Well Chik-Fil-A is back in the news and not of their own doing. I came across this article from a local church who is giving out Chik-Fil-A gift cards to couples who attend their conference on “Biblical Marriage”. The Huffington post picked up on it right away and ran with it, taking the opportunity to reaffirm their opinion of Chik-Fil-A being the restaurant of choice for “gay marriage haters”. But Chik-Fil-A didn’t provide the gift cards, rather a local business donated money to purchase the gift cards for the church event.
What really caught my attention about the story was a friend of mine who attends shared the article trying to defend her church. The members immediately came to the defense of their event, and rightly so, by throwing the donor under the bus. The money donated for the cards came from Tom Raper RV, the Midwest’s largest RV dealer, whose foundation also places Biblical themed billboards along the interstate outside Richmond, Indiana. The pastor then purchased the Chik-Fil-A gift cards, the same company that came out in public support of Biblical marriage last year bringing down a firestorm from the media and branding itself the restaurant of choice for conservative Christians.
I’ve been in enough church board meetings to know this wasn’t an innocent mistake. Businesses don’t just pick random churches to donate a couple thousand dollars to for an event, so I’m guessing Mr. Raper has some ties to the church and probably even had a recommendation on how to spend the dollars. Next the pastor didn’t buy Starbucks or Target gift cards whose owners have come out in support of gay marriage. Once again I’m pretty there was a planning committee involved in the decision.
One commenter shared their disgust at the Huffingtonpost for labeling them as “haters and bigots”. This church is neither of which and are working diligently to support healthy marriage. Although their ad makes it clear they support a “husband and wife”, they have the right to promote their own view of marriage the same way that gay marriage advocates have dominated the headlines.
But it raises a larger question for me about the motives of any church taking a public stand like this anymore. While I wouldn’t use such strong language which is typically reserved for more outspoken hatemongers like Westboro Baptist church, underneath it all aren’t the messages the same? Although most Christians wouldn’t stand by the roadside with “God Hates Fags” signs, I’ve often been disturbed by the lack of condemnation from Christians for those who do. Deep down most churches are more politically savvy than to promote their doctrines in such a way. Yet they will do a seemingly innocent thing like this church which is kind of the passive aggressive way of saying the same thing isn’t it?
Why the focus all of a sudden on “the Biblical view of marriage”? Why not healthy relationships which have been torn down for years of watching the Bachelor or Teen Mom? What about seminars on “relationships that last” instead of support groups for divorcees? If healthy marriage is the concern, and not simply combating gay marriage, there are so many other areas of life that would improve that first. It’s not like you’re going to have a group of gay and lesbian couples show up for a seminar on “Biblical Marriage” anyway.