TEXAS FAITH 80: Chick-fil-A’s moment in the news

Dallas Morning News,

Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.

“There are many ways to look at the Chick-Fil-A story, the one in which supporters of the popular fast-food chain have turned out to support the CEO’s strong belief that gay marriage is wrong and inconsistent with his faith. In return, some have argued that cities shouldn’t let Chick-Fil-A open up a franchise within their town. And some supporters of gay marriage have staged kiss-ins at one of the franchises.

Washington Post On Faith contributor Brad Hirschfield offered an interesting take. He argued that this episode may force the extremists in this debate to finally see themselves as mirror images of each other. Wrote Hirschfield:

“Without wasting time on fights about who the “real” victims of intolerance are, we can simply point out the hysterical and instructive irony that this is where those who support Chick-fil-A and those who most oppose it are actually quite alike. In each case, a group of aggrieved people who feel their rights and dignity being infringed upon embrace the notion of political and collective social action. It doesn’t matter if the claims are equally accurate, because they are indisputably equally real in the experience of the ones making the claims. What matters is using this as an opportunity to point out that groups which typically feel little or no connection to one another could at least come to appreciate each other’s experience.”

Writing in Forbes, Hoover Institution scholar David Davenport had a different approach. Not only does he think it is just fine for both sides to express themselves, but he argues that the episode should force Americans to think through the impact Christianity has had on our democracy. Wrote Davenport:

“It seems right for supporters of Chick fil-A and its president’s values to be concerned about their right to follow God’s word as they understand it, and even to believe that their point of view deserves a seat at the table in American democracy. Indeed, there is a long history supporting the notion that such values have been of real, practical value to elevating the mores and values that allow a free republic to work. And it seems right for Americans who find those views too narrow to decline to eat at Chick fil-A, though not for elected leaders to use their offices to block a business whose leader expresses his freedoms of speech and religion.

“In the end, Americans should chew over the powerful dilemma of Christianity and its impact on the democratic republic over 250 years. We may well be traveling the road of secular Europe, prepared to throw out the baby of religious values with the bathwater of religious teachings that are no longer popular.”

Of course, others may think this is just a media circus, part of the white noise that keeps us from focusing on more central issues.

What is your view?

How do you see the flap about Chick-fil-A’s moment in the news? Where do you come down?”

NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas 

I do not see how supporting the slaughter of those who cannot protect themselves can be seen as a campaign for sanctity and morality.

To see all responses of the TEXAS Faith panel click here.