Hey GLAAD, “Lighten up, don’t pucker up!”

It is no secret that men and women are very different, in almost every way.   From what I have heard, men are from Mars and women are from Venus.   My personal experience with that gender confirms that they are from a different planet.  But women aside, I find myself trying to understand different segments of society as well.  Like the Real Housewives of anywhere.   Are they for real?  I don’t understand them or the people who watch them.

In my search for understanding, I have personally met with men from the local Mosque to try to comprehend the Muslim mind and Islam religion.  I have sat down with atheists in an attempt to understand their world without God.  I enjoy conversing with those from an opposing political party, hoping to understand what makes them “tick.”  I constantly ask friends and co-workers a barrage of questions about words they have said or actions they have done, in an attempt to understand why they do or say what they do.

It is in that spirit that I write this particular blog post.  As St. Francis of Assisi once wrote, “Seek first to understand.  Then be understood.”    Those words have guided me for years and I really aim to build bridges with those I disagree with, even when I disagree with them strongly.  Having said that, I really want to better understand and relate to the gay & lesbian community’s outrage and how they must feel this week in regards to all the Chick-Fil-A talk.

Honestly, the folks in the gay & lesbian communities are a mystery to  me – not just in their private lifestyle choice but in their public agenda with it.  I can accept a lifestyle I don’t agree with it just like I can accept a religion I do not agree with.  If you want to bow to your particular god behind closed doors – fine.  I accept that.  I can respect Islam so long as I don’t have to pay homage to Allah.   I can accept the alternative lifestyle too, so long as I don’t have to bow to the gay god.  But why all the anger when someone defends the traditional marriage as between one man and one woman?   What is so wrong with the heterosexual union?  If I’m not mistaken, you wouldn’t be here without it.

By now you have probably heard of the Chick-Fil-A boycott being planned by members of the gay & lesbian community.  From what I can tell, G.L.A.A.D. (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) is supporting the movement.   Chick-Fil-A  C.E.O., Dan Cathy was quoted in the Baptist Press (July 16) saying he was “guilty as charged” for supporting “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.”  He has been quoted as saying in another publication, “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.”   It has also been reported that Chick-Fil-A has donated over $2 million dollars to anti-gay groups.

Granted, not every gay and lesbian person may be planning on participating in the boycott nor may even agree with it.   However, GLAAD’s intention and actions do seem to represent the majority of those in that camp.  It should be noted that it is not their boycott that bothers me.  What bothers me is their organization of the “National same sex kiss day” on August 3rd in Chick-Fil-A stores nationwide.  With that background in motion, I am imploring the gay & lesbian community to “Lighten up!” and help enlighten me.

I realize that by saying this and publishing this post, I am kicking the entire bee hive because of a few vocal bees.  I fully expect to be stung as everyone normally is who dares to speak up in disagreement to their movement.  For those that are gay but do not agree with their overall group’s decision or actions, I apologize for lumping you in there with them.  Perhaps you need to be more vocal as well, so we can hear another viewpoint from someone in that camp?

Here are a few reasons why “they” (or you) need to lighten up in regards to Mr. Cathy’s expressed beliefs.

  • As a Christian, Mr. Cathy believes that God’s original plan for marriage was one man and one woman.  Whether you agree with Mr. Cathy or not, you have to admit that he is right about God’s original plan – one man with one woman.   After all, in the “perfect” environment (The Garden of Eden), God created Adam and Eve.  Had God created Adam and “Steve”, the human family would never have been able to continue past the first generation.   Whether you agree with him or not, he is still entitled to his beliefs and he is entitled to share them when asked by the Baptist Press.  Our First amendment rights make that clear.  In like fashion, you are entitled to your beliefs and you are allowed to share them.  I don’t have to tell you this.  You know your constitutional rights better than anyone.  You get on your soapbox often and shout your beliefs to everyone whether they want to hear it or not.
  • Chick-Fil-A is a privately held company.  This restaurant is not a political organization.  They are not publicly traded on the Stock Market.  They are not government supported, run or led.  They are not even a church or Christian organization.  They are a privately held restaurant whose owner happens to be an outspoken Christian.   Chick-Fil-A is famously closed on Sundays.  Why?  Because its christian leadership is trying to follow their personal conviction (and 4th Commandment!) that Sunday is the Lord’s Day and a day of rest.  The point is – unlike most other companies out there, they march to the beat of a different Drummer.   You don’t have to like it.  When you create the greatest chicken sandwich on the planet and turn it into a billion dollar business, you can make your own rules too.
  • They have not and do not discriminate against the gay & lesbian community from eating there.  I am sure you can find some example where a gay or lesbian person was denied from working there.  It’s an isolated incident.  I have been in over 20 Chick-Fil-A restaurants across the country and none have ever treated me with anything less than respect and dignity.  They didn’t know or ask or care what my sexual preference or background is.  They just wanted to know if I wanted “waffle fries with that order.”
  • If you feel so strong about this – then go ahead and boycott the company.   Follow in the steps of Ed Helms (actor from the Office) and refuse to eat there anymore.  I promise you, it will not silence the CEO, change the company’s view or affect their bottom line.  If they can THRIVE in this economy against STEEP competition WHILE being CLOSED ON SUNDAYS, I doubt your few missing dollars will have any impact.  Besides, they are not doing anything wrong.  They are just not bowing to your particular preference.
  • The owners of Chick-Fil-A may think being gay is wrong, so what?  They believe that God intended marriage to be between a man and a woman.  So what?  Chick-Fil-A will still give you a job.  They will still serve you in their restaurant.  They will even let you wear whatever pro-gay shirt you want in their store.  As long as it does not stop you from your constitutional right of eating their delicious chicken sandwich, what do you care what they believe or preach?
  • Aren’t you the group that proclaims everyone should be tolerant?  How come it seems like you don’t practice what you preach?  Apparently Christians are not the only hypocrites in the room.

One last thing, the “National same-sex kissing day” stunt you boast about doing is wrong and distasteful.   Just as you probably wouldn’t want Mr. Cathy to flaunt his anti-gay beliefs to you inside your place of business, you shouldn’t do the same in his.  Even if you pull it off, so what?  What do you prove?  That you can kiss in public?   Or does it merely prove you DO have an agenda you are trying to put “in their face?”  To be consistent, do you boycott every store who disagrees with you?  Do you feel the need to kiss in every store that has an outspoken CEO against your cause?   If not, why not?   Your answer would be telling.

I’m sorry that you have a hard time fitting in to our straight culture.  It’s really not so straight anymore, you should be pleased.  I’m sorry that it’s taken years to pass the laws to protect you and keep you safe.   I’m sorry that you feel judged all the time.  You deserve to be loved and accepted and protected like anyone else.   But just as you are allowed your beliefs and practices, Chick-Fil-A and its owners are allowed theirs as well.

Just for the sake of clarity so no one has to wonder “where I am coming from.”  I am straight but have several good friends & family who are gay.  Their being gay does not affect my thoughts towards them or my love towards them.   Though I may not agree with their choice, it does not mean I would ever stop being their friend/family because of it.  If one can only be friends with someone who lives right all the time, I’d have no friends.

Though I am not interested in getting into a debate about whether the alternate lifestyle is right or wrong, I would be open to polite, mature, civil comments on why the G & L community might disagree with this post.   Yelling and name calling and belittling of opinion doesn’t help either side gain understanding.  Hostile or mean comments will probably be deleted.  To be fair, I won’t tolerate abuse from the other side either.  However, if there is an intelligent, articulate, reasonable opinion on why the “National Same sex kissing day” is an appropriate response to Dan Cathy’s remarks, I’d love to hear it.

In the meantime, “Lighten up!”


About Rod Arters

As a former youth worker, business owner, school teacher, coach and inmate, Rod has the unique ability to relate to almost anyone in whatever situation they are in. His thought-provoking blog about life, mistakes, faith, hope & grace has been read in over 175 countries. A popular writer & speaker, Rod draws from his deep well of biblical knowledge and personal pain to encourage others along the broken journey to wholeness. He hosts an invitation-only private Facebook group for men (called Brother's Keeper) and enjoys helping others find Hope in the midst of their painful situations. He currently resides in Charlotte, NC.
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15 Responses to Hey GLAAD, “Lighten up, don’t pucker up!”

  1. Dawson says:

    This will sound cynical, but I’m afraid it is probably the truth. I don’t think GLAAD’s stunt is anything more than GLAAD giving themselves a “reason to exist.” They are doing this to gain publicity for themselves as an organization and to make the gay and lesbian community feel like they are necessary and “doing their job” so they can continue to get funding and donations. It’s sort of like what you see from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton any time they can find an excuse to get behind a microphone and grab some publicity. I’m sure Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and GLAAD all do some good for the communities they serve, but I believe this is nothing more than a political opportunity to make some noise. I agree with you that the stunt, while in bad taste accomplishes nothing for their cause and community…except getting other Americans annoyed at them.

    • Rod Arters says:

      Dawson, what does Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton do? Does anyone really know? I appreciate your comments. It will be interesting to see what transpires on August 3rd.

  2. Rich says:

    well i wonder what “gay dollars” are since i wasn’t aware that money was gay too….. also since the CEO of chick-fil-a has the freedom to state in publications that he feels that being gay is wrong, which he certainly does, then why doesn’t the gay and lesbian community have that same constitution protected freedom to kiss in their stores? just curious.

    • Rod Arters says:

      Rich, thanks for reading and commenting. Gay dollars was just a way to talk about the money that the G&L community spends. After reading your comment, perhaps that phrase is a bit divisive. I may consider removing it.

      Kissing in a store is not a constitutionally protected right. Heterosexual couples occasionally kiss in stores if they are greeting one another or saying goodbye. That kiss would be appropriate in that context and acceptable. The kiss that the G & L people are planning is to make a statement. I anticipate that their kiss will be long and prolonged and for the purpose of shock value, and that is what I would deem inappropriate. At the same time, if a heterosexual couple would have the same, prolonged public kiss – it would seem inappropriate as well.

      • Rich says:

        well ok then that is fair enough. can’t really hate on someone for having an opinion. glad to see yours is across the board and not based on sexual orientation

  3. Rich says:

    for the record i am a straight, married man that believes in equal rights and freedoms for everyone regardless of religion or sexual orientation. one more thing i wanted to ask you….you made the statement that you don’t care what religion someone else practices behind closed doors……does that mean they SHOULD be practiced behind closed doors and if so does that mean christians should have to do that as well? i think i know the answer to the last question but i was curious what you would say anyway.

    • Rod Arters says:

      Rich, No, I do not think the expression of religion should be practiced behind closed doors. But I also don’t think it should be done in a way that is blatantly offensive either. My point was that whatever someone does behind a closed door is their business, not mine.

      • Rich says:

        now that i can respect! but what about the people that find the attitude of certain church members offensive? i mean the christian church here. some people find certain attitudes offensive so how do you feel that should be addressed?

  4. Adam Woods says:

    Civil disobedience has been one of the greatest instruments of social change in the last 100 years, and I’m thrilled with GLAAD’s plan. The plan, that is, to do something completely legal, if a little disobedient, that straight people do all the time, viz. kiss in public.

    I’d be comfortable with you asking GLAAD to lighten up if the plan was to sodomize one another in public, but of course it isn’t. I also think you’re speaking from a place of privilege, here. It’s almost impossible for a straight white man to understand the incredible risk of a gay man kissing another gay man in public on any day, and that risk is only going to be compounded on 8/3. I personally would feel unsure of my own safety if participating.

    That kind of boldness, the kind that GLAAD is suggesting, is precisely the kind of strategy that’s called for to combat Dan Cathy’s (et al.) homophobia.

  5. Pingback: For the love of homosexuals, chicken sandwiches and free speech « In the Dailies

  6. Pingback: Rod’s Blog: 2012 Year in review | The Official blog of Rod Arters

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