1. This is a Spiritual, Rather Than a Political, Issue
As I stood in line for an hour at Chick-fil-A in Colorado Springs (as most of you did all across the nation), I heard many people talking about “free speech” and “liberty”. These are important secondary issues at stake in the controversy surrounding the comments by Chick-fil-A CEO, Dan Cathy. But if the hundreds of thousands (and perhaps millions when we hear the final tally) of people who stood for hours in line to buy a chicken sandwich and waffle fries walk away from this moment only to feel like they exercised their personal right to speak their mind and support Cathy doing the same, we will miss the greater lesson.
Dan Cathy took a stand for a Biblical principle. He wasn’t making a political statement, but a Spiritual one. This company has done this since the day it was founded, by choosing to close its doors on Sunday. Since Chick-fil-A got its start in mall food courts, this was a difficult and controversial position. Malls wanted to require Chick-fil-A to follow the same standards that every other tenant was required to follow, and to be open during all mall hours. But for Chick-fil-A, being closed on Sunday wasn’t just a “good idea” or something they “wanted” to do; this was a matter of Biblical faith and practice, and they refused to budge. It’s been documented for decades that Chick-fil-A restaurants in mall food courts out produce every other fast food restaurant in these malls, even though they are open one day less per week. This is God’s way of honoring the company’s choice to honor Him. So while I’m sure that Cathy had no desire for the attention or controversy generated by his expression of his personal belief regarding Biblical marriage, I’m confident that this wasn’t a difficult decision for him to make.
This outpouring of support simply isn’t normal. For countless thousands of people to stand for hours in line, some in plus-100 degree temperatures, in order to eat fast food is simply a supernatural moment. There have been no stories of angry crowds or mean-spirited protests; just everyday Americans laughing and smiling and excited to be doing something that they believed could make a difference. People were guided – I believe by the Spirit of God – to honor Chick-fil-A and its CEO, because that company and individual were willing to suffer whatever backlash they must in order to stand upon the Word of God. To reduce this down to free speech misses the bigger truth here.
2. Our Impact is Exponentially Greater When We Stand FOR, Rather Than AGAINST, Something
For decades, Christian conservatives have been opposing abortion, homosexual marriage, and a slew of other social and political issues, and for the most part have made very little tangible impact. They’ve looked like a bunch of angry fundamentalists who are stuck in the dark ages, refusing to evolve with society. They’ve been unable to generate any kind of significant movement that could truly garner the attention of the rest of America.
But yesterday these same Christians made an impact. People all over the country were forced to take notice of what happened at Chick-fil-A. The news media couldn’t dispute it. The radical left couldn’t dismiss it. The apathetic couldn’t ignore it. This one event made more of an impact culturally than all of the protests Christians have held in my lifetime.
Psychologists have been saying for years now that the human mind finds it very difficult to process the negative. If I tell my son NOT to touch something, the human mind translates that into an image of doing the opposite; of touching the forbidden item. The mind can’t visualize NOT doing something.
The world doesn’t want to hear what we’re against; they want to know what we are for. Rather than shouting out to the world that as Christians we oppose homosexual marriage, we must give them the Biblical alternative. We must tell them that we believe in the Biblical view of marriage; a lifetime commitment between one man and one woman.
This principle must carry over into all of these issues. We can’t just oppose abortion; we must support life and adoption and all the alternatives. We can’t just oppose sex and violence in media; we must support wholesome entertainment that presents a positive alternative
3. There is the Potential for Revival, Rather Than Judgment, in America’s Future
Too often we feel like Elijah after calling down fire from Heaven on Mt. Carmel: all alone. But yesterday’s outpouring of support for Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A revealed that there are so many more people who stand for Biblical principles than the media and opposition would have us believe. No one could have predicted the numbers that turned out yesterday. And this can provide a ray of hope for the future of America.
If these people who stood in line yesterday continued to band together, not for a chicken sandwich but for prayer and repentance, how could that impact the future of America?