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?