I should preface this post by saying I don’t know if I’m a Christian or not. There was a time in my life when I wanted to be because I thought that’s what I was supposed to be, but over the years I’ve watched the power structure in the Christian faith turn condemnation of sins into the vilification of the sinners. Judgment of others took precedent over forgiveness of others. The claim that disaster after disaster was at the hands of an angry God drowned out the claims that God is love. In short, people who count themselves as the authority on Christianity got in the way of me wanting to be a Christian or at the very least, proclaim that I am a Christian. Put another way, I deny Jesus not because of Jesus, but because of the leaders in his church. I’m guessing Jesus wouldn’t be too happy with how he’s portrayed by most religious leaders today either, so I don’t think he’d really blame me.
I am not saying people that openly practice Christianity are bad people. Far from it. They are good and honest people that have a true desire to heal the ills of this world. When they pray, they pray for peace and tranquility for everyone. They want everyone to bask in the glory of God’s grace. They may grow frustrated when people deny what they see as the true path, and they may lash out at those who have lost their way, but they do it out of love. I get that, and I forgive them their transgressions as I hope they forgive me mine.
That’s why I don’t have any problem with Dan Cathy’s, the CEO of Chick-fil-A, recent public stance against same-sex marriage. He’s allowed to run his company and follow his religious beliefs. I don’t agree with those beliefs, but I also haven’t eaten in Chic-fil-A in years so he’s clearly not worried if we don’t see eye-to-eye on this issue. I don’t believe Mr. Cathy was doing anything other than relaying how he feels about the issue of gay marriage. He wasn’t trying to start a movement or champion a cause. He just answered a question, and, as our constitution guarantees, he does have the right to free speech.
But, he is not allowed to voice his opinion without consequences. Free speech doesn’t mean he can expect to speak his mind without angering those who disagree. The boycott of Chick-fil-A is the right move for the passionate opposition. And, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I hope it helps shed more light on the unjust nature of the Defense of Marriage Act. In fact, I hope it buries it in a tomb with the rest of this country’s discriminatory past.
I don’t want him to stop being a Christian. I don’t want him to stop talking publicly about his beliefs. But, I do want his side to lose on this issue. I want a gay citizen’s civil rights to count more than Mr. Cathy’s religious beliefs when it comes to public policy. That’s it. I don’t want the man to accept homosexuality. I don’t want him to hold same-sex wedding ceremonies in his backyard. I just want his side to stop defining marriage for consenting adults.
The bottom line is that two men marrying does not infringe on Dan Cathy’s right to practice his religion, but enacting public policy based on his religious beliefs does deny gay men and women the right to marry. I have to tell you, looking at it in those terms, one side in this debate sounds profoundly un-American, and it’s not the one where two dudes get married.