Chik-Fil-A, free speech and loving your neighbor
August 14, 2012 | 12:00 am
(Updated: February 25, 2013 | 3:22 pm)
By John Smith
My real name isn’t John Smith, but I wanted to share my story about how I was affected by the recent Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day in hopes my story might help some kid out there.
August 1 was just another day. I knew that some people across the nation were planning on attending an event to show their support for their beliefs and ideas, and I’m cool with that. Everyone on God’s green earth has a belief system, and in some way or another, displays those ideas of that system in some way or another. Some people go out and help the homeless. Some people participate in their church choirs and sing their hearts out. Others display their love and clemency to others, and some display their hatred and bitterness.
Some people go to a fundraiser to help out children’s cancer. Some people go to Chick-Fil-A and order one of those tasty chicken sandwiches.
On this day, I got up and had my breakfast, went to work and came home like most normal people. That’s when I saw the Facebook post my dad had left on his wall. That’s when I was truly affected by Chick-Fil-A’s “Appreciation Day.”
I shouldn’t have been surprised, really. My dad is a hardcore conservative Christian (like Dan Cathy), so his post shouldn’t have been a shock, nor should it have hurt the way it did. Allow me to explain something to you about my father: he rarely likes to eat out and he is not a big fan of fast food eateries. I don’t think I’ve ever had a meal at Chick-Fil-A with him in my life; yet, when all this commotion had gained the attention of the media, he became an instant fan and supporter. I remember him voicing how proud he was about Chick-Fil-A’s gusto and supporting “traditional” marriage. He added his personal belief that homosexuals are godless people and that he is happy with the support the franchise has earned because of this.
And I just so happen to be one of those “godless people.”
Yet, my homosexuality isn’t the end- all definition of who I am, either. I am a Christian, a brother, a son, a friend and a student. There are so many adjectives that I could use to describe myself, but so many people seem concerned with only one – and heaven forbid if I dare to use the adjective “Christian” as one of my choices.
I digress, I am not here to convince you that it is possible to be gay and Christian. I am not here to sway you to join the ranks of the “gay agenda.” I am only here to tell you that despite what you may think, Chick-Fil-A being against same-sex marriage does encourage hatred. I experienced the hatred first hand today from my own father. This Chick-Fil-A “Appreciation Day,” whether you want to believe it or not, has added some fuel to some people’s fires that hating gay people is OK.
Somewhere, some young gay kids, quite possibly the children of Christian parents – quite possibly even your kids – are getting this message loud and clear.
I see people posting pictures with them smiling next to their Chick-Fil-A meals, and big name players like Sarah Palin doing the same thing, thinking that they’re just supporting the franchise for standing firm, exercising their Freedom of Speech. And I see a lot of people posting about them enjoying their Chick-Fil-A meal particularly on this day. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for Freedom of Speech and I am a fairly big proponent of internet liberty and usage, but that doesn’t negate the fact that sometimes people use this wonderful right for bad things (re: Westboro Baptist “Church”).
Galatians 5:14 teaches us this: “Love others as you love yourself.” Paul further instructs us that by sticking to this one principle, we can follow the law to the best of our ability (which is, at times, not the best). What happened to us placing ourselves in other people’s shoes and genuinely asking ourselves, “How would I like to be treated if I were them?” In a nutshell, I believe that is what is truly wrong with our country/humanity.
To all the gay kids reading this, know that one day this hatred will not exist in its present form, and even one day further still, hopefully all hatred will be no more. Know that there are plenty of people out there who love you and treasure you as a human worthy of equality and dignity. Know that there is a God out there, and despite what people might tell you, wishes for you to be who you are by always being true to yourself.