Chick-FAIL-A: Dan Cathy’s Selective Appeal to ‘Biblical Principles’

It’s funny how selective and subjective the term “biblical principles” can be to some fundamentalists.

Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy recently said in an interview with the Baptist Press that that he aims to operate his restaurant chain “on biblical principles”:

“We don’t claim to be a Christian business…But as an organization we can operate on biblical principles.”

He added:

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. … We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

It always amuses me when Christian fundamentalists cite “biblical principles”, they often select only those that oppress homosexuals. For instance, Leviticus 19:19 quite clearly reads:

“Do not wear clothing woven from two different kinds of thread.”

Nowhere in the New Testament do we find a verse or command that countermands, rescinds, or trumps this injunction from God (like there is in Peter’s vision in Acts 10:9ff ( see esp. vv. 14-15), where Peter is told to “kill and eat” food that was previously pronounced by God to be “unclean”). There is no such verse unbinding the command of God not to mix fabrics in garments, and yet, the online Chick-fil-A store advertises the following:

Biblical principles? Which ones?

Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy said his business is run on ‘biblical principles’. Apparently, however, he’s only interested in the ‘biblical principles’ that oppress gay individuals.

Note the “cotton and poly” blend of the sweatshirt? One must ask: is this sweatshirt produced according to “biblical principles”?

Now, while some might call this “nitpicking”, the hypocritical and highly selective appeal to “biblical principles” is glaring: often times, when Christian fundamentalists invoke “biblical principles”, they do so selectively, and only when they are seeking to suppress the rights of others with whom they happen to disagree. I’ve discussed “cherry picking” and the fallacy of an inconsistent hermeneutic before. It repeatedly seems that fundamentalist Christians will ignore clear “biblical principles” they find inconvenient, but are quick to invoke them when there is a chance to suppress the rights of gays.

And for this egregious, homophobic biblical hypocrisy, I shake my head.

(HT: Found at Addicting Info.)

God Hates Chick-Fil-A

Congratulations to Chick-Fil-A, the new corporate symbol for Christian homophobia.

Congratulations to Chick-Fil-A, the new corporate symbol for Christian homophobia.

Congratulations to Chick-Fil-A, the new symbol for corporate Christian homophobia.

(I, Robert Cargill, made this mash-up.)

The mash-up below I found on the internet.

Chick-Fil-A: Official Chicken of the Tea Party, American Family Association, and Westboro Baptist

God Hates Chick-Fil-A

God Hates Chick-Fil-A.

When I first read The Onion article (“Chick-Fil-A Debuts New Homophobic Chicken Sandwich: ‘Queer-Hatin’ Cordon Bleu’ Goes On Sale Wednesday”), I simply thought it was a goofy satire on the well-known Christian fried chicken business, which is closed on Sundays.

It was not until this afternoon (I am presently in Israel digging at Tel Azekah) that I realized that the article was a response to comments made by the President of Chick-Fil-A, Dan Cathy, who was quoted last week as saying he was “guilty as charged” for supporting, what he called the “biblical definition” of marriage as between a man and a woman.

Biblical definition? Really? How fundy is this guy? I’ve addressed this issue before.

The Chick-Fil-A President continued:

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

Married to our first wives“??? What is he saying? NONE of Chick-Fil-A’s employees are divorced? Only upper management? Apparently it’s not enough to not extend benefits to same-sex couples. It’s not enough to publicly take a position on gay marriage (which is NEVER a good business move). But now we’re going to make an issue out of anyone who has been divorced and/or widowed and remarried??

This is a good business strategy? Apparently, if your business strategy is run by Rick Santorum’s campaign.

It’s no wonder that cities like Boston and Chicago are blocking the expansion of Chick-Fil-A into their major metropolitan areas. Who wants a bunch of fundamentalist-owned businesses opening in major urban areas?

A Chicago Sun-Times story reads:

Appearing on the Ken Coleman Show, Cathy was further quoted as saying, “I think we’re inviting God’s judgment when we shake our fist at him, you know, [saying], ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’ And I pray on God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try and redefine what marriage is all about.”

It is “prideful” and “arrogant” to stick up for the civil rights of certain Americans? I seriously can’t tell if this quote is from the present same-sex marriage debate or the Civil Rights movement decades ago.

This is REALLY not helping the image of the South and southern companies as a bunch of fundamentalist, homophobic, Christians makin’ fried chicken except on Sundays.

And as for me, I’ll never eat at Chick-Fil-A again. Done. Let them become the poster child for the Tea Party, the American Family Association, Westboro Baptist, and any other individual or organization that wants to openly discriminate against others based on their sexual orientation.

this week’s example of bigoted child abuse in the church: child sings ‘ain’t no homo gonna make it to heaven’ in church

Some people ask me why I spend so much time debating the issue of the legalization of same-sex marriage. Apart from the academic side of the intellectual argument, and the textual/theological argument, we often forget that the outcome of this debate and the charges and claims made during the debate itself hurt real people and adversely affects their lives. And I’m not just speaking about those gay individuals who are discriminated against on a daily basis, but I’m also referring to the children who are taught to mock and even hate by their parents from a very young age in church!

For example, watch this latest video taken from the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle in Greensburg, Indiana, the same town where a gay high school student at Greensburg Community High School in Greensburg IN, Billy (William) Lucas, recently took his own life apparently due to the anti-gay bullying he was receiving from his peers.

Listen to the lyrics of the song sung by the child, and watch the reaction of the adults in the audience.

The child sings the following lyrics:

I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong.
I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong.
Romans one and twenty-seven (Rom 1:27)
Ain’t no homo going to make it to heaven.

Watch the room full of white adults stand and cheer and laugh in approval. The pastor nods and laughs. They are celebrating bigotry. They are celebrating their belief that gay Americans are going to burn in hell. One person is even heard to yell proudly, “That’s my boy!” And toward the end of the video, they have the child sing it again. Note that in the first performance, there is another child standing with the boy, and they boy ends after one verse, but in the second performance (see the 1:07 mark in the video), there is no second child, and the little boy sings the verse multiple times. This was no accident or lapse in judgment, it was an encore performance!!!

And what’s worse, from this point on, this child knows that every time he calls a gay individual a “homo,” he’ll have the cheering support of his church behind him. Remember, he’s a child: someone taught him this song! Every time he condemns a gay individual to hell, his parents will applaud. They might even invite him up in front of the church to sing of the gay individual’s condemnation to the church, who will shower him with applause and laughter.

This is child abuse. It is hateful indoctrination at its worst.

The pastor in the video is Jeff Sangl of the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle at 1114 Westridge Parkway W in Greensburg, IN 47240. You can email Pastor Sangl at jsangl@tds.net or call him at the church office at (812) 662-8224. You can also contact him at his family business (I kid you not), the Flatrock Whitetail Deer Farm, where they raise whitetail deer to hunt them at (765) 525-9488.

Apparently, shortly after this video was posted online, and the public outrage began, the pastor abruptly left on vacation. The church immediately posted a statement on its website, stating among other things:

The Pastor and members of Apostolic Truth Tabernacle do not condone, teach, or practice hate of any person for any reason. We believe and hope that every person can find true Bible salvation and the mercy and grace of God in their lives.

We are a strong advocate of the family unit according to the teachings and precepts found in the Holy Bible. We believe the Holy Bible is the Divinely-inspired Word of God and we will continue to uphold and preach that which is found in scripture.

So once again, while the church simply denies that they teach hate, the video shows otherwise. AND, we see that the church is quick to excuse and dismiss its abhorrent behavior by invoking religious freedom stating that “we will continue to uphold and preach that which is found in scripture.” Once again, even in their non-apology, “religious freedom” is used to excuse hatred taught to children.

THIS is why I take this issue so seriously. What “thoughtful conservatives” see as the simple upholding of “traditional marriage” is all too often manifest as teaching children to mock and hate their neighbor…in church. It has to end, and I for one as a scholar of religious studies, will stand with the oppressed on this one.

imagine that picture of you protesting same-sex marriage 40 years from now: YOU ARE ‘THOSE PEOPLE’

Imagine that picture of you protesting same-sex marriage 40 years from now, with your Bibles and your flags and your signs:

Imagine how stupid you are going to look in 40 years: Mixed Marriage vs. Same-sex marriage.

Imagine how stupid you are going to look in 40 years: Mixed-race marriage vs. Same-sex marriage.

In 2008, I wrote:

“I ask Californians, especially Christians, to look within their hearts and ask themselves whether we want to treat homosexuals today as we treated women in the 1920’s, and blacks in the 1850’s. Will we look back in 40 years’ time in disgust and shake our heads and ask how we ever voted to deny civil rights to groups based upon a personal sexual choice?”

An artist sums up what I wrote in one picture.

If you are campaigning AGAINST same-sex marriage, that’s you. In the picture. That’s you. You ARE that person. You are the person in the picture that we look back on in disgust, shaking our heads, and asking, “How on earth were people EVER that mean? Why did they EVER believe that? How could those people discriminate against others that way? And use the BIBLE to do so?”

YOU ARE “those people.” And in an age of social media, where EVERYTHING is written down, captured, and remembered, it will be that much easier for us to show our children and grandchildren the faces and the names of those people who argued AGAINST the civil rights of others. And our children will look back in disgust at the images of people protesting same-sex marriage the SAME way we look back and shake our heads at the bigots protesting mixed-race marriage 40 years ago, or desegregation before that, or women’s right to vote before that, or slavery before that, and using the Bible to do so!

YOU ARE THOSE PEOPLE!

(HT: Rabbi Gershon Steinberg-Caudill via FB)

the irony of african-american support for banning same-sex marriage

Dr. Patrick Wooden Sr., pastor of the Upper Room Church of God In Christ, and his wife Pamela Wooden celebrate early returns that show strong support for Amendment One during an election night party at the North Raleigh Hilton on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.

Dr. Patrick Wooden Sr., pastor of the Upper Room Church of God In Christ, and his wife Pamela Wooden celebrate early returns that show strong support for Amendment One during an election night party at the North Raleigh Hilton on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. (Photo: Travis Long for NewsObserver.com)

OK, I’ll say it:

The sheer irony of many African-Americans, especially Christians, celebrating what they believe to be the biblically ordained suppression and discrimination of another group’s civil rights betrays the short memory of those who were once themselves oppressed for being nothing more than who they are.

This irony is not new; it has been discussed in the past regarding California’s Prop 8 here and here. Is the same true in North Carolina?

I am not an African-American, so one could argue that I’m not permitted to discuss this topic. But I must say that as one who is neither gay nor black, but who has written extensively about this topic for years now, to me this political demographic anomaly ranks among the grand ironies of our era.

I do believe one can make a case that the African-American community has once again been ignored as a voting block. It is not enough to argue simply that black churches are socially more conservative than their white counterparts. The fact is that much of the time and money spent on educating the public – especially Christians – about the problems of attempting to ban same-sex marriage upon biblical or ‘traditional’ grounds in a secular state has been spent on persuading the much larger white voting block, while comparatively little time and money has been spent on educating and entering into dialogue with the African-American community. Thus, the African-American community has once again been overlooked in favor of focusing attention, time, and money upon white groups for political advocacy efforts.

Whatever the underlying reason, the irony still remains: many African-Americans like Pastor Patrick Wooden (pictured) are actually celebrating the suppression of civil liberties (note: not religious liberties, but civil, secular, state liberties) of an otherwise oppressed group, who only want the same civil rights as those in the majority.

To me, the use of religion to suppress the civil liberties of a minority group of any race, religion, gender, color, or sexual orientation is shameful. For one underrepresented group to suppress another only increases the burden.

Repost and respond away!

UPDATE: Half-Hearted “Retraction” Issued by Berean Baptist Church Pastor Sean Harris

Sean E. Harris, Pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC

Sean E. Harris, Pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC

Sean E. Harris, Pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC, who recently called on parents to hit their children for demonstrating any semblance of what he interpreted as “effeminate” behavior, has issued an audio “retraction” for advocating that parents beat their children, but not for his bigotry.

I can’t tell what’s more stomach-churning: his initial comments, or his self-justifying, holier-than-thou attempt at righteous indignation and his claim that his words ‘were taken out of context’ by those involved in the political process of legalizing same-sex marriage.

If you want a lesson in how NOT to apologize, listen to the audio “retraction.” Bill Clinton apologizes better than this guy.

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