Unless you live in a world with no news coverage you must know that yesterday, August 1st, was Chick-fil-A appreciation day. Mr. Cathy, CEO and son of the company founder made some statements about what he and his company believe in. You can read about it all here if you have been living without news coverage. If you do, clue me in on how to live there, I could use a long break from the news these days. When I first started to hear the flap (no pun intended) about the statements Mr. Cathy made and the outcry against them from the homosexual groups and their liberal supporters I ignored it all, keeping my head down and focusing on the things I focus on, laundry, cooking, my kids, you know, the usual.
I started to hear about hate, I saw Facebook pictures talking about hate filled chicken, I heard about Chick-fil-A appreciation day and sort of rolled my eyes. Here we go again. Then I began seeing headlines about mayors of major cities trying to keep Chick-fil-A restaurants out of their cities, Chick-fil-A values were not Chicago values, government officials writing letters to Mr. Cathy. I had to know what Mr. Cathy said that was so very hateful.
“We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”
“We intend to stay the course,” Cathy said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’” Cathy said. “I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”
I must admit that I was really looking for something bitter, something venomous, something hateful. Instead it was a call to attention, it was biblical and it was positive in reference to family. We decided to go to Chick-fil-A on Wednesday. Mac got time off work, Emma and her friend Ben were both available, Cliff was willing to work it around his work, we made our plan to drive the one hour to the nearest Chick-fil-A restaurant. I’d never been to one though I’ve heard good things about their chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. I posted the following on my Facebook, Wednesday morning.
Yes, I’m planning a trip to Chick-fil-A today, not because I think this is some kind of war, us against them, but because I support Mr. Cathy’s right to speak about the values his company believes in. I’ve read secular reports of what exactly he said and I can not find anything hateful in them. He was also speaking to 1) a Christian radio show and 2) a Baptist newspaper. He was not screaming at a gay couple or at a gay rally, he was asked a question in an interview and he answered it. Perhaps, if more of us could respectfully tell others what we hold true then we could also share our faith more and then the lost could be found. Our number one mission: to love God with our all, our number two is to love others as we love ourselves. If God is our all in all, then the most loving thing we can do is to share Him with others. I feel Mr. Cathy has made a step in that direction with his comments about biblical marriage and family values. If more would simply ask him or others that hold the same values, rather than throwing a fit that he believes something they don’t, we could change the world! I can understand when the unchurched feel threatened by his comments, but for the churched to call him hateful is so sad. “Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?” Mark 8:18
Unfortunately Cliff had some issues with work yesterday and we did not get started for Chick-fil-A until 7:30 pm. It was a one hour drive and we didn’t realize the location was in a mall, so we drove past it. When we figured out it was a mall location we still didn’t know where in the mall. Turns out we parked on the exact opposite side of the mall from the food court. We high tailed it through the mall and then we saw the line. Okay, a line, the mall closes at 9pm, it was 8:45, we’ll get in the line and see what happens. The line went through the food court, around a corner and out the door. We stepped into it and then two other groups got in line behind us. A mall security officer was very friendly and gave us updates about the plan, Chick-fil-A would stay open until they ran out of food, if you were in line by 9pm you were good to go, there were hundreds in line in front of us. The pastor’s wife and her daughter behind us had already eaten there once that day so they opted out. A couple came out and gave a sandwich and fries to the men who were last in line but they’d already eaten there too so they gave their sandwich to Ben. People chatted with those in line around them and when we finally made our way inside the mall a woman stood near us and sang. Then people walking past, Chick-fil-A bags in hand, began telling us the restaurant was out of food. They offered to stay open and sell gift cards instead. We stayed in line for a little while after that, but opted out. When we got home it was nearly 1 am. I posted the following on my Facebook:
Got a very late start to Toledo and ended up in line at the Chick-fil-A there by 8:50, they officially closed at 9 but the mall they’re located in allowed them to stay open until they ran out of food at about 10:20pm. There were still several hundred in line ahead of us. The people behind us had left, that made us the official last in line. We opted to head for home rather than wait to buy a gift card instead of the chicken sandwich everyone told me was so good. As we stood in that line we met people who wanted to be there to support free speech. One lady sang Amazing Grace for us. We cheered each time someone exited the mall with Chick-fil-A bags. Love was not absent. It was all around us, it was in the people who shared fries or sandwiches with those in the back of the line, it was in the songs and conversation around us. There were about 20 protesters there, I wish we could have talked with them, but they were kept behind a line, I didn’t want to stir up trouble, though they were all quiet, only standing there in rainbow attire. I did pray for them, hoping they would understand it’s not about hating them, it’s about being allowed to believe what we believe without government stepping in (Rahm Emanual etc…), it’s about being able to tell others what we believe without being called names (though Jesus did warn us that we’d be persecuted in His name), it’s about supporting our brothers and sisters when they’re threatened for answering questions about their faith, it’s about being able to share Jesus with the lost. I know the battle is between God and Satan, I know that our priority is to share Jesus, but if we don’t support each other and give a clear message to our government we could lose our freedom. In places like China they go to jail for attending a non state church, they go to jail for having a non state supplied Bible which is edited by the government, they are beaten and their homes taken from them for talking about Jesus. I stood in line tonight with thousands of others for a chicken sandwich that I never got to buy because I do not want to see my country go down that road too. I know that in the end God wins, the battle is already His, but we do not stop trying to reach as many as we can with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who stepped into our place and took the punishment we deserved for the sins we commit against a holy and just God, he was executed in our place and paid the price for our sins. He was buried and three days later He rose from the grave, alive, in person, nail scars in his hands and feet, to give us eternal life if we believe and repent. It’s that easy, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”Romans 10:9. I stood there out of love, I do not want the government or the media telling me that I can not tell people about Jesus. It was never about being “anti gay”, it was to protect our right to tell people what we believe.
I never got to try that chicken sandwich and waffle fries, but I hope to soon. I hope the people there protesting saw the smiles on our faces and the hope in our hearts. I pray that our country can talk about our differences rather than get angry and I saw this not as a protest against anything, but as a support for something.