On Wednesday, thousands, if not millions, rushed to their local Chick-fil-A restaurant for a chicken sandwich. They stood in long lines and ate their sandwiches as a sign of support. Some stood as supporters of Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy’s right of free speech. Others stood in support of Cathy’s anti-gay beliefs.
I am afraid that not all who supported Cathy’s anti-gay beliefs really understood what it is that they were supporting. The organizations that Cathy supports lobby to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. But, it goes beyond that. One organization has suggested that all homosexuals should be incarcerated. One or more advocates for the practice of reparative therapy.
There are a few things I have to say about same-sex marriage, gathering up all homosexuals for punishment, and reparative therapy. First, reparative therapy uses counseling practices to turn a person away from the sin of being homosexual and to deny their urges to be attracted to a person of the same sex. All reputable mental health organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, has denied the efficacy of reparative therapy; further, they have deemed that homosexuality is not a mental health disorder.
Second is the matter of jailing all homosexuals. One organization has suggested that all homosexuals be incarcerated for being homosexual. It is one thing to define homosexuality as a sin; it is quite another to suggest that being homosexual is a crime. Not all sin is a crime. I have my own thoughts about what is criminal in this scenario, but my calling it criminal is a matter of human justice versus the penal code.
In a July radio interview, Dan Cathy made the following statement: “we’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage. And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude that thinks we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about.”
I agree that Cathy has the right to his opinion. Cathy has the right to spend his profits the way he wants and give to organizations based on his social conscience. Where I take offense is his suggestion that Christians who support same-sex marriage are prideful and arrogant and are inviting God’s judgment on all Americans.
Many Christians who do not support same-sex marriage claim to be upholding the Biblical definition of marriage. The events of the First Testament (Old Testament) begin approximately 2000 B.C.E and the later books of the Second Testament (New Testament) were finalized in approximately 100 C.E. To suggest that the Bible holds the ultimate definition of marriage as one man and one woman suggests that God spoke about marriage for some 2000 years and hasn’t said anything about the matter since.
The 21st Century Church should be discerning what God is saying. As the United Church of Christ proclaims, “God is still speaking.” We may not be recording and canonizing writings to the New Testament. Still, we can listen to what God is saying and consider that God may have something new to say about marriage.