Why I Won’t Be at Chick-Fil-A Tomorrow

It’s been a busy (and exciting!) week, and I’ve been giving the blog a rest. However, it seems one cannot properly call oneself a “blogger” at all these days without having an opinion about Chick-Fil-A — and broadcasting it to the world.

So far, over half a million people have announced on Facebook that they plan to attend “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day”, an event launched by former U.S. Presidential hopeful and Fox News personality Mike Huckabee. According to Huckabee, this event’s goal is simple:

Let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1.

My family and I will not be attending Chick-Fil-A Day, and here’s why:

Reason #1 is that it’s not in the budget. I love a Chick-Fil-A sandwich as much as anyone (and probably more than most), but my family budgets our meal money, and this is not a meal we planned to eat out. I think the entire brouhaha about Dan Cathy’s statements on “traditional marriage” is entirely ridiculous, and I flat out refuse to let it dictate my actions one way or another.

Do I “affirm a business that operates on Christian principles”? Sure, but that’s not why I give them my business. I go there (occasionally) because they make a tasty sandwich available at a reasonable price. It’s the same reason I also take my family (occasionally) to eat at local establishments owned by Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, and who knows who else. If they make a product I want at a price I can afford, then we can do business. Granted, I give Chick-Fil-A more of my business than their competitors because I happen to think they have a better business model (including better product, better prices, and better service), but in my mind this is more of an evidence of “Christian principles” than an affirmation of them.

The second — and more important — reason I won’t be participating tomorrow is that I simply don’t see wielding purchasing power as a proper (or effective) means of engaging in the debate over homosexuality, or any other social issue. Yes, the media-fueled negative reaction to Dan Cathy’s remarks has been an extreme example of the intolerance of “tolerance”, and we’ve seen some shocking infringements upon free speech by some prominent American mayors, but is having a “CFA Day” the right response? To me it feels like Christians are really just affirming the unspoken assumption of the media that our choice of where we do business is the proper arena for religious and political expression. I can’t buy that.

Incidentally, before Christians (and particularly Southern Baptists) get too upset about the proposed boycott of a company over the issue of homosexuality, it should be noted that Chick-Fil-A is not the first such target. The Southern Baptist Convention voted nearly unanimously at the 1996 Annual Meeting to boycott Disney — a move that had little to no financial impact on the company before being unanimously ended at the 2005 Annual Meeting.

Earlier this year, many Christians were calling for a boycott of Starbucks because of that company’s stance on gay marriage. On this blog I seconded Russell Moore’s thoughts on the potential boycott, and think it’s worth re-examining them in light of the current controversy:

But we don’t persuade our neighbors by mimicking their angry power-protests. We persuade them by holding fast to the gospel, by explaining our increasingly odd view of marriage, and by serving the world and our neighbors around us, as our Lord does, with a towel and a foot-bucket.

I realize that not everyone going to Chick-Fil-A tomorrow is angry, and I’m not trying to dissuade even those who are. I just don’t want people to think that they must go, as if their position as conservative Christians is at stake if they don’t. And I certainly don’t want anyone to think that if they do go they will have done their part and can then safely disengage from influencing culture. There really is a battle raging, but it’s not what people think, and it’s not going to be won by eating fried chicken.

Here are a few Chick-Fil-A posts collected from the far reaches of the blogosphere that are constructive and/or provocative:

Combing the Net – 7/21/2012

The Dark Night in Denver: Groping for Answers — Al Mohler on the reality of human evil, and how to begin to make sense of yesterday’s shooting in Colorado.

Was the Batman Shooting Imitating a 1986 Comic? — This is a search for a different sort of answer. Not the most important question to be asking, but still curious.

Aspiring Sportscaster Among the Casualties — In what might be one of the saddest stories from Colorado, here is the story of a young journalist who was one of the 12 people killed in the movie theater shooting. The last entry in her blog was the account of her escape from a shooting at a shopping mall in Toronto last month. What are the chances?

Why Calvinism Should Not Divide the SBC — Paige Patterson and Al Mohler on cooperation among Southern Baptists with different understandings of the doctrine of election.

Ramadan FAQ’s — The Islamic holy month has just begun. Here are some of the main points for understanding what Ramadan is all about.

Nashville Symphony Chorus Auditions — I really wish I could sing in this chorus, if only just to be part of the “Symphony of a Thousand!” If anyone is interested in singing some really challenging literature with a great ensemble, you might want to look into this. Here’s a clip of the finale of Mahler’s 8th Symphony, which the NSO will be performing in September:

Combing the Net – 6/6/2012

The Swiss Army Survival Tampon — 10 Survival Uses — Here are ten ways in which the Tactical Adventure Medical Preparedness Outdoors Necessity  (a.k.a. “tampon”) could save your life. Are you manly enough to keep a tampon or two with you at all times?

What Every Husband Should Know About Stay-at-Home Moms — I think my wife would probably affirm the description of life as a SAHM as an “epic battle against chaos”. I’m so thankful for her willingness to engage in this battle, and her ability to (more often than not) defeat her foe.

Charles Wesley’s Works Amassed Online — Dr. Randy Maddox and the Duke Divinity School have compiled and made available to the public every hymn and verse ever published by Charles Wesley, as well as a great many that he wrote but never published. This project was five years in the making! The catalog is available here. (HT: Trevin Wax)

FAQs About the Current SBC Debate Over Salvation — Here’s the “nutshell” version of the controversy going around the Southern Baptist Convention right now, including definitions of terms being used which may be unfamiliar to some, such as “soteriology” and “semi-Pelagianism”.

Southern Baptists, It’s Time to Talk — Al Mohler is right (as usual). In his comments on the document that’s got everyone in a tizzy, he calls for unity within the denomination, while expressing some serious reservations with the concerns brought forward in the document.

What does it mean to be “equal”?

Combing the Net – 6/5/2012

To Cheat or Not to Cheat — This is a great article from Sports Illustrated that looks back at four minor league pitchers from the 90’s. Three never made the big leagues, but stayed clean. The fourth developed a 96-mph heater (thanks to steroid use) and got the call up, but has had to live with regrets ever since.

What if the “Culture War” Never Happened? — Have we all uncritically accepted the idea of a politically polarizing “culture war” that never existed?

The problem is, it’s a terribly impoverished term. In what sense is the life or death of an unborn child a matter of “cultural” preference? It’s a fundamentally moral and theological question. Pro-lifers are not fighting to protect their culture; they’re fighting to protect innocent human persons whose lives are being stolen from them before they were allowed to blossom. The nature and purpose of marriage, too, is profoundly moral and theological. Every culture known to human history has honored marriage precisely because marriage is not a merely cultural matter. You can say that the “culture war” has been a struggle over the direction of our culture, and that’s true as far as it goes, but it’s much deeper than that. This is why I’m tempted to say that there is no such thing as a culture war in the first place. There never was. There was and continues to be a struggle over the attempt to replace traditional Christian moral and theological beliefs on life and family and sexuality, and the attempt to defend those things.

Response to “A Statement of Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” — There is (and has been for a while) a debate going on within the Southern Baptist Convention about soteriology. We all agree that God saves, but how does he do it? A document was created recently that argues that “the vast majority of Southern Baptists” reject the “doctrines of grace”, and proposes that the SBC coalesce around 10 affirmations and denials. The page I’ve linked to is part of an ongoing series of responses by Tom Ascol that will continue over the next week or two. I suggest you start at the beginning, but have linked to the most recent article because it contains links to all the others. Stay tuned: this is an important debate!

What Does Scripture Teach Us About the Future Role of Israel? — I appreciate this short clarification by R.C. Sproul as it is proof that one does not have to subscribe to a dispensational eschatology to affirm the Bible’s teaching about the future salvation of ethnic Jews. (For more on this topic, click here.)

Unload groceries like a man:

I don’t know what a Yorkie bar is, but I want one!