“Why the Chick-fil-A Boycott is Really about Jesus”
A lot of fuss has been made recently about chicken sandwiches–and not without reason. While I lament the scarcity of Chick-fil-A restaurants in the Boston area, the mayor of Boston recently swore to prevent the business from expanding into the city because of his disagreement with Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy’s stance on traditional and biblical marriage (i.e. marriage is between one man and one woman). In response to this, many people are showing their support for a biblical definition of marriage by eating at the restaurant for “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” and this on the day when religious institutions across the country have to begin dealing with the implications of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which has now gone into effect and penalizes religious organizations for holding true to their convictions about life and conception.
Not only is the mayor’s response (and others like it in Chicago and San Francisco) merely the latest example of a severe confusion of what free exercise of religion means (see Ross Douthat’s penetrating piece in the New York Times), it’s a clear example of why Owen Strachan is correct that as Christians, we can’t opt out of the so-called culture wars. We might lament the way they have played out in the past and the present, but Christians must weigh in on these issues because what’s at stake is not chicken, or even the future of marriage and family, but the gospel of Jesus itself.
Later this week I’ll share some reflections on the gospel and the gay movement, but today I want to draw your attention to this piece by Trevin Wax: “Why the Chick-Fil-A Boycott is Really about Jesus.” Wax writes:
Though I’m weary of our culture’s tendency to politicize everything, I believe this Chick-fil-A boycott has revealed some fault lines in our culture that will lead to increasing pressure upon Christians who uphold the sexual ethic described in the New Testament. Furthermore, in listening to the mayors of Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco, it’s clear to me that – political posturing aside – this discussion may not be about the alleged homophobia of Chick-fil-A’s president but the actual Christophobia of the leaders of the cultural elite. . . .
After carefully defining the terms “homophobia” and “Christophobia” and supplying examples of what he’s talking about, Wax suggests:
What we are seeing today is a massive cultural shift that permits leaders to label Christians as intolerant and bigoted simply for expressing their views about how society should function. But strangely enough, the same social ostracism and cultural condescension are not extended to Muslims and faithful adherents to other religions. No, the prejudice appears to be directed toward Christians who dare to speak publicly about their deeply held religious convictions.
That’s why, at the end of the day, this conversation isn’t really about marriage, gay rights, or restaurant permits. It’s not about the cultural divide between north and south, liberal and conservative.
It’s about Jesus. It’s about the radical sexual ethic He put forth in His teaching – a moral zealousness that hits our current culture’s sexual permissiveness head-on. And it’s about His forgiveness offered to all sexual sinners, so long as we agree with Jesus about our sin and embrace Him instead.
The entire post is worth reading. Listen carefully to Wax’s conclusion:
As weary as we may be of the culture wars, the Chick-fil-A controversy is a harbinger of further ostracism to come. In the United States, the words of Jesus are coming to pass for those who hold tightly to His vision of sexuality: You will be hated because of Me.
So how should we respond? We’ve got to go beyond boycotts and political statements and feigned offense at perceived persecution. We’re called to love those who ostracize us, not boycott back. So let’s trumpet the message that Jesus is for all kinds of sinners, from the self-righteous deacon to the promiscuous transsexual, no matter what kind of vitriol comes our way.
The world tells homosexuals, “It gets better.” The church tells homosexuals, “Jesus is better.”
And that is why this boycott is really about Him.