1 Corinthians 8: 9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.
This passage took on new meaning for me this morning and I wanted to share it with you.
Many well-meaning “Christians” took to the streets yesterday and PACKED Chick-fil-a’s across this country in what most deemed “Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day”. But we should know that is was more of a support of Dan Cathy’s stance on “biblical family values” than it was appreciation for good food and good service. Christians were countering an attempt by the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) Community to show up en mass and merely order a cup of water in order to clog up lines and frustrate the staffs and management at CFA.
I saw pictures on Facebook of Christians standing in line, taking pictures with the CFA mascot, proudly carrying their cups and bags of CFA food around like a badge of honor. People actually ordered bags of CFA sandwiches to pass out to homeless people on street corners….all in support of CFA. While these are not all bad things, it is the tone and manner in which Christians are voicing their support of CFA that disturbs me. Our posture sucks.
The LGBT has, erroneously or not, taken Dan Cathy’s remarks that he supports a “traditional family unit, made up of a man and woman in marriage” as anti-gay. Their thought being, if you are FOR traditional marriage you hate gays. CFA’s known policies of hiring and serving everyone are the same. Patrons are not asked their sexual orientation when stepping to the counter and there is no blank on employment forms asking about sexual orientation. I also know that CFA donates moneys to pro-traditional family causes...(Focus on the Family being one and there are others).
But here is the rub for me in light of today’s reading……we need to be careful that we do not exercise our rights to a great chicken sandwich on a day and in a manner that is deemed to be anti-gay. Christ was not anti-gay. If we believe that he was, we have our theology screwed up. He was anti-sin. He was just as much anti-gossip, anti-adultery, anti-greed, anti-covetous, anti-glutton as he was anti-gay. Can we gossip and still be loved by Jesus? Can we covet and still be loved by Jesus? Then can’t a person be gay and still be loved by Jesus? And if Jesus loves them and the entire LGBT community, shouldn’t we also love them?
I am reminded of the story of the woman caught in adultery. Where he literally advocated for this woman as she was about to be stoned by the religious. The religious! He didn’t condemn her for her sin to the contrary. He knelt beside her and drew in the dirt, as the religious were picking out their stones to throw at her. He questioned their hearts asking the one that was without sin to cast the first stone. Then they dropped their stones and left. After they left he asked, “where are your accusers. Has no one condemned you (to die)?”. And she replied, “they have all left”. And he said to her, “nor do I condemn you…..go and sin no more.” Jesus himself did not condemn…what gives us the right?
This condemning patriotic idol of traditional family values has become a STUMBLING BLOCK to the LGBT Community. I call it an idol because we have elevated it above our love for them. When Christ said, “love your neighbor as yourself”, he was talking about ALL of our neighbors, including the LGBT Community. When he said, “whatever you have done to the least of these brothers and sisters you have done to me” he was talking about ALL the marginalized, including the LGBT Community. Yet we have grabbed hold of their sin, elevated it above our own, and are willing to cast hate filled stones.
Right or wrong, our action of solidarity for a restaurant and it’s CEO can be construed as anti-gay. I’m not saying it is wrong, but if it is even perceived to be wrong by “the weak”, those “without knowledge” (of God) then it is wrong and we are “defiling” them. If it is perceived as wrong by the LGBT then we should not eat Chick-fil-a sandwiches sacrificed to the condemning patriotic idol of traditional family values.
I myself, am still for traditional family values. I still believe that God created man and woman to be married. And my understanding of scripture is that homosexuality is a sin. But because our country was founded on these values, we have certain rights that non-traditional couples don’t have. But since we know that all men are created equal….to have rights that others don’t have because of race, religious beliefs or sexual orientation is wrong.
So no…I didn’t go to CFA yesterday...much like I won’t drink alcohol if I am around someone who believes drinking to be sinful or if they struggle with alcohol. I am careful and use discernment when I drink alcohol…and the same should be done when eating meat sacrificed to idols, even an idol of our own making.
Side note: I will still eat at CFA and enjoy their awesome sandwiches. But it was brought to light by someone in the LBGT Community that CFA supported a group in Uganda that promoted a “Kill the Gays Bill” that would not only make it illegal to be gay, but it would be punishable by death. If I find out or a strong connection can be made that that CFA knowingly supported a bill to exterminate gay people in Uganda….I will not eat Chick-fil-a again. Crap…I hope it’s not true.