The fight for marriage quality in America may be nearing a tipping point. The recent debate on Chick-fil-A’s support of traditional marriage has sparked a variety of responses, to include characterizing “attacks” (or criticism) of CFA’s position to attacking Christianity.
This argument is as specious as it is fascinating to watch unfold. The rationale behind the defense of CFA leaves the defender to claim that their support does not necessarily imply they are for or against marriage equality – that their support for CFA is based on the principal that they are merely defending a Christian company for espousing their ideals. This, apparently, has been construed into the idea that an “attack” on CFA is therefore an attack on Christianity.
While that is perfect for a 10 second sound bite for a segment of the population whose attention span is about that of gnats, it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Criticism of CFA is in no way, shape, or form an attack on Christianity itself – it is however, an attack on Christians whose interpretation of the Bible leads them to understand that, and/or agree with CFA’s president Dan Cathy’s view that “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 is necessary to make the distinction between Christianity and Christians. Millions of American Christians, to include the majority of American Catholics support the right of all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation, to marry one another. 38 percent of Protestants also support marriage equality – so this cannot be simply labeled as Christian bigotry.
Despite the fact that a majority of all Americans, regardless of religious affiliation, support marriage equality; the same cannot be said for the hierarchical organizations of the churches that serve them.
It is also clear that the one common denominator that runs across the opposition to same-sex marriage is monotheistic religion, overwhelmingly represented by Christian-based groups. Though in fairness, there is a small, but growing, list of church organizations that see it differently.
What makes CFA a game changer in the “debate” is that for the first time a corporate entity, reliant on the consuming public for their profits, has placed their trademark squarely on the side of religious groups against marriage equality. Hundreds of church groups and “family focused” organizations have long fought for anonymity for their corporate and individual donors to shield them from public backlash.
Conversely, many “big name” corporations have “come out” in support of marriage equality. In the wake of CFA, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos, donated $2.5 million for the upcoming referendum challenge to marriage equality in Washington State this November.
Interestingly, for all the religious conservative criticism of the individual CFA boycott, opponents of same-sex marriage have mounted similar campaigns to boycott Starbucks [Dumpstarbucks.com] and General Mills, maker of just about every cereal and grain product imaginable for their support of marriage equality.
Recent demonstrations against General Mills drew opponents who turned in their boxes of Old El Paso taco shells and cans of Green Giant corn and other General Mills products.
Janet Bezdicek, a suburban Minnesota mother of five, said she’s taken Cheerios off of her shopping list because of General Mills’ stance. Link
The debate on the definition of marriage, prior to same-sex marriage, centered on the issue of interracial marriage – nearly 45+ years ago. Anti-miscegenation laws, unlike today, were fought in the courts and state legislatures. While the court of public opinion played a role, there was no internet, or Citizens United-like Political Action Committees to pour money into or voice opinion on the matter.
The driving force behind the state laws that kept blacks and whites from marrying, just as it is today, are religiously-motivated groups claiming knowledge of “god’s will.” Some 50 years later, god seems pretty cool with the idea that blacks and whites can marry. Maybe 50 years from now god will be OK with the idea that two women or two men can marry as well. The question that will linger is will you be OK with it or will your faith continue to make you feel bigoted?