On Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks, Gay Marriage, and Jesus

Last year, there was a media kerfuffle when Chick-Fil-A COO Dan Cathy said he supported “traditional marriage,” the codeword for being opposed same-sex marriage.

Well, believe it or not (<–sarcasm), there has been another media kerfuffle around a company’s stance on gay marriage. This time, it’s Starbucks, for being “committed to diversity,” the codeword for being supportive of same-sex marriage.

What I have witnessed around these two instances is just another affirmation that Christians have been drinking the Kool-Aid of American media polarizations. In response to the Chick-Fil-A stance, conservative Christians held “Support Chick-Fil-A Days,” where they would support a company’s stance on gay marriage by eating a lot of chicken nuggets (doesn’t that seem strange to anyone else?) and where progressive Christians boycotted Chick-Fil-A, protesting by not eating a lot of chicken nuggets.

The same cry has gone out this week. “Forgo your daily latte for the cause of traditional marriage!” “Learn your Starbucks-speak & order a tall, skinny, double latte for the cause of marriage equality!”

Leaving aside the fact that we live in a strange world where activism is reduced to whether or not we click a button a social media site, eat chicken nuggets, or drink lattes (#firstworldproblems), I am also troubled by how we are only presented with these two options, how polarized we are as a Christian community. Instead of the voice of conversation, dialogue, and a heart willing to listen and engage with people we disagree with, we just throw a tantrum, pick up our ball, and go home. Something tells me that’s not what Jesus meant when he said we should love our enemies.

Instead of engaging with the Other, we are told that the “righteous” thing to do is not to support people who disagree with us. Don’t give them our money. Don’t buy things from them. Forgive me if I am missing something really simple, and I mean that sincerely, but why not? I thought I was supposed to love my enemy, not try to hurt their business? Or, to put it another way: how is hurting the business of my enemy loving them? Why can’t I disagree with someone in a way that shows the world what it means to love our enemies? Why is the godly thing to do to give them the cold shoulder, economically and relationally?

I do not think that is the way of Jesus.

And so, I have decided, I will have my latte and eat my chicken nuggets too. Not for the cause of traditional marriage, gay marriage, or any type of marriage, but for the cause of Christ.

And yes, I do realize that might be the most bombastic, overly dramatic, two sentences I’ve ever written.

11 responses to “On Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks, Gay Marriage, and Jesus

  1. Let us not forget that many of us supported Chick-fil-a because of the tyrannical threats against their ability to do business in Boston and Chicago (and elsewhere) by politicians, in clear violation of the law. It was the clearest example of a First Amendment violation in decades. That totally overshadowed, IMO, any debate over marriage.

    I agree with you about the application of Jesus’ “Love your enemy” principle.

  2. Jared,
    Starbucks should realize that the little green swizzle stick they put in the coffee cup only works if it has a hole in the coffee cup for it to be put in. Stick goes in hole. You CANT fit a swizzle stick into another swizzle stick, just like you can’t use another sipping hole to plug and prevent hot coffee from splashing out of your primary coffee cup’s sipping hole.

    (This comment brought to you by the Sarcasm Insitute of America, otherwise known as America)

  3. You put words to what I have wanted to say for years, “how is hurting the business of my enemy loving them?”


  4. I hope you don’t mind my using your comments section to put in a plug for my friend Jeff Chu’s book, which is released today: “Does Jesus Really Love Me? A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America.” He is a talented and thoughtful writer who explores the intersection of faith and sexuality with a voice of humility and empathy that is sadly lacking in most discussions surrounding this issue.

  5. Jared, I always thought strange that Christians repeatedly resort to the one tool used by the Anti-Christ to control others – the boycott – interfering with the commerce of those that you disapprove while supporting the commerce of those who are your cooperators…..and no person was permitted to buy or sell unless that person wore the mark of that beast.

  6. What? Communicate? demonstrate the love of Jesus? How will that ever work???

    Oh, wait… two thousand years of history. Sigh.

    Good post. Thanks

  7. When the whole Chik-Fil-A thing went down, I wasn’t sure which “side” I was on, but it made me so uncomfortable. Why do Christians feel like they have to constantly make a stand against those that they disagree with? Whether I agree with a side, I tend to distance myself from any group that alienates. Just like you said, love is the cause of Christ.

  8. After going to eat at CFA on THAT day, and posting in fb about it, and realizing that I had hurt the feelings of many of my friends, gay and straight, I went back to CFA on the day the gays had said they would be there in protest. I went back to engage in conversation… to say, I am sorry…. to see if there were common ground… alas, no one showed up.

  9. “Love your enemy.” Who said that? What does that have to do with any of this? Really? (tongue firmly planted in cheek, winking at the same time) What Jesus actually did, how he actually lived his life, how he interacted with others was actually the ground of my own love for him as I read the gospels . . . it is astonishing to me how the actual lived life of Jesus has become almost irrelevant among those who would dare call themselves by his name when engaged in anything dealing with disagreement. It is all so depleting.

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