This is the third and final installment on Joe Dallas’ blog post about his failure to engage in conversation with a man protesting outside Chick-fil-A.
And away we go:
So put yourself in our shoes. If the owner of a restaurant chain said he favored same sex marriage, and in response a city councilman and two mayors of major metropolitan cities committed themselves to shutting his business down, how would you feel? Wouldn’t you be inclined to say that, wherever a business owner stands on homosexuality, city and state officials have no right trying to shut him down? Wouldn’t you feel you’d just time- warped into some totalitarian regime where the wrong words or beliefs could bring you ruin?
Oh, dear lord, here we go. “We white, Christian men are so put-upon because of you Big Bad Gay People who want to take away our freedom to hate the kind of sex you have behind closed doors. *sob*” Have a hankie, wipe your nose, and suck it up. You wouldn’t be saying the same thing if this were a race issue. (Or maybe you would, now that I think about it.) This is a case where the people in the majority, the people benefiting from the power structure in place, are the ones who need to have consideration—not the other way around. Oh, and by the way? Those things Mr. Dallas listed? Yeah, those are real things that do, in fact, happen to LGBT people. Every day, LGBT people are threatened or attacked for who they are. Every day, even out LGBT people in supposedly “welcoming” environments are told not to be “too gay.” Every. Damn. Day. You wanna talk about discrimination? A guy protesting outside a restaurant with a sign ain’t it.
So would we. I don’t think we turned out by the thousands to support Chick-fil-A just because of its owner’s positions, but because elected officials tried to punish him for those positions. That’s more than disagreement; it smacks of government intrusion. And believe me, if government officials try to shut a business down because of its pro-gay position, I’ll be there for them, too.
I’ll believe that when I see it.
I drove away sad after seeing you, because I was reminded how divided we are. I wish we could have talked. I’d have been interested to know what brought you there, how you were being treated by the people you were protesting, and what your basic world view was. I’d have shared a bit if my own story, including the years I believed as you do, acting on and promoting those beliefs. I’d have probably looked for opportunity to encourage you to look into the claims Jesus made about Himself, and to consider whether anyone claiming not only to be God, but also God’s only sacrifice for sin, and thereby the only way to Him, shouldn’t be carefully investigated. I might have even gotten pushy and asked if I could pray with you, though any push back from you would have been respected.
Aw, Mr. Dallas went away sad. I can think of another person who went away sad. Remember the rich man in the Bible who left after Jesus told him to sell all his possessions and follow Him? Yeah, me too. I always held out hope for that guy. I think his sadness was a good sign. I used to imagine that the rich man one day learned, and that perhaps he became a follower of Jesus, too. That one day, he really did sell everything and give it to the poor. That the message got to him. Maybe there’s hope for Mr. Dallas after all.
On another note, it burns my butter that Mr. Dallas assumes Sign Holder isn’t already a Christian. Because, as we all know, there are absolutely no LGBT Christians. Nope. Not one. And also that no real, true Christians would imply that *gasp* other Christians are hypocrites, or hold up a sign with a Bible verse in protest.
But, as the old proverb says, “wishes won’t wash dishes.” Maybe you will have the conversation I wish we had, but later, with someone else, under different circumstances. Meanwhile, let me honor your willingness to take a stand, even as I strongly oppose the stand you take. Let me tip my hat to the way you presented yourself. And let me re-commit to remembering that when I engage in a cause, as I did last night with my dinner purchase, there are genuine, likeable and valuable people on the other side of the aisle protesting what I applaud. They matter. You matter. And while I feel called to represent my Lord’s standards to a culture seemingly bent on rejecting them, I’m just as surely called to represent His attitude of love and care.
Well. That was full of pretentious condescension, n’est pas?
More assumptions that this person isn’t a Christian, right along with a note about “representing His attitude of love and care”…all while failing to do so. A piece of advice to Christians: Talking down to people, assuming you know something about who they are or how they feel, and saying they’re “rejecting” your Lord’s standards? Not loving.
And I hope, whatever else you experienced while demonstrating against us, you felt some measure of that love. Because if you didn’t, then no matter how many thousands turned out for yesterdays’ event, it wasn’t the success it could have been.
God’s best to you, my friend unknown.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that this man wasn’t feeling any love from the people who showed up to eat chicken. Just sayin’.
If anyone is really, truly serious about that whole “love your neighbor” thing, then it needs to start with real conversation. Not fake, blog-posts-you’ll-never-read, clearly avoiding real dialogue conversations. No, I mean face-to-face, listening. Not claiming that you “know” who anyone else is because that person held a sign outside a restaurant.
Well done, Mr. Dallas. You’ve just highlighted exactly why it’s important to stop and talk, instead of worrying that your chicken might be getting cold.