What Are You, Chicken?

I am not really an ‘issues’ blogger. (Well, apart from my personal issues and the hilarity they produce.) I don’t read the news of the day and then share my opinion with you. To be honest, it’s mostly because I fear being unarmed in a battle of wits, especially when lack of sleep has made me think it’s neat how the TV turns on when I press a button. I also believe there are so many good writers who can make you think about current events. Again, fear keeps me from joining them, specifically the fear of being less eloquent and thought-provoking. (I’m really a big chicken, aren’t I?)

For example, today I want to talk about Chik-Fil-A.

See? Not exactly breaking news is it? But I read a really great post (On the blog Native Born) that had some civil, thought-out reader comments as well, and I decided it was okay to weigh in. My opinion matters too. Because my opinion is not just about Chik-Fil-A; it’s about a human rights issue.

I support gay marriage. No, I don’t just support it; I want to actively get you to see how important it is to let adults marry the people they love.

And that starts by telling you I won’t be eating at Chik-Fil-A anymore. I will not support a company which takes its corporate profits and donates them to hate groups. Dan Cathy can run his business however he wants. His religious beliefs are his to spout. Further, my right to not support any of that is just as real.

So, enough being, and talking about, chicken.

My friends know that my brother Michael, who passed in 2006, was gay. He was also willing to give his friends the shirt off his back. He was very conservative and prayed the rosary. He loved movies; he had at least a thousand DVDs in his personal collection. He was a great older brother who kept our family together and connected. He was handsome. He was also human. He loved and wanted to be loved by one man forever and ever. I’m going to keep using my brother and other gay friends of mine as examples, so you don’t forget we are talking about humans. These are real brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, friends, and parents.

The meat of the matter (sorry, can’t help myself) is that my brother should have had the right to be married. Did he have the right to be married in your church? No. Your church can have whatever rules it wants about who can be married there. Most churches already do. A Muslim cannot get married by a Catholic priest, but a Muslim can still be married. Besides, I doubt a homosexual would want to be married in a place of worship that assumed homosexuals were unredeemable sinners for being in love and acting on that love. (I’m not singling out Catholics here, or even Christians.) The end of that ceremony could get awkward. “I now pronounce you Adam and Steve. You may go to hell.”

Have you ever heard anyone’s coming out story (the story a homosexual tells about telling friends and family their sexual orientation)? They usually have a common theme. That common theme is fear of losing relationships. They fear friends will turn on them. They fear family will disown them. It happens over and over again. What else did my brother fear? He feared physical harm. I sit here in a world where I can hold my husband’s hand and only worry if I have anything sticky on it that may gross him out. (From the kids, obviously. I stopped picking my nose last year.) My friend Vikki, from the blog Up Popped a Fox, made a fantastic comment regarding this point in the piece I mentioned earlier. She said, “Every time I kiss my partner or hold her hand, I look around to gauge our safety because, often, our affection has consequences – stares, comments or worse.” Think about that for one second. Kissing the love of her life could get her physically harmed. If you think that is an exaggeration, read her coming out story. Read other accounts. Check out the Human Rights Campaign web site. Ask around. It’s real.

The Human Rights Campaign also has a great feature where they rate businesses on how they treat their LGBT workers, which brings me back to chicken. (Later, can we talk about how gross raw chicken is? Just, yuck.) I have seen the comment that boycotting Chik-Fil-A will one, not hurt them one bit, and two, is kind of lame because what about all those other businesses that are morally suspect? I believe that my money does speak for me, and it will impact them. How? Well, if everyone who believes this sticks to it, then yes, we are making a difference. And to the other point, can we ever know what businesses do with our money? Um, yes, if we ask and look. I care about this issue, therefore I will do my best to research how the businesses I frequent support or reject it. I may support a place that is sending money to the devil himself due to lack of good information, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to avoid it to the best of my abilities.

And finally, let’s get to the elephant in the room. (Hey! What’s up religion? How are things?)

I am a Christian, and I have many friends and family who are as well. I have great discussions with my dad about faith and the practice of our respective religions. We don’t always agree, but I love the questions he raises in my heart because they help me find my way. I do not know all I can know about my faith and what it means for me. I have to also tell you that my faith got me through the year my brother died. It was also the year we lost our first child, Carter, to a stillbirth. My husband and I drew closer to each other and closer to God. I really believe that got me through it. So, yes, I’m a believer.

I just have a hard time with making other people follow my faith. I know Jesus calls us to convert, but I think there are many ways to do that and still be kind. One of the best ways to tell of your faith is living a faithful life. When people ask me how I survived losing my child and my brother, God is one of the answers. I hope that leads people to take a look at my faith to see if it can offer them hope as well. But I don’t expect all Americans to live by the Bible. Our laws are the laws of man, based on the heart of the people who vote. Many things in this country align with Christian beliefs, but that is not really the point. How do we, as a country, define traditional marriage? Whose tradition is better? We have human and civil rights that we should extend to all. Your religion (or lack of one) may guide your morals, but those morals should not infringe on the people around you. (So, if you think murder is morally correct, well, sorry, that infringes on my rights, so, no.) They should uplift your fellow man, and offer them the same chance to live a life THEY deem good and right.

It’s entirely possible I’m doing it wrong when it comes to being a Christian and an American. Maybe I’m supposed to make everyone be like me. That doesn’t really feel right though. I mean how many people do we need that think popcorn and reality TV bingeing is a good lunch?

18 thoughts on “What Are You, Chicken?

  1. This is probably one of THE best pieces I’ve read from a Christian on this whole issue….this is just my opinion and I feel this way because your words describe where I’ve come to in navigating my faith and human rights issues in this country. I cannot agree with you more. I think so many Christians these days are so focused on being “right” that they have forgotten Christ’s greatest commandment: (even over “converting” people) LOVE people, even when they hate you. I think believers today take it upon themselves to “defend” or “stand up” for God, and have taken this whole “war on Christianity” foolishness too far. God doesn’t need us to defend Him….at least I don’t think so. So yea-I agree with you and I’m for living others and believe folks should be allowed to marry who they want…and have the same civil rights others do.

    All of that being said, I’m very sorry to hear about your brother and your firstborn. That’s heartbreaking, but I’m glad you found comfort in your relationship with God and that He carried you through such devastating times.

    Thank you for writing this.

  2. I believe that making issues personal is one of the most powerful agents of change. Thank you for sharing your story and perspective.

  3. This is exactly how I feel about my faith. My faith has led me through the loss of a dear friend, and praying the Rosary has always been a part of my life. I am so sorry for both of your losses. I cannot even begin to imagine what that is like.
    I cannot reconcile in my heart and mind how the Church treats homosexuality. I feel that everyone should be allowed to love who they love without fear and be able to enjoy all the benefits of domestic partnership that heterosexual couples do. Thank you for this post.

  4. Than you for a thoughtful and articulate post (I think you can join the ranks of “issues” writers). There are many things about your article to appreciate. One– people should be able to love without judgement or fear of harm. It bothers me to no end that people use their faith in order to hate. Did Jesus ever turn anyone away? Two– your point about the best way to convert others is living your faith and showing the strength you receive from God. I am an atheist, and I have a lot of respect for people who live their faith (and let me live mine). This also means that I have been targeted for conversion by people who don’t think I have a right to live out my beliefs or who look down on me for my beliefs. These actions do not build their case at all. You’re right in that everyone should be able to uplift people through whatever beliefs they have– because this is our common purpose: for progress.

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it. I have been guilty of trying to convert my friends, and I thought it would be okay because I truly want them to feel peace. But, it’s not my place to determine their peace and their hearts. I can only offer my help when asked and my love always.

  5. Great great post! I am sorry to read about how devastating 2006 must have been for you. I grew up in the SF Bay Area, which is a fairly accepting place for gays. I was so astonished by the whole prop 8 thing and so happy it was turned over. Good for you for writing about this. I’ve never been to Chik-Fil-A and certainly don’t plan to now!

  6. The compassionate way in which you’ve discussed this issue, yet still managed to take a stand is… well, perfect.
    I think it’s hard to reconcile the traditional and conservative elements of religion in respect to human rights because so many people are tied to the literality of religion. The other day, my daughter asked me if God was a man. I said no, God is God — something that defies our concepts of reality (ok, I said it in seven year old speak)… she said, “Well, we call him ‘he””, so he must be a man. I think her perspective is representative of how many people approach religion. “This is the way it has always been, so this must be the right way.” It’s a child like perspective, I think, to diminish all that has happened since revelation, to diminish the evolution of human thought since those revelations… I reconcile my faith with my humanist tendencies by understanding that my opinion may be in a minority, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammed… they were all of minority opinions at one time, too. Not that I’m comparing myself with them — I’m just taking comfort in that when I feel left out within my own community.
    Yikes, sorry for the long comment. Wonderful post.

    • Love the long comment. Thanks for joining the discussion. I too see one of the hardest part of religion being the reconciling of tradition and modern thought. It’s why we must continue in our studies and questions and journeys. I mean, theologians spend their whole lives trying to understand the mysteries of faith. That’s why when people deal in absolutes it puts me off.

  7. I’m so glad you’ve spoken out. Too often, the ignorant are the loudest and I think the more we discuss issues like these, the more we get the voice of discourse and sense out there. I”m not really an “issues” blog myself, but I think it’s important not to pigeon-hole ourselves. Love this post.

  8. Well said.

    I personally think all those people lining up at Chick-fil-A restaurants the other day will look like they are on the wrong side of history the way people supporting places that descriminated against blacks during the civil rights movement look to us now.

    Honestly, I think all the recent rhetoric against gay marriage is the last extinction burst before the issue goes firmly the other way. And it won’t go back and they know it. It’s one thing to be hateful about a group of people that is largely invisible, but another when they are your neighbors and relatives and coworkers and they don’t want to be in the closet anymore.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this issue, and especially for telling us about your brother. He sounded like a good guy and one I wish I’d had the chance to meet.

  9. This whole issue seems so common sense to me that I’ve stopped talking about it. But your post inspires me to go back to talking. A lovely, thoughtful and rational argument. (Plus the good humor doesn’t hurt). I refuse to raise my sons in a world where they cannot exercise their right to marry whomever they love. And, yes, I will let my money do the talking. Well done.

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