A New Chick-Fil-A Conversation

Monday, July 16 will be remembered as an important day in the life of the business known for its chicken sandwiches and creative marketing.  That was the day when Dan Cathy, President of Chick-Fil-A, was quoted in a Baptist Press article about several topics, including his understanding of the company’s “Christian” view of marriage and family:

We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

A great deal has happened in the few weeks since that article appeared, including hundreds (perhaps thousands) of blog posts, articles, and video responses.  As a result of the debate that has ensued, people of faith who support the company’s stand have declared August 1 as  Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day: a day to show support by frequenting a restaurant and/or sharing their support online.  People of faith who find the company’s position inappropriate and inconsistent with their understanding of what it means to live as a follower of Jesus are encouraging a peaceful presence to protest the company’s position and the funding it has enabled.  Those who wish to participate in the alternative event on August 1 are encouraged to show their displeasure by frequenting a Chick-Fil-A and ordering only a large water.

 

So What?

Many arguments have been constructed by Christians on both sides of the debate, but almost no dialogue between those with opposing perspectives has occurred.  Rather than simply coming out in support of one position or the other, many Christians have chosen to engage in angry conversations focused on labeling the other as wrong, ignorant, and even un-Christian.  The loudest message I have heard has been one of hate, which is counter to any understanding of Jesus I have ever explored.

I expect more; I expect better.  I expect followers of Jesus to refrain from generalizations that suggest all of the world’s 2+ billion Christians think as they do about this matter.  I expect Christian conversations to provide a model for genuine intra- and inter-religious dialogue about matters of faith that matter.

Regardless of whether or not you will participate in today’s planned activities, I encourage you to have an in-depth conversation with someone who holds the opposite perspective.  Expect your conversation to be a learning experience for both parties, and consider setting basic guidelines or ground rules before beginning (Rabbi James Rudin’s Ten Commandments for Successful Jewish-Christian Dialogue is a list worth considering.)

Comments

  1. Greg,

    Well said on all accounts. My critique of CFA (and perhaps CFA Appreciation Day) falls in line with Jon Stewart’s line from last night about it not being surprising that a CEO having divergent theological or ethical views from my own. As an American and as a Christian he has every right and even responsibility to speak his mind, even if some find that speaking repugnant. However, as a company that has contributed to groups which actively pursue anti-equality legislation, I cannot with a good heart, contribute to their cause if even a portion of that money arrives on the desk of an anti-equality group. The same thing happened a few years ago with LL Beam. While I can hear the counterargument that all groups of inherently sinful and why pick this one corporation, it seems that if for one second or one instance people choose to care about groups that contribute to anti-equation movements, that’s ok by me. Again, great post!

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