The Problem With The Chick-Fil-A Debate

My latest article for the Orange Leader regarding the on going Chick-Fil-A Debate

It has been all over the news; talking heads from both sides of the aisle have taken to airwaves to voice their opinion  Argument have started between friends, feelings have been hurt, names have been called.   Hundreds, if not thousands of Facebook posts and Tweets have flown through the internet regarding a particular chicken sandwich company– Chick-Fil-A.

Recently, as you may recall, the owner of the national restaurant chain stated on a Atlanta radio show that his company was “guilty as charged” amid reports that he did not support same-sex marriage.  He further explained that he is running his company on Biblical principles and that society has no business trying to refine “traditional” marriage.

Reports have come out that support this; Chick-Fil-A has given millions to organizations who actively oppose same-sex marriages.  With all of these things combined, a firestorm broke out.  Some people are now boycotting the restaurant because they do not want their money to go to causes that discriminate against a certain group of people. Others however  are actually eating there more believing that the more they eat there, the larger the profit, which then in turn will cause Chic-Fil-A to give more money to anti same-sex marriage organizations.

Jim Henson has pulled their toys from kid’s meals at the restaurant. The mayors of Boston and Chicago have spoken publicly about this issue.  Former Governor Mike Huckabee has even started a “National Chick-Fil-A Day” to support Chick-Fil-A’s right to run their company how they want.  All of this is a gigantic mess.

The problem with the Chick-Fil-A debate is that it is just that, a debate.  People once again are choosing sides and are drawing metaphoric lines in the sand and people are hurling their “points of view” back and forth and back and forth.  No one is actually speaking to one another.  The anonymity of the internet and social media is one of the greatest tools that people have in this or any debate.  Someone can post something online with no regard to another person.  It is much easier to speak your mind when there is a monitor between you and the one you are speaking about.  Since no one is speaking to one another how then will a decent, intelligent conversation ever be had regarding the multitude of issues in this particular story?  The answer- it will not happen.

The hot button issue obviously here is same sex marriage.  This is something that people have been debating for years and still each side is getting angrier and angrier.  Where are the civic leaders calling for a forum?  Where are the church leaders calling for a discussion on this topic?  The answer lies deep within our own hearts, minds and souls.  The answer is most people do not want to hear the other side.  This side believes they are correct while this side believes they are correct.

Some churches recently have taken up the task of having faithful discussion about homosexuality and same sex marriage.  I applaud them for at least having the discussion.  Many more churches and Christians need to have this same discussion.  Too often when people tell me their view about this issue the answer generally is “well I am against it because it is wrong.”  No explanation, no interjection of scripture, no nothing.  It is just “their personal belief.”  Well it is time to have the conversation. I call on all Christians from all walks of life and backgrounds to have faithful conversations about this issue that is dividing the church.

By faithful I mean being open minded, wanting to be challenged, wanting to learn more, wanting to grow.  Not just espousing what you have been taught or what you think the Bible is directing Christians to do and become.  Christians today need to stop telling people what the Bible “says” and focus more on what Bible is calling the followers of Christ to become; let’s stop as Brian McLaren says going to the Bible to support want we already know about God.

The reason why people are not doing this is because to have this conversation means that one has to be vulnerable and accept the fact that what you might have been taught or always believed could be incorrect.  Charles Schultz, the creator of Peanuts Comics, once drew a comic that speaks to this notion.  Snoopy informs Charlie Brown that he is writing a book of theology; Charlie Brown asks Snoopy what the book will be titled and Snoopy replies, “Has It Ever Occurred to You That You Might Wrong?”  For many people this thought of being “wrong” has never crossed their mind.

In this Chick-Fil-A debate the key here is discussion.  Not rhetoric, not partisan politics, not conservative Christians against liberal Christians.  It is time that the church stops placing people on the periphery, speaking about them like they are outcast in society or that they have a mental illness.  Let’s talk about it.  Let’s actually have a discussion on why homosexuality is or is not a big deal in the church today.  Let’s talk about a loving God creating people and then turning around and hating them.  Let’s throw away the things that we were taught as children and come to an understanding of the love of God in a new and exciting way.

So let’s put down the chicken sandwich, stop the protesting and debating and come together.  You might be surprised what will happen.

17 thoughts on “The Problem With The Chick-Fil-A Debate

  1. I have watched this debate unfurl online over the past week, and all I can say is that Iphones are made in sweat shops, so is your shirt, shoes, pants, underwear, etc. Gay marriage is a hot button issue right now. Sadly, child labor, and the well being of anyone that doesn’t speak English, is not. Chick-fil-a is a company that gives some of its money to a charity you may or may not like. They are not refusing service to anyone, and the original comment Dan Cathy made seemed to speak out more against divorce than it did gay marriage, “…we are all married to our first wives…”. I think we need to all take a deep breath and look at the world around us. Jesus didn’t say anything about homosexuality, not that was recorded anyway, but he did say a lot about love. So lets not throw it in someone else’s face that we are going to Chick-fil-a, if you want the best chicken sandwich made by man, go there and eat one, if you don’t, don’t. If I eat a sandwich it doesn’t mean I hate you or the lifestyle you have chosen. No more that your iphone means that you mercilessly beat and tortured a Foxconn employee(it happened, look it up). If we can stop for a second and look at any of this with an open mind, I think we’ll all agree that no matter what, people are pretty much going to believe what they want to believe. I am definitely rambling and kind of all over the place, for that, I am sorry. I guess I’ll end with this: When I was a child, I was taught “love the sinner, hate the sin”. But that is hard to do if you hate their lifestyle and everything they are. Really love someone and you might find yourself questioning a lot of things. Be brave, love somebody different.


      • Your words inspired mine. People do tend to wield social media like a weapon, and not an in-your-face kind of weapon, but the sniper rifle of a coward. We can all sit back and take pot-shots at each other with no real consequence. I saw posts on the day of the recent shooting in Colorado about how we “Can’t let these liberals use this to take away our guns!!!!” I had no words, or rather, no appropriate words, but I guess neither did they. I don’t think this will ever stop. Some people will always use the internet as a shield. Play some 10-15 year-olds on xbox live if you don’t believe me(I had no idea all the terrible things my mother engaged in!). I guess the best we can do is attempt to engage in open and honest conversation wherever we can. Like you said, let’s stop the rhetoric and just talk, or maybe even listen.


  2. I think you miss the bigger “Constitutional” issue here – the threat by elected officials to use their power to “punish” a corporation for the words spoken by the owner. This is absolutely a egregious abuse of power and should not be tolerated by anyone on either side. Flip this discussion on it’s head and see if we should “discuss” gay marriage after a hypothetical politician says he will prevent Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream from being sold in town.

    It was those free speech stifling politicians that have ramped this topic up into a firestorm rather than a simple decision to support or not support a company.


  3. Maybe we should ask Koffi Annan who is criticizing the world powers for failing to unite. (a different issue of course, but maybe not so different at its core.) He quit. We cannot. Open dialogue is the only thing that will change prejudice on both sides of this conflict.


  4. Evan…I went to school with your mom (Eastland, CJC)…probably don’t remember me. Somehow your name came up on my right side of the screen (as someone I might know)…I looked at your wall and ran across this well written, open-minded, heartwarming (and the list goes on) article you wrote. It touched my heart deeply.🙂 I am so glad to know your generation is becoming more accepting of the differences in people and that you’re trying to make a difference.

    It takes people w/ a calm, intelligent demeanor, i.e. yourself, to make changes in the world and to change peoples hearts.

    Keep up the great work!



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