Saturday, August 04, 2012

How 'Bout A Side Of Civility With That Chikin?

I've pretty much had it with this whole Chick-fil-A brouhaha.  Hordes of people lining up for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.  Gay people holding kiss-ins.  Employees, both gay and straight, caught in the middle of it all.  Vitriol and name-calling from both sides.  It's gotten ridiculous.

Oh, and then there's this douchebag, whose supposedly on my side, harassing this poor employee who's just trying to do a good job and support herself in this crappy economy and who shows far more dignity and grace than this self-righteous blowhard:

 As a gay man who is very much in support of same-sex marriage, I am enormously offended by this ignoramus and his actions.  Harassing this employee does more harm to our cause than good and just makes gay-rights activists look like a bunch of insensitive jerks.  I can assure you that this particular man does not represent or defend who I feel I am as a gay individual (nor do the graffiti artists who vandalized a Chick-fil-A in Torrance, California with a picture of a cow scrawling the words, "Tastes like hate").  I believe in mutual respect and civility, and Adam Smith and the vandals in Torrance showed neither, in my opinion.

While I strongly disagree with Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy's views on gay marriage, I also believe he has as much right to voice, share, and own his own views on the issue as I do.  I also think he must take responsibility for the consequences of those views, whether positive or negative.  I also believe that those who don't wish to give their money to Chick-fil-A have every right to boycott them and those that do want to give their money to Chick-fil-A have every right to patronize that business if they so desire.  Some of my fellow gay brothers and sisters may disagree with me on this, but I also think if somebody wants to buy a chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A, it doesn't necessarily mean that they hate gay people.  It might mean that they like chicken.  However, If they do love gay people and thoroughly know and understand the anti-gay causes to which Chick-fil-A donates money, perhaps it will make them think twice about giving their money to that business.  But if they do want to continue to eat at Chick-fil-A, I'm not going to unfriend them on Facebook or in real life as some of my other friends have chosen to do.  I hardly think I'll be building any bridges of understanding that way.

I do think the name-calling and disrespect and generalized misunderstandings and assumptions and stereotypes on both sides of the issue need to stop.  They are counterproductive.  I think people can disagree on issues without being disagreeable, disrespectful, or rude.  I don't think you can ever sway someone to your side of the argument if you treat them in an uncivil and unkind manner.

Believe it or not, not all Christians hate gay people.  I'm a Christian and gay, and I like myself very much.  Not all people who disagree with same-sex marriage are homophobes or hate gay people.  I have many friends who don't support same-sex marriage (a couple of them who, in fact, are gay themselves), and I still very much feel their love for me even if we disagree on this issue.  Not all gay activists are intolerant (although some certainly are as intolerant as the people they're railing against) nor are all those who are troubled by the idea of same-sex marriage intolerant.  And not all people who eat a chicken sandwich or work for a company that produces chicken sandwiches are "haters".

I know this is an emotional issue that causes feelings of anger and resentment on both sides, but I don't feel we will ever make progress in understanding each other's views if we resort to name-calling, stereotyping, and vitriol rather than healthy dialogue and showing more love and compassion towards one another, even when we disagree (especially when we disagree).  Allowing emotions to override reasonable discourse will never be successful at swaying someone to your side.  It is admittedly challenging, but I think when we get so locked into our own mindset that we fail to try and see things from another's point of view, we do ourselves a great disservice and progress between opposing factions is stifled.  Before we ask what the other side needs to do to change, we should ask ourselves what we can do personally to foster an atmosphere that will be more conducive to progress.  We can and will disagree, but even in doing so I think we can at least try to be more understanding and compassionate.

Just my opinion.

On the lighter side, here's Jon Stewart's take on the debate:

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
ast Feud Nation - Chik-fil-A Appreciation Day
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I love his last quote: "Take solace in this.  Gay marriage is happening.  Like many drive-through window lanes, it ain't going backwards, and your bonus is this: You get gay marriage, and all your political opponents are going to get is type-two diabetes."


Dean Scott said...

Thanks - I agree with your perspective.

jen said...

Love the Jon Stewart clip.
And I agree with you. I do think this became a chance for people on both sides to let themselves be angry and hurt and a bit crazy. (Not everyone, just a few.)

Seeing it as an explosion of emotions, then it isn't as saddening or maddening for me as it was at first.

Connie Babe said...

Love your: I'm a Christian and gay, and I like myself very much.

Made me smile.

Thank you for a wonderful post.

Gay LDS Actor said...

Thanks for your comments, all.