor Greek, Syriac, nor Aramaic, contains the word. The terms homosexual and heterosexual were not developed in any language until the 1890’s, when for the first time the awareness developed that there are people with a lifelong, constitutional orientation toward their own sex. Therefore the use of the word homosexuality by certain English Bible translators is an example of the extreme bias that endangers the human and civil rights of homosexual persons.” (pp. 383-4, Nov. 9, 1987)
Of the eight references, I Corinthians 6:0 refers to masturbation, not homosexuality, and don’t tell me the anti-gay people don’t masturbate. I hope they wash their hands before eating their chicken sandwich. The reference in Timothy 1:10 is about male prostitutes available to both men and women, not homosexuality. Of the other six, they are all disputed by modern scholars, like the story of Lot, who, when townspeople want to rape two angels, offers up two of his daughters instead to be gang-raped. See? People point to this and say it’s about homosexuality, but it’s about dehumanizing and violently brutalizing women, or brutalizing men if you want to stick with the male on male part, not about consensual sex between two people of the same gender.
The Bible is being used to encroach on our freedoms and political system every day, and it’s escalating. There’s abortion, prayers in school, the hostile takeover of women’s uteruses; the list goes on, and that’s why mention of the Bible as an excuse to discriminate against homosexuals—even when it comes from a chicken sandwich slinger—makes us nervous. Keep your religion to yourselves. Keep your religion out of politics. Keep your faith, but keep it away from me. And don’t tell me how to choke my chicken either.
Freedom of Speech
Perhaps no cry from the pro-hate side comes louder than the freedom of speech cry. Dan Cathy was just exercising his right to free speech, they say. Yes, indeed he was. This comes immediately before or after they berate the other side for exercising their right of free speech in response. In other words, they want their free speech, but want those of us who disagree to shut up.
Of course the river of hate runs deeper than that. Chik-Fil-A doesn’t just speak hate, they act on it. Equality Matters, an LGBT advocacy group reported that Chik-Fil-A donated more than $3 million between 2003 and 2009 to Christian groups that openly oppose homosexuality. In 2010 alone they gave nearly $2 million. So their free speech is actually aggressive advocacy, and whenever sensible Americans see advocacy for backwards, harmful and hateful legislation, it is our duty to oppose it. What’s worse, thanks to the Republican buyout of the Supreme Court and the absurdest Citizens United ruling, real damage can be done when money and madness meet. The danger is compounded by the fact that so many Americans are like chickens being led to slaughter.
Then there's the matter of cherry picking the parts of the bible that suit your motives and disregarding the rest, like: bowl haircuts (The Beatles); touching pigskin (football); eating pork (bacon anyone?); telling fortunes (astrology, psychic hotline); pulling out (condoms, sponges and pills were unknown to them, so actually, those are not forbidden specifically); tattoos; divorce; wearing gold; eating shellfish, and more. I don't think there are any actual Christians left.
Fall From Grace
Sad on an epic scale is the fact that Chik-Fil-A fast food joints have been packed—some with lines out the door—since the brouhaha began. People have flocked by the thousands to show their support for a company that openly speaks out against homosexuality and privately condemns it by donating very large sums of money to suppress it (and you know that homosexuality is not a choice, right?)
Yesterday I read a thread online where a television station asked its viewers whether they agreed with Chik-Fil-A or not. Hundreds of people had commented, and as I scrolled through the comments, I was shocked. They all supported the restaurant, threw in some gay slurs of their own, repeated their bible mantra, all of them except one, a woman whom I know. Around the same time, I had a heated online and public discussion with an acquaintance over the issue. People came to her defense, but not to mine, in spite of the fact that many of my online friends are gay. (And in case you’re wondering, no I’m not, but you don’t spend 20 plus years in professional theatre without becoming friends with some gay people, who you would find, if you bothered, the same as us with the exception of sexual orientation. None of them made a pass at me, and I’m more than a little insulted by that. And I somehow managed not to catch their gayness. Whew.)
Liberals and intellectuals are less inclined to speak up than backward thinking conservatives, who pour out unctuously to support and share in the ignorance of their compatriots. And therein lies their power.
It is for these reasons I conclude the Chik-Fil-A fracas is but a harbinger of the impending fall of western civilization. These people have a real chance of taking over. The world I always imagined—one of richness of experience, one of freedom, one of compassion—is everything that these people are against. A civilization without compassion is no civilization at all.
A Chik-Fil-A spicy chicken sandwich deluxe, waffle fries, and a sweet tea accounts for almost 2,100 calories, roughly an entire day's worth, not to mention fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
So Chik-Fil-A is bad for your health, and bad for your soul.
Some biblical information in this story adapted from "Homophobia: A Weapon of Sexism," by Suzanne Pharr