Many of you have been following the latest imbroglio around the subject of marriage. Dan Cathy, the head of fast food restaurant Chick-fil-A, has recently made clear his support for traditional marriage. In response, progressive mayors of several cities have publicly told Cathy and Chick-fil-A that they’re not welcome in or near their cities. The Washington Post questions whether this could be liberalism’s “ground zero mosque” moment.
By way of rejoinder, Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and ordained baptist minister, sought to rally conservative Christians to support Chick-fil-A by frequenting it on August 1. Social media sites Facebook and Twitter are ablaze with chatter on the subject–often quite heated (hence the fire metaphor).
I won’t be going to Chick-fil-A today–here’s why.
- The debate is frivolous. Don’t get me wrong, the definition of marriage is an important question and it is worthy of sustained reflection and consideration. However, what we’re actually talking about here is not the nature of marriage or the role of government as it relates to being custodian of a received culture. In this instance we’re actually talking about political posturing by elected officials in response to the opinions of an officer of a corporation. At least to me, it goes without saying that Dan Cathy is entitled to his personal opinion–his company ought not to be punished for his beliefs. It also goes without saying, at least to me, that government ought not to bar corporations from doing business in their jurisdiction on the basis of the political or religious beliefs of their corporate officers. To do so moves us from being a nation guided by the rule of law to a nation a quasi-facist state.
- The strategy is counterproductive. Both the response by the mayors and Huckabee’s rejoinder exhibit a culture-war mentality and strategy–boycott and counter-boycott. Front Porch Republic points out that this mindset has run it’s course and is actually harmful to our stewardship of culture. Writes Mark Mitchell, “A culture is not something with which to do battle, either as an offensive weapon or an object of attack. A culture is a living thing, an inheritance, passed on from generation to generation. It is preserved by loving care not militant brow-beating. It cannot survive as a merely negative opposition to something perceived as its opposite. It is a creative, developing expression of a people’s view of the world that reaches ultimately to the highest things: to the good, the true, and the beautiful. To weaponize culture is, therefore, to destroy the very thing for which the battle is ostensibly waged.”
- The outcome is negligible. In the end, I wonder who the real winners are? Are there any? I don’t think that the Christian Gospel becomes more winsome to a post-Christendom culture simply because conservative Christians flocked to a fast food restaurant.
Frankly, I am more than a little tired of being manipulated both by the right and the left. In the end, I’m convinced that by following the lead of the political class–both liberal and conservative–our culture is losing. We’re becoming a nation of zombies conditioned to respond to soundbites in a predictable and easily-manipulated way. We need to get beyond this–quickly.