The Minority Report: McDonald's on Chick-Fil-A Day

Every Tuesday in The Minority Report, Drew Dixon takes a look at trends in youth culture and offers some biblical wisdom for navigating them.

Sometimes when I forget to set the coffee maker, I stop by McDonald’s on the way to work. Their coffee is decent, and I like to have an Egg McMuffin from time to time. And though it is always busy in the morning, McDonald’s is quite efficient and I can always get in and out of the drive-through quickly. Say what you will about McDonald’s or fast food in general, but it provides me a product that I like and am occasionally happy to pay for. This morning was one of those times, so as I pulled into McDonald’s, something strange happened. I pull right up to the drive- through window—there was no line.

Only later, once I perused my Facebook feed, did I realize why McDonald’s wasn’t busy. It is Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day. It became very clear to me that this was the case because I quickly lost count of the number of people on my feed who had taken pictures of their chicken sandwiches or wrote a status declaring their plans to go to Chick-Fil-A. I also saw one status by a gay friend of mine, joking about how he was going to wear a chicken shirt to work today.

I think the claims of the mayors of Boston and Chicago that Chick-Fil-A isn’t welcome in their respective cities is ridiculous. It is ridiculous in terms of Dan Cathy’s constitutional right to free speech and in terms of holding an entire company accountable for the personal views of its CEO. Yet, I also find it slightly childish that so many Christians are so excitedly posting their love for Chick-Fil-A for all their Facebook friends to see.

I want to pull these sisters and brothers aside and ask them what they think they are accomplishing by publicly declaring their love for Chick-Fil-A. Do they feel they are supporting the first amendment? Do they believe that eating a chicken biscuit sends a message to governing officials like Thomas Menino and Rahm Emanuel that they can’t force their views on others? Or do they think they are taking a stand for the traditional definition of marriage?

If all these Christians are motivated by protecting their first amendment rights, then let’s make that clear. If the goal is to win the culture war by purchasing waffle fries, I want no part of this buycott silliness.

I have friends on Facebook who are gay, who feel that their home state discriminates against them. I have friends who are firm advocates of gay marriage. I know what the Bible says about homosexuality and I believe it. Going to Chick-Fil-A and posting a picture on Facebook, however, seems like an incredibly unproductive way of engaging these friends in an important dialogue. It feels like political positioning rather than Kingdom ethics.

These friends are not going to consider the claims of the gospel because I promise to eat waffle fries in support of traditional family values. These people do, however, value my friendship. I want them to see the glory of Jesus in the gospel, but I fear too many of their Christian friends on Facebook seem more interested in winning a culture war than proclaiming the gospel. I want to tell my gay friend wearing the chicken shirt that not all Christians are like that, but I am not sure it would help.

I like Chick-Fil-A for breakfast but I rarely go there. It’s not on my way to work, and it’s more expensive than McDonald’s. Honestly, I am glad I didn’t stop by Chick-Fil-A this morning because I have no desire to wait an hour for a chicken biscuit when I can get something just as good for cheaper in a fraction of the time. I also want to be cognizant of my neighbor and feel it’s important that we, as Christians, avoid turning absolutely every issue into a culture war of vast proportions. It just feels childish.

Another friend of mine posted this passage on Facebook today; it seems appropriate:

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:14–21).

 

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****Update: After receiving a number of messages about this article, I want to make clear something that perhaps was not clear in the article. I think its fine to support companies that you like. We all do this every day with our dollars. I also think its fine to want to show support to someone like Dan Cathy who merely admitted publicly what he believes and I do not think businesses should be blocked from building based upon the religious beliefs of their CEO–something that the ACLU and the LA Times both recognize. In that sense, I was overreaching by saying “I want no part of this buycott silliness.” I understand Christians wanting to voice support of a man whose company they like and who they feel was unfairly treated. All believers should be honest about what they believe, particularly when asked. I am not in any way advocating that believers hide their beliefs from the world. These things were not my concern–my concerns was motivated with how Christians go about proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ to an unbelieving world.

 

About Drew Dixon

Drew is an editor at Christ and Pop Culture and editor-in-chief of Gamechurch.com. He is also a pastor, soccer coach, and writer. Drew also regularly writes for Think Christian, Bit Creature, and Paste Magazine. He has also written for Relevant Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @drewdixon82

  • Lynn

    Why is it fine for the pro gay marriage side to speak out and it is not alright for the pro ‘traditional’ marriage to speak out? It is frustrating to me too, I feel like I’M the one being put in the closet now.

  • Stephanie Grady

    Well said. Thanks Drew!
    Off to Starbucks:)

  • Diana

    I’m glad you wrote this. I feel the same way about Chick-Fil-A day, but I was not as apt at getting my point across. I don’t think buying a chicken sandwich on one particular day is going to send a message, except to the accounting team at Chick-Fil-A, when they see the increase in revenues. Sure, it will make Dan Cathy feel good. But isn’t the bigger point to get our message heard by those who were lambasting Cathy for stating his beliefs in a public forum? They are the ones we should be sending a message to. And I also agree that it makes Christians look extremely childish and overly-sensitive when we respond to issues this way. It’s embarrassing. I also have gay friends on Facebook, so I have made a point to not post anything related to this issue, for fear of losing their respect for me as a Christian. I want them to know that we are not all like that, and that we care more about them as people, instead of where a chicken sandwich joint will be allowed to open its doors.

  • DeShoun

    I kind of agree, but at the same time I feel that if the government can financially punish a company for it’s beliefs then we can come along side the company to show support. The same way I would if there was money needed to be raised for projects that promote the Kingdom here or in other countries, it helps that I like the food.

  • Lynn

    I want to do the polite thing too and not upset my gay friends. I support Chick-fil-A based on the principal that in this country you can run your business as you see fit. If someone who supports gay marriage was selling sandwiches that tasted that good I would probably eat there too! I would do it based on their food, service and environment, not because I was making a political statement. I guess that is the point you are making. However, the new ‘tolerance’ has become the norm for everything except for Christianity or Christian morals and I am sick of it.

  • Beks

    This article makes some good points to ponder.  One important point is that we need to be careful to remember the real victims in this culture “war” over gay marriage and that’s the poor souls that struggle with same-sex attraction.  Unfortunately, the cultural left has convinced them that they are deeply hated by those that view their sexual inclinations as sinful if acted upon.  We must be careful not to seem to act in ways that support that lie. 

     Of course, free exercise of religion is under attack in this country on several fronts and the way Cathy was singled out and excoriated for his beliefs (beliefs shared by half the population and our current President until recently) is deeply disheartening.  Nevertheless, are we really surprised?  

    That being said, I think that it is important to point out the temptation is strong to go there today as a way to quietly voice support for Cathy and traditional marriage.  It certainly seems that the only voices that can be heard are the ones that falsely accuse us of hate.  Call it a quiet protest against all the unfair labels coming put of the bully pulpits of the cultural left (Hollywood, the university, and the media)  We can’t scream and yell and falsely accuse like those that hate us because we are called to a higher standard.  Instead we can quietly buy a chicken sandwich.  

    Is it immature to show our support? At this point, I’m still not convinced.  I am convinced that posting it on Facebook is insensitive and counterproductive.  What I am also sure of is that the debate should not stop at the doors of Chic-Fil-A.   It is a great starting place, but we should be careful we are not using worldly means (like FB posts) to make our case.  

    We should never fall into the victim trap either.  We may be falsely accused, but our victory has already been won in Christ.  This is just simply not about us, our rights, or our opinions.  We may be attacked, but we are not victims.  We need to first start by reaching out to and loving the real victims.  The quote from Romans is a wonderful one to consider in light of this.  

  • Claudia Lauber

    I just wanted to say that I fall in line with Beks ideas.

  • http://augustbean_tx@yahoo.com danielle

    What a thoughtful and rational reply to the article. Everyone has a valid point, but I really appreciated your respectful way of putting what you felt, and what I believe is a very balanced way of looking at this situation.

  • http://www.theretuned.com Matthew Linder

    Amen. I concur. I am actually kind of embarrassed that people think they are defending the gospel by buying a chicken sandwich. No wonder American society does not take Christianity seriously. We do not seem to act like decent human beings and hope to bring America back to Christian nationhood not by preaching the gospel but by eating some food at a fast food joint. Hmmm… makes a lot of sense to me (I say sarcastically).

    :/

  • http://www.stormherald.com Christopher Walker

    I’m not being defensive here, but am just trying to explain my view on things. The answer to all three of your questions is Yes. Today’s reaction against intolerant bullying may not engage people in a conversation about Christ, but neither does taking a stand on abortion. Yet I think the you and I would both agree that it’s important for Christians to seek political relief for the unborn. Such political positioning _is_ an outworking of Kingdom ethics.

    Also, any public display to support any biblical value is going to create the same reaction and the same people will accuse us of being bigoted and hateful because they assume things. They assume I don’t have same-sex attractions, for example. And that I hate people like myself. I don’t think it’s productive to be silent in worry that we will look foolish to others we don’t know, as if we could control their thoughts by how we act. We already are considered to be fools by virtue of what we believe. What I think today did was encourage other Christians that they aren’t alone in their convictions. That’s also important. It’s *very* important to me, since my fear is feeling isolated, of saying something that would alienate me, even from fellow believers who are otherwise my friends. “The world” is not my mission field. It’s far too big for me to personally engage with it. But my friends–Christian and not–know why I have the beliefs I do, and that’s my mission field, and it leads to some wonderful conversations with them.

    I think it is important to take a stand on some important issues, but to do so smartly, to not add offense where none is necessary. Yet your blog here gives the impression that your complaint wasn’t that we were engaging foolishly. It was that we shouldn’t be doing it at all since it turns “every issue into a culture war of vast proportions.” But the war is already here. “We didn’t start the fire…” as the song goes.

  • Frank

    AMEN! Great article.

  • Ken

    This Chick fil a Day I do not consider a childish thing. I think its good that we can counter act on someone protesting against someones freedom of speech. Come on. Homosexuals can still go to Chick fil a and still be served. I ended up myself squashing the idea of going because of the long wait, and possibly that they may run out of food. I decided I will do my patronization on a different day, highly thinking going on Friday.

  • kennethos

    You make valid points to which I agree.
    What has been most shocking to me in this matter has been the sheer amount of hatred, and ridicule, coming from the other side of the political spectrum, directed at folks who are not being discriminatory, hateful, or spiteful, but literally serving with excellence in a company which professes biblical values. I have progressive friends who are blindly hating a company simply for sticking to their historic values (which haven’t changed, and are nothing new), and as believers, are somehow oblivious to their personal hypocrisy.
    It is interesting to note where the hate began (the left), and the response (support from the right during persecution). I have not observed any anti-gay or anti-left demonstrations, marches, riots, etc. Nothing from the right except visits to CFA. It could be the most peaceful and “bizarre” show of “hate” toward gays we’ve ever seen.

  • A. Charles Beddoe

    The mayors of Boston and Chicago were in the wrong to speak in any official manner against Mr. Cathy.

    It is fine for Mr. Cathy to declare his beliefs, and it is fine for people who support him to support his business. It is also fine for those of us who don’t agree to not do business with him.

    There are many of us who do not take the Bible as our moral authority, but instead we think for ourselves. If you think about it, so do you. You do not follow all the Biblical laws, you pick and choose.

  • kennethos

    Many followers of Christ follow the biblical laws meant for Gentile believers in the new covenant, that is true. This does not disqualify one from having faith in Christ, or being faithful (since all are essentially hypocrites). I do not follow the laws intended for orthodox Jews…since I’m not Jewish. Anyone understanding the Bible would get this. Do you follow the laws of other countries besides your own? Probably not.
    As for thinking for yourself…I don’t believe people actually do that anymore. We live in the post-Enlightenment, postmodern West. We haven’t actually thought for ourselves in centuries.

  • Joseph

    I don’t agree with author of this blog. People in general are frustrated being bullied by the lunatic fringe elements and other whacks only out for the publicity and goal to destroy anybody who gets in their way. This was a battle in the cold war (so far) on Christianity. People were able to vent and send a message back to the Royal Family in the White House and their flunkies that heartland Americans will not sit by when they are offered the opportunity to pro constitutional rights

  • Joseph

    The last line in this paragraph should end “…to protect their constitutional rights.”


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