Standing on the sidelines of controversy
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or are just really busy — which sometimes makes you feel you DO live under a rock), you probably know the big topic in the news besides the Olympics is the Chick-fil-A controversy.
Apparently, the CEO of Chick-fil-A came out with anti-gay statements. For those who missed them, let me share those statements now:
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”
By the way, the entire original article is worth reading.
Taking a deep breath here, because I rarely comment on controversy. Why? Because for one thing I hate confrontations. I hate being flamed for things that are just my opinion (which last I checked opinions aren’t right or wrong, they just ARE). But beyond that, I tend to sit on the edge of controversy and go, “Oh I see your side.” and then turn to the other side and go, “Oh I see your side, too.”
But this is one that has SO MANY ANGLES that my head is spinning! Following Twitter yesterday was like trying to read a choose your own adventure book. Everyone had their own opinion, and everyone stood strong on that opinion.
And you know what?
THAT’S WAY FREAKING AWESOME!
It’s nice to see people stand for their beliefs! It’s nice to see people be passionate about their beliefs!
What’s not nice is when someone can’t stand strong without slamming someone with a differing opinion.
Like I said, yesterday’s opinions were far and wide. Everything from, “I refuse to support a company that doesn’t support gay/lesbian marriage.” to, “Intolerance is what is wrong with this country,” to, “I believe like they do so I am going to show that by eating there!’ to, “I just appreciate a company standing for their beliefs.” to, “I don’t agree with a company being told to get out of a city just because they stood by their beliefs.” to, “What’s the big deal, anyway? If you don’t like their beliefs, just eat somewhere else.”
And some had a mixture of several of those opinions.
The only opinions that upset me were the ones that (a) attacked the other side with a vengeance and with deep spite, and the ones that (b) based their opinion strictly on the picture painted by others (i.e. the media or rumors).
And therein lies where I tend to sit on the edge of controversy. I want to know the facts of the matter — not just what the media tells me I need to know.
For example, I did not see a single news article about the original article that included the quote, “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.” Perhaps other people heard that quote, but I never did. Almost every article I heard lead viewers/readers to believe the company was strictly, “If you don’t agree with us, shame on you. We hate you.” When I read the article I read, “Hey, we know people disagree with us. But thank God its a free country to believe and run our business as we want to.”
And you know what? THAT’S the side I want to sit on… the side that says, “One of our rights is to believe as we want to as individuals.”
It takes a lot of courage to state your beliefs, whatever they may be. Especially because we live in a world where its becoming less and less okay to stand by your beliefs. It seems people are inclined to conclude that if someone believes in X, they obviously hate Y, even if they never say anything negative about Y. But sometimes, it is truly as simple as, “This is how I feel. It doesn’t mean I hate you.”
I am in no way affiliated with Chick-fil-A. I can’t speak for them. I have never worked there, etc. But I do know that we live in a country where we are all free to believe what we believe… and I just wish we could all respect our differing beliefs without assuming anyone who thinks differently from you is automatically the enemy.