Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Take on God and Chicken- The Chick-fil-A Fiasco

Chick-fil-A Fast Food Restaurant
Source:  Michael Gras, M.Ed., CC BY, via Flicker
Chick-fil-A has sparked an interesting debate and now that it appears the majority of the broo-ha-ha is over, it's probably time to chime in.  I believe that it was a genius marketing ploy by the company and the free press by the mainstream media has been extremely beneficial to the company's bottom line.  It doesn't matter which "side" you are on, if you never heard of the restaurant before you sure as heck have now.  Love them or hate them, now at least you know they are there, that they are a Christian based company that is against same sex marriage and that they serve a lot of chicken.

Whether you are a heterosexual Christian, a gay Christian or gay member of society, this controversy has more than likely sparked emotional opinion in you.  Controversy does that.  Especially when it lands in your own back yard.

Almost everyone has an opinion that is based on their own beliefs.  I'm a "live and let live" kind of person.  While I could never cross over into homosexuality to have a relationship with another woman, I believe that if that is what works for others then as long as it has no effect on me, why shouldn't they be able to do what they want to do?  Christians will tell me because the bible says it is wrong.  I say that man's interpretation of what the bible says contradicts itself in many different places on many different subjects and it was written by man, who is undoubtedly flawed on all levels.  Religion has a tendency to translate and change the meanings of things when it becomes convenient for what they want at the time.  Don't believe me?  Well, here's a prime example:

Interracial marriage was not legal in the United States prior to 1967 when the Supreme Court finally decided that interracial marriage should be allowed in the US.  Prior to that, just like the gay marriage issue, it was on a state by state basis.  That's right folks.  It wasn't just a black or white law either.  It included American Indians, Asians and Hispanics as well.  The majority of the northern states allowed interracial marriage prior to the Supreme Court ruling but the southern states didn't allow it until forced by the courts to do so in 1967.

Christianity has a bad habit of making up the rules as they go along and interracial marriage is one of many prime examples of this.  In 2000, Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina finally caught up with the rest of the world by allowing their students to date students of other races.  In 2000!  They didn't allow African-American students to enroll in their college until 1971.  Yet they are a Protestant Christian College that was founded in 1927 on Christian values to teach their students how to live by the bible.  I could give you other examples of this type of thing but I think you get the picture of what I'm getting at.  If not, just ask and I'll give you another example where religion said "Ooops!  People don't agree with that interpretation anymore so we really need to change it."

It must be confusing to all of a sudden wake up one morning and discover that God changed his mind.  : /

One of the arguments from the gay community on same sex marriage is the divorce rate within heterosexual couples in the United States.  According to the US Census information, the divorce rate has actually declined between 1990 and 2009, although the figures for anything past 2009 are not currently available.

So how about the argument of tolerance and not trying to push your views on another human being?  I honestly don't understand how allowing gay marriage would negatively impact the United States.  Gay couples live together, they work together and mingle with their friends and family just like heterosexual couples do.  The only real differences between being married and not being married is that it takes an attorney to break up when you are married, property is equally split and if you are married then you are eligible for your spouse's healthcare plan.  Seriously, the only difference is if you are legally married, it's harder to walk away and married people are eligible for the their spouse's benefits.

Christians say that gay people should not raise children.  Why?  Because adoption rates would go up?  Because there would be fewer children in the foster care system?  Because instead of unwanted or abused children going into children's homes, group homes and other care facilities they could actually have two new parents who will take care of them and love them?

Somehow there has been a misconception that gay men are always pedophiles.  That a male child is in extreme danger of being molested when around a gay man.  That is hogwash and is being fed by the whole Catholic Priest sexual abuse of underage boys scandal and their attempt to make excuses for the incidents.  There are just as many heterosexual child predators as homosexual child predators and many male on male child molestations are the result of men who have no other sexual preference than children, period.  There is a difference between homosexuality and pedophilia.  Homosexuality is a sexual orientation or preference for adults of the same sex  and pedophilia is a mental illness in individuals that are only attracted to underage children, not men or women.  

Children raised by gay couples are hands down better off than being raised in the state child welfare systems.  Anyone who tries to use this false assumption that gay men abuse children is just repeating what they have been told by a bigot who is spewing hatred against something that they don't agree with.

I'm reminded of a little series of trials that were done by the Puritans in a little town called Salem in Massachusetts back in 1632.  It was later found that the people were convicted on lies, but at the time the lies were believed to be truth.

Besides that... if Christians are so concerned with the welfare of adoptable children in the United States then why doesn't each Christian family adopt one child out of the system?  I know that some in fact do but many who spew their negativity and hatred about gays adopting children simply don't.  There are many successful cases of adoption in the bible even though God doesn't appear to have taken a stance on the subject.  Moses is a prime example of adoption in the bible but there are many others.

After all, there are no problems at all in society from all the children that are raised by heterosexual couples, right?  

What I find interesting in this debate is the hate speech that has come out on both sides.

I've been reading a lot of message boards and watching Facebook posts about this debate and have come to the conclusion that it has brought out the ugly in both sides, but the majority of the ugly, ironically enough, is coming from the Christian side of the debate.  I found that interesting to say the least.

Westboro Babist Church Protest
Source: cometstarmoon, BY CC, via Flicker
Maybe I've misinterpreted what being a Christian is supposed to be but last time I checked, hate was not something that Christians are supposed to do and yes, hatred can be an action.  A lot of what is being said reminds me of a certain group that we all know about.  Minus the picketing, a lot of Christians have been spewing the same hate speech as that group and the media has centered it all around a fast food chain that sells chicken.

From my experience, the gay community is pretty peaceful.  I know a few that are open about their sexual preference and am sure that I, in addition to you, probably know a few more individuals who just haven't come out of the closet from fear of persecution and ridicule.  It takes a lot of "balls" to come out of the closet with your flags flying because let's face it, human beings can be mean as hell and wearing your differences on your shirt sleeve can literally get you killed in today's world.  Especially if you are a homosexual man.

And God says to love one another.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  I don't think he gives us the option to pick and choose who is worthy of that love because no where do I see in parentheses "except the gay people."

It's called tolerance people.  Tolerance of our differences as human beings could literally change the world.

Now, I don't eat at Chick-fil-A but not for the same reasons as you think.  I don't eat there because their food is processed junk, their chicken comes from factory farms and I don't support that system.

I do support free speech and anyone's right to have their own views without being persecuted for them.  I also believe that hypocrites are abundant in all religions, especially today.  I believe that it's easier to talk the talk than walk the walk when it comes to being a Christian and loving all of God's creations.  This is evident by the hundreds of thousands of people that showed up on the day that all Christians chose to support their local Chick-fil-A.  In the end though, I have to ask... who really benefited from all of this?  The poor?  The needy?  The hungry child that lives down the street?  The elderly shut in that can't leave their house?  Anyone that Jesus would comfort if he were walking on Earth today?  Unfortunately, I don't think so.

Wouldn't it be fantastic if Christians could rally like that for something besides... shall I say it?  Free speech and chicken?

Chick-fil-A had the perfect opportunity to show their Christian values on that day by using that as a way to do something good like a canned food drive for their local pantries.  After all, what was planned was not kept a secret.  They passed up a golden opportunity to shine and be an example of true Christian values by each store supporting someone less fortunate in their local communities.  Instead, they chose to simply sell chicken and from the news reports that followed that evening, they sold a lot of it.  So I'll ask again, who really benefited from all this?  It sure as hell wasn't the factory farm chicken population or any other person that could have benefited from Christian generosity, that's for sure.

I've eaten at Chick-fil-A twice in my life, before I became involved in the food movement, and thought at the time that as far as fast food goes, they were OK.  I never went out of my way to eat there like I used to with some restaurants but then again, it's fast food which inevitably means that just like all other fast food, it's processed junk food.  Christian values or not the plain and simple fact is that their food is no better for you than McDonalds or Burger King and to me is raised under questionable conditions in a system that I just don't agree with.  So no, Lanie will never step foot into a Chick-fil-A but it has nothing to do with their company's view on gay marriage.

According to Chick-fil-A, the amount of chicken that they serve every year is equivalent to the weight of 360 Statues of Liberty.  According to me... that's just gross.

Live and let live my friends.

Mama says I can't change the world, but I can try.  Tolerance and love are beautiful things.  Think about that the next time you bite into that chicken sandwich.

*hugs*

~Lanie

7 comments:

  1. I've eaten at chick fil a before. I don't know that I will again, but it has nothing to do with this free speech issue.

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  2. I know exactly what you mean. I won't be eating there either and it's not because of this fiasco.

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  3. If a gay person stood stood up and said "I support same sex marriage and I'm going to donate money to causes that support same sex marriage" and then a Christian group jumped up and said he was a bigot and full of hate and then spray painted on their business, then I would go and eat at that gay person's business; just the same as I ate at Chick fil A a couple of weeks ago.

    For me it was all about a man speaking what his beliefs were, and saying nothing that was hatred or abusive; and then for the other side to jump and up call this person all kinds of names because he had a different view.

    But I don't think this was a media ploy by Chick Fil A, the owner was being interviewed in a small Christian publication; of course Christian business owners are going to be sought out for interviews in magazines like that. And the publication for the magazine must be really small, because my parents (who are die-hard Baptists) hadn't even heard of the magazine. I guess what I'm saying is that if that was a media ploy for Chik Fil A, then it was a huge gamble on their part that it even pay off.

    But when I ate at Chik Fil A a couple of weeks ago, it seemed to me that most of the people weren't there to show opposition to gay marriage; it seemed that most went there to show that a man showed be allowed to speak his beliefs and not be condemned like he was.

    Had he spoken hate words like the Westboro idiots or like the KKK or like the Black Panthers, then I could understand him being called a hater and a bigot; but I think a lot of the hard-core liberals (who are supposed to be open-minded) sure showed themselves to be the close-minded ones.

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  4. PS: I should get sleep and take out my blurry contacts before I try to post anything else. I just read my post (after it was published) and saw all my typos. :)

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  5. Hi Craig,

    I wasn't talking about Mr. Cathy when I referred to Westboro, I probably should have made that clearer. The IndyStar message boards (along with a few others I watched) filled up with some pretty hateful and condescending remarks from individuals who announced themselves as Christians. I mean some of it was REALLY bad. Those are the individuals I was talking about. (I'm glad you said that though so I could clarify.)

    The worst thing I saw coming from the other side was someone referred to heterosexuals as "breeders" which is the equivalent of "cracker" in derogatory remarks. I was amazed at the volume of hate that being said on those boards. It just didn't line up with what I was taught that a Christian is supposed to be.

    By the time I heard about the story, it had hit mainstream media. I'm all for freedom of speech on both sides of the issue and clarification on misconceptions of homosexual "urban legends" that some people may believe that simply aren't true. People are always inclined to believe what they are taught, even if what they are taught isn't correct and unfortunately religion has a history of urban legends that science and history has proven as untrue. I really don't see anything wrong with gay marriage or with people supporting a Christian company. My problem with the whole issue is the way that it was handled by Chick-fil-A and that even though the churches are against gay marriage now, that religion will change their views based on what is considered "OK" by the general population as time goes on. That was my point with interracial marriage, that religion is flawed and just because they are against it now does not mean that they will stand by that 20 years from now.

    (continued in next comment)

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  6. I've had some issues with organized religion for quite some time now and anytime something like this happens, I dissect it as deep as I can because of the hypocritical nature of religion in general. As an Agnostic, I guess you could say I'm searching for the truth. When a religion can have this type of turn out for free speech then I have to question where the teachings of the bible come into play in this and wonder why they didn't do something good with the opportunity and why you don't see this type of turn out for charitable events. For example, when the Indiana Blood Center sends out a message to the media that they are low on blood, where's the turn out? It's never there and after seeing this, I have to ask why.

    I know that the company does have their own charity (WinShape Foundation) and organizations that they support but they could have done some good here and they completely missed the boat on it and it makes me question the motive behind the media coverage and the statement to begin with. Heck, the recent blow up with Kashi and their GMO ingredients in their "natural" cereals was triggered by a website that was only known by people involved in the food movement and a photo posted online of a shelf tag where a grocer removed all of their products from his shelf because of it. The photo went viral online. A savvy media play can take a small story and what we see here can easily be the result. The Cathy family have proved to be pretty intelligent when it comes to running a profitable business so stranger things have happened but the way this unfolded, I think it's a good possibility.

    I do love the fact that they are closed on Sunday because it's what they believe is best for their company and employees. I'm suspicious that there is no clarification on their charitable donations in their tax return for the company's charity. Usually charities (United Way is a good example) will list what organizations they contribute to, what that organization does and how much monetary support each organization receives. The WinShape Foundation doesn't do this and it's rumored that they contribute to some pretty nasty hate groups. I've dug for a couple of weeks trying to find the proof of the rumors being true or false but unfortunately their tax return is pretty bland and they are the only charity that I have ever looked into that doesn't tell who they contribute to. That can raise a few eyebrows.

    Don't worry about typos. No grammar nazis are allowed here, EVER. ;)

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Say want you want but be nice or be gone. :)