Friday, August 3, 2012

Christians, Heretics, and Fried Chicken

They are using our name again, calling themselves Christian. They stood in line for chicken to support the practice of “repairing” gays and marginalizing us to the point of destruction. They say they stood in line to defend the first amendment, the right to speak. However, I critique the leadership of Chick-fil-A because I embrace a faith that goes beyond the amendment of one nation’s constitution. Rather, I believe in a value system of love that is eternal and a corporate understanding of justice for all people.

Chick-Fil-A Controversy: Gay Activist Plan Fast Food Protests

Some customers stated that they were in line silently standing up for their faith. If part of my faith was to deny certain groups of people adequate housing, access to medical care, good jobs and then send that same group to “repairative camps,” you would rightfully call me a hate-monger. I will just call them heretics. Centuries ago the church would burn heretics at the stake. In my worst moments I just hope they go home with heartburn.

I am a Christian. Unfortunately most people believe the haters like Mike Huckabee are the Christians. Haters believe that following the beliefs and teachings of Jesus, arguably the most justice-orientated, inclusive and loving person in history, leads them to stand in line at Chick-fil-A to condemn the faggots, dykes and queers. Little do they know they are heaping hot barbeque sauce upon their own heads.

The lines around the building and blocks of Chick-fil-A were a reminder to those of us who are progressive Christians how far we have to go. The disheartening day of August first was depressing even by the standards of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender movement for liberation. Bigotry came out of the closet in force that day.

Be not dismayed, however. Yes, we have been beat up, stepped on, abused, bullied, murdered and marginalized for too long. For every two steps forward there is one step back. We are the ones who end up on the crosses of contemporary religious hatred. However, we know we are hated because we are making progress. We need to turn up the heat. Progressive Christians need to come out of the closet, and we need to do it in mainstream life every day, not only when a convenient culture clash hits social media.

Haters and heretics are mad because we have the media tools and compelling arguments to turn the tide from hatred into love. We no longer accept hatred and discrimination as Biblical law. We will not remain in “our place,” which really makes the haters and heretics hotter than the oil in a fryer. Yes, the real Christians are not hating, but loving. We are not seeking Biblical law to keep others out, but believe in justice that holds everyone in.

For those who just want to eat their sandwich in peace, I apologize for this interruption. You probably did not make it to the end of this posting anyway. The opportunities for cultural change are not always planned or convenient. Sometimes they do not even make any sense. Nevertheless, here we are, searching for something better, bigger, more loving and more hopeful than the narrow messages of television Christianity.

Unfortunately, many have been led astray, convinced that their prejudices are the Word of God. There is part of me that actually feels for the people outside all those Chick-fil-As.  All those people stood in line around corners and across parking lots, searching for righteousness and something to believe in.  In the end, however, all they got was a chicken sandwich.

The Christian faith is and has always been better than that, even if the church has not. Defined by love, upheld by hope and driven by a sense of justice, people of faith are standing up every day, even without headlines. It is with a sense of anticipation that I await the day when even the heretics are converted to believers.

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