Sunday, August 5, 2012


So, the fast food restaurant Chick-Fil-A has been under fire for supporting groups with anti-gay stances, even supporting the US not speaking against Uganda's "Kill the Gays" actions.

In the past couple months, Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy said he supported the Biblical version of marriage. (Simply: the Bible only refers to a man and woman being married, never two men or two women.) People got angry over this. I didn't. Chick-Fil-A is a Christian company, so it comes as no surprise that they wouldn't be supportive two people of the same gender entering a committed relationship that would be accepted as a normal marriage by a state.

Intolerance of homosexuality is sadly a thing that doesn't look like it's going away soon. People who aren't gay can't seem to understand why you would look for a companion for life in the same gender. I think I addressed my stance in my coming out blog. Simply, most people are predisposed to want a life partner of the opposite sex. I, and many others, am for an unknown reason predisposed to want a life partner of the same sex.

People have been saying "The next generation is noticing this is wrong, and they will start changing things." To which I say, "Don't think this applies to all of them." There are still children being raised to believe that the extent of a love between two guys should just be "buddies."

In America, we're split on it (some states even allow employers to fire an employee based on sexual orientation), while countries like the UK and Canada have been more forward to accept that sexual orientation is a mysterious and beautiful thing and we don't fully understand it. Other countries are much more hostile, with violence towards homosexuals being condoned, and in some countries, you can be killed or imprisoned just for being gay.

Considering your sexual predisposition is something you cannot control, it is without question that it is unfair to kill, imprison, or discriminate because of it.

On the other hand, I've tried being a decent human being, and I hope I'm doing well at that.

Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor, encouraged people to support a company with strong Christian values by eating at Chick-Fil-A on August 1st. (Coincidentally, the day I returned from my trip to the Winkie Convention, where I met with a lot of gay friends and a transgendered friend.) Record sales were reported. (You do have to wonder why someone who cites health as a strike against homosexuality would endorse fast food.) So were counter-protests by the LGBT community, and some gay Chick-Fil-A employees felt quite torn about going to work that day. (EDIT: More employees' stories.)

Social media sites were all in a hubbub, for and against Chick-Fil-A. I opted not to say anything about it. As a gay man, I disagree with their stance on gays. As a decent human being though, they are a business, and like my miserable job, there are people who work for this company (some who are gay) who just want to get by. However, these specific people won't get any more money if they get busier, unless they have to stay late, which is irritating. Needless to say, I didn't go. (Those restaurants are too out of the way anyway.)

Sadly, some of the money they make goes to support causes I don't agree with, some of which challenge my rights as a citizen, and the message they send about gays cause some to even disrespect my basic rights as a human being.

I do believe in Christian morals myself. And by "Christian," I do not mean "in the Bible," but following the words of Christ. He said not to judge, criticize or condemn, because the same measure we use will inevitably be used against us. (And not necessarily by God, but by other people.) He also said not to judge before you have walked a mile in another man's shoes (know where the person is coming from). (EDIT: I have found this is not a statement by Christ, or even Biblical. Still, it is an excellent rule, though it is not of Christ.) And, most of all, He commanded us to love one another.

Looking through the words of Christ, I have to question some of the causes Chick-Fil-A supports. How are you not judging without knowing who you are judging when you tell gays their basic desire to have a companion of the same sex is sinful? (Human companionship is one of the first issues God attempted to rectify, according to the Creation story in Genesis.) How are you loving a gay person by telling them "God hates fags!" or blaming them for the country's problems? Simple: YOU AREN'T.

I try not to judge, but yes, I did right there. But I know where anti-gay people come from. Years before I realized I was gay, I had anti-gay sentiments myself that quickly melted when I actually started talking to gay people.

My sister weighed in on the issue on Facebook:
With all the Chick-Fil-A talk on Facebook, I have only seen one post that I actually want to agree with.

There were a lot of you that poured into the restaurant today, and all that did for Chick-Fil-A was boost their sales for today. They may not support "being gay" "gay rights" or "gay marriage."

While I am a Christian and and love chicken, I didn't feel the need to go to Chick-Fil-A today. Now it doesn't mean that I don't support their stance. We all have the option to express our opinion. But are we forgetting the "not judging" part of our faith? What is making us better than Westboro with all our condemnation upon the LGBT community? Biblical standards, which one of us is without sin so we can cast the first stone at them?

I come from a family of 7 children, and out of those 7 children, 5 are boys and one of them is gay. Is it my place to judge or condemn him for being what he is? No. You can argue with me that that isn't the way God made him, but until you show me otherwise, why is it my right to judge him? Doesn't that just put us in the same spot with God if what he is doing is truly wrong? Am I against Chick-Fil-A for not supporting human rights? No. Am I against my brother because he's choosing a lifestyle that is different than my own? No. Why should I choose sides? Its really food for thought.
That got comments, including a couple from the man from my church who had messaged me with condemnation after I came out in April. One person weighed in with, "Why should I care what anyone else does if they don't hurt anybody?"

Finally, I commented. With a 12-paragraph comment.
I wasn't sure if I should comment, being the brother mentioned. A lot of people don't understand LGBT folk, and generally, individually, they stay quiet because it's controversial and most people just want to be left alone and live in peace.

I am sorry to say that the Church has really been lacking in God's love when it comes to people of differing sexual orientation. They are told it's a choice that they are the way they are. Too often, we assume someone identifies as gay because they participated in an act of sex with someone of the same gender and enjoyed it. This isn't the case. It's attraction, and the only choice is how you live with it. I decided to openly say it.

People have been uncomfortable with their orientation and have tried to change it, but it's been noted as impossible. Even the leader of Exodus International mentions he still deals with same-sex attraction on a day-to-day basis and has begun to drop the company's attempts to "cure" gay people.

There has been a lot of debate on homosexuality and the verses in the Bible in which it talks about what appear to same-sex relations. There have been interpretations that say that quite possibly these verses are about people acting outside of their natural orientation, or about rape, prostitution, or promiscuity. However, others dismiss these as people simply trying to find justification for "sin." Personally, I believe my sin is between me and God. If He convicts me of it, then I need to prayerfully consider what His will is.

It has been proved by science that orientation is not a choice, and just about any homosexual (including myself) will tell you they didn't choose it, they realized it. Saying it's a choice is a groundless statement versus one based in science and affirmed by the personal experiences of many people throughout the world. If indeed this is how God made certain people, why would He want them to hide who they are, even going so far as to lie about it? To me, marrying a woman just to make myself look like a straight man would be a big fat lie to that woman, and I have too much respect for the opposite sex to do that.

I have not been in a romantic relationship period, nor have I had sex. When I tried to think about what I desire, it is not sex but companionship, and I suspect this is generally what anyone looks for in a relationship. I can't deny that it's weird that I've realized I would prefer to look for this companionship with another man when most guys (including my brothers) look to women.

Because of the many times the Church has decided not to walk in the shoes of the LGBT community before judging them, people who realize they have same-sex attractions often fall away from their faith, even if they don't tell anyone in their church that they're gay. It's not the ostracism (though that doesn't help) but the thought instilled that "God doesn't love you because of how He made you." That makes no sense!

I grew up in a Christian home, attended church at least once a week, often multiple times. I was involved in church ministry. And yes, I believe God wanted me to do that. If the Christian faith is a guard against homosexuality, then it has not worked. In fact, there are many cases of people in good, Godly homes, realizing they had same-sex attractions.

I'm not suggesting anyone here be perfectly okay with me or anyone else being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. All I want to ask is that you reconsider how you are displaying God's love. Because I realized that some people are lacking in that respect, I have been attempting to question what I do every day when I'm around people. Am I displaying God's love by scowling at the old woman across the street who is apparently upset that I take the bus and don't just walk down the street? No. Am I displaying God's love by holding the door open for people who are about to enter the same building I am? Maybe.

Would I be displaying God's love by saying Chik-Fil-A deserves to go out of business because the CEO doesn't think homosexuality is right? No.

Now apply this to yourself: if you tell a person who has identified themselves as gay that they are a bad person, does this display God's love?

This shouldn't be a ground-breaking notion. This is simply thinking "What would Jesus do?" It's not about being gay-friendly. It's about following Christ's example. He loved so unconditionally, He even asked that His executioners be forgiven.
If you're wondering that guy commented right after, called my desire for same-sex companionship "sinful" and compared it to adultery. (Which baffles me: adultery is being unfaithful to your partner. I'm single.)

Now, in preparation for this blog, I read some other perspectives. Silence on an issue may just as well support it. But frankly, all I have to say is I'm a human being. So is this guy:
So are the two people who make up this handsome couple:
So is this guy:
And, like me, all the guys in those pictures are gay.

If we're ignoring the simple, basic fact that we're all human beings, that we are all deserving of at least common decency, then we are becoming dangerous. And the insane thing is, people who claim to be Christians, who should have this as a basic part of their faith, are the ones who are ignoring this the most. You'll support the rights of an unborn child, but not of a mature adult who just wants to love the person they love?

Those men in those photos? I could easily talk with each and every one of them (and many others) during the Winkie Convention. As far as I know, none of them claim to be Christians. Now, when I walk into the church I attended for over a decade, I have to stop and think "Gee, can I be myself around this person?" And the more I realize I think that, the more I realize I shouldn't have to think that.

If you have a problem with who I am, that's it. You have a problem.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a marvelous, well-constructed piece, Jared. When one writes about emotional subject matter like this, there is a tendency to lose one's eloquence in a cloud of feeling, however you've done a wonderful job of expressing yourself, exposing yourself, and revealing yourself. Kudos!