(Originally posted on CoM in August 2012)
Several people have asked for my thoughts on last week's "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day", so I'm emerging from my summer hibernation to write a few words about it.
To start, I support Dan Cathy's right to express his view on any issue (whether personal, religious, or political), and I'd go to battle on his behalf to defend his right to express his views. This is above and beyond the fact that I may disagree with his views, and find the movements/organizations he supports objectionable. So, long story short - Dan Cathy wasn't the problem last week. Evangelical Christianity (the political movement it has become) was the problem. I'll explain why I believe this...
My Facebook newsfeed lit up with people showing pictures of CFAs packed wall-to-wall with Christians, many of them raving about it all and saying stuff like "What a great day for the KINGDOM!!!" and such. These people were carrying on as if something truly great had been accomplished for the cause of Christ.
The reality is, the most meaningful thing that any of these folk did last Monday was buy and eat a chicken sandwich. That's it.
"But, but, but...How can you say that?! You weren't there! We were standing for God and His Word!"
I don't think God would have given a rip if you'd gone to Burger King and had a Whopper instead. You see, I don't really think God cares which political party you support, what political platform you support, et cetera. I don't think eternity is determined by some kind of conservative/liberal Mason-Dixon line. But...I'm pretty sure Jesus was against hypocrisy, and there was a boatload of it last week. Lots of Pharisees, who don't think they're Pharisees, who'd be offended to be called Pharisees, but were absolute, blatant, flaming Pharisees last week.
"How dare you call me a hypocrite or a Pharisee!!!"
Well, it's not like you've given me a heck of a lot of choice in the matter. I mean, the ONLY way there'd have been a bigger crowd at CFA is if Mr. Cathy had expressed an opinion against gay Muslim abortion doctors. If he'd have spoken out against adultery, for instance, which btw is something Jesus actually taught about, maybe half or more of the CFA appreciators would've had to drop their stones and leave the mob. If he'd have spoken out against cheating on your taxes, which btw is something else Jesus taught about, we might've been left with what, two or three appreciators per CFA still holding stones?
It's a sad thing that Christianity has become a political movement. Even worse that those caught up in it can't tell the difference between faith and politics, thinking the two go hand in hand, declaring that this is a "Christian nation", declaring their desire to see our nation ruled by "God's Word", when common sense should tell them that such would completely do away with so much as the notion of religious freedom. You can't honestly tell people that they're free to follow whatever religion they choose, so long as they act, think, and believe like Christians. Common sense should also tell them that such would make America nothing more than a "Christian" version of the Taliban or Al Qaeda. Remember, all they want is for nations to be ruled by a holy book, too.
The problem starts when the extremists take over the conversation. On the right, it's basically the Tea Party leaders who've co-opted the evangelical platform, with people like Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, et cetera beating the drum and stirring up the discontent by making evangelicals feel threatened. These people are no more "Republican" than George Soros is "Democrat". They're extremists and radicals. Christians are being manipulated, and their fears and emotions are determining their actions and casting their votes on behalf of their absent brains. The culture which feeds religious addiction has blinded them so that they can't distinguish a blurred line between religion and politics, so that they can't genuinely tell you where their political conservatism ends and their faith begins - or vice versa. Blind emotional loyalty to "the cause" reigns supreme - and they can't really tell you what "the cause" is, at least not without becoming political.
It reminds me of something I've witnessed up close...the culture of NASCAR. NASCAR has a culture all it's own, and it's not something that you "dabble" in. The people in it are in it. In the early part of the last decade, I was involved in a few Motor Racing Outreach events. We'd be at the track across three or four days, doing concerts each night somewhere around the track or in one of the on-sight campgrounds (these people bring their campers in for the entire week, and they drink, and they drink some more, and they wash it down with a drink or two). By the time any actual racing events rolled around, the typical race fan was three sheets. They'd be decked out in the hat and t-shirt of their favorite driver, with a beer ever at the ready resting in a koozie with the image or number of their favorite driver. Many of them just wander aimlessly around the track. But...if and when they hear the name of their favorite driver over the track PA system, it doesn't matter if they're at the concession stand, in the toilet, in the parking lot, or wherever, they turn toward the track, raise their beer, and let out a "Woooooooooooo!!!" This is basically the extent of their engagement to the actual racing events. Drunk, no real idea what's actually happening on the track, but if you hit the right trigger, you get a demonstrative display of emotion based on loyalty.
The above is more or less what happened last week. A group of people, drunk on an everflowing tap of Christian culture, were triggered (probably by their pastors telling them the day before to go to CFA), and they raised their chicken sandwiches toward the CFA track and went "Woooooooooooo!!!" They really didn't know much about what was happening on the CFA track - and they don't care as long as their driver wins and the other guys lose.
This doesn't account for everybody who was there last week...but my money would say it accounts for most.