I have, up till now, refrained from making any kind of comment on the Chick-fil-A fiasco (or any concerning the Home Depot and Pepsi issues for that matter) but now that it has simmered down just a bit and I have had some time to think about it, I just wanted to make a general observation. This is simply my observation and I know it will be in opposition to many of your observations. However, I wish only to think on these things in ways that are biblical, right, and holy. I understand that there is much to consider spiritually and biblically and I am trying to keep that in mind so I am open to your understandings, insights, and observations in response (just remember to pack it in a sweet spirit).
Now, let me say this on the outset. I am in complete agreement with the position held by Dan Cathy the owner and CEO of the food chain. As a Christian and Pastor I affirm the biblical teaching of marriage, that is, that marriage is between one man and one woman. The picture of marriage is clearly identified in the Bible, specifically in Ephesians 5:22-33 and has much to teach us of Christ. Homosexuality is not God approved and same-sex, life-partner commitments do not qualify (in the eyes of God) as acceptable marriages. This is not a hate speech against, or an attempt to harass homosexuals this is a moral reality. Having had family members, co-workers, and acquaintances who were homosexual/lesbian, I have always treated them like what they are, human beings and I will vocally oppose anyone who does otherwise. I will help homosexuals in their time of need, do business with them in the work place, and acknowledge their personal, civil rights as Americans. They are not in any way inferior as human beings. However, when it comes to their life activities, it is here that I believe I must make my stand. I cannot endorse them (their life styles), accept them (again, the life styles), or ignore that their activity is in violation of God’s Word, for it is.
For me, the attempt to identify marriage as simply, “The official act of unifying two people who love each-other” falls short of the clarity God has already revealed about marriage and breaks a natural law discerned and followed from ages past. Now if this was meant to be a thesis on why Christians oppose homosexuality or gay marriage I would endeavor to lay out my biblical, historical, and social arguments. However, this is not the point of my observation. In fact, this article isn’t even addressed to the homosexual/lesbian crowd. It is meant for Christians.
The whole Chick-fil-A “Appreciation Day” event was, as I kept hearing, the right to express an opinion and the freedom of speech (and I assume, of action since the fact that Dan Cathy supports biblical marriage type organizations was part of the “outrage”) and this is precisely the area of my observation. Not too long ago I was e-mailed a Home Depot boycott document to sign. I didn’t sign it. Why? Here was the stated purpose:
“The Home Depot’s sponsorship and participation in homosexual events is a corporate endorsement of a dangerous and unhealthy lifestyle. The fact that The Home Depot also encourages the attendance of children at these events is disturbing to me. Until The Home Depot agrees to remain neutral in the culture war, and stop supporting homosexual events, I will boycott their stores.” (bold font is my emphasis)
While the events shared in this statement are indeed troubling to me, as I compared the Chick-fil-A movement with the stated purpose of the boycott document I noticed some things even more troubling. First, I saw this as an affront to the civil liberty of the CEO and owners of the chain store (Home Depot) in the area of (ironically) freedom of speech and action. Now to me this was not just ironic, but embarrassing. As I thought about this a bit I saw that Christians were being encouraged to help attempt to squelch the right of the owner(s) of Home Depot of their right to voice their opinion and do with their money what they wanted to do with their money which happened to be the very same thing vast numbers of Christians went out in support of for Dan Cathy against the homosexual and liberal outcry. Does anyone else see the hypocrisy in this? Christians are attempting to silence the position that they don’t agree with and are asking their opponent to “remain neutral” yet many of the same Christians (and I know not every Christian has boycotted Home Depot) fully supported the right for Dan Cathy not to “remain neutral in the culture war”. I understand that the current position of the Home Depot is unbiblical and thus unrighteous. I don’t deny that. I know God isn’t pleased with it and I denounce it personally. But the Home Depot boycott and the Chick-fil-A “Appreciation Day” agenda exposed a huge hypocrisy of the “Christian Right”. We basically seemed to be saying you can’t speak/do freely for your cause, but we can for ours. On a civil/national level this is hypocritical.
This, however, revealed an even more troubling reality, at least as I see it, and that is the reality that we turn all too quickly, and rely all too heavily on our civil rights, liberties (like boycotting) and on fleshly means (federal law) to fight battles that exist in the spiritual realm. In other words, Christians in general have picked up the wrong weapons, and are declaring war in the wrong realm. Consider:
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
I recognize that presently we live in a physical realm and many of the attacks on godliness and righteousness come in the form of earthly laws and actions (thus the “rulers” and “authorities” in this passage.) However, to make this a battle of “rights”, “land laws”, and “majorities” is not where we should expect the victory to be had and misses the point of Paul’s admonition. Though we see spiritual attack’s coming from our rulers and authorities, the reality is they are being driven by the spirit of and forces of “evil” and “darkness”. Thus the battle isn’t about who can bring the majority, or pass the most and strongest laws, but rather, what spirit is controlling the hearts and minds. While I can see and understand the righteous intent behind using physical means (and I have been and am in support of many of them) we must remember that the problem cannot be solved through mere legislation or an out-pouring of a moral majority. Battles like this one (for that is what it has become) will not be won because Christians have dominated the worldly realm. The problem is a spiritual one, a heart condition. If you don’t agree with Home Depot then don’t shop there, that is certainly your right and left to your liberty, but be very careful when you endeavor to take action that enters the realm of “this dark world” (NIV). I am all for taking informed, deliberate actions that are at my disposal as an American Christian, but this whole observation has led me to a self-check. A check that helps me balance and accurately discern my emotions, passions, and the biblical validity of my actions and positions. When everything is finished and the whole of the matter is set before us, may we not make this a battle focused primarily on this earthly turf, and by all means, may we carefully discern the end of whatever participation we may take in the courses of action available so that we don’t find ourselves wallowing in any kind of hypocrisy.
As I bring my musing of these things to a close, I would ask us to consider this. No homosexual is going to be brought to Christ because you made a visible act of support against homosexuality (Even as good as the chicken sandwiches are). And certainly, no homosexual is going to be moved to see their sin and the error of their way because we try and squelch their civil right to opinion, speech, or action. No! The only way this battle is going to be won is by Christians who are living in a state of intellectual integrity, who will take the gospel message in its soundness and clarity to the opposition, in the spirit of the love of Christ. We must remind ourselves. We are not against people. We are not against homosexuals. We are against sin and sin must be fought in its own realm, with the weapons meant to fight there. Let us study the Word faithfully, preach the truth lovingly, and pray for God to work his grace mightily to bring about the “obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5). Paul’s words remain crucial for all such situations, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” – 1 Tim. 2:1-4 (ESV)