Three reasons I did not eat at Chick-fil-A Wednesday, but will today

I chose not to participate in Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day this week. No, I was not boycotting; I love Chick-fil-A. I could eat those sandwiches, nuggets and Chick-fil-A dipping sauce all week long. For your own safety do not stand between me and a Chick-fil-A shake, either.

chick fil a cow

Love their chicken, but tired of these cows. Moo.

In my younger days I ate at the Chick-fil-A in Hapeville, GA (known as the “Dwarf House” for those of you unfamiliar) which was the first restaurant Truett Cathy opened. I have also eaten at some of their early restaurants that went into malls. No stranger to Chick-fil-A am I. My family eats there, my kids eat there, and my grown son still comes home with a bag and drink two or three times a week.

So why did I not go to Chick-fil-A on a day to show appreciation?

1. Wednesday did not come across to me as appreciating Chick-fil-A as a corporation. The purpose was, ostensibly, affirmation of Dan Cathy’s remarks on traditional marriage. Today there is supposed to be a “National Same Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A.” Time will tell whether anything actually happens. Only 2,500 have “liked” the page (compared to 700,000 or so for Mike Huckabee’s Appreciation page), which is barely enough for two kissing people at each Chick-fil-A’s 1,600 +/- outlets. Some may end up kissing the back of their hand, I suppose.

I go today not looking for a dude to smooch, but to show support to two (not one) constitutional rights: Support for Dan Cathy’s right to free speech, and support for gay people’s right to peacefully assemble.

2. However well intentioned, I fear actions like this only widen and deepen the chasm between warring cultural factions in America. “Why don’t we get together and talk about this?” becomes less and less likely as we grow so far apart that only screaming can be heard by the other side. If indeed the “other side” is even trying to listen. My friend Alan Cross seems to share this same concern.

3. I want to be sensitive to people who view support of Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day as a hateful, spiteful act. No, I do not think it was, but I want to be sensitive to those who feel it was. It is telling that Christians who have a large number of gay friends seem to see this, while Christians who are insulated from personal relationships with gays seem oblivious to it.

If you are a Christ follower it is on you (and me, as I am one, too) to love people not just because Jesus does, but as Jesus loves. The measure of love is not whether we feel loving toward them, but whether the recipient actually feels loved. It matters not how much we say, “Love the sinner hate the sin,” or “I really love you.” If people on the receiving end (in this case the community of homosexual people) do not feel love, it is us who must find out why. We dare not be like an abusive husband who, after another fit of rage, assures his battered spouse, “But I love you so much.”

So, I will eat at Chick-fil-A today. If I run into any gay or lesbian folks smooching, holding hands or *gasp* eating lunch, I will say, “Hi.”

And try my best to show Jesus’ love.

Click to read a related post, A few thoughts in light of President Obama’s support of gay marriage

Marty Duren

Just a guy writing some things.

  • Excellent. Excellent. Excellent.

    • Thx, Jack. I hope “Jesus Appreciation Day” goes well at Watermark this weekend.

  • Debra

    Marty, I don’t think I’ve ever told you how much I enjoy and appreciate your articles/comments. You definitely have a gift in being able to articulate the truth in a no-nonsense, loving and wise way. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Marty Duren

      Thx!

  • Excellent post, Marty. I am glad you had the courage to stand up and say this. I have chosen to be silent on this issue, but you have inspired me to say my piece.

    I suspect that after today Christians will have missed two huge opportunities to show the love of Jesus. We completely missed one Wednesday, Because, as you stated, people went to CFA for one of two reasons, and the love of Jesus was not one of them.

    Ever since I heard about the planned “kiss-in” today I’ve been saying that CFA needs to give away a free meal to each same-sex couple that comes in and kisses. To condone the lifestyle? No. To support their right to protest? No. To show them love.

    I seriously doubt that most Christians would approve of the lifestyle (past, present, or future) of a lot of homeless people (yes, that’s a generalization), but working with the homeless has always been chic for the Christian. Somehow we understand the social aspect of the Gospel when it comes to homelessness, but completely lose it’s meaning when it comes to this subject. Heck, let’s bring it even closer to home – we readily accept that people sitting in the pew/chair next to us at church are chronic liars, or greedy, or gluttonous, or gossips, or ___________ and we try to love them as we love ourselves. But, somehow, this issue is exempt from that love.

    Every Christian needs to take a long, hard, look at all the things listed in the Bible that are an abomination to God. Then we need to spend as much time working on those issues in our own lives as people did standing in line on Wednesday.

    • Marty Duren

      Well said, and glad you said it here. Thx.

  • buckyelliott

    ^ That guy. High five.

  • David Hall

    Marty, Just curious on you saying “they should feel loved”, and not just as us “feeling as though we have loved them”. You being an ordained minister, how would you respond if two men or two women asked you to marry them? Not just you saying that you loved them, but them feeling that you loved them by doing their wedding for them. Maybe I misread exactly what you were trying to say, so that’s why I’m asking. Definitely don’t hate gays, and I’m not a homophobic. One of my closest friends is gay, and stood along side me, and my other closest friends in my wedding. I pray for him daily, and try to love him just as Christ did. Just curious as to where you think the line is drawn on making sure they feel loved, but also standing up for what the Bible teaches us. Hope you’re doing good man

    • Marty Duren

      David,
      Thx for stopping by, dude. Great to hear from you.

      I would imagine the only reason a gay couple would ask me to marry them is if they already felt I loved them. And, if they felt that they would already know my stance. I would re-explain why I could not do the ceremony, ask them to understand and hope they would.

      If it were just someone looking to “get hitched,” I would not do a wedding like that for any couple regardless of age or orientation. I’m very non-discriminatory on that point.

      I commend you for your relationship with your gay friend. You are proof you have to be close to someone in order to have a feeling of love, respect and appreciation. I expect that, because of your friendship, there is an openness to discuss issues like this without it degenerating into a fight. That’s what I hope to see.

  • Anthony Howd

    Thanks Marty!!!

    So glad such a wise man officiated our marriage :-)

    Tony & Alison

    • Marty Duren

      Thx, y’all!

  • Tiff

    I think it is a shame we have “christians” bashing “christians” for showing support to another “christian’s” right to speak up for the truth. Christians don’t stand up enough for the word of God as it is. This is why we are in this deteriating society we live in. Yes, I agree we need to show Jesus love to all, but let us also have a backbone to support the christians who are willing to support what the Bible teaches by speaking out publicly. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the support that was shown on Wednesday. If you are showing up today(Friday) and call yourself a christian, then I believe you should have also been there on Wednesday to show support for a christian’s freedom of speech. Don’t condemn those who support christian freedom of speech and then in turn show up to show the love of Christ to the other side. That seems a little hypocritical to me.

    • Marty Duren

      Uh, I’m pretty sure I did not condemn anyone. Nope, I didn’t. But thx for stopping and for your comment!

    • Beth L.

      Absolutely nothing wrong? So, widening the gap between gays and Christians even more is of no concern to you? I will stand by the ostracized even if it means missing a chance to make a wealthy Christian white dude know he’s supported. His freedom of speech is not under attack. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want and the people who disagree with you have to keep their mouths shut. When you exercise your freedom of speech, you run the risk of having your restaurants picketed and boycotted. Your freedom of speech gets to meet other people’s freedom of speech, but that doesn’t mean you have less freedom.

  • Love this. I am constantly learning I need to show more love and less opinion. Will definitely be sharing this!

  • Karlene Garner Conley

    WOW! SO WELL SAID! I so enjoy your articles! Gosh Hebron was a long time ago!! Where we knew you from.

  • Mary

    Hey thanks for writing this..I silently endured a bit of a beating for sharing it on facebook but it was worth it. Sometimes I’m afraid we Christians in the US have believed the lie that defending our rights trumps love and have aligned ourselves with a fading kingdom instead of the one that is eternal.

    • Marty Duren

      Thx, Mary. I appreciate your comment.