Monday, August 6, 2012

Chicken Sandwiches, Vanilla Lattes, and Jesus

By Tammy Waite

Here’s something I don’t admit very often; I don’t care who anyone has sex with. Except me, of course, I care who I have sex with.

When the CEO of Chick Fil A announced last week that he was for traditional marriage, I wasn’t bothered by that. It’s his 1st amendment right to express his opinion and to follow his faith as he sees fit.

When Starbucks expressed their support of gay marriage, I wasn’t bothered by that either –it’s their 1st amendment right to express their opinions, too.

Friends on both the right and left suddenly bombarded me demanding that I either eat chicken sandwiches and boycott lattes, or that I should boycott chicken sandwiches and drink lattes.

Call me a skeptic, but I really don’t believe that social change is won through my fast food consumption. The only thing these boycotts and rallies seem to do is deepen the divide in our nation that fans the flames of anger. As a believer, I think that’s the exact opposite of what we are called to do, which is to be peacemakers and to love others as Christ loved us.

I have gay friends who are married. What sort of message would it send to them if I lined up to buy a sandwich at an event designed to make them feel small? I have friends who have deeply held beliefs about supporting traditional marriage, how would it make them feel if I lined up at an event meant to mock them?

I don’t wish to be part of either of those events and I don’t want to make anyone I love doubt my love for them by participating in some meaningless “let’s stick it to the other side” rally.

I am a Christian, but I am a sinner. I could never point my finger at someone for having sex with an inappropriate partner because…well, because I lived through the 80’s. I think people’s sexual sins, like all other sins will be something they have to answer to with God someday and He will be the determiner of what is and isn’t a sin in His eyes. I think we all spend far too much time worrying about what is going on in someone else’s bedroom and far too little time taking action to heal a broken world with love.

In all the words that Jesus spoke and were recorded in the Bible, not a word was spoken about homosexuality or abortion and yet the church as a whole is locked on those two issues as though they are at the center of God’s heart. But what Jesus spoke about repeatedly was loving our neighbors, caring for widows and orphans, visiting people in prison and seeking God’s will with all your heart.

Why aren’t there massive outcries and demonstrations when WIC gets cut and infants aren’t being fed, or when senior citizens and widows and widowers have their pension funds obliterated? It seems to me those topics would be more in line with Christ’s heart.

We are lost in a madness that distracts us from our actual call and are pouring our energy into being outraged at ridiculous things. Being an American means that you can believe in Jesus, or Buddha or Mohammed or The Force if you’d like and no one can demand you live by the principles of a religion with which you don’t align yourself.

As a Christian, it is MY obligation to follow the rules of my faith, but it’s not my right or obligation to expect others to follow the rules of my faith. Nor is it my obligation to buy a chicken sandwich or a vanilla latte in the name of defending God. If he is the God I believe He is, he can reach people’s hearts without me trying to defend his honor by eating a chicken sandwich. 

Image: via the Flickr photostream of Collin Harvey

Tammy Waite is a freelance writer based in San Diego, CA. She currently works at the Rock Church in San Diego, the 5th fastest growing church in America. She was a Political Science Major at the University of Akron and did a political internship on Jimmy Carter's Presidential campaign in 1980.