Friday, July 27, 2012

All Opinions are Sacred, Except Those That Aren't

I sometimes have difficulty talking to people who haven't worked in a kitchen. Being a professional cook is a lot like cooking for a 70 person dinner party, and everyone is arriving at different times and wants different things. You have to juggle multiple trains of thought at once, and if you can't do that, you simply won't keep up.

Chik-Fil-A, which I understand to be a fried chicken chain (I really haven't spent all that much time south of the border), is the subject of a recent boycott by some on the left after their president made a statement, while stalking to a religious reporter, no less, that they supported the biblical order of marriage. Film at eleven.

In seriousness, such a statement, made inside a church, isn't exceptionally rare. Neither is the position, within churches, that marriage should be of the biblical variety. The only reason this became an issue is that the speaker has what passes for notoriety in the States, and that, for the most part, the entertainment media leans left (in contrast to every other business, which inherently leans right). Cue an uproar. Chik-fil-A is anti-gay! Film at eleven.

Thing is, Chik-fil-A hasn't actually done anything wrong. They do not discriminate (on protected grounds) in hiring or in service. President Dan Cathy wasn't necessarily speaking for the entire company, and even if he was, there's nothing wrong, legally, with what he said. The problem with this particular boycott is that it is the result of a difference of opinion, which I suppose is ultimately true in all cases, but this particular difference of opinion is predicated upon an unwillingness or inability to understand the opposing point of view.

To the boycott-supporters, I can only say that you're fighting this one stupidly. Taking the things that people honestly believe on religious grounds and bigotry is fine. You're allowed to do that, both here and in the US. The problem is that it doesn't work. You aren't going to change minds. You aren't going to pursuade anyone. You're just going to piss them off and set their heels more firmly into the muck. This has to be made clear: you must frame the issue properly.

There is a fear, a palpable fear, whenever any ground is lost, that the Churches will somehow have to change their teaching in order to coincide with the new laws. It must be made clear that this fear is unfounded. "Congress shall establish no law establishing a state religion or abridging the freedom of religion", I believe is the line. Religious Marriage and Civil Marriage are two different but often entangled things. The church marries you spiritually, and the marriage licence marries you legally. That's all gay marriage is. Civil marriage.

To the others, as is said, I disagree with what you are saying but will fight with my death to defend your right to say it. I hold that the old covenant has been fulfilled (as we are taught) and that includes the abolition of homosexuality. For those who insist that homosexuality is still a sin, I have a few questions, and must nod generously to Aaron Sorkin.

My mother-in-law is thinking of auctioning off her daughter as permitted in Exodus 21:7. She's special to me and if anyone's going to own her I'd rather it was me. What price should I offer? My team lead insists on doing work on the Sabbath; Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death - do I have to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police? There are 90,000 people in this city: do they all have to gather to watch me be put to death for planting different crops side-by-side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing clothes made from two different threads? And one more thing: you like shrimp, right?

While we all have generally forgotten that morality comes from within and justice comes from without, I want to make it clear that we can't pick-and-choose which proscriptions in the bible we get to follow. If you're a Christian who thinks they have supreme moral authority, then speaking as a Christian - Go to bed, would you please?

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