Last month, if anybody had mentioned the name “Dan Cathy” I would have asked, “Who”? The truth is, for most people his name would hardly register on the fame-recognition-meter. Thanks (or no thanks) to recent events, the name of Chik-fil-A’s President and Chief Operating Office has been added to the Hall of the Infamous by an angry lynch mob who are bent on bullying his business into bankruptcy. His crime? In June while appearing on “The Ken Coleman Show” (another name I’d never heard before), Cathy declared that the United States is inviting God’s judgment on the nation with the recent push in favor of gay marriage. I disagree with him.
Why Cathy is Wrong
Let me explain. In making this statement, the son of Chik-fil-A’s founder has demonstrated an unsettling ignorance about the spiritual climate of this nation. The push for gay marriage is just one indicator of a society that has exhibited an unsettling decadence from its very establishment. The success of the gay lobby is by no means the finger on the trigger of God’s retribution on a nation that speaks like a lamb and acts like the dragon.
Does Mr. Cathy want us to believe that God has no problem with the racist practices that have left indelible scars on the indigenous people groups and the descendants of African slaves? Does he really think that God approves of a system where 1% of the people control 40% of the wealth? Has he ever questioned the right of a nation built on capitalist exploitation to enact laws designed to bar the exploited from residency? Has he ever reflected on the fact that there is no biblical text that justifies his company’s practice of closing on Sundays? Mr. Cathy, the catalyst for God's judgment on America was triggered long before the successful efforts of the gay rights movement to change societal opinion.
The New Normal
I don't know about you, but over the years I have developed the habit of interpreting socio-political events through the lenses of spiritual warfare. For many, this is just another chapter in the fight for “marriage equality.” However, I don't believe that things of this magnitude "just happen." There are unseen forces at play that are ardently recruiting individuals to fulfill their agenda. Fortunately, the people of the Book are able to see through demonic wiles as they recognize that this recent insurgence is merely a reminder of our socio-spiritual reality.
Think about it. The ruthless castigators have launched an attack on a man and his company simply for expressing an opinion based on his religious belief. Seemingly possessed by the demonic scriptwriters that shamelessly distort distortions in negative political ads, those who desire to decimate Mr. Cathy’s company have developed a litany of lies that project their own prejudices into his statement.
Notice what he did not say. He did not say that his company does not hire gays—in fact, many of his gay employees have openly expressed their displeasure in his position. He did not say that his stores would not serve gays—I’m sure that there are an untold number of openly gay people who have contributed to the coffers of his company. He did not even say that he hates gays—in fact, the company has made several attempts to distance themselves from hatemongers who are using this as an excuse to spew their vitriolic venom. All he did was express his personal convictions about the morality of gay marriages and now the Prince of Darkness has incited an angry lynch mob who are intent on creating a “new normal” for our culture.
Worse than Jim Crow
I had to pinch myself when I saw the extent of the outrage over Mr. Cathy’s statement—it’s unbelievable! Imagine, powerful elected officials have donned the mantles of miffed muftis as they pronounce fatwas banning the food chain from their jurisdictions. Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel probably never realized the truth of his statement when he announced that Chik-fil-A (on this position) does not share his towns “values.” Boston’s Thomas Menino has probably never even reflected on the absence of evidence that Chik-fil-A is a business that “discriminates against a population.” Even San Francisco’s Edwin M. Lee tweeted a less than veiled threat warning the franchise not to “come any closer” to his Chik-fil-A deprived town.
How in the world did we get here? Even the ACLU is alarmed at the extent to which these mayors are displaying their bigotry and abusing their authority. Even in the height of Jim Crow when companies openly refused to serve Black people, they had a legal right to open their doors for business. However, I don’t even know why I made this comparison because the situations don’t even come close. Chik-fil-A has never barred anyone from patronizing its stores. This is absolute nonsense.
As I reflect on this outrage, I am reminded of the strength of the gay lobby. Yes, it is true that some homosexuals are still victimized and subject to hate crimes. It is true that many so-called Christians continue to direct disparaging terms and hateful language towards those who choose a gay lifestyle. However, let’s not be fooled into accepting the myth that homosexuals are a powerless minority. The truth is, there are many who hold powerful positions of influence. They are the ones who have forced the Democrats to embrace a bold party platform that heretofore would have been an instantaneous death sentence. They are the ones who design our clothes and write the scripts for our entertainment. Just this week, an article in Time Magazine rightly observed that Hollywood has been chiefly influential in transforming society’s opinion of homosexuality.
Conclusion: The Beginning of the End
With the increasing absorption of homosexual values, I predict that we are transitioning to an era where those who voice certain moral positions will be persecuted. There has already been a successful attempt to charge those who disagree with the lifestyle with homophobia, and many people see “anti-gay” as synonymous to “pro-hate.” This type of language portrays those who have problems with the homosexual lifestyle as psychopathic deviants who are just waiting for an opportunity to inflict violence on the objects of their scorn. It’s only a matter of time before we go the way of some European nations and Canada where a person can be convicted of hate speech for preaching the biblical view on homosexuality.
These are the final days of earth’s history and I firmly believe that the situation with Chik-fil-A previews one way in which the Dragon will make war against God's remnant. Paul reminds us in Philippians 6 that we are at war—not against a physical enemy, but against “principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in other dimensions.” (Eph 6:12) Now more than ever there is a need for men and women “who will not be bought or sold, who in their inmost souls are true and honest, who do not fear to call sin by it's right name, whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” (Education, 58) As you reflect on these words, always remember that “a tree is known by its fruit.”
Keith Augustus Burton is the Coordinator of the Center for Adventist-Muslim Relations at Oakwood University
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4641