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.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.