Gay Marriage is Not the Point, Free Speech Is.

Here is the timeline of events:

On July 16, 2012 the Baptist Press posted an interview with Dan Cathy, President and COO of Chick-Fil-A.  Make sure you read the entire interview.

Then on July 20, Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston MA, makes some strong comments about how he feels about Dan Cathy’s answer to a question.

Later that day, a letter from the mayor to Dan Cathy is released, and goes viral.

Since then, all kinds of comments have gone back and forth over the issue of gay marriage, and Chick-Fil-A.  Mike Huckabee started up a “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” page on Facebook.  Blogs have been written.  The following I found interesting:

  1. Why I’m Not Eating At Chick-Fil-A Today
  2. Some words for Christians on both sides of the Chick-fil-A war
  3. Chick-fil-A Draws Crowds (Not Just for the Waffle Fries)
  4. Farewell Chick-fil-A
  5. Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day: A bold mistake

Please read all of them so that you have the full context that my comments are made in.

All 5 of these articles are wrong.  All of them.  Some of them spectacularly so.  All of them miss the point, unintentionally or otherwise. 

The point is not gay marriage.  That being said, I hold to a traditional view of marriage, but that is a topic we can debate in another post.  FYI, please feel free to use the comments section below this post, but anything said about gay marriage I will not respond to here, I want to keep this on point, because everywhere else we are getting distracted by what I believe is the real issue, free speech.

The real problem in all of this is the right of a business owner to answer a question that was asked of him without fear of reprisal or intimidation by a politician acting like a bully and a thug.  The mayor of Boston was spectacularly out of line, and way overstepping his authority as mayor to threaten to make the approval process for any business difficult because the owner of that business has different political and religious views than the mayor.  It is beyond his authority, and an abuse of his office.  No one, gay, straight, pro traditional marriage, pro gay marriage, should tolerate such abuse.   

For a politician to be so abusive of his office demands that his continued holding of that office be questioned.  His other decisions should be looked at very carefully and the people he claims to represent should very seriously consider removing him from office.  We live in a time where politicians no longer care about the rule of law, but are more concerned with staying in power.  Every decision is calculated, many focus grouped, and held against the consideration of what groups they will isolate, and if they can make up those losses by playing to one segment of the population.

At the end of the day, this Chick-Fil-A thing is a distraction.  It is about fueling up 2 sides that will never agree on an issue, and adding a match to the fuel, while other issues can fly under the radar.  Don’t play the game.  Ignore the distraction.

If it helps any, marriage is first a theological notion, with civil implications, not a civil notion.  That being said, the government should not have anything to do with marriage.  It is completely an issue for the church, or religious organizations.  The whole marriage license that you get from your local government, guess what?  It’s a tax scam.  Take the government out of it, and you take away a political issue, and politicians will have to find another issue to hold people hostage so that the politician can stay in power.

Can we actually have a rational discussion about gay marriage?  I think we can.  Will the 2 sides ever agree?  No, I don’t think so.  But that is not a bad thing.  There are some things we will not completely agree on, and some of those issues will require we walk somewhat separate paths.  We can do that without hating each other.  Specifically to the church, Kevin DeYoung has some incredibly wise words for every denomination struggling with this issue.

I want to end this post with a few comments to a few groups of people affected by this media driven hype.

1) To those who, like me, subscribe to the traditional view of marriage, this is not about gay marriage.  Please don’t shove your chicken sandwich in the faces of those who disagree with you on the issue.  Remember that this is about the ability of a private citizen to express an opinion without the fear or reprisal or intimidation by a politician.  Be nice to those who disagree with you on gay marriage.  They are human beings created in God’s image, just as broken and sinful as you are.

2) To those who do agree with gay marriage, this is not about gay marriage. When you protest Dan Cathy’s position, please remember that he has the same right to state his opinion as you do.

I actually went to Chick-Fil-A tonight.  Like all 1600 other CFA’s in the nation, it took forever to get in.  There were 6 guys standing right next to the building holding home made protest signs for everyone in drive thru and everyone walking into the restaurant to see.  They were protesting Dan Cathy’s statement ON CHICK-FIL-A PROPERTY.  The First Amendment grants the right of protest but not on someone else’s property.  Believe it or not, the property that CFA is on is not public.  It’s private.  The CFA operators allowed these guys to protest when they did not have to allow it.  They even offered the guys dinner on the house. 

I mention this to say that Chick-Fil-A does not hate the gay community.  Neither does the company refuse to hire or serve someone based on who they are or are not sleeping with, and to say otherwise is uninformed slander.

3) To the gay community.  The church has failed you.  We have not loved you well.  We have preached against sin without repenting of our own and expecting you to understand what we are talking about.  We have poorly made our case.  Many of us are repenting of our failure.  Please be patient with us.  We may never change our view on marriage, but we can hold the view without malice or hatred.  We are not all Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church.

4) To the media, and the politicians that would pit one group against another.  More and more people are realizing what you are up to.  We can clearly see that you stir the pot to keep yourselves in power.  Your days of starting this nonsense are coming to an end.

Finally, remember, this is not about gay marriage.  This is about media and politicians stirring up trouble, distracting everyone from other issues that are flying under radar, all to keep them in power.  It is also about the right of you and I to have opinions that we will never agree on, and our right to state those opinions, without fear of reprisal or intimidation by political bully or thug.

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