Mad Blood Stirring

It didn’t surprise me when Chik-fil-a executive Don Cathy remarked that the company he works for supports a biblical view of marriage. It shouldn’t have surprised anyone. It is common knowledge Chik-fil-a is a privately owned, Christian-ran company. They close on Sunday so their employees can attend church–if they choose.

I think that’s great. I worked in the fast food industry for some time, and would have appreciated the day off. That’s neither here nor there, though.

What did surprise me about what has now become known as the “Chik-fil-a controversy” is the shit storm Cathy’s remarks generated, though I suppose that shouldn’t have surprised me, either.

It didn’t seem to matter to anyone that Cathy did not seek a forum to air his views. He simply responded to a question, without any particular animosity or hatred toward homosexuals or anyone else.

Then the LGBT community and those who support them completely lost their minds and started screaming hatred and intolerance from every rooftop they could get a foothold on.

The man just answered a question.

Let me also say I agree with Mr Cathy and also believe in a traditional and biblical view of marriage. Call me whatever you’d like.

That said, after boycotts were threatened and many harsh words were spoken in the name of tolerance, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee waded into the fray by organizing what he called “Chik-fil-a Appreciation Day.” I was all for that. I thought then (and do now) that Cathy has every right in the world to his own opinions, and every right to express them in answer to a question.

Opinions aren’t against the law.

Opinions are in a sense protected by the law, as are those who voice them.

So a great many people turned out for Chik-fil-a Appreciation day, and drive throughs and dining rooms were all choked with customers, presumably most in agreement with Cathy regarding gay marriage. It was a huge success, and probably several large white feathers in Mike Huckabee’s cap.

I probably would have went myself if there was a Chik-fil-a in Yuma. Instead I took the boys to Carl’s Jr.

But anyway.

I was sitting at in the cafe area at church yesterday trying to pretend there were not donuts only a few short steps away when I started thinking about how Christians really did seem to be thought of negatively these days, and more conservatively held religious and political views often at the least mocked and/or ridiculed, and those who voice them branded as intolerant.

Nothing worse than being intolerant these days. To me, being tolerant of something either means to ignore it or support it. There are things that can be ignored, and other things that can’t.

To someone that professes Christ, we cannot ignore the fact that we live in a fallen world that in many cases holds no love for us. We are called to recognize sin when we see it, while we are also aware of the sin that lives in us at the same time. Christ’s propitiation on our behalves is the only thing that can save us both from it and it’s due penalty.

We are meant to call out the goodness in people by sharing with them the good news of Christ. Part of doing that is pointing out that there is a cost to living a Godly life, and part of that is turning away from sin. The bible is clear on what is sin and what is not.

Often (and probably in this case) people focus too deeply on this sin (homosexuality) they do not struggle with, to the extent they feel justified in overlooking a myriad of other sins.

Make no mistake, the bible is clear homosexuality is sin. It doesn’t matter how commonplace it is, or how much society at large has grown to accept it. We can be as progressive as we want in our faith, and we can call things whatever we want.

We can’t change the truth of scripture.

And while I was trying to avoid donuts yesterday, God pointed out a couple of truths to me; convicted me of them in fact.

No matter what Huckabee and the participants called it, the Day of Appreciation was a protest. The motive, in a sense, did not (and does not) matter.

That day was sort of a middle finger to those who try to silence the viewpoint of the average Christian through slander, and ridicule, even intolerance (because tolerance only extends as far as viewpoints that agree with the status quo).

God is very clear this is something we are not to do.

He tells us what we will face if we follow Him. He warns us about it.

“If the world hates you, it hated me first…(John 15:18-21)

See also Matthew 10: 16-20, Matthew 5:10-12

He consoles us with Romans 8:16-18, and 35-39.

Never, anywhere, does God tell us to flip the bird to sinners, and tell them they can’t put us down. He also tells us what we are to do in response to hatred and persecution:

“but I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you in the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matt 5:39

Or

“do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” Lev 19:18.

I don’t really think you can get much more specific than that. And it’s important to note Chik-fil-a did not instigate any protest, and even went so far as to hand out free water to protestors.

But people still protested, on both sides of this particularly ugly coin. No one wants to feel marginalized, or to have their thoughts, beliefs and worldview mocked and ridiculed.

But Jesus told us it was coming. I think it has come.

I think worse is coming.

I know we have clear instructions as to what we should do.

We should pray for those who persecute us.

And as odious as it might be, as unjust as it might be, we must turn the other cheek, and not seek revenge or retribution.

The world is not friendly to righteousness. It never has been. Sometimes I feel the world has gone completely mad, and as Shakespeare pointed out, “The day is hot, the Capulets are abroad, and if we meet we shall not escape a brawl. For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.” (Romeo & Juliet Act III, scene I)

Indeed it is. And we must prepare for it to get worse.

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Controversy: It’s not just about chicken

Over the last couple years, there has arguably been no more contentious topic than that of homosexuals and marriage. There were propositions, proposed amendments to the constitutions, protests, boycotts, and much shouting from rooftops from both perceived “sides” of the situation.

Many of the people leaning a little more to the left side of things decry the views of those with a more conservative view of things as archaic and hopelessly out of date. A First century viewpoint on a 21st century issue.

What is typically thought of as the “Christian Right” has been particularly vilified in this regard by the mainstream media as being intolerant to a lifestyle that is now universally accepted by most people.

I wondered how true that was? What about other religions? If Christianity is the chief assailant on homosexual rights then other major religions probably support them, don’t they?

What does Islam say about homosexuality, and by extension gay marriage?

Do they support it?

Not so much. I wonder what would happen if an imam commented against gay marriage? Actually, Louis Farrakhan referred to President Obama’s public approval of gay marriage as “sanctioning what the scriptures forbid.”

Ok…what about Judaism? What does Jewish scripture have to say?

Obviously, the same thing the Christian bible does.

Where does that leave us? With the knowledge that many people of different faiths neither approve of homosexuality and hold it sinless, nor recognize homosexual “marriages” as legitimate unions.

Having said that, I know that at least most Christians that I know who do not recognize gay marriage also do not deny homosexuals in domestic partnerships should be granted the same legal rights as hetero couples who marry.

My point in all of this is not to condemn homosexuals or deny them any basic human rights. I am just pointing out that many people from many walks of life and religions share the beliefs of Christians regarding this extremely volatile issue.

No one is commenting on that. I haven’t seen anything in the clearly very biased media. What I have seen lately is an executive from a privately owned and privately governed, publicly and admittedly Christian principled company being asked a question and giving an answer that should have surprised no one.

Following that answer, this executive has been vilified to the nth degree. Boycotts have been threatened and licensing for new franchises has been threatened.

All by people screaming about tolerance at the top of their lungs, while at the same time practicing their own special brand of intolerance and prejudice.

Lately, I’ve found myself thinking “come, Jesus, come” more than once.
A friend pointed out 2 Timothy 3 to me not long ago regarding the Aurora shootings, but I think it applies here, too. I’d list it below, but I’m writing this on my iPhone.

Go look it up.

Done? Ok. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me how people react to biblical values, when they’re expressed plainly.

The bible is nothing if not clear about what God calls sinful, or lawful, for that matter. Call me whatever you like.