Wednesday, August 1, 2012

An Open Letter to Dan Cathy

Dear Mr. Dan Cathy,

I am writing this letter in response to the firestorm created by your recent remarks.  I would like to let you know that I believe that as an American you have every right to say what you think, no matter how unpopular it may be.  I also believe that your business has every right to give money to whichever organizations it deems appropriate.  Moreover, because of this, the mayors of Chicago and Boston should be ashamed of themselves.  As elected officials participating in a democracy, they are not “kings” and do not have the right to make unilateral decisions just because they are in positions of power.
I would also like to say that I think the idea of boycotting your business based solely on differences of opinion is ridiculous. I frequent businesses on a regular basis where I know the owners’ religious, personal, and political ideologies are in direct opposition to beliefs which I hold dearly.  For example, I buy things from stores owned by Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and atheists.  Since I am a Christian, I doubt we see all things the same way.  However, their religious persuasions do not stop me from buying things that I need.  On the same token, I do not ask about a proprietor’s political affiliation or ethical standards, either.  (I also don’t ask my neighbors about their religious or political beliefs---that’s not the nature of our relationship.  We coexist peacefully regardless of our diversity). In fact, I do not put a stop to most of interactions based entirely on ideology.  To do so would be unrealistic and foolhardy---most of us have to make those types of compromises (or remain blissfully unaware) if we want to function efficiently and effectively in today’s world.

I am awestruck by the droves of people who showed up to support your company today.  Many of them stood in long lines or sat in hot cars waiting for a turn to rally for you.  My guess is that not all of them are ardent homophobic bigots as many on the left would try to portray them.  And many of them might not even necessarily disagree with gay marriage.  Most of them are probably committed to the support of Christianity and the American way. 

However, I did not go to Chick Fil-A today to join those people.  Nor will I ever frequent your restaurant again.  I’m sure you are probably confused.  I can hear you thinking…. “Wait a minute?  I thought she said she was a Christian?  Why wouldn’t she support me?  I’m doing what the Bible tells me to do.”
Yes, I know that’s what you think.  But that’s exactly where you and I differ.  I am boycotting you.  And it’s not because I don’t think you have the right to voice your opinion.  And it’s not because I like to make foolish ideological stands.  Instead, I am boycotting you as a Christian.   As a follower of Jesus, I object to:

1)      YOUR definition of what constitutes a Christian marriage.
 The last time I looked there are many different interpretations of the Bible not only among different denominations of Christianity, but even within the denominations, and even within their churches.  NO one person, church, denomination, or branch of Christianity owns the “true” interpretation. 

Most importantly, using an interpretation of the Bible to justify the denial of commonly shared rights to a certain group of people is frighteningly reminiscent of a horrible time in this country’s history.  Yes, I am talking about slavery, Jim Crow laws, and every statute that separated and segregated people of color from whites.  Proponents of slavery and bigots of yesterday and today use the story of Ham to justify themselves.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t think black skin is a curse or a sign of God’s displeasure.  I’m sure you don’t either.  And yet, that interpretation allowed for the perpetuation of some of the biggest evils on this country’s soil.

2)      Your proclamation that gay marriage invites “God’s judgment on our nation.”
This is outright offensive to me.  I’m sure that all of the Christian ministers who perform gay marriages (or unions in states where marriage is illegal) are also pretty unhappy with you right now as well (not to mention the entire homosexual population, which, by the way, includes hundreds of thousands of fine, upstanding American Christians). 

Didn’t Jesus stand on the mountain near the Sea of Galilee and tell his followers not to judge others? ( I’m sure you know this story since you are such an expert on the Bible. ) I hate to tell you this but your statement is a judgment.  You cannot know when, where, or why God will unleash his displeasure, nor should you predict it.

3)      My dollars (through your profits) going to two organizations, the Family Research Council and Exodus International, (one of which that has been designated as a hate group, both of which are active anti-gay groups given to seeing homosexual proclivities as deviant).
 Much of their anti-gay work is discriminatory and hateful. The Christian God that I know doesn’t believe in any type of hate or discrimination.  (Again, please refer to the Bible.  There’s a lot about that in there.)    

4)      Your lack of veracity in the aftermath.
I know businesses alter the truth all of the time.  And I’m sure I give a lot of my dollars to them.  However, I do not like what you did when the Hensons severed their relationship with your company.  That wasn’t just a distortion of the facts; that was an out and out lie.  As Christians, we are all Sinners so you are allowed to make mistakes.  But, as I learned as a young child, covering up the mistake only makes it worse.  You lied.  Admit it. Repent.  That’s what Christians do.  

Finally, this has been a heartbreaking letter for me to write.  I have always loved the ideals that your company stands for.  And my kids love your food.  I am truly sad to say that our relationship is over, but I wish you no harm---I am sure you are just a person trying to do what's right. I don't agree with your interpretations, but you have a right to them.  (It might be helpful to keep them on the down-low in the future.) 
I hope you understand that my position also comes from a good place and I hope that we might find common ground on this issue some day.


A Heterosexual American Christian who wants Liberty and Justice for All

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