Which Came First: the Chicken or the Conservative Christian?
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
These are all well-known sayings in our American culture. And now we have a new one. Chick-Fil-A will now forever be linked to the debate over same sex marriage vs. traditional marriage.
Instead of “Do you want fries with that?” you might expect to be asked “Do you want your first amendment rights with that?” Do you think this was ever really part of CFA's marketing strategy for 2012? Probably not. A high profile person in our society was simply asked a question because he has a reputation for being a Christian who puts his faith into practical application in running a very successful business. He answered. And the rest, as we say, is history, or as these things go in today’s America, the rest is histrionics.
Billy Roberts of the Publicqueue recently posted that Christians should be concerned about the call to publicly support Chick-fil-A and their leaders for taking a stand against gay marriage and in defense of traditional marriage. Thousands turned out for Chick-Fil-A appreciation day in order to do just that. What’s the problem? Why should Christians feel one way or the other about it?
Roberts said, “Making public spectacles out of one man’s (or even one organization) stance does nothing to love our neighbor as ourselves. In fact, it does just the opposite. It says, “I support this stance no matter who is ostracized in the process.”
In contemporary parlance, what would Jesus do? Would he take a side? Would he get involved? Would he be motivated to make sure people had no doubt where he stood on the issue?
Looking back at the historical setting Jesus was born into, do you think the politics of the day weighed very heavily on the decisions he made?
His homeland was under occupation by the most powerful empire of its day.
There was an undercurrent of rebellion running through his country, his community, and his synagogue.
News of his birth caused the slaughter of baby boys throughout the nation because the King feared any threat to his own power.
His very parentage was questioned his entire life, along with this motives and his message.
And how did he respond? How much of his time and energy did he spend on the political issues of his day? He gave two priorities to his followers.
l. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.
2. Love your neighbor as yourself.
How did we get from those two simple directives to standing in line for hours in the hot August sun, waiting to buy a chicken sandwich?
Sometime around the mid-1980s Christians discovered something. They found the dog-eat-dog world, gladiator-style battle of mid twentieth century politics was fun. It was exciting. It could get your face on television and your picture in the paper. It could get you interviewed during political party conventions and get your voting block a role in elections and the passage (or not) of legislation at the highest levels in the land. They also learned that all this activity was a lot more fun than just going to church business meetings, holding Vacation Bible School every summer, and visiting the sick and the shut-in. In other words, politics was more interesting and exciting than plain old religion.
That discovery has brought us to this point in time when Christians are asked, not to give to the poor, or feed the hungry, or house the homeless, but to buy a chicken sandwich to show that they stand on the side of conservative Christian values. Why didn’t somebody just say this a long time ago? This is way easier than teaching a class of six-year-olds for a week (used to be two) during summer break. It’s a lot less trouble than teaching a Sunday School class, or giving money to build an orphanage in the middle east or to dig wells in Africa.
Can I offer a suggestion to well-meaning Christians who would sincerely like to do something worthwhile to bring people into the welcoming folds of their religion? Before you do anything for any cause, ask yourself if there is any chance someone might come to know the Jesus you know through what you are being asked to do? If the answer is probably not, then give your time and energy and resources to an endeavor that might.
“It worries me that Christianity (in particular American Evangelical Christianity) is becoming more defined by what it is against than for how it serves and welcomes the way Jesus did,” Roberts said. It worries me too. But what worries me even more is that I suspect it pleases Satan to no end to see so many Christians thinking they are doing the right thing - when they are not.