I have thus far avoided wading into the Chick-Fil-A controversy, but there is something nagging at me I want to get out.
First, the issue is not a Christian or even faith issue. It is a Liberty issue. Do we, as Americans, or do we not have the right to express our beliefs in the public square and accept the consequences from our fellow citizens thereof? If a business or a person cannot have a political stance, and it not have an adverse GOVERNMENTAL response, such as being banned from opening stores within a city by a zoning board, then we no longer have Liberty. Fiscal consequences for a business taking a political stand are fine, I have no problem with folks deciding to follow their conscience with their money. But the .gov has NO business making decisions, one way or the other.
For this very reason, I am morally, as a Christian, opposed to all the Blue Laws, Dry Counties, Sin Taxes, Marriage Licenses, etc. that the .gov sticks its finger in. Moral and faith based decisions fall under “retained by the States and the People” pretty clearly. Institutions can set the standards for their own membership, for performing their own ceremonies or anything else as they see fit, it is none of the .gov’s business. As an example, if you want to marry someone whose plumbing is the same as yours, while I personally do not approve, if you can find a church willing to sanction it, more power to you. And, if you want to marry someone with plumbing different than yours, more power to you if you can find a church that will sanction it. And, if you want to enter a legal contract of some sort, go for it, but that has nothing to do with marriage as sanctioned by private institutions.
Christ’s message was a personal one. He did not come to reform society; He came to extend personal salvation. While there is plenty of evidence that Nations are held by Him accountable for their collective actions, those collective actions are the result of individual actions. The “falling away” of the culture is, speaking as an historian, laughable. We have never been a “moral” society. Our morays and cultural norms have been different than they are today. What has principally changed is what was once done widely in private is now done openly. Frankly, I see this as a positive. Once it is out in the open and we can talk about it, we can draw attention to the difference in outcomes between those of faith and those without. How else can we compete in the market of ideas, how else should we demonstrate Christ’s love, if it isn’t in CONTRAST to the world?
Many of my brothers and sisters who fall into the “Religious Right” category look at the way, idealized, that they believe America was in the past and bemoan the loss of civility and faith in our culture. But, when I listen to them talk, it seems they are more concerned with how they have lost pre-eminence in the culture than the real effect on the individual faith, or lack thereof, of their neighbors. We Christians, many of us, have come to accept that if we control the political power of the nation, we can set the agenda of the culture in such a way that it will discourage sin and promote faith. This is so flawed, and historically proven to be a failure, it rivals progressivism/socialism for idiocy. It is no more possible to legislate morality to the unwilling and unbelieving than it is to develop an effective planned economy or successful effort to redistribute wealth.
I put my ass on the line every day to protect Mr. Cathy’s right to run his business as he sees fit, to express his beliefs in the public square, and I truly respect his courage to accept the consequences and benefits thereof. I disagree with the position of, but equally respect, the rights of unbelievers to fiscally disagree and express their own beliefs. But, I utterly reject the right of the .gov to express an opinion either way and I join Christ in excoriating the Pharisees who would co-opt the .gov and attempt to use its monopoly on the use of force to dictate their belief system on others. And for those on both sides, the lib-progressives and the Bible-thumpers, I would ask you to consider this. Hundreds of thousands of folks, just like me, have spent the last 10 years getting shot at, blown up, separated from our families and generally getting broken down to bring a little bit of Liberty and Freedom to nations not our own. Regardless of the rightness or wrongness of that effort, if we have sacrificed so much for others, what do you think our likely reaction is going to be to having that same Liberty and Freedom curtailed at home? The world would be a much better place if folks would simply let others be and mind their own knitting. There are quite a few of us getting more than a little pissed off at the nosiness of both sides. We are only going to tolerate it so long…and we are the ones with the best and biggest toys and the knowledge to use them. A core principal of this nation is that your rights extend right up till your fist hits my nose. After that, I have the right and sacred duty to demand redress of my grievance. Well, my nose feels distinctly out of joint and I am damn near ready to press home my demands….