Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Not Chicken...

I am a member of an evangelical church; you know, one of those "born again" believers.  I have no doubt that this post may ruffle a few feathers (bad pun), but I know where my faith is placed and I am not concerned.  What I am concerned about is the recent Chik-fil-a brouhaha and upcoming counter-protest tomorrow, August 1st.  I won't be joining you at the counter.  It's not that I don't care for their sandwiches (which I don't), or that I can't afford it (which I could).  It's simply that I think this gesture is misguided at best, and simply wrong in so many ways.

There's no doubt that Mr. Cathy, owner of Chik-fil-a is entitled to his opinion, however inelegantly he phrased it.  So, too, are those who decry him as intolerant.  This lack of tolerance on both sides of the issue is getting to be somewhat annoying.  You know it's a problem when you have to remind people that our country was founded on the principle of free speech, a fact which guarantees that you often have to hear things you don't agree with.  What is important is that Mr. Cathy follows the law, and so far, no one has been able to say that he either refuses to hire or serve gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered individuals.  To my knowledge, if you are covered sufficiently to be granted access to a restaurant (do people actually read those signs anymore?) and you have the money, you can eat as much of Mr. Cathy's chicken as you like.  If you choose to take your business elsewhere, that is your choice as well.

What concerns me, however, is this protest in the name of Christianity under the guise of standing up for "family values".  Somehow, I just don't see this as something Jesus would either condone, or participate in.  You could rationalize it as some sort of "love your neighbors" exercise, except it's more of a "love your brother" action.  Our neighbors are exactly the people who don't necessarily agree with us, and by rubbing it in their faces that we think they are somehow less than, we simply don't convey a whole lot of Christian love.

Chik-fil-a is not hurting for business.  The patrons who are jumping to support this restaurant chain are not hurting for cash. - they can well afford to buy their family members chicken sandwiches and waffle fries as a form of protest.  Mind you, I have nothing against supporting restaurants.  As a restaurant manager, my husband has provided well for our family over the past 38 years, and I appreciate the hard work that restaurant employees do.  I am blessed to be so fortunate.

But, in the meantime, many families in our state are struggling with the sudden cessation of their state cash assistance, along with a persistent inability to find work.  I'm not saying that all of these families are perfect and deserve our help, but then Christ did not come for the perfect, but the imperfect.  And within these families are children.  Even if you don't like their parents, you said you were pro-life, and these are important little lives.  Our little neighbors, if you will.

It's easy to look at them and think that if they wanted to, they could work.  Some could.  Many try and cannot find work that will feed their family, because the minute they find work, their food stamps and insurance stop.  Instantly.  You try explaining to a mother that her part-time job that pays barely $100 a week is sufficient to cover food, clothing, rent, and child care.  Child care.  Another bone of contention with me.  In the name of family values, Christian churches continue to resist providing supportive and affordable day care for families, simply because they wouldn't want to encourage any mother to go to work. It seems to be rather a Catch-22 to me, but that's just my perspective.  I've heard it said that single moms and their children are the "widows and orphans" of the modern age.  How do we justify ignoring them when there is an explicit Biblical command to care for them? 

So, how did a protest over different views on GLBT issues become one about children?  Because, if you're going to invoke the "family values" phrase, you'd better mean it.  All of it.  And not just when it's convenient.  Simply put, loving your neighbors isn't, nor was it meant to be, easy.  It was meant to be the mark of a Christian.  And somehow, I think we've failed miserably.

The views expressed in this post are mine alone.  I may regret my grammar in the morning, but little else.