Thursday, July 26, 2012

Welcome to Orwell's World: The Chick-fil-A Controversy

Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy recently underscored his belief, based on both the Old and New Testament, including the words of Jesus Himself, that the covenant of marriage is between a man and a woman (a husband and a wife), period.

A firestorm of protest ensued. The mayors of both Boston and Chicago have said they would like Chick-fil-A not to operate in their cities.

But the last time I checked, the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion still are guarantees in the United States. Mr. Cathy's exercise of those freedoms in no way threatens the freedoms of others.

Personally, I believe that his position is the correct one. I also believe in full civil rights for all people, including those who are gay and lesbian.

These are not mutually exclusive positions. Indeed, both spring from the same place: a belief in the God of love revealed to the world in Jesus Christ.

Christians have no interest in coercing others to agree with every facet of Biblical morality. Indeed, it's only when people are free to disobey the will of God that confessions of repentance for sin and faith in Christ have any meaning.

Out of love for God and others, my call as a Christian is to speak God's truth in love. Fully cognizant of my own sinfulness and utter dependence on Christ's grace for forgiveness and life with God, I don't pretend to be better than others. I don't think Dan Cathy pretended superiority either. Nor did he express "homophobia" or hatred in the statement he made on God's will for marriage.

The Christian is free from the enslavement of sin and death, but not at liberty to say that God is wrong in His revealed will for the human race. When God and we disagree on something, the Christian is bound to admit that God is right and we are wrong. God clearly does not approve of some things. Injustice, prejudice, thievery, deception, gossip, using His Name for anything other than prayer, praise, and worship, and sex outside of marriage are some of those things that displease God. Not to earn God's love in Christ, but to express gratitude for it, Christians seek to align their lives with God's revealed will.

And the Christian who is grateful for the undeserved gifts of Christ's grace is commissioned to speak the truth that God has revealed: the truth about what is sin and the truth about the forgiveness of sin and new life that belongs to all who repent and entrust their lives to Christ.

People may not like to hear what we believe are God's revealed truths, but no one is threatened by their expression. And it is sloppy, Orwellian thinking to describe sentiments that spring from love as "hate speech."

But in the United States of 2012, the intolerance exhibited by the mayors of Boston and Chicago and those who agree with them are seen as tolerance, while Christians who accept the rights of others to engage in behaviors God reveals to be sinful, while having the temerity to underscore what they believe God teaches, are called intolerant. That is Orwellian.

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