I didn’t realize there would be a follow-up so soon to my earlier post, but here you go. When I first saw the headline “California Chick-Fil-A Offers Free Meals To Gay Marriage Supporters,” I presumed that a franchisee acted independently to protest the COO’s (I mistakenly referred to Dan Cathy as the CEO in the earlier post; mea culpa) pro-natural marriage stance. But the reality seems a bit different:
Corey Braun, the operator-owner of a Chick-fil-A near Foothill and Day Creek boulevards, provided dozens of free entree tickets to gay marriage supporters at a demonstration… “There were a lot of things said over the past year,” Braun said. “I wanted to show that Chick-fil-A doesn’t discriminate against anybody. We serve everyone. We’re happy to serve the community and this was an opportunity to have this group come in and show them our hospitality regardless of their beliefs, sexual orientation, or whatever. “ He added: “Chick-fil-A has never been about hate.”
Eden Anderson, a board member with the local LGBT rights group Equality Inland Empire, called Braun’s appearance at the demonstration surreal…
“The crowd was very accepting, of course,” Anderson said. “We got quiet and we were listening, and with some skepticism. But really, what I experienced with the community, is when people are open and apologetic and accepting, it’s touching to us. It feels like acceptance and we just want to be accepted and engaged in society, so when it’s confirmed, I think the overall reaction was, yes, certainly that Chick-fil-A in Rancho Cucamonga is welcoming to us…”
Anderson said the LGBT community was surprised by the turnout [at the "Chick-fil-A days"] last year “and how much it hurt. ”
“A lot of them aren’t just against marriage equality,” Anderson said. “They believe gay people are a sin against nature and God and it felt like a display of disregard for our humanity. “
I suppose that skeptics would say 1) He is showing support to the gay marriage movement in spite of the company’s tradition of Biblical values, or 2) He is just out for profit wherever he can get it.
I say Kudos to Corey Braun. Whatever his personal intentions were, the public perception of Chick-fil-A is squarely against the LBGT movement so for him to do what he did seems a fitting example of putting good advice into practice:
But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you (Mt 5:44)
Again, for the skeptics, I get it that he is just giving them coupons for chicken and doing nothing to warn them against the risk of cooperating in mortal sin. Or is he? The simple act seems to have impressed many in the crowd who weren’t looking for logical counterarguments but for a regard for their humanity. Even though I think the natural marriage side has a lock on the logic of maintaining the true definition and meaning of marriage, opinions can certainly be swayed by emotion. The quotes by Anderson demonstrate that pretty clearly: “open and apologetic and accepting…touching…accepted and engaged…welcoming…how much it hurt.”
Simply put, Braun’s act showed people who might never consider embracing (or re-embracing) orthodox Christianity what the love of Christ looks like. Pope Francis and clergy throughout the world did a similar thing yesterday:
Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us. This is what I do. And I do it with my heart. I do this with my heart because it is my duty, as a priest and bishop I must be at your service. But it is a duty that comes from my heart and a duty I love. I love doing it because this is what the Lord has taught me.
We don’t know if Corey Braun’s actions were motivated by what the Lord taught him, but being associated with Chick-fil-A likely suggested to the demonstrators that that indeed was his motivation.
What is striking is how surprised Anderson seems to be. Authentic Catholicism (not Westboro Baptist or other fringe Protestant groups) “doesn’t discriminate against anybody;” all of us sinners need God’s grace and the sacraments. Catholics should show everyone “our hospitality regardless of their beliefs, sexual orientation, or whatever.” Catholicism “has never been about hate;” it is about loving Christ and the Church He founded, and our neighbors as ourselves.
Catholicism certainly does not “believe gay people are a sin against nature and God:”
…Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. (emphasis mine, CCC 2357-2359)
It’s cliched, but we hate the sin and love the sinner.
Nor do Catholics disregard the humanity of anyone. A quick glance at the Church’s pro-life work, combined with its other charitable efforts, should make that clear.
In other words, orthodox Catholicism (Scripture, the Catechism, the Pope) contains within it everything that so touched the hearts of these “marriage equality” demonstrators. To the extent that they see the Church as a great oppressive evil demonstrates how clearly evangelization is needed; both for supporters of same-sex “marriage” to understand the Church’s position, but most importantly for Catholics to realize both the intellectual, philosophical, and Scriptural foundations of our beliefs and the charitable way it needs to be lived out. We’ve been too lax in accepting the predecessors that made same-sex “marriage” conceivable: contraception, the sexual revolution, divorce, moral relativism, and a deference to government to provide moral guidance. The “marriage equality” movement could end if Catholics demonstrate (not simply argue) to the world what true charity, chastity, and marriage really is.
P.S. The free-market economist in me can’t help but point out that the reconciliation between two opposing sides was not sparked by a politician nor by a preacher, but by a businessman. Again, the skeptic might claim that Braun just wanted to get more customers, but what did it cause him to do? How did he act to satisfy this desire for profits? He treated his potential customers with dignity and charity. The invisible hand comes to the rescue again!