By Deacon Keith Fournier
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CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) – Next Wednesday, August 1, 2012, I intend to eat a Chick-fil-A sandwich and participate in the National Day of Appreciation for Chick-fil-A. I hope you join me and thousands of others in responding to the invitation of former Senator Rick Santorum, former Governor Mike Huckabee and Rev. Billy Graham and do the same.
I have long admired Chick-fil-A. It was founded over thirty years ago by an evangelical protestant Christian named Truett Cathy. His son Dan now runs the family owned and family values based company which now operates 1600 stores. It has become a $4 billion dollar a year enterprise. You can read about this good family and their genuine and living Christian faith here. You might also find their work in philanthropy of interest. Read about it here.
The restaurants do not open on Sunday in order to honor the Lord’s Day and allow their employees to do the same. They have resisted efforts to change not only this policy but other pressures to compromise on their core convictions. The founders offer us all an example of moral coherence as Christians. They apply the great principles of their faith to their business practices. They do not fall prey to the separation between faith and life which can so quickly creep into the life of Christians.
Now, Chick-fil-A is under a ferocious assault precisely because their President publicly affirmed their company support for true marriage and the family and society founded upon it. Dan Cathy expressed his deeply held religious convictions to the Baptist Press and literally – all hell broke loose among some new Cultural Revolutionaries.
Among the most vocal opponents was Carlos Maza of “Equality Matters”, a homosexual equivalency activist group. He told the Washington Post that Dan Cathy’s position in defense of marriage, along with the contributions made by his family’s foundation to pro-life and pro-family groups, “solidifies Chick-fil-A as being closely aligned with some of the most vicious anti-gay voices in the country.” That is nonsense. To defend marriage does not equate to being “anti-gay”.
This orchestrated effort against Chick fil-A is an example of viewpoint discrimination parading as a concern for equality. It has now been embraced by two elected officials in Chicago. Chicago alderman Joe Moreno threatens to block the building of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in his City. He has received support from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The Mayor told the Press “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values.” This kind of government action is unconstitutional and should be challenged in Court.
I was saddened to see that the Mayor of my birthplace, Boston, Massachusetts, Mayor Thomas Menino, sent a letter to the CEO of Chick-fil-A in which he wrote “there is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it.” Just who is discriminating Mr. Mayor? So much for your claimed liberalism and regard for free speech; you are engaging in viewpoint censorship!
I am honored to stand with Governor Huckabee, Senator Santorum and others in eating a Chick-fil-A sandwich on Wednesday August 1, 2012. I ask the readers of Catholic Online to do join along. We are in good company and making an act of solidarity together for marriage and for free speech.
Rev Billy Graham released a statement on Thursday in which he said, “I applaud the courage of Cathy and Chick-fil-A to take a bold stand for the biblical definition of marriage between a man and woman in a culture that has grown openly hostile to the Christian faith and its followers.” I can only add a Catholic Hooray for Chick-fil-A to this good man’s observation.
Unlike former Governor Huckabee and my friend former Senator Rick Santorum, I will not use the term “traditional marriage”. I believe making a distinction between so called “traditional” Marriage and other feigned “marriages” is a mistake. Marriage is what it is, period. The very phrase “gay marriage” or “homosexual marriage” is an oxymoron.
True marriage is the preeminent and the most fundamental of all human social institutions. It is a relationship defined by nature itself and protected by the natural law that binds all men and women. It finds its foundation in the order of creation. Civil institutions do not create marriage nor can they create a “right” to marry for those who are incapable of marriage.
To limit marriage to heterosexual couples is not discriminatory now, nor has it ever been. Homosexual couples cannot bring into existence what marriage intends by its very definition. To now “confer” the benefits that have been conferred in the past only to stable married couples and families to homosexual paramours is bad public policy. The institutions of government should, when acting properly, defend marriage against those who would redefine it.
Christians (at least orthodox, faithful ones) are increasingly presented as unenlightened, forcing “our view” on others. When, in fact, our positions on marriage, family, authentic freedom, the dignity of every human person, and the nature of truth as objective are what frees people from the bondage of disordered appetites. These truths are objectively true for all men and women. We were made for relationship. We were structured for authentic love and human flourishing within marriage and family – and a society founded upon family.
We live in what Pope Benedict XVI called a “Dictatorship of Relativism.” The relativists of this age have managed to persuade even some Christians that there are no objective truths; there are only “my” truths and “your” truths. They have relegated the Christian position on the very existence of truths and rights to only being “religious” positions in order to then marginalize their importance in informing the social order.
Our Protestant Christian friends are correct. The Bible is clearly against homosexual practices and for true marriage as between one man and one woman for life. However, in a culture which has all but rejected the authority of the Bible, we also need to present our position in the language of the Natural Law as the Apostle Paul did in his letter to the Romans.
Catholic Christians insist that there is a Natural Law, “present in the heart of each man and established by reason.” This law “is universal in its precepts and its authority extends to all men. It expresses the dignity of the person and determines the basis for his fundamental rights and duties.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church# 1956)
It is here that we find the ground for the moral truths which should inform our life together in a truly just and free society. It is here where we also find those fundamental and foundational human rights which we insist must be recognized by the civil or positive law as rightfully belonging to all men and women.
The Catholic position that homosexual sexual practices are objectively disordered and our opposition to efforts to undermine true marriage through what I call the “Homosexual Equivalency Movement” – the movement which wants to call what can never be a marriage a marriage and then use the Police Power of the State to force all of us to do the same – is rooted in this Natural Law which binds all men and women.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Catholic Church wrote in 2003, “The Church’s teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose.”
“No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.”
There is a Cultural Revolution underway in the West with two conflicting visions of the human person, human freedom, human flourishing and marriage and the family founded upon it as the first cell of a truly just society. We will never support the efforts to give promiscuous heterosexual or homosexual relationships the same status as monogamous marriage, period.
Now, a new form of censorship seeks to silence us from even expressing our truth claims by insisting that our positions are “religious” and therefore must be confined within our Church Walls. We must resist. Send a hearty Catholic Hooray for Chick-fil-A: Eat More Chicken, Stand in Solidarity with Others Defending True Marriage on August 1, 2012.