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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Freedom [Waffle] Fries

In high school I was voted one of two seniors to most likely be president. I was involved in government, politics, and my dream was to become an attorney. 

That stayed the same until one day I realized that no matter what I learned, politics were mostly about opinion. So, I decided I'd keep my opinion and focus my professional pursuits somewhere else. 

On various occasions, I do take a political stance, and yesterday was one of those days. 

One of the defining attributes of being an American is that we have freedom of speech.

What that means is that we can express our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs (both religious and political) without being persecuted (i.e., "subject someone to hostility or ill-treatment, esp. because of their race or political or religious beliefs." 

A few days ago, Chick-fil-A CEO, Dan Cathy said about the company: "We are very much supportive of the family, the biblical definition of the family." 

What is that definition? That marriage is between a man and a woman. 

This is where things become sticky... 

Gay activists called Cathy's comments anti-gay, labeled Cathy a bigot, and called for a boycott of Chick-fil-A. 

Cathy never mentioned the gay community. He was not refusing to serve them. He was not throwing discriminatory slurs their way. He was expressing that his organization was founded on Christian principles. 

But, having politicians step in and dis-allow an organization in their community because of opinion is a violation of the First Amendment. 

Here's where I make things messy... 

Cathy did absolutely nothing wrong. Things were blown out of proportion because activists often wear their emotions on their sleeves. 

Cathy's comments were not anti-gay.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not anti-gay. I believe in treating everyone kindly, with respect, as equal sons and daughters of God--that is in fact what each of us are. 

I am however pro-Traditional Family. But I am also pro-civil unions. 

Why do I feel like I can openly share my opinion on Cathy's comments? 

Because I believe that bigotry is awful. And because I believe that while bigotry is based on personal belief, to be a bigot means to have acted on an intolerable believe. It's in the action.

But, with freedom of speech, we are entitled to our opinion. 

Entitled. I hate that word, because we shouldn't be entitled to anything. But there are certain inalienable rights that have been granted us by God and protected by our Constitution and Bill of Rights. 

But, the First Amendment means that we have to develop a thick skin and realize that we can't be offended when others don't share our thoughts, values or beliefs. 

I have had to do this.

Cathy and many other Evangelicals have labeled my faith as a cult. Those words are very hurtful and un-Christlike, especially because if they were to put aside their tainted views and ask if I believe in Jesus Christ, Jehovah, the God of the Old and New Testament I would give a firm yes. I would love to talk of Christ and teach them about the particulars of my faith while at the same time learning more about the particulars of theirs.

But, I don't hate or boycott Cathy because of his views of my faith. If I did, I would be the intolerant one. It's in the action. 

This is where we come full circle... 

If indeed bigotry is in the action (which is what I believe to be true), intolerance was in the boycott. 

But something really amazing happened in spite of the intolerance. 

Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of Americans stood in line to demonstrate that despite the opinion, one should not be persecuted for it. 

I was one of those supporters. 

At 5:33pm I stepped in a very long line. I started chatting with the people in line. People were friendly, positive, you would never have known that we were in a two-hour line. 

I took pictures along the way, realizing that I was taking part in history, energized by a visual representation of what my Founding Fathers had fought for. 

I will admit that not all customers were there in support of First Amendment rights. Many were there to support the traditional definition of family or Cathy himself. 

But for me it was about speech. 

A few minutes after 7:00pm I walked up to the counter to order. They were out of what I wanted. It didn't matter. 

It was about my rights. 

My speech. 

Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day - August 1, 2012 - Orem, UT 

On a tangential note, my dad requested (via text) that I order "7-12 pack of nuggets and a diet lemonade and 2 waffle fries." 

I came home with one 12-pack of nuggets, a diet lemonade, and two waffle fries. 

Note to self: "7-12 pack of nuggets" = "7, 12-pack of nuggets" not "one [between 7-12] pack of nuggets" 

Epic Chick-fil-A fail. Ce la vie.


Marcindra LaPriel said...

I love love love love that you wrote this. I'm so happy that you were able to put into views basically my feelings about the entire thing. I'm sick of people thinking that a statement supporting traditional marriage means anti-gay, because it's not.

Thanks for posting this.

In case you were curious, the word verification for this today is "ipacella".

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