Love does not require that I passively and silently receive blow after blow of the clinched fist of ignorance. Love requires that I speak truth in the face of hate masquerading as faith.
Here is my truth – I am so very sad to see the throngs of people lining up at Chick-Fil-As around the country. The pain in my heart radiates to every fiber of my being. I am heartbroken to see so many “Christians” enjoying the pain they are inflicting on their neighbors. It is a travesty of the faith we share to tell the Cathys, and the world, that I indeed am a second class citizen in my own country, that my family is worth less than theirs and that my children should be ashamed when they begin school on Monday morning when it comes time to tell their peers about their family. Every waffle fry you buy, every nugget your feed your children tells them that it is ok to bully that kid who is a little different. It might just be telling them that you won’t love them if they are gay. Every smug sip you take from that lemonade tells the world that your version of following Christ includes inflicting pain on your neighbor. That is not the Christ I know from scripture, community or the experience of Grace. That is not The Way of the Cross.
Let me be very clear once again, this is not about freedom of speech, this is not just a difference of opinion – this is about the real lives of families around the country. Your neighbors, your sisters, your brothers – maybe even your own children. It’s NOT Cathy’s words that are the problem, though they are painful for sure. It’s his millions of dollars given to organizations that dehumanize children of God. It is about using his faith as an excuse to fund the politically motivated lies of the Family Research Council. It is about my sisters and brothers in Christ subsidizing ignorance and fear with every purchase of fried chicken and lemonade. That little ice cream cone dripping in your hand, it pays for the a society where I must remain genuinely afraid for myself and my children. Your package of waffle fries ensures that friends will be denied access to loved ones as they lay dying in hospital rooms and a neighbor may never see a penny of her wife’s retirement or that children could be ripped from their homes. It is not just a difference of opinion and it is NOT about freedom of speech, unless of course you mean to silence my dissent.
And this rhetoric about gays vs. Christians is duplicitous. There are millions of Christians who do not believe as the masses in line yesterday. My denomination – the UCC – represents more than a few of these Christians. And I am not just talking about so-called “liberal” or “progressive” Christians. My meemaw, one of the finest Christians I’ve known, a baptist born and raised in the south, would not have stood in line to spend her money on pain. Instead she would have followed Jesus into prayer to ease the suffering unfurling in the flags of political posturing. I grew up at her feet and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that as she looked to God to understand the world we’ve been given she would have claimed compassion, she would have claimed love.
It is shallow to claim that we should not be shocked since Chick-Fil-A has always been clear about their Christian foundation. It is one thing to be closed on Sunday and to train employees in kindness and responsible living it is a whole different kind of Christian who gives millions of dollars to suppress the rights of millions of American citizens. And it is a whole different kind of Christian that takes pleasure in contributing to these coffers.
Praise be to God that MY Christian foundation is always shocked by hate.