Reflecting on the Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day A Week Later – Post 1

I took some time off last week, hung out with my family and decided to cut back on my social media intake and blogging. I know I’m late in posting on this but like with many things, I want to add to the conversation and be counted for whatever it is I am for/against. These thoughts have been brewing for a little while now and though I thought twice about posting on the Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day, I am getting a handle on my words now.

I had the privilege of given the sermon last week; it was on the imprecatory Psalms, specifically Ps. 109 and was called, “A Song to My Enemy.” Toward the end, I tried to make the point that Christians can not simultaneously build the Kingdom of God and fight a culture war. They are mutually exclusive and simply put, Jesus calls us to seek first the Kingdom of God.

I also tried to make the point that “others” are not our enemies and that includes “liberal ‘whatevers’, ultra-conservative (insert name of choice here), the LGBTQ community, the media, the marketers, members of the finance world, scientists, etc.” While we are called to hate evil and pursue justice, Jesus makes it clear to that our love is to be for the other, even those we differ strongly with – hence he uses the word “enemy.”

About Chick-Fil-A: I actually like their food and I take my two little boys on our errand days. If I am being honest, I would probably like Chick-Fil-A if they were owned by an agnostic who loved the Red Sox. Until this week, I thought it was a healthier option that most fast-food places but there is a lot of MSG and other common fast-food additives (Google Chick-Fil-A, MSG for more). Further, Thomas Turner from Everyday Liturgy wrote a great post on sustainable and just practices that has me thinking. Check out the follow-up post he wrote the day after before calling him an idealist.. While I don’t understand the issues this way, I am motivated to read more and also examine the other angles – thanks Thomas.

When I first heard that Dan Cathy first made these comments, my first thought was “Why?” My second thought is why are the Chick-Fil-A founders such celebrities in the Christian scene? I complained about this recently on my review of the Preaching Rocket conference. I get that anyone can be a celebrity today and that our culture holds CEO’s in special esteem but this strikes me as getting weirder and weirder.

In any case, I read the interview here and felt that Cathy has every right to answer the question however he wishes. He is entitled to believe and express his views in an appropriate manner. Further, I appreciated that he didn’t go out of his way to attack the gay community. Like many have pointed out, it would be one thing if Chick-Fil-A discriminated in the serving or hiring of the members of the LGBTQ community. And while I thought this was extremely unhelpful to the cultural landscape, I didn’t want to see him or his company suffer either for answering the question in this way. I think that’s fair.

For the past few years on this blog, among the consistent themes has been sticking up for the cultural scapegoat. I’ve posted that we need to stop yelling at Mel Gibson, even Mark Driscoll (for those who know who he is) and a handful of others. It saddens me that we drag people out into the media spotlight like this, attempt to tie a noose around their neck and yell at each other until our scapegoats gets rescued, vanishes, or a new one appears (“Hey look there’s Sandusky!”).

So I didn’t want to see Chick-Fil-A suffer, however, I’m definitely not comfortable with Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day either. I have to say that the numerous Facebook/Twitter/emails I saw and received actually made me feel uncomfortable to how this must have looked to the “other”, particularly the gay community and then secondly, anyone outside the Church. (Though I realize that Fox News Host Mike Huckabee called for the Appreciation Day, it was certainly a hit among many in the Church). My concern is when people line up around the mall and create traffic jams to make the point of ordering chicken sandwiches, what does that say? Most people hate standing in line for more than seven minutes, last Wednesday, thousand could not wait to wait.  This is where the “taking a stand” rhetoric is concerning.

It’s concerning because it sends the wrong message, even if they are never stated, not believed by a majority or not intended.  But among the messages is, “you are my enemy” and according to Jesus, that simply is not Christian. Believe me, I’m all for religious freedom, I am traditional in many respects, but I have a heart for those outside the Church and for the many who feel detached or marginalized inside the Church and my concern is in the big picture, the events of last week did not help.

More later regarding the ridiculous comments from city mayors, the unnecessary use of the term “bigots,” religious freedom and a few people whose response I appreciated. Feel free to express your thoughts – thanks for reading.


  1. Ruthann Anderson says:

    Tim, this whole thing was very puzzling to me, from the response of the people who overreacted calling this man a bigot to the people who stood in line for hours just to buy a greasy chicken sandwich to prove their point. Being politically correct has been elevated above being able to honestly dialogue in our society, not to mention how standing for hours in line doing nothing while waiting to buy a chicken sandwich can be productive in any meaningful way for the Kingdom? Both sides’ reasoning is flawed.

  2. Debispragetti says:

    I’m with Ruthann. I felt like on the one side Chicfila has always been open about their traditional family stance and I also think that the media slant is getting more obvious by the day. To have people arguing either direction makes me wonder what rocks they have been hiding under! (Thats my less than gracious opinion. My gracious opinion has run out on this topic)
    Also, I agree with you about the healthiness of the food, its still fast food. I was near a Chicfila this last weekend but made no effort to purchase for this reason, I like the food to an extent, but at the same time in my mind I’m not spending money on fast “junk” food if I can avoid it. However I enjoy it when I’m craving it! :P That said the only circumstance under which I’d wait in ANY line that long for food is if I am truly starving and that is the last food on the planet and I’m not joking. Food is for the body, not the body for food, or in this case, politics.
    Tim, I liked your friends tweet about craving oreos and chicfila because her stomach doesn’t know politics and your comment about how odd that would have been a year ago… truth is it would have been a weird tweet two months ago! THAT I think is the annoyance for me, how quickly these issues blow up and pass. Will anyone care about this two months from now? Will people still be debating boycotts or sit ins? And if so, along what lines? ~sigh~ I’ve aired my grievances, thanks.

  3. To Ruthann, yeah I agree in some ways it is puzzling and bizarre. Unfortunately, in another way, in the culture war, very things and places are actually arbitrary. I think this is due to the idea that everything is symbolic – even a chicken sandwich made by a particular restaurant.
    To pick on some thing you are saying though, there is some goodness in the idea of being politically correct. Though the idea of it has been stretched unnecessarily in some ways, it is helpful. For instance, it is helpful to know how others wish to be described. I think if we could be consistent with this type of sensitivity (and for it to not be used as a form of control either), I agree with you in that we could have healthier dialogue.

  4. To Debi, The boycott – depending on the day, I go back and forth on whether or not boycotts are helpful or moral. Obviously the Montgomery Bus Boycott was both of those but I cannot think of many.
    I think many outside the LGBT community are going to look back on this as a trivial novelty moment, sad it happened, entertaining in some way. That sad thing will be is if we forget the hurt these moments create.

  5. Ruthann Anderson says:

    How exactly are you using the word “politically correct” in your response above?

  6. Good question – I value the type of politically correctness that encourages the culture to identify others in a way that is sensitive to race, age, gender, ideology, impairment, even sexual orientation. And I believe that group should decide how they wish to be described.
    My heart breaks when I hear someone from the majority culture mock someone by saying, “Now they want to be called … I hate this politically correct nonsense.” Contrary, I think this is a good thing for the progress of society.
    I know the PC conversation goes beyond that but that’s what I mean and what I’m defending.

  7. Mark Anderson says:

    I found your site by actually typing in the words “Why I don’t care for Max Lucado”. I realize you never say those words once anywhere on your blog, but whatever strange algorithms the internet uses decided I should check out your website around that subject. (I, like you, actually have nothing against Max Lucado. I personally am just tired of our Sunday School class doing a ML study every other series.)
    Anyway, I’ve read through several of your posts and just finished reading this summary of the CFA Appreciation Day (I haven’t yet read your 2 other posts on this subject). I found your argument to describe exactly, if not much more eloquently, the way I was feeling during that whole circus. I thought Dan Cathy was unfairly branded a bigot and vilified by some in the press and even among several social justice groups I respect. However, the whole CFA Appreciation Day felt very misguided to me. One of the points I made on my FB page was simply- If Dan Cathy had called for a “World Hunger Relief Day”, how many of those fine Christian folk would have waited in line for hours just to contribute?
    It was, in my opinion, a defining moment in many ways, not the least of which because it highlights where Christians experience a disconnect between what it means to defend Christian values and what it means to follow Christ. As Karl Barth would say, Christianity is a religion created by men; it’s our Tower of Babel as we try to reach God through our own interpretations and devices, and therefore is as susceptible to flawed thinking as any other man-made theological structure. My father was a United Methodist pastor for 36 years and he used to say- When we get to heaven, God will ask us what we did to help facilitate his kingdom here on earth and when we proudly say “we fought the Good Fight against the liberals and the athesists and the Darwinists and the homosexuals” God will look at us and shake his head in disappointment. It’s easy to be against something, because it doesn’t require any real effort on our part.
    The problem with things like the CFA appreciation day is that there is, at its most fundamental level, an implicit bigotry- an “us vs. them” attitude; and that harms the Church more deeply than any atheist rally or hidden media agenda ever could. It illustrates a failure to grasp that most fundamental element of Christ’s teachings- There is no “them”.

    Again- great insight on your blog- I’m a follower now. Oh and “Go Red Sox”!!

  8. Mark, thanks for taking the time to write this comment.

    Can’t agree more with “If Dan Cathy had called for a “World Hunger Relief Day”, how many of those fine Christian folk would have waited in line for hours just to contribute?” (Or if Huckabee called for it).

    Yes, we need to rid ourselves of the “us versus them” language if we ever desire to further conversation.

    But you’re a Red Sox fan huh? Some of my closest friends are too. I won’t talk any trash to you … this year but hang in there – it will get fun again soon.

  9. Mark Anderson says:

    Oh, I’m pretty sure Red Sox/Yankees will always be an “us versus them” situation. >:) It’s funny because Graig Nettles bought the house across the street from us and I seem to be wearing my Boston hat every time I see him. Take care and thanks for all the insightful commentary. It’s a pleasure to read.

  10. Funny about Nettles.
    Thanks again for your words – looking forward to chatting with you.


  1. […] and why telling the truth in a true context of love is essential. Maybe more later but check out yesterday’s post for more […]

  2. […] couple people who wanted to know why I didn’t want Chick-Fil-A to suffer as I mentioned in my first post. As also mentioned, the country is divided fairly evenly on this issue. We don’t need to […]

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