I don't like the food. If forced to go there on "Cow Day" to get a free chicken sandwich, I make Mark spend the extra money and order me a chicken ceasar wrap. Most people would disagree with me on this. In Chick-fil-A's defense, I typically dislike all fast-food equally.
I like their stores. The playgrounds offer something for most ages of kids, and the music in the background is soothing rather than loud.
I like that they are closed on Sunday in order to observe the Sabbath out of honor to the God they believe in. Mark didn't get hired at a certain coffee shop, because he asked to not work on Sunday. At this coffee shop, everyone works on Sunday. Apparently the shop's biggest delivery was Sunday morning ... for a nearby church.
I like their service. I think every Chick-fil-A customer has been affected by the delight Chick-fil-A employees exude when serving spicy chicken sandwiches.
Thus, I want it to be clear, that I'm not writing this blog post based on one food chain's food, or business practices, or service.
Rather, I'm writing, because the entire situation concerning Chick-fil-A, its views on marriage, and its subsequent penalties has clearly brought to light an issue that has been grating on me for months now.
This post does an exceptional job of highlighting the issue within the context of Chick-fil-A. I would like to deviate from this particular circumstance and speak to the issue in a more general way.
The issue is the definition of tolerance.
The United States has become a nation that preaches tolerance. This call for tolerance was birthed through our rights laid out in the constitution, rights for free speech, rights of the press, rights for freedom of religion. I completely agree that these are all good things.
However, it is essential that we realize what the cultural definition of tolerance has become.
Tolerance seems to say, “everyone has an equal right to have their voice be heard.”
What tolerance really says is, “everyone has the right to be heard, unless you make exclusive claims, in which case, you need to change, because you are wrong and intolerant.”
A person can speak as freely as they want to until they say, “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
If you are unaware, that was Jesus speaking as recorded in John 14:6.
Christians, who believe in Jesus, as the Savior and the Son of God, also believe that the only way to heaven is through him. It is not possible for a Christian to say, “yes, you can get to heaven through Christ, or through Islam, or meditation, or helping with charity, or being nice to people.” Saying thus would make a person not a Christian. Christianity makes exclusive claims.
Back to the apparent definition of tolerance, does everyone really have an equal right to be heard?
Are Christians allowed to have their say? It seems that recent events have indicated that they are not.
Catholic institutions must provide health insurance that includes contraception, something that the Catholic church is definitively against. Religious campus organizations at Vanderbilt must consider all students for potential leadership regardless of whether or not the student believes the same thing as the organization. Restaurant owners must all have the same views on politics if they hope to open in certain cities.
Church. School. Business. It seems as if Christian freedom of thought and speech is being compromised in some of the most fundamental areas of life.
Consider this. As soon as Christians makes a definite statement (homosexuality is a sin, abortion is murder, abstinence before marriage is good, divorce is bad), they are land blasted for being intolerant.
Yet, if these are truly their convictions, should they not be allowed to state them? In fact, does our constitution not require that we allow them to state them? Are not the people calling them intolerant really the intolerant ones?
A lot of they's and them's in that paragraph. Allow me to offer one brief illustration.
A friend recently told me that her son’s first grade teacher had mentioned to the class that she was living with her boyfriend. This friend desires to teach her son to wait until marriage to live with a girl. Whose right is more important here? The teacher’s to broadcast the way she lives, because she sees no problem with it or my friend’s to not have her children exposed at such a young age to a lifestyle she disagrees with? Someone has to lose.
Do we, in America, still have the right to peaceably disagree? Do we have the right to allow our convictions to translate into our lives? Or is everyone to simply submit to the loudest voices as they dictate the way society goes and force dissenters into silence?
Into a closet perhaps?
Interesting, isn't it?