It’s not about the chicken. It’s about sitting far too long in your ideological ghettos, lobbing hateful words at those just beyond the ghetto walls. The accusation of bigotry flies from the liberal ghetto. From the conservative ghetto flies false statistics and statements denying fundamental rights. Neither ever meets for an actual discussion in order to challenge their preconceived notions.
Don’t worry, I know some of you are yelling at your computer screen, “Andy! It’s not hateful to state your belief!” And that’s the problem with ideological ghettos: you never know the real-life impact of your words. You never know what terrible, frightening implications lie hidden in your words. You don’t know because you never leave your ghetto. You never hear the cries of the innocents just beyond the wall.
Being gay is not an idea. A teenager doesn’t walk home from school one day and suddenly think, “Huh. I think I’ll be gay.” As far as I know, no woman wakes up and thinks herself into being lesbian. Even ex-gay ministries realize that being LGBT is not a changeable idea. Being gay is no more an idea than being short, tall or blond.
Gay men are not an idea. Lesbians are not an idea. Nor are bisexual or transgender people ideas, either. No, they’re flesh-and-blood, breathing human beings with hearts. Christians are not an idea. Evangelical Christians are not an idea. Sermonizers of hate are not an idea. People lining up to eat at Chick-fil-A today are not an idea. Those boycotting are not an idea. All of these are mortals; these are children of God.
The problem with ideological ghettos is that they demand everyone should be something: man should be purer, more traditional and more family-oriented; man should be freer and more accepting of others. And this list of shoulds is boundless for each ghetto: if you’re a Christian, then you should be straight; if you’re gay, then you shouldn’t be a Christian; if you’re a Christian, then you should eat at Chick-fil-A; if you’re gay, then you shouldn’t; if you’re a Christian, you wait until marriage; if you’re gay you’re expected to have as much sex as you can. So on and so forth ad nauseum until every inch of human dignity is strangled by all those shoulds.
Both sides fashion the world into a ghetto of their own making. Yet, the world does not change. Ideas are the only thing that can be something other than what they are. Only ideas and perceptions can be changed. The world is as it is; human beings are as they are. The world is not as it should be, but the world is as it is.
And, sadly, both sides tell you that their list of shoulds leads to a new world. They tell you that their shoulds bring you to true freedom.
Do you remember back in my first post, I said that maybe the real evil wasn’t the chicken sandwich or what’s-his-face’s statement, but the greed of corporations?
Do you remember how all this started? Dan Cathy said that he was “guilty as charged” in believing in traditional marriage. There was the predictable outcry from the LGBT community calling for a boycott. A few days later, Mike Huckabee tweeted that there should be day when everyone eats at Chick-fil-A in support against the boycott. A few days after that, Jonathan Merritt of The Atlantic was forced out of the closet after writing his trepidation about the boycott. Potentially, his life is ruined.
And, today, on “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day”, these stores are packed with supporters. Police are being called in to direct the traffic. And the ringing of the cash registers is heard over all the shouting about gay marriage.
That’s the problem with these “phony, rhetorical” culture wars of ours. They dupe you into thinking it’s about something other than what it is. So, please tell me how your list of shoulds brings freedom. Please tell me how free you are to boycott. Please tell me how eating there today is an exercise of your free speech.
Please, tell me how free you are.