A Truly Christian Boycott

Part II of II (see Part I Here)

Dan Cathy’s (CEO of Chick-fil-A) recent comments in support of a biblical view of marriage launched a vitriolic barrage from both sides of the culture war.  Two of the more significant salvos were issued by Boston mayor Thomas Menino and Chicago alderman Joe Moreno, who (separately) announced they would block any move by Chick-fil-A to open a franchise in their area.

I’ve spent the last week pondering the evangelical response. I keep hearing words like “fascist” or “media bias” (Side note: fascist or socialist actions don’t automatically make a country fascist or socialist any more than eating a sundae automatically makes one obese). And my Facebook feed has blown up with invitations to Mike Huckabee’s Chick-fil-A day.

The majority of Evangelical responses seem to share one central theme: fear. We’re afraid of the implications. We’re afraid that fascism or socialism is coming. We’re afraid of same-sex marriage. We’re afraid of losing the culture war.

People who tell you to fear are trying to control you.

Which is why these same people shout about Menino from the rooftops, but only mention in hushed tones that the ACLU swiftly condemned him, or the Boston Herald’s scathing editorial piece against Menino, or Menino’s own retraction and apology: “I can’t do that. That would be interference to his rights to go there.”

Fear tends to elicit the ‘flight or fight’ response. When we’re most terrified about that which we hold most dear, we fight like hell to protect it. Which is exactly what we’ve done far too often: fight like Hell.

Jesus once described what fighting like Heaven looks like. “If someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles… Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” If we truly want to see God’s kingdom come, then it’s time to throw off the ice-cold, paralyzing shackles of fear. If we must boycott, then let’s launch a boycott worthy of bearing the name ‘Christian.’

Let’s boycott fear.

What if fear wasn’t motivating us to ‘send a message’ on Huckabee’s self-absorbed evangelical indulgence day? Instead, what if we went to Chick-fil-A and purchased a lemonade for every same-sex couple we see kissing on Same-Sex Kiss Day?

What if we stopped defining ourselves by where we don’t spend our money, and instead made God look generous by pouring money into civic projects?

What if we adopted a child instead of holding a sign?

What if we led expansive lives characterized by courageous, sacrificial love? What if our approach to politics was governed by the freeing realization that GOD WILL WIN, regardless of who’s in office?

What if perfect love really does drive out fear?

May we answer the question with our lives.

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About Tim Owens

I'm a husband, father, and Christ follower. I also live in Albany, NY, where I work as a pastor.
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10 Responses to A Truly Christian Boycott

  1. Pingback: Chick-fil-A: No One Wins in War | inexhaustible significance

  2. Denise says:

    We must behave knowing God will win regardless but we are still called to action. That action is love and that action is being a light in the darkness. That means standing up without fear for something we know to be right (standing up doesn’t mean crazy FBing, you can’t love a non-believer through an angry post or two). That can also mean adopting a child or giving our lives.

    In this particular fight I think the issue on the anti-chicken fast food chain side is a confusion of the word tolerance and what it means to allow free exercise of religion and a misunderstanding of Christians. That misunderstanding of Christian is something we can overcome with love, not with FB posts. When we Christians stop caring about what people think of them and start caring about people our actions will change the hearts of some of those around us. How can I tell my friends what I believe and why I believe it when I don’t love them first? What would draw them to the Savior?

    I also do not think the fear is of losing our culture war as much as we are afraid of losing anything. We want to beat our competition over the head with our truth because we are right and they are wrong (they feel the same way). Again, what would draw them to the Savior?

    • Tim Owens says:

      Denise, thanks for the comment. I’m humbled in many ways by yours and Stephen’s courage in actually stepping out in faith by adopting. In many ways, you’ve done far more than me!

  3. Pingback: A Truly Christian Boycott | inexhaustible significance « Simple Profundity

  4. JoeB says:

    I agree with what you are saying about fear and the how appropriate response of persecution is to be love. Also, fearing anything but God, is one of the things that God really disliked about people and countries in the Old Testement. It demonstrates a clear distrust and unbelief that God is in control.

    I also believe it is appropriate and good to cry “foul” when the media slanders and twists stories to incite people falsely, as CNN did. “Seek Justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God”.

    I support Chick-Fil-a because it is the business of a fellow Christian and they honor God, not because CNN said they are against anyone. I support them out of Love, not out of fear. If the world is going to thrash a perfectly good tax paying business because the founder believes the Bible is true, I support them to support those brothers and sisters who depend on them for their livelyhood. I’m not even a big fan of the chicken (too sweet for me) but I’m a big fan of Christians. I love them.

    I believe it is probable that leftist fascism is coming and with that, increasingly severe persecution of Christians. He already told us the world hates us and will treat us like it treated him. So no surprise here. I don’t fear it. I trust God, even if he does not prevent it.

    His great plan is bigger than this little world and its petty arguments.

  5. Tim Owens says:

    Joe–could you share the link to the CNN story with me? I didn’t read CNN’s account, but the way you describe it sounds like I should.

    I will continue to eat Chick-fil-A when I’m near one, both because i love their food, and because I like Dan Cathy (i agree with his statements). However, I don’t necessarily ‘support’ them or not ‘support’ them. That’s kinda the whole point here. Chick-fil-A isn’t a sports team or a political party or a branch of the church. Saying we ‘support’ them or don’t support them only serves to draw lines of exclusion in the sand. Making a big deal out of spending a few bucks to buy myself a chicken sandwich does nothing for my civil liberties, but it could serve to needlessly alienate myself from friends who see both marriage and Chick-fil-A differently than I do.

    The Rebel flag is a good analogy. To many, it means southern heritage. To many others, it means slavery. I choose to not fly it from my house (remember, I’m a Southerner), put it on my car, etc because it would prove immediately alienating to so many people who associate it differently than I do.

    In my perspective, this entire episode has shown me that we’re farther from ‘leftist fascism’, not closer. Fascism is a specific word rooted in history, stemming from the nationalistic regimes of Hitler and Mussolini. A fascist government completely controls the media, public opinion, and the entire government machine. In a fascist state a government official has little motivation or need to publicly condemn Chick-fil-A, but they would work behind the scenes to block their expansion and likely discredit them or bankrupt them. What we saw was the exact opposite: a public declaration followed immediately by a strong denouncement from both sides. The fact that so many people who so vehemently disagree with Cathy and his views on marriage were so quick to defend his right to say them speaks volumes about the reality of religious liberty we still enjoy.

    Sure, evangelical Christianity is no longer the dominant perspective in the halls of power of the US. And who knows, maybe one day we will be in a fascist state. But we are no where near there right now.

    Christian persecution is when people are beaten, jailed, robbed, or martyred for their faith. I’d be willing to bet Chick-fil-A ends up making MORE money from all of this free publicity, not less. As the author of Hebrews says, “you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” Any way you slice it, it’s easy to be a Christian in the US of A.

  6. sent2preach says:

    Great post and insight!

    As a side note in regards to defining Fascism and the assertion that we’re no where near there, I’m not so sure. I say this because if Hitler’s regime was indeed Fascist, then the rise of Fascism is neither silent nor covert in it’s condemnations and destructive outworkings, especially as it begins to gain significant ground in the hearts and minds of a nation. Whether the source of such Fascism is leadership or the populace is not really the point. It’s the staunchly independent and pride filled heart of man that is the issue.

    Terminology and semantics aside, though, your point is dead on. Fascism is simply another of many things that our flesh and the enemy will wrongly tell us we should fear. Here’s another way to look at it, why be afraid of something that God has promised will come? I find it interesting that the Bible says such persecutions, even the ones that lead to captivity or death, “call for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.”

  7. Piyali says:

    Love it. “what if we went to Chick-fil-A and purchased a lemonade for every same-sex couple we see kissing on Same-Sex Kiss Day?” Thanks for your insightful, loving and challenging blog, Tim!

  8. Jonathan Louie says:

    I agree with the whole fear thing. Why are we afraid that if we don’t control people’s behavior that our country is worse off? The truth is that we are already just as bad whether we allow gay marriage or not. True change doesn’t happen because we dictate what people can or cannot do. True change comes from the inside out and I rest in God’s power to change people no matter what the laws say.

    God not only will win, but has already won! We fight the good fight of faith from His victory.

    Because of this ordeal I am encouraged that there are believers who understand that we can rest in God’s power, love and victory. And I rest in God’s power to continue to mature His church.

  9. Pingback: Untangling the wires–A Christian Theology of Involvement for US Americans | inexhaustible significance

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