Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chick-fil-A Cooks Food for Thought

What if...?

What if, instead of gay marriage, Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy had been talking about polygamy when defending traditional marriage?

Here's the part of his now-famous interview with the Baptist Press with which the mayors of Boston and Chicago have taken such strong - albeit unconstitutional - exception:

"The company invests in Christian growth and ministry through its WinShape Foundation. The name comes from the idea of shaping people to be winners.  It began as a college scholarship and expanded to a foster care program, an international ministry, and a conference and retreat center modeled after the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove.  'That morphed into a marriage program in conjunction with national marriage ministries,' Cathy added.

"Some have opposed the company's support of the traditional family. 'Well, guilty as charged,' said Cathy when asked about the company's position.  We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.  We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,' Cathy emphasized.

"'We intend to stay the course,' he said. 'We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.'"

Nowhere in his interview does Cathy even mention gay marriage, although we all know that whenever somebody's talking about the "traditional family" these days, it's in regards to the question of whether our society should embrace gay marriage.

But doesn't Cathy's position and quote fit not just our orthodox Christian view of marriage and family, but also the very reasons why any deviation from how the Bible defines a God-honoring, society-benefiting heterosexual marriage spells trouble?

Not that we should expect society to understand why it's not just sinful for same-sex lovers to be married.  It's hard to convince anybody intent on pursuing an unBiblical lifestyle that they're wrong, whether it's alcoholism, or love of money, or homosexuality.  The real argument involves the reality that gay marriage is at best a socially useless contrivance, and at worst, a defeatist population buster.  Why should any government endorse anything that does not perpetuate its basic building block: the biologically pragmatic family unit?

They Say Theirs is the Original Chicken Sandwich

Chick-fil-A's stance comes as no surprise to anybody who knows anything about the company. For one thing, every Sunday, every one of their restaurants are shuttered and dark all day long, in observance of the Lord's Day. Whether it's in a mall food court or along a boulevard lined with restaurants, the Chick-fil-A always stands out on Sundays, with its lights off and an empty parking lot.

Seeing as how Sundays have become a popular day for shopping and entertaining, you'd think a for-profit company would let the "Lord's Day" thing slide, since you know Chick-fil-A is losing money by closing for a full half of every weekend. But that's part of their testimony to the communities they're in: Chick-fil-A knows how to make money, but they also know Whose all that money really is.

For city leaders in Boston and Chicago to suddenly realize that Chick-fil-A is run on Christian ideals speaks as much to their northern geography as it does their politically liberal mindsets. Up until recently, Chick-fil-A has been mostly a southern company. I remember when my family moved down to Arlington, Texas, from Upstate New York, and we saw a weirdly-named take-out stand called "Chic fillet" in a local mall. Out in the parking lot, parked away from all the other cars, was usually a white two-door Lincoln Continental with the company's distinctive logo on the doors. I always thought it was some strange French sandwich shop. (I guess even then, I didn't really much care for the French!).

Little did I know about their decadent peach shakes, creamy cole slaw, cinnamon-tinged waffle fries, and signature chicken sandwiches. For fast food, Chick-fil-A is a bit pricey, but you certainly get a tasty, filling meal. Apparently, Chicago city leaders weren't aware that they already have a Chick-fil-A just off the Magnificent Mile. Otherwise, I'm sure their vociferous discrimination of the company would be laced with heavy disappointment at feeling obligated to condemn it for political appearance's sake.

After all, that's all this brou-ha-ha over Chick-fil-A is about.  Political posturing in our age of political correctness run amok.

What if Cathy had said something like, "well, yes, guilty as charged:  we don't approve of polygamy."

Who'd be so upset then?  Probably only some radical Mormons - not exactly a powerful political lobby.  After all, polygamy is not a socially-acceptable form of marriage.  And why isn't it?  Here's why:  societies have tinkered with it throughout history, and not one has managed to make polygamy benefit civilization in the long-term.

Marriage Benefits Government, Not the Other Way Around

Contrary to the many Biblically-illiterate people who defend gay marriage by saying the Old Testament endorses polygamy, God does not endorse plural marriage.  The Israelites accepted the practice because they were sinful, but just because some heroes of the faith had multiple wives doesn't mean that's God's design.  It just means that God uses sinners for His glory.

Because of the sinful way women were generally treated in Old Testament times, God made allowances for widows to be married by their deceased husbands' kin so that the woman and her children would be looked after.  Fortunately, by the time of Christ, governments had pretty much banned polygamy, mostly because by then, they'd discovered it doesn't really work.  One man cannot ordinarily support the type of large families polygamy produces.  And I imagine plenty of men learned that having multiple wives wasn't exactly as pleasurable in practice as it sounds in theory.

Just as polygamy does not benefit society, neither can gay marriage benefit society.  And the reason is surprisingly simple:  gay marriage is not designed to produce offspring.  Duhh... how many gay marriage advocates flunked biology?  Why should a government endorse something that is not in its best interests?

Yes, it sounds good to say that gays will be happier and better contributors to society if they can get married, but that's not why governments sanction marriage.  Contrary to popular myth - and the Declaration of Independence - marriage has nothing to do with happiness, at least as far as the government is concerned.  For our bureaucrats, it's all about lineage records and tax status.  If gay lovers want to advocate for looser insurance rules, or structure their wills to specify who gets their legacy, then what's stopping them?  The government's lack of need when it comes to authorizing gay marriage isn't discrimination, otherwise plenty of other non-biologically-productive pairings should be filing suit, too.

You Want Fries With That?

Indeed, discrimination is a word that seems to be quickly losing its meaning.  Cathy's critics should take careful note that neither he nor his company discriminates against anybody.  Yes, to our disgrace, evangelical Christianity's theological stance against gay marriage has been marred by various anecdotal evidence of mostly southern, mostly redneck preachers gaybashing from the pulpit.  Considering the unBiblical manner in which these men have celebrated such hateful rhetoric, they'll have a lot of explaining to do, if not someday here on Earth, then before God.

But who knows how many gay people work for Chick-fil-A and its many franchisees? How many gay people, before this recent fracas, openly enjoyed the hospitality at their local Chick-fil-A restaurant? The company does not discriminate based on sexual orientation, mostly because doing so is not Biblical. Homosexuality may be a sin, but it's no worse a sin than gluttony - a sin for which many of the restaurant's customers are probably guilty. Gay employees have known for a lot longer than the mayors of Boston and Chicago about their employer's Bible-based business strategy, and nobody's filed a class-action lawsuit yet.

All this boils down to is a group of increasingly empowered activists pursuing an agenda for inclusion into the social construct of the United States who cannot overcome the indomitable reality of God's created order.

Unlike polygamists, groups of which even today continue to pursue their unsustainable lifestyle, gay marriage advocates will likely, eventually, win in their attempts to legalize their relationships.  Too many people have either forgotten - or don't care - that civil government did not create the institution of marriage.  God did that Himself.  Governments throughout history have simply recognized how effective and efficient heterosexual marriage is in terms of building a society, so much so that we've taken it for granted.  Courts and legislators may assume they have the ability to redefine marriage, but any of their efforts will be as significant as the paper - or hard drives - on which those changes are documented.

Meanwhile, that old Chick-fil-A my family never bothered to try all those years ago is long gone, along with the entire mall it used to be in.  A sprawling warehouse complex sits there now.  And Arlington has three newer Chick-fil-A restaurants, and all of them are bustling, except on Sundays.

So I'm going to keep on enjoying the delicious fast food at all of our Chick-fil-A's!  Fortunately, the blustering mayors of Boston and Chicago, in their egregious pomposity, forgot to complain about how unhealthy this company's food is.

Otherwise, I'd have had to agree with them.

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