1.) I believe in the right to protest. Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing. This isn't a limited right. I don't mean, "if you agree with me, you can protest" or "if you believe that which is culturally acceptable, you may protest". What I mean is....
2.) If you stand for something, whatever that may be, you should stand for it 110%, and support it whole-heartedly. If you're easily swayed when things get tough, you don't actually believe something. A belief is not a belief unless you're willing to own up to it in conflict.
Get it? Okay. Good.
So how 'bout that Chick-fil-a? They sure know how to rustle feathers. Ha. See what I did there? Chickens have feathers and....yeah. Never mind.
Before the fateful day that I decided to cut meat out completely, I had a love affair with Chick-fil-a. The nearest one to the school was about 20 minutes away, but the pilgrimage was well worth it to indulge in some delicious nuggets with poly sauce. I'm not even going to lie to you. Pretty much every time I've been tempted to cheat on my vegetarian ways, it's been with Chick-fil-a. It's the taste of Jesus dancing in my mouth. The only possible complaint I might have is that frequently, on my way back to school on the weekends (typically on a Sunday), I would start craving and would be shocked to find that Chick-fil-a was, for some reason, closed on Sundays. I don't think I ever got used to this, and it would typically result in a dramatic dropping to the floor, shaking a fist at the sky, and screaming, "NOOOOOO!" I don't know what it is about those nuggets, but it's deep and it's real.
Unless you've been living under a rock, it's likely that you've heard about the little controversy surrounding the restaurant and their stance on gay marriage. They came out against it (no pun intended) and a large group of people got very, very upset. And you know what? That's okay. They're allowed to be upset. Some are boycotting. Also perfectly okay. An organization has directly opposed something that they believe is important. I wouldn't expect anyone to remain chill in that type of situation. It's upsetting. However, I firmly believe that the outcry in the situation has gotten out of hand, which thoroughly upsets me. Here's why.
First of all, why are we surprised by this whole situation? I'm being completely serious. Chick-fil-a CLOSES one day per week because of their (completely brazen and open, I might add) Christian values. Do you realize the revenue they are forfeiting by doing this? Do you know how many hungry people there are on Sunday afternoons? At least in the Christian community, that seems to be the universal, "Hey, let's go out to eat" day. And Christianity as a whole openly states that homosexuality is a sin. There are many different ways that this is expressed, some more militant (which typically just make me angry) and some with love, but it's unreasonable that when someone says that they are a Christian and that they run a Christian business, to expect them to hide that portion of their belief. They run a business firmly rooted in their faith. It's their prerogative to express their views, just like they do by closing on Sundays to accommodate these beliefs. They made a stand and that's okay. And people disagreed with that stand. As I said before, also okay. You can't get mad because people are choosing not to put their money into something they disagree with.
On the flip side of that argument, about a month ago, Oreo released an ad that showed support for Pride month. This resulted in a number of Christians that I know stating that they would boycott the brand because, much like the current situation, Oreo was blantatly violating their beliefs. Guess what? This boycott was perfectly okay too. If Oreo wants to support marriage equality, that's their right. If you don't want to do the same, you don't have to. And nobody should put you down for that.
The problem comes, in both cases, when the sides start name calling and being disrespectful to one another, and that's what's started to happen here. When the Oreo boycott happened, those opposing were called bigoted and ignorant, which wasn't fair. Are there some who are, in fact, bigoted? Of course. Was everyone involved like this? Absolutely not. And in the current situation, I've seen the nastiness come from both sides, which upsets me because I support a little bit of both.
Just so that you have some background, I have been raised and am proud to remain a Christian. I also happen to have a lot of friends that happen to be gay. And from a legal standpoint, I don't totally oppose the concept of gay marriage. My reasons for this are extensive and complicated and are for another time and post other than this one. I can see both sides of the arguments presented, but the argument has gotten to the point where I don't really care to, because no one seems to be able to discuss it civilly.
To those who support Chick-fil-a: Good for you for standing up and supporting an organization that you believe in. That's awesome. You can't see me, but I'm giving you a thumbs up. But knock the hating off. Not everyone has to show the crispy chicken love that you are, and just because you disagree with the opposition doesn't mean that the founding fathers are rolling in their graves. You don't have to agree with what they're saying, but you also don't get to hate on them for standing up for what they believe in, just like they shouldn't get to hate on you for standing up for your views.
To those who oppose Chick-fil-a: Good for you for standing up and supporting a cause that you believe in. That's awesome. You can't see me, but I'm giving you a thumbs up. But knock the hating off. Really. You're making me look bad here. I'm all for advocating for rights, but you need to understand that while it's not okay for people to hate on anyone for their sexual orientation, it's also not okay for you to knock someone for their religious beliefs. Gay marriage supporters aren't the only ones with freedom of speech. Christians are welcome to that too.
In closing, I'd like to share the views of Antoine Dodson, famed for his autotuned news story that became the famous "Bed Intruder Song", who happens to be openly gay, yet opposed to the boycott.
If you disagree with the stance that an organization has taken, by all means, exercise your right not to support that organization. But please keep in mind that others are welcome to make that same decision, and you may not always choose the same things.