Why Friends should be nervous after Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy's Remarks

As some of you may be aware, recently Dan Cathy has made comments that have proven incendiary.

Dan Cathy, president of one of America's largest and most successful fast food restaurants, is a devout Christian. This should not make us nervous.

Because of this, and the fact that he tries to operate Chick-fil-A on biblical principles, this businessman is often interviewed by Christian publication. This should not make us nervous. 

In one such interview, he made the following comment: "We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that...we know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."  This should not make us nervous.

 

In another interview, he followed up with this comment: ""I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say 'we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage' and I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about." This should not make us nervous.

What should make us very, very nervous is the response of many in government to Cathy's second comment.

 


Cathy's second comment, when read in light of certain contributions he has made to conservative Christian causes, is widely believed to be a stand against gay marriage. In the aftermath, many American politicians are saying that Chick-fil-A is not welcome in their cities.

  • Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago: "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values"
  • James Kenney, Philadelphia councilman, called the comment "hate speech"
  • Boston's mayor Thomas Menino vowed to block any attempts to open a Chick-fil-A in Boston
  • Chicago Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno said that he would deny Chick-fil-A a permit if they tried to open a restaurant in his neighborhood
  • San Francisco's mayor Ed Lee said that he recommend that Chick-fil-A not try to come  closer than forty miles distant from San Francisco

Friends, we are all in trouble if government officials are threatening a man's business because he calmly and tenderly expounds a view supported by the Bible. Regardless of what we believe God's will to be on this issue, we must never acquiesce to government officials calling comments like Cathy's "hate speech" and threatening to stymie his business as a result of his beliefs. There is NO EVIDENCE that Cathy or Chick-fil-A has EVER discriminated against GLBTQ people. There is NO EVIDENCE that Chick-fil-A denies employment to people in same-sex relationships. The statements above are purely based on Cathy's Bible-supported views of marriage. 

People who find Cathy's statements offensive should be encouraged to boycott Chick-fil-A. But, Friends, let's discourage our government officials from discriminating against Cathy based on his religious beliefs.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

-Martin Niemoller

Views: 5553

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I too get nervous when government threatens a private business in the way that happened in a couple places as a result of this case .  That sort of knee-jerk reaction does nothing to further dialogue or understanding.   What a couple of these hyperventilating mayors are proposing is probably illegal as well.

I also get nervous when a businessperson - or anyone else - claims to be speaking for God and seems to think s/he knows what will or will not "invite God's judgement."  I get nervous when someone claims that a private businessperson's right to freely espouse her/his interpretation of Biblical principles  somehow trumps the rights of others to counter that speech.  I get nervous when some folks (no one here) tells me I can't counter what I believe to be less-than-loving speech with my personal decision not to patronize that businessperson's place business any longer, to exercise my right to "vote with my dollars" and spend my money elsewhere because MY interpretation of Scripture runs counter to what that businessperson is putting out there.

And frankly, as a Holocaust educator, I get really, really nervous when anyone compares a spat like this to the Holocaust by once again quoting Niemoller's powerful but too-oft-abused poem, which is about indifference to genocide, not about threatening to change zoning laws.  It's a poor analogy at best.    

But by all means, let Mr. Cathy open as many stores as he wants.  That way, folks who are so led can picket outside them or just avoid them completely, as I and my family will.  I make my own chicken at home.  And it's good.

Dave, thank you for speaking my mind!

Dave Austin said:

I too get nervous when government threatens a private business in the way that happened in a couple places as a result of this case .  That sort of knee-jerk reaction does nothing to further dialogue or understanding.   What a couple of these hyperventilating mayors are proposing is probably illegal as well.

I also get nervous when a businessperson - or anyone else - claims to be speaking for God and seems to think s/he knows what will or will not "invite God's judgement."  I get nervous when someone claims that a private businessperson's right to freely espouse her/his interpretation of Biblical principles  somehow trumps the rights of others to counter that speech.  I get nervous when some folks (no one here) tells me I can't counter what I believe to be less-than-loving speech with my personal decision not to patronize that businessperson's place business any longer, to exercise my right to "vote with my dollars" and spend my money elsewhere because MY interpretation of Scripture runs counter to what that businessperson is putting out there.

And frankly, as a Holocaust educator, I get really, really nervous when anyone compares a spat like this to the Holocaust by once again quoting Niemoller's powerful but too-oft-abused poem, which is about indifference to genocide, not about threatening to change zoning laws.  It's a poor analogy at best.    

But by all means, let Mr. Cathy open as many stores as he wants.  That way, folks who are so led can picket outside them or just avoid them completely, as I and my family will.  I make my own chicken at home.  And it's good.

Thanks for your responses! I quickly want to clarify that I was not analogizing to the Holocaust, but using a well-known quotation to preemptively address a natural human impulse to say, "Not my problem! I disagree with Cathy - who cares about his right to speak about his religious beliefs!" This is obviously not the Holocaust. (I wonder, though, if you or others get equally nervous when some Liberal Friends talk about "letting their light shine" (Matthew 5:15-16) but reject the idea of a heavenly Father...)

Dave (and, it seems, Marianna), you said, "I also get nervous when a businessperson - or anyone else - claims to be speaking for God." How is that different from what Friends - rather audaciously in other Christians' view -  do in Meeting for Worship? We are called Friends because we know our Master's business (John 15:15).

I submit that we should lovingly consider what Cathy, along with the many, many Friends who don't believe that homosexual relationships are part of God's plan for humanity, have said and believe, and labor together about it (Exhibit A: Ohio Yearly Meeting). If someone expressing his beliefs about God's will ("I think we are inviting God's judgment...") makes you nervous, how do you tolerate being a Friend? This is not a question meant to insult you, but just to clarify. Also, if you actually hear the words spoken (I heard it replayed last night on Tell Me More), there is no anger or lack of love - it's just a Christian sharing his honestly held beliefs. I am saddened that that makes you nervous.

Thanks, Adria, for your thoughtful comments!

Inspired speech does not mean we speak for God. I am suspect of anyone, single or in groups, who claim they speak for God and know his/her absolute will. I suppose I "tolerate" being a friend because, in my experience, Love is the single most powerful force in the universe.

Hello, Marianna!

Actually, the implication of  "inspired speech" is that it does indeed mean that we "speak  for God."  That's what makes it inspired!  If we have no sense of speaking for God, we would be well advised to remain silent.

Whether our speech is actually "inspired" or "prophetic" is the real issue.  The old Conservative Friends discouraged speakers from making claims about the "inspiration" of their words, preferring to let the church and the Bible test the degree of their inspiration .

If we "speak for God," which can be possible, we would be speaking the "Word of God," and not merely our own words. The only sense of speaking for God is in Longing after Him, Seeking after Him, and putting all our Trust in Him. If we rely on our own behalf, that falls far from the Inspiration of God, thus it is just human speaking and reasoning.

To be "Inspired," "Prophetic," which I would not vouchsafe to be said of mine own self, would imply a letting loose of Self (me, my and I) and accepting God our Father and His Christ. Then, when we let our speech be alway with grace seasoned with salt, we will be able to answer every man or woman as we ought. (Col. 4: 6) If we don't apply that, then we will not be able to answer every person as we ought.

Thank thee, Friend William, and ye all.

Timothy

Thanks Adria for your thoughtful comments. Amen.

I get nervous when fundamentalists of any stripe claim certainty to know the will of God- "Scripture is clear on homosexuality, end of discussion" or "God wants compassion, equality, and justice- anyone opposed to gay marriage is a bigot- end of discussion."

As Friends we are called to stand against narrow legalism and "witness or testify" to what we believe to be the Will of God recognizing that all human witness is fallible due to our "feet of clay" or because we "see in a mirror darkly." The best that we can do is to wrestle together with our present conflicting testimonies, using our traditional tests of truthfulness(corporate discernment), and wait patiently for a clear corporate testimony to emerge. We did this with slavery.

I too am troubled when political figures seek to use the law to coerce the conscience of religious people. My read of history is that much of our hard-won liberty came from religious folks challenging and suffering the abuses of a coercive state. I fear signs that religious liberty is being threatened. We're far from being a Nazi state but as you said without good people witnessing to what they believe they are seeing, it's a slippery slope!

Thanks for being a faithful human witness.

 

 

Amen

Inspiration is everywhere, not just in our speech. In art, nature, creativity, love, our family, etc. Inspiration does not mean it is exactly God's will. It means it comes from God (however you define that) and works through us. Since, we are not perfection, neither can the manifestation of that inspiration be considered perfect and therefore the final expression of God's will. I am glad for this because we can still be inspired by words, art, love, actions, prayers, whatever we best share our inspiration through. I don't, nor have I ever, used the Bible as the perfection of God's will or any sort of final authority on God's will. We must labor together in love and that is the closest way, I believe, we can ever begin to discern a modicum of God's will for us.  I don't really concern myself with the will of God (I actually don't believe that God has a will, but that is for another blog) as I do with the love of God, which is perfect. 

William F Rushby said:

Hello, Marianna!

Actually, the implication of  "inspired speech" is that it does indeed mean that we "speak  for God."  That's what makes it inspired!  If we have no sense of speaking for God, we would be well advised to remain silent.

Whether our speech is actually "inspired" or "prophetic" is the real issue.  The old Conservative Friends discouraged speakers from making claims about the "inspiration" of their words, preferring to let the church and the Bible test the degree of their inspiration .

Hello again, Marianna!

You tell us that "love" is the ultimate standard for us, but you never tell us how you you determine what that means.  Without further specification, love is a very slippery concept.  I would hold up Jesus Christ as the ultimate embodiment of love and what it means for us.

I am curious about what meeting for worship means to you.  If we can't expect to be "moved" by a God who speaks to us and through us, what is meeting for worship about???

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Support Us

Did you know that QuakerQuaker is 100% reader supported? If you think this kind of outreach and conversation is important, please support it with a monthly subscription or one-time gift.


You can also make a one-time donation.

Latest Activity

Forrest Curo replied to Forrest Curo's discussion 'Scriptures: Can't do with them; can't do without them?'
"If everyone were continually consciously aware of the presence of God, we wouldn't need…"
3 hours ago
Keith Saylor replied to Forrest Curo's discussion 'Scriptures: Can't do with them; can't do without them?'
"Through the power and presence of the spirit of Jesus Christ in my conscience and consciousness, it…"
21 hours ago
Forrest Curo posted a discussion

Scriptures: Can't do with them; can't do without them?

[This is from my reaction to a discussion re George Keith on facebook. Thoughts?]The core…See More
2nd day (Mon)
Forrest Curo commented on Rainer Möller's blog post 'Quakers unto the Civil War'
"As I understand it, a lot of young men -- being young men -- went off eagerly to join in a battle…"
2nd day (Mon)
Rainer Möller commented on Rainer Möller's blog post 'Quakers unto the Civil War'
"As Wikipedia tells us, Whittier wrote a book "In War Time" 1864. Has anyone here read it?…"
1st day (Sun)
Rainer Möller left a comment for William F Rushby
"Hi William, thanks for the reminder of Wikipedia. They don't tell us much, but I see that…"
1st day (Sun)
William F Rushby left a comment for Rainer Möller
"Rainer |Moller describes himself as "Not literal enough to a good Anabaptist. Not liberal…"
1st day (Sun)
William F Rushby commented on Rainer Möller's blog post 'Quakers unto the Civil War'
""Does someone know how Whittier developed from that point onwards? I cannot think that he…"
1st day (Sun)

© 2020   Created by QuakerQuaker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service