What Chick-Fil-A appreciation day meant

There is much to be said about what happened at Chick-Fil-A yesterday.  The first, and most obvious, is that those willing to drop money to deny equal rights to others, whether it’s to an anti-gay hate group or on a sandwich made by a company they know supports a hate group, are not compassionate.  This is a fact so conspicuous I can hardly believe it must be voiced.  The idea of compassionately denying someone equality is ridiculous and cowardly.  Cowardly because it’s an attempt to dodge the social consequences of expending effort explicitly to negatively impact the lives of others by calling it love.  Causing harm to others is simply not what compassionate people do. 

It’s reminiscent of every other hate movement populated by the faithful throughout the years.

As Blair Scott said: “Same people.  Different decade.”  Love of god didn’t remove the mote that kept them from seeing inequality then, and it has become no more useful since.  Those claiming Christianity as the solution to hate in our world are, ironically, so often eager to prove that faith does not inoculate against hatred.  In fact, by their frequent example, faith is often hate’s decisive ingredient.

And Jesus Fictional Christ, the excuses.  They’ll tell us we don’t have the right to not be offended, as if that is anywhere on our list of gripes.  It’s about the harm done to others for no good reason.  It’s like segregating the water fountains inside your restaurants and telling us we don’t have the right to not be offended.  Offense isn’t even on the radar.

Christina hit the nail on the head yesterday.  When referring to the response of the population at large to stop giving any money to a company that supports a hate group, the other thing the bigots will do is bleat about suppression of free speech.

Bear in mind, these are the same people protesting Oreo cookies on account of supporting marriage equality.  As I said earlier, if religion didn’t have the effect of producing blindness of almost every intellectual stripe (including an immense blind spot for personal hypocrisy), things would be a lot easier here on earth.

The defense is that Dan Cathy was merely stating an opinion – namely that he supports biblical values.  That’s like the KKK saying they are merely stating an opinion – namely that they support Southern values.  How does it not occur to these people that their values can be terrible, traditional or not?  Vile opinions that value discrimination and/or hate are not “mere.”  They are anathema to humanity.  For those possessed by true compassion for others, not the mealy-mouthed “compassion” of those giddy to display their lack of empathy for others in the name of Jesus, we should ensure that those who actively oppose the well-being of others, as expressed in their opinions, become pariahs.

It has nothing to do with their free speech.  Dan Cathy remains free to say what he wants.  But when you use that freedom to express an opinion that a significant portion of the population are second class citizens, and when you spend an exorbitant amount of money not on feeding the starving or housing the poor, but on fostering a world where millions of good people are denied equal rights, you have set yourself against humankind by the vehicle of not only your opinions, but also your actions.  You cannot be shocked when humankind shuns you as it is the only moral thing to do.

Beliefs have consequences.  They should not be dismissed as tawdry opinion the moment they are examined.  We should care about the validity of our opinions.  They should be the product of research, reason, and compassion, not a substitute for them.  This is why religion draws so much of my rancor – it tells us what’s important is that we believe something, not the reliability of the methods we used to reach the belief.

Mostly, I have a deep well of pity for any gay employees of Chick-Fil-A.  It was wave after wave of people who thought those employees were an abomination – order after order, customer after customer.  I cannot imagine what it must’ve been like to look each one of those customers in the eye and see how blithely they hate you.  I don’t care to even wonder how it must’ve felt to serve people who smiled at the chance to spend money to make you a second-class citizen.  I could not have said, “Have a nice day” through clenched teeth to even one of them.  Those employees did it all day.

To all you people tripping over yourselves to eat at Chick-Fil-A yesterday, here is the bottom line.  You are liars.  You are just as dishonest as Dan Cathy.  It’s not about protecting Cathy’s freedom of speech, since that is clearly under no assault.  It’s about keeping equality from those you dislike.  It’s about keeping the gays under foot, and most of you don’t have the tiny sum of requisite courage to admit it, while at the same time assuring us how proud you are to be Christians.  You are not compassionate.  In fact, you gathered together on a single day to unite under the banner of discrimination.  Compassion, for you, is only a word; useful as a rug under which to sweep actions that are hostile to empathy in every way.

Each and every one of you is a bad person.  And though you come from different backgrounds, there is a single, manifest commonality amongst you.  Almost all of you subscribe to a faith you believe is the very mother of compassion.  You are the living proof that Christianity doesn’t do shit to grow morality or kindness in anybody’s heart.  You are the most compulsory evidence that Jesus does not stave off hatred – in fact, by your example, faith in Jesus seems to empower that which makes us less than human.

I have no reservation about loathing you as I loathe all things malicious to humanity.  History will do the same.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.