uno itinere non potest perveniri ad tam grande secretum -- Q. Aurelius Symmachus, 384 C.E.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Chick-Fil-Anity: America's Hottest New Faith

The New Crucifix?
In case you weren't aware, tomorrow you can skip sloppy joes in the church basement between choir practice and Bible study and instead head over to the nearest Chick-fil-A, because eating fast-food chicken in support of opposition to same-sex marriage is now Jesus-approved Christian fellowship of the highest caliber.

In fact, Chick-fil-A is Christianity, apparently, according to some of the highest clerics of our land, because they have spent $5 million in support of groups that oppose same-sex marriage. Even Billy Graham himself, apparently over the embarrassment of Richard Nixon, has again launched into politics, saying he'll be eating at the fast-food chain on Aug. 1 -- Mike Huckabee's self-proclaimed "Support Chick-fil-A Day." Why? Because in the words of his son Franklin Graham, good Christian folks need to stand up to the "concerted attack from same-sex marriage advocates" and "a culture that has grown openly hostile to the Christian faith and its followers."

By "hostile to the Christian faith and its followers," Graham really means "hostile to prejudice against gays and lesbians." But more on that in a bit.

Of course, to subscribe to all the right-wing bluster over Chick-fil-A requires an impressive amount of cognitive dissonance or basic, out-right dishonesty, not that this is anything new. The absurdity that opposition to same-sex marriage is equivalent to "Christianity" has only now been superseded by the even more absurd notion that eating waffle fries at a chain eatery is an exercise of Christian faith, a new, deep-fried Eucharist, as it were. Such is the corner into which right-wing religio-politics has painted itself.

The photo memes alone are exercises in cognitive suspension: "You won't eat there because the founder is Christian? Tell me more about your tolerance and their bigotry." Get it? Huh? Huh? Guffaw! Because while decrying the restaurant chain's active support for legislation limiting the rights and privileges of a large segment of the population through the power of the state, critics are also at the same time refusing to eat at Chick-fil-A specifically because the founder believes that God incarnate was crucified, redeeming mankind to the Divine, and was then resurrected as a promise for eternal life!

Oh yeah, except that NOBODY is really saying that. So unless you truly think that the essence of Christianity is opposition to same-sex marriage, this isn't really about Christianity at all, is it? In fact, other than some mouthing off by two U.S. mayors who have made it clear they'd just as soon not have Chick-fil-A in their cities, what "attacks" has the poor, multimillion-dollar chain suffered? Some bad publicity by those who disagree with its stance on the issue?

For Huckabee's cadre of Christian crusaders, however, the firm's CEO's comments are "free speech" and agents of the restaurant chain are being "disenfranchised from their citizenship and rights of free speech." Chick-fil-A and its corporate leadership attempt to codify their own religious beliefs into state and national law by prohibiting same-sex marriage and it's just good citizenship, but when they are criticized for those attempts and people vow to exercise their rights as consumers not to eat there, Huckabee characterizes it as a "small but disproportionate minority of militants who are attempting to bully a family and a business and are spewing vile hate speech toward the company."

It should be obvious that the Right is doing here the same sleight-of hand it always does: pretending that a socio-cultural ideology is tantamount to "Christianity" so that it can hope to rattle the cages of the uncritical hordes to do its bidding. In the process, it succeeds (at least among the unthinking masses who will flock to Chick-fil-A on Wednesday to strut cock-of-the-walk in the proud plumage of their anti-gay credentials) in distracting from the real issue, which is, of course, that the restaurant chain and its supporters want to limit the rights of gays and lesbians, pure and simple.

They can claim that they are standing up for the "Biblical view of marriage," apparently ignoring the text they are citing in the process, but what they're attempting to do is simply to rob everyone else (including increasing numbers of Christians) of their own freedoms of conscience with respect to same-sex marriage by making their own view enforceable law. There is no logical reason, supported by evidence, to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry. There are only rationalizations and appeals to one's religious beliefs, insufficient reasons to pass laws.

But then, Huckabee et al. don't really want you to think about it that far. Instead they want to turn this into a referendum on Chick-fil-A's freedoms, as if a deep-pocketed company that has already sunk millions into anti-marriage campaigns is the true victim. That way, you won't stop to think about the individuals denied the basic rights of companionship that the rest of us take for granted.

Because God knows, it's not as though thoughtfulness and empathy are Christian values, right?


  1. I don't know whether you read comments on old pieces, but just today a news release was sent out stating that Chick-fil-a has reconsidered its stance on donating funds to these hate organizations!,0,3789684.story

    1. I do! Thank you for this. I've posted it to this blog's various social-media sites to update everyone. Thanks again!