Something else in the news lately has exploded the blogosphere, and social networking sites are clogged with opinions.
And it has nothing to do with a chicken sandwich.
I speak, of course, of Chick-Fil-A COO Dan Cathy speaking out against gay rights, or rather in favor of a Biblical interpretation of marriage. This sparked a great deal of outrage, protest, and even counter-protest.
Now, it’s not the sandwich that is being protested, or even Dan Cathy’s opinions. It is about Chick-Fil-A giving millions of dollars to political organizations that actively work to deny gays and lesbians basic human rights. It is about Chick-Fil-A’s record of discrimination against gays and lesbians. There have been more than 80 complaints filed in federal court against the chain, and at this moment there is a lawsuit underway against Chick-Fil-A for firing a woman so she could ‘return to being a homemaker, where she belongs’.
This is not about a restaurant chain being openly christian, or being closed on sundays.
This is about tolerated bigotry.
There is a culture ware going on in this country, fought between an increasingly secular mainstream and a religious minority that feels oppressed(I will write more on how ridiculous it is for a majority that forces its views on the rest of us to claim oppression).
What this restaurant chain is doing is plain evil, and those who are supporting them are participating in that evil, just as surely as those who opposed interracial marriage did sixty years ago.
Does Dan Cathy have a right to believe what he does? Yes. Does he have a right to close his stores on sundays? Yes. Does he have a right to actively lobby to take away the rights of others? No. Does he have the right to discriminate against ANY group, be they gay or black or women? No. And yes, he does these things, wrapped in the flag of religious freedom.
Dan Cathy claims he is simply supporting a biblical interpretation of marriage. He is wrong. Dan Cathy is a bigot, and he is using religion as an excuse. Racists have been doing this for centuries. Nowhere in the bible does god endorse a specific type of marriage. There are myriad examples of marriage, some are polygamous, some are based on rape, others on incest. In some examples a man is required by biblical law to marry his brother’s widow, in others he may take his wife’s female slave to bed. So which of these is Dan Cathy endorsing? No, Dan Cathy is simply being homophobic, and is using his religion to justify it.
Let me set this straight, you can believe anything you like, you have that right. You do NOT have the right to force anyone else to live follow those beliefs. You have a right to obey any religious rules you wish. You do NOT have a right to force anyone else to follow those rules. Dan Cathy thinks he does. This is the evil he perpetrates, he spreads his own narrow view of the world, he discriminates, he spreads intolerance, and he uses company funds to further that evil.
And anyone, ANYONE, who supports this company is participating in that evil. Even if all you do is buy a sandwich, if you sit down with your meal, bow your head, and pray; you are still perpetrating that evil.
Religion should no longer have a free pass to spread hate and intolerance. It has done so in the past, and it is doing so now. There have been numerous times when religion was either used as an excuse for, or actively supported, any number of hateful behaviors. The bible endorses slavery, and was used as an excuse to keep that institution alive for decades. Racism, segregation, opposing interracial marriage, all of these had religious endorsements. And the arguments used then are exactly the same ones used today to justify homophobia. In fifty years, our children will be looking back at what is going on now, and wonder how we could be so ignorant and hateful.
I have many christian friends who do not practice bigotry, hate, or intolerance. And they are standing up to bullies like Chick-Fil-A, speaking out. They are not remaining quiet. This post is not about them, they know I respect their beliefs.
I see pictures of a line of christians showing their support what they claim is an innocent corporation simply trying to conduct its business in a moral way. Discrimination and intolerance are not a moral way to conduct business. And this is exactly one of my complaints about religion. These people are not lining up to volunteer at a soup kitchen, they are not donating their money to a homeless shelter. They are supporting intolerance and bigotry. Christians are not under attack here, bigotry and hatred are. Those of us who are speaking out, who are ranting online, who are protesting, we are not attacking christian beliefs.
I really don’t care what you believe. Believe what you want, worship how you want, obey any rules you want. But don’t you dare try to force your views on others. Don’t like gay marriage? Don’t marry a gay. But don’t try to deny someone else the rights you enjoy. That’s what Dan Cathy is doing. And so are you. If you buy a Chick-Fil-A sandwich, you are supporting intolerance, bigotry, and homophobia. If you sit back and say nothing, if you tolerate this man and his evil, you endorse it by your silence. If you buy that sandwich, you are perpetrating evil, plain and simple.