The latest controversy to sweep over the country, including the Christian blogosphere, is due to recent comments by Chick-fil-a President Dan Cathy that are in support of a “Biblical definition of the family unit” (I wonder if that includes the use of concubines) and his opposition to same-sex marriage. This has created an outrage among LGBT supporters and cries for a boycott of Chick-fil-a restaurants and even mayors of major metropolitan cities to state they do not want Chick-fil-a restaurants in their cities. This has in turn created an opposite movement among conservatives, headed by former Presidential candidates Mick Huckabee and Rick Santorum, calling for people to support Chick-fil-a and to eat there on August 1. This has created a re-re-response by some in the LGBT community to go to Chick-fil-a dressed in drag and make out in the Chick-fil-a parking lot. The comments by Dan Cathy, which shouldn’t be that surprising anyway because Chick-fil-a has supported anti-LGBT groups for years, have created a circus of media attention and God help us if there were no Olympics going on.
I understand that pundits are going to yell and scream and tweet and Facebook. That is what they do. However, I DO have a problem when good Christians, on both sides of the issue, delve into the lowest common denominator and begin name calling and Internet flaming. Words like “faggot”, “homophobe”, “bigot”, “heathen”, and “unChristian” are tossed around at an ever-increasing pace. Facebook groups for clergypersons and Christians are becoming slaughterhouses of hatefulness and meanness not to mention comment sections for TV news stations. I appreciate the occasional snark, but this is beyond anything that can be considered civil. We are an increasingly reactionary society. We don’t think anymore, we just react. We scream. We yell. We type. We call people names and sometimes name calling becomes physical violence. I say “we” because I am guilty of this as well. Perhaps the anonymity of the Internet allows us to be meaner or perhaps we were already mean and the Internet just gives us a medium to express it.
As Christians, no matter what side of the issue you fall one, we are called to love our enemies and to treat them with kindness. We are called to treat others as we want to be treated not as the pundits tell us to treat them. I appreciate calls for calm from bloggers like Rachel Held Evans. We need to end the hateful speech from BOTH sides. Someone who supports same-sex marriage is not a godless heathen and someone who does not support same-sex marriage is not automatically a Westboro Baptist homophobe. Also, criticism is not persecution. Someone flaming you on Facebook or Twitter is not the same as someone risking their life for the Gospel. There is a lot of grey area and we need to be willing to meet each other in that grey area and listen to each other in that grey area before we simply react.
And let us not forget that as well argue about whether or not to eat the fried chicken sandwich and waffle fries that 30,000 children will die today from starvation and preventable diseases. Priorities, priorities.