Not everyone is as enamored with Chick-fil-A as Tim and I. The company and its CEO, Dan Cathy, are currently in the firing line of the culture war. Cathy made his opposition to gay marriage clear in a recent interview with a denominational paper. His support of traditional marriage has resulted in a growing cacophony of complaints. Entertainers and politicians are rallying around their mutual outrage. Evidently, righteous indignation has an unrighteous counterpart. The mayors of Boston and Chicago would like to close their doors to the company and spare their citizens from exposure to such bigotry.
The irony is almost too much to bear, these paragons of tolerance are only as open as their prejudices allow. I am flummoxed by the dispute. How is Cathy’s opinion surprising? This is a family company that refuses to open their restaurants on Sundays. Their entire business model is shaped by their Christian faith. The entire uproar is a farce.
The silliness does, however, have a more sinister shadow. Christians who share the biblical convictions of the Cathy’s are more likely to tread carefully in the future. They won’t surrender their convictions, but they will be tempted to surrender their voices. I have recently read that younger evangelicals want no part in the culture wars. I can understand their desire to avoid conflict, but I fear that their understanding of scripture and culture is uninformed.
Let’s remember that our message is an offense to the ungodly (Gal 5:11; 1 Pet 2:8), and our obedience is guaranteed to attract persecution (John 15:20). Avoiding controversy demands we swallow our allegiance to Christ and His truth. It’s too high a price to pay.
And by vacating the public square, we allow others to shape our culture. And as Ken Meyers explains, our culture has a dramatic impact on us, and on future generations.
Cultures Cultivate. A culture is more like an ecosystem than a supermarket, and human persons, as encultured creatures, are generally less like independent rationally choosing shoppers than like organisms whose environment predisposes a certain set of attitudes and actions.
Cultures Cultivate. Not that our activities are absolutely determined by cultural influences, we are rational beings not just instinctual beings. We can make choices that go against the conventions that are sustained around us. We can lean into the prevailing winds, but only if we know how to stand somewhere solid, only if we are not being carried by the wind.
I have no desire to become a curmudgeon. My faith doesn’t make me grumpy or angry. More than anything I am motivated by love. And in love I must campaign for goodness. If I love my neighbor, as I ought, surely I want to alert them to the dangers of ungodliness. And I should do this with just as much zeal as I herald the glories of godliness.
Personally, I am grateful for Mr. Cathy’s vocal stand. In spirit and in truth, I stand beside him.