This post is not going to earn me many friends. Luckily, I’m eight months pregnant, have had a migraine for four days, and am about as cranky as you can imagine a beached whale with a drill going through her head would be, so I’m going to post it anyway, secure in the knowledge that making new friends is not going to happen in my immediate future.
I’ve loved Chick-fil-a since I was a kid. Their food is yummy. Their shakes are divine. Their chicken biscuits are just so trashy…and delicious. (Come on, y’all, admit it. Fried chicken on a biscuit is like something out of Paula Deen’s fantasies.) My dad even operated a Chick-fil-a for several years while I was in high school, and knowing the inner workings of the fast-food chain made me even more loyal. They are committed to cleanliness, fresh ingredients, and good customer service. They’re good people.
That being said, yesterday’s Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day really disturbed me. And when I voiced my annoyance with both sides of the Chicken-gate debacle on facebook, the response I got disturbed me even more.
I expressed annoyance that the whole issue had become overblown, and was told that I was not standing up for Biblical values. I asked that everyone just let it go, and was told that my attitude made others “sad” because I wasn’t supporting traditional values.
Guess what I didn’t say? I didn’t say, “I support gay marriage and hate Chick-fil-a.” Kind of like Dan Cathy didn’t say, “I hate gay people and won’t serve them my delicious chicken sandwiches.”
What I saw yesterday, in the hordes of people swarming into Chick-fil-a and gleefully posting pictures of the crowds on facebook, was an overreaction to an overreaction to a complete and utter non-event. As far as I’ve been able to tell, the inciting incident was an interview by the Baptist Press (and I’m amazed that anyone could even feign outrage over this) in which Dan Cathy reaffirmed his company’s commitment to traditional marriage. This is quite literally the equivalent of an interview with Jezebel in which a well-known gay-rights activist, let’s say, Lady Gaga, said, “yup, I still support same-sex marriage.” Cue the outrageous outrage. Left-wing media outlets began digging up old interviews and company donations and slapping them into histrionic stories, and the LGTB community lost their ever-loving minds over it. Mayors began hysterically talking about banning Chick-fil-a, an absolutely unconstitutional and insane thing to propose, celebrities freaked, the Jim Henson Company threw a hissy fit, and the whole world ended.
Then, of course, the other side had to overreact as well. Mike Huckabee organized yesterday’s “Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day”, Rick Santorum got in on the action, naturally, millions of people waited in line for hours for chicken, my facebook feed was completely clogged with pictures of crowded Chick-fil-a restaurants, and I threw up in my mouth a little.Why, you ask? Because the whole thing was just. so. ridiculous. From both sides. It was ridiculous that anyone could be surprised and outraged by an interview like the one Dan Cathy gave. It was ridiculous that mayors in America could so completely ignore everything our country was founded on to appease ruffled feathers (lame pun intended). It was ridiculous that Christians could talk about being “persecuted” with the mind-blowing turnout yesterday that supported Christian values.
Now, to give the right to assemble it’s due, yesterday was definitely a victory for the people. It showed Rahm Emanuel and his ilk that the people of America are not going to bow to heavy-handed political attempts to squelch the voice of any and all who disagree with them. That was one good thing…and probably the only good thing. Because guess what was happening yesterday on stage left? Oh yeah, that pesky HHS mandate went into effect.
In case you’re unaware, the HHS mandate is actual persecution of actual Christians. (And if anyone starts the “Catholics aren’t Christians” thread in my combox, I’m going to cyber-punch you.) Let me make this very, very clear: calling someone a homophobe is not persecution. Telling them they cannot follow their conscience and the laws of their religion because birth control is more important is persecution. Empty threats to close a business which could never be legally carried out is not persecution. Actually closing businesses by forcing them to pay huge fines if they insist on not violating their consciences is persecution.
Yesterday’s Chicken-gate was a smokescreen. It was an occasion of mass hysteria incited by the Prospero-like media, who gleefully watched as all the little people danced on their marionette strings, predictably topping each others’ outrage with even more outrageous outrage. And if you refused to dance, guess what? You don’t care about discrimination and basic human rights or, inversely, you don’t care about traditional values or the Bible.
Fine. Color me apathetic if you will, but I’m tired of dancing to someone else’s manufactured tune. There are real issues at stake in this country, and what the CEO of Chick-fil-a believes about gay marriage is not one of them.
(For more coherent thoughts about what was missing from yesterday’s non-debate, go see Brandon Vogt. He pretty much hit the nail on the head as far as what was lacking on both sides.)