So I was debating with myself yesterday about whether or not I should make a follow-up post to my previous one about Chick-Fil-A given all of what went on yesterday with the appreciation day. Then last night I actually dreamed about it all, and that made up my mind.
Interestingly it was actually a happy dream, not the nightmare I would have expected given what I was feeling. I’m not one to get easily hurt or offended, but I found that observing so many of my friends post on Facebook their gleeful support of what Dan Cathy said was actually hurtful. I did not expect that at all. Being in the closet and in a conservative Christian community means that it’s not uncommon to hear some degrading remark or another about us queer people, and it usually doesn’t phase me at all. However, for some reason what happened yesterday did. I haven’t fully puzzled out why yet, but I think part of my hurt comes from the fact that so many of my friends participated and were so gleeful about it. (Statistically, it was about 2 in every thousand people in the nation that went, but Patrick Henry College people have never been very good at math and must have missed the memo that only 2/3rds of one of us was supposed to go.) I do care very much for many of these people, some of whom have been my friends for my entire life, and to see them so carelessly rejoicing in Cathy’s statements about how people like me are basically in open rebellion against God and that we are twisted, depraved, tragic, and inviting the judgment of God upon this nation we so love was incredibly hurtful. I know that most of them are probably ignorant about what all Cathy actually said, and how that came across, but ignorance is a very poor excuse for causing such hurt.
I even knew this is what the reaction of so many of my friends would be, but that foreknowledge did nothing to prepare me for the reality of it. I’ve been very blessed and fortunate in my life to not have really suffered any personal hurt because of my being gay as of yet, but yesterday for the first time, I think I was finally able to understand what it is like to feel the hatred of other Christians that so many LGBTQ people have felt before. I had an intellectual knowledge of this, and have talked to many queer people who have been seriously hurt by Christians or the Church, but such knowledge only goes so far until it is experienced. Of course, my experience yesterday completely pales in comparison to what so many other have suffered, especially since it was not specifically directed at me, but finally truly understand the hurt, even if only a little.
I still love Chick-Fil-A food, but after yesterday and the way that conservative Christians decided to politicize the company and it’s food, I’m no longer sure I can go eat there in good conscience like I though I could a few days ago. And I’m not the only one that has had such a change of heart. The Daily Beast published an excellent article/letter from a young lesbian woman who works at a Chick-Fil-A who has had a similar change of heart. I encourage you to read it as it is quite powerful, though sad.
A handful of my friends are saying yesterday was nothing more than about supporting free speech (which I’m happily also a supporter of), but the vast majority of those I know and videos of others that I’ve seen all said it was about supporting what Dan Cathy said. The other ridiculous thing is that there’s no boycott of Chick-Fil-A going on, though certainly some people have expressed their rights of free speech and association to say they will no longer go to Chick-Fil-A. The ironic thing is the increasing number of stories from people, like me, who were going to continue to go to Chick-Fil-A in spite of what Cathy said, but after yesterday have since changed our minds. Chick-Fil-A is no longer just a Christian company, which was never a secret, but is now an anti-marriage equality Christian company. This is a label that is going to stick with them for a long time and going to do a lot more harm to the company than good. And it’s all thanks to Mike Huckabee.
Yesterday was the waking nightmare where my friends posted in support of a man who thinks I’m in open rebellion against God. Last night my dream was about my friends learning the truth about what Cathy had said, realizing how hurtful his words were and their support of them, and changing their statues to express their sorrow over the pain they caused and how much they truly wanted to express God’s love. The reality of today is no different from yesterday’s, but I pray my dream was prophetic of a more loving future.