To My Gay Angry Friend

Photo Credit: Kevin Lara/OC Weekly

Last night my son and I visited our local Chic-Fil-A to show support for the company and its owner. (Click here if you’re unfamiliar with the controversy) After an hour’s wait alongside scores of other like-minded customers, we passed a lone gay protestor standing in front of the restaurant, quietly holding a sign with a quote from Leviticus. He was a solitary voice, a man I disagreed with but who made an impression on me nonetheless.

I couldn’t tell him so at the time. I’d like to tell him now.

You looked as lonely as you must have felt.

The crowd was, after all, hugely in favor of what you opposed. Scores of us were celebrating the scores of others who were there, happy with the turn-out; loving the solidarity.

Then there was you, quietly standing firm with your sign quoting a verse from Leviticus which demands that non-virginal brides be stoned, your point being that we Fundamentalist/Evangelical types don’t really celebrate the Biblical definition of marriage, though we say we do, otherwise we’d execute females who fornicate.

More on that later.

You looked calm, angry and unfazed. And believe it or not, I liked you immediately. I liked your courage, especially, and your willingness to voice a note of dissent. There’s a pro-gay counter-protest scheduled this Friday for Chic-fil-A’s around the country, and hundreds of demonstrators will no doubt show up en masse, enjoying the comfort of like-minded activists. But you opted to come alone Wednesday, making your statement right in our socially conservative faces, and you did it like an adult. No theatrics, no loudspeaker, no screaming obscenities. I gotta salute you for that. I admire chutzpah, so I admire you.

I wanted to talk, but the meal I’d waited over an hour for was getting cold, and with a hungry family to feed, conversation wasn’t an option. But can I raise just a few points I wish you’d consider?

First, the sign with the Bible verse. I’m glad you’re checking the Bible out, but please check it in its entirety, New Testament as well as Old. Since your sign quoted Old Testament death penalty proscriptions for sexual sinners, you no doubt think we’re hypocrites for saying we believe the Bible, even though we don’t condone executing adulterers, homosexuals or prostitutes like some verses in Leviticus advise. We also don’t comply with Old Testament ordinances calling for us to abstain from shellfish, mixed fabrics or contact with unclean animals. We’re therefore guilty, you say, of picking and choosing which scriptures we obey and which ones we ignore.

But the Leviticus code was written to and for the Hebrew Theocracy, a nation God created to be ruled through a Priesthood, not an elected government. The commandments within these laws do indeed express how God feels about certain things – adultery, witchcraft, and yes, homosexuality – but in a democracy like ours, these things become a matter of conscience, not law. So Christians can and do speak on them without demanding blood from people we disagree with. St. Paul, for example, told the Corinthian church that he had no business judging non-believers, limiting his judgment authority to the church, not the culture.(I Corinthians 5:12)

(But just for the record, there are clear prohibitions against homosexuality in the New Testament, written to people not under Hebrew law, but under God’s grace as believers, so the Bible’s condemnation of this behavior isn’t limited to Old Testament texts. Check it for yourself here (Romans 1:24-27) and here (I Corinthians 6:9-11) and here) (I Timothy 1:10)

That doesn’t mean we’re indifferent to the culture where vital issues are concerned. In fact, we take clear positions on abortion, violence, and the definition of marriage. We vote on them, and lobby regarding them, not just because of what the Bible does or doesn’t say, but because they’re basic issues affecting all of us, Christian or not.

So while it’s un-Biblical for a Christian to marry a non-Christian (II Corinthians 6:14) we don’t want laws on the books criminalizing such marriages, because not all citizens are Christian, and don’t submit their lives to Biblical standards. It’s also un-Biblical to take an innocent life, but on that issue we seek legal enforcement, because people of any faith or no faith will generally agree that life should be protected. Likewise, we believe children are best raised by the complimentary male-female union, and that future generation’s emotional stability and productivity will be impacted by our protection or revision of marriage’s basic structure. That’s why we support traditional marriage, and we oppose its re-definition.

That’s where you and I part company. You see same-sex marriage as a civil rights issue; I see it as an experiment jeopardizing our future health and well-being. Not much common ground there

But maybe we can find common ground on broader questions of fairness. When Chick-fil-A’s owner Don Cathy said during an interview that he opposes same-sex marriage, he was told “take a hike and take your intolerance with you” by Philadelphia City Councilman James Kenney. Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel added that “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values”, and Boston’s mayor Thomas Menino, claiming the chain “advocates against people’s rights”, publicly opposed Chic-fil-A opening a location in his town.

So put yourself in our shoes. If the owner of a restaurant chain said he favored same sex marriage, and in response a city councilman and two mayors of major metropolitan cities committed themselves to shutting his business down, how would you feel? Wouldn’t you be inclined to say that, wherever a business owner stands on homosexuality, city and state officials have no right trying to shut him down? Wouldn’t you feel you’d just time- warped into some totalitarian regime where the wrong words or beliefs could bring you ruin?

So would we. I don’t think we turned out by the thousands to support Chick-fil-A just because of its owner’s positions, but because elected officials tried to punish him for those positions. That’s more than disagreement; it smacks of government intrusion. And believe me, if government officials try to shut a business down because of its pro-gay position, I’ll be there for them, too.

I drove away sad after seeing you, because I was reminded how divided we are. I wish we could have talked. I’d have been interested to know what brought you there, how you were being treated by the people you were protesting, and what your basic world view was. I’d have shared a bit if my own story, including the years I believed as you do, acting on and promoting those beliefs. I’d have probably looked for opportunity to encourage you to look into the claims Jesus made about Himself, and to consider whether anyone claiming not only to be God, but also God’s only sacrifice for sin, and thereby the only way to Him, shouldn’t be carefully investigated. I might have even gotten pushy and asked if I could pray with you, though any push back from you would have been respected.

But, as the old proverb says, “wishes won’t wash dishes.” Maybe you will have the conversation I wish we had, but later, with someone else, under different circumstances. Meanwhile, let me honor your willingness to take a stand, even as I strongly oppose the stand you take. Let me tip my hat to the way you presented yourself. And let me re-commit to remembering that when I engage in a cause, as I did last night with my dinner purchase, there are genuine, likeable and valuable people on the other side of the aisle protesting what I applaud. They matter. You matter. And while I feel called to represent my Lord’s standards to a culture seemingly bent on rejecting them, I’m just as surely called to represent His attitude of love and care.

And I hope, whatever else you experienced while demonstrating against us, you felt some measure of that love. Because if you didn’t, then no matter how many thousands turned out for yesterdays’ event, it wasn’t the success it could have been.

God’s best to you, my friend unknown.


Terry Davidson | Aug 2, 2012

Well said,good points sir. May I suggest, print up a few slips of paper with your blog site on them and in the future, if you don't have time to converse, simply hand the person one and say "look here tomorrow gonna tell you something." I have read two of your recent writings much to my delight. Thank you.

Zachary | Aug 2, 2012

Why do so many Christians oppose building of mosques (e.g., Tennessee)? Shouldn't the same logic apply there?

apronheadlilly | Aug 2, 2012

Good one!

Angie Chelton | Aug 2, 2012

Love this. Thanks...

DC | Aug 2, 2012

This is a great letter but I wonder if he will ever see it. With your knowledge and experience, I think this man was put in front of you for a reason. I understand you had to feed a hungry family and I don't know the situation surrounding your situation but someone's salvation is much more important than anything I can think of. I think it breaks my heart more that you could not stay and talk with this person. He may not have wanted to listen to you but a seed could have been planted. I think this is a good lesson for all of us. Many Blessings.

Jim Moynihan | Aug 2, 2012

Thanks, Joe, for your good and loving thoughts.

Malcolm Bicker | Aug 2, 2012

I appreciate your kind, thoughtful letter to one whose position we both oppose, but whose person we both love and desire God's best for him. A 79 year old retired Fundamentalist pastor.

TLW | Aug 2, 2012

"in response a city councilman and two mayors of major metropolitan cities committed themselves to shutting his business down, how would you feel?" This did not happen. They simply made clear that they did not agree with him. No one threatened to "shut his business down." He has a right to voice his opinion, and they have a right to voice theirs. And we all have a right to eat -- or not eat -- where we choose.

Christians cannot decide the fate of American citizens based solely on their particular religion and book. There are many, many non-Christian American citizens among us. We are not all ruled by the Bible, but we ARE all ruled by human rights and laws. It's a cicil rights and legal issue, not a Bible issue.

Human adults who vote and pay taxes are all entitled to the same pursuit of happiness as other human adults. Discrimination, making anyone "less-than" you, is not acceptable. Not based on color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, taste, class, education, wealth, or conscience.

Joe Dallas | Aug 3, 2012

Apologies to TLW, MG14 and Suzanne - my "reply" button for individual responses isn't working right now, so I have to reply to all three of you in one reply box.

Responding to TLW, here are some relevant quotes from the news:

“Last week, Emanuel hinted strongly that he was prepared to join Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) in blocking Chick-fil-A from opening its first free-standing Chicago store in Logan Square”(Chicago Sun Times August 3, 2012)

“This week, mayors of Boston, Chicago and San Francisco warned Chick-fil-A and its CEO Dan Cathy, who’s been an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, not to pursue new franchises in their cities. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he shares his fellow mayors’ concerns and would consider trying to block the chain as well.” (Washington Post July 31, 2012)

“Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away,” tweeted San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee on July 26, “& I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.” (Tweet from San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee July 26, 2012 cited in Washington Post July 31)

These words speak well for themselves.

Resonding to MG14: That's a reasonable assessment, and it's appreciated. And, as I said in the post, I'd object to politicians interfering with a pro-same sex marriage business as well.

Responding to Suzanne: Not being well versed in Muslim teachings I can't inteliigently comment, but what I have read second hand about this belief system aligns with what you're saying.

Susan Lantz | Aug 3, 2012

God has definitely given you a gift. Thank you for writing what we all wish we could say.

josephbenning | Aug 3, 2012

Joe, that was a wonderful column. Could have said it better. Thank you and God Bless!

Lyn Ridenour | Aug 3, 2012

Joe~this is the first time I have read one of your blogs, and I agree with you on this. We are in a spiritual warfare, but we all know Who wins in the end. This issue with Chick-fil-a was not only about a business mans' statement about his personal Christian convictions, but also free speech and the right to run his business as he sees fit. There are 2 points that I need to point out that you said in your statement. First we are a Republic, not a democracy." And to the Republic for which we stand..." There is a difference. Also Dan Cathy did NOT say he was against same sex marriage. He said he supported traditional marriage. He never said anything against the gays or same sex marriage. God bless you as you seek God's will in your life, and for your willingness to see the other side of this picture.

Christopher M Ford | Aug 3, 2012

I found this to be a good read. I just want to have clarification on a point you made. The bible tells us that a Christian should not marry a non-Christian in the New Testament?

JimmyJames | Aug 3, 2012

Sadly, just because you don't see it as a civil right doesn't mean it's not a civil right. Be it a "dangerous experiment" or whatever grandiloquent hyperbole you wish to make of it, it is still a civil right. This isn't just because I said so, but because marriage, as defined by our Supreme Court's various interpretations of the US Constitution, is a civil right. That, in a secular democratic Republic, is what counts when it comes to what is and is not a civil right: not the mere opining of the non-elected masses.

There is a difference in keeping same-sex marriage out of YOUR church and out of the lives of people who could utilize it and benefit from it. That point is being constantly missed and ignored in an effort to purposefully harm others. Your first sentence of this article proves that you do see it that way (the purposeful harming of others). But instead of showing true Christ-like compassion and love and speaking with the person or at least saying that you cared even if you disagreed, you couldn't be bothered by that...because, afterall, the chicken you waited an hour for was getting cold...and what's really more important?

BradleyJ | Aug 3, 2012

Joe - thank you for your well written article. I do appreciate your point of view, and your compassion for your fellow man. Although I do not necessarily agree with all of your points, they are clearly from the heart and therefore I respect them.

That having been said, I do take issue with the following portion of your blog: "So put yourself in our shoes. If the owner of a restaurant chain said he favored same sex marriage, and in response a city councilman and two mayors of major metropolitan cities committed themselves to shutting his business down, how would you feel? Wouldn’t you be inclined to say that, wherever a business owner stands on homosexuality, city and state officials have no right trying to shut him down? Wouldn’t you feel you’d just time- warped into some totalitarian regime where the wrong words or beliefs could bring you ruin?

So would we."

In the hypothetical scenario you described, you gave no indication that the restaurant owners who favored same-sex marriage were doing anything other than stating their personal opinion. If all Dan Cathy had done was to state his personal opinion, there would have been no backlash, and there certainly would have been no boycott. But Mr. Cathy and Chick-fil-A have done much more than just state an opinion. They have donated millions of dollars to organizations such as the Family Research Council and the Marriage and Family Foundation -- organizations that work very hard to roll back legal protections for gay and lesbian citizens. As soon as Mr. Cathy crossed this threshold into actual actions to limit/remove liberties, he has opened himself up to actions by our elected officials to try to STOP him.


Gabriel | Aug 3, 2012

I did went to Chick-fill-A and did it with pleasure, both to support and enjoy a good chicken sandwich!, Yes I congratulate this man protesting us for our believes. My thoughts on his matter of wednesday are more in the basics of the hebraic biblical culture of Yeshuah and our creator, giving the fact that Yehovah give us his instructions to follow and we are neglecting them, cherry-picking what could and could not apply to us, according to the society we live in, democracy, republic, sociclalism, communism etc. or according to how he society changes it’s point of view on how to relate one another. Then we take those instances and use them as rules and regulations on how to approach Our creator. Of course this is not a Theocracy, we live in a republic, and as so, we elect people to rule over us and decide who stay and who goes. But in Biblical matters, we don’t decide how to conduct our lives, or how to love God and our neighbor. He already establish his conditions and is call the law, which was not written for the hebrew people but to all the humanity, Read (Romans 3:29). But grace is a lightning bolt, full of power, but capable to kill you if you don’t know the rules of how to manage it. There are 613 commandments, 378 are not applicable today, and most of them are for the temple, priest and the land. but there are more than 200 that are applicable to us today wherever you live and serve God. NOT FOR THE MATTER OF SALVATION because salvation is by grace, by faith in the messiah, but to learn how to behave, in ANY type of government, or society. Please stop deceiving people trying to say that the commandments are not for us because Jesus said otherwise; read Matthew 5:17-19 unless the words of Paul are more valuable for you than what Yeshuah said.

D. Smith | Aug 3, 2012

Pastor, upon reading your blog which has made it way to Facebook, I question why you are quoting the "new" version of the passage of Timothy? It has been translated from "For the whoremongers, for them taht defile themselves with mankind..." Defile as difined in the dictionary is -
1. to make foul, dirty, or unclean; pollute; taint; debase.
2. to violate the chastity of.
3. to make impure for ceremonial use; desecrate.
4. to sully, as a person's reputation.
No where does it say lay with another another man. If you refer to chastity of, the word is derived in Christianity as "sexual impurity. The quote you are giving is modified in the recent "versions" of the Bible. Just wondering your defense on that. As a neutral voice, I am simply inquiring for educational purposes, not to do any bashing. Thanks

myvoicesayitstrue | Aug 3, 2012

I just want a good Chicken Sandwich.......

Jeremy Schoenberger | Aug 3, 2012

So the whole argument boils down to one thing. Christians believe that two men or two women will break down the productive and emotional aspects of their own children. Well then, why does this same group not rally against divorce? Surely one parent families must suffer even more so? In fact, there are plenty of statistics that prove irrefutably that children raised by a single mother are more likely to commit crime in all forms and perform less so than their two parent counter-parts. Is it when there is no place for ignorance that they can't step in? And in the states where gay folks can get married, have you really taken the time to look into how the children have been affected? I personally know a guy that was raised by a gay couple, he's a city cop now and quite the upstanding person. I'm not in a position to say that this will be the same with every gay couple, however, our morals, ethical standards, work ethics and belief in educating our children isn't any different than straight folks. Children aren't confused by the idea of one man loving another, in fact, I'd say that adults are more so confused than they are. I seriously don't think this is truly what the argument versus gay marriage really stands on. It's bigotry, plain and simply bigotry. You say 'our' children as if yours will truly be affected by my gay marriage. In reality, it'll be the kids that gay couple adopt that are affected. Are they truly in a better place now being juggled from one government home to the next without any parents at all? Can you imagine what impact 5% of the population adopting would have on these kids? Just to put this into prospective, that's 15,704,240 people or 7,852,120 couples that may be interested in adopting at least one kid. At this point, there's roughly 400,000 children in the foster care system. Are these children really better off without a family? Well let me tell you, YOUR children wouldn't be affected by gay marriage as much as these children would be. They'd finally have a home.

TenKey | Aug 3, 2012

Thanks so much for this post. I do want to want to raise a question: Fundamentally, you are challenging the "Sign Guy" for his interpretation of the Old Testament. Could the same challenge be made against Dan Cathy's statement. Here is the quote that is causing the most controversy:

“I think 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,’”

Imbedded in this statement is the belief that God sends blessing and judgement to a nation based on how that nation accepts or rejects God. There are, of course plenty of examples of this in the Old Testament and the passage that summarizes this view is 2 Chronicles 7:13-14:

"If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Fundamentally, I want to know if this principle directly applies to 21st century U.S.? Or, is it unique to the Nation of Israel like the Leviticus punishment for non-virgin brides? I am genuinely interested in this because I cannot tell how concerned Christians should be over the government acknowledgment of same-sex marriage.

Perhaps this is in another forum. If anyone can direct me, I'd be grateful.

LeeanneReck | Aug 3, 2012

Loved this! You were so heartfelt, honest & respectful...yet so right!

T Newman | Aug 3, 2012

You don't reveal what the sign said. Did the sign indicate that the person was gay? If not, then you are making an assumption that anyone protesting against Chick fil A must be gay. The truth is, and I believe that all Christians must abide it, that we are instructed not to condemn, but to witness. We must think about our witness and what it says. The witness of Jesus Christ is not meant to be a "taking sides" witness. It is to lead others to the eternal life offered. Preparation for witnessing must take into consideration how actions are/will be viewed. If all of those who spent their dollars at Chick-fil-A did it as support to a person who has a belief common to theirs, then that was time and money wasted. That person is already in line with what you believe to be right.

The money and time spent was not in the service of the Lord. Would it not have been better to have taken the time to witness to a person living in a way that is believed to be keeping them from eternal life? Aren't Christians tasked with that? Wouldn't your lunch/dinner money have been spent better inviting someone (whether it is about this issue or not) you know who needs a true Christian witness to a common meal somewhere that isn't in the limelight? I am saddened by these public displays.

Most of my life I have seen Christians standing up for what they think is right, Biblically, but just standing in an abortion protest line or buying a sandwich is not all that is required. In fact, so many times it is the worst witness. We are blessed with both believers and non-believers in our lives. It is our job to set the best witness we can for a non-believer and sometimes that witness can affect the life of a believer as well.

It further saddens me that Christians seem to feel they must move in groups and must speak the language of that group rather than the words put upon their hearts that may be contrary. If you had truly been sincere, you would have found no excuse NOT to have been a one on one witness to that person. You would have parked away from the crowd and walked back. You were obviously under some conviction or you would not have been so eloquent in your writing. I know you believe that your writing is reaching out. It is, but from behind a safety net. When the really hard work was in front of you; when there were others in your "pack" watching,; when you could maybe have made a difference in the life of this person OR this person may have made a difference in your life, it reads as if you took the easy way, drove on using your family and other Christians of the pack as an excuse. Now, to appease those who think I am judging, all opinion is a judgment in the eyes of our society. What we have to avoid is condemning. I am not condemning you. I hope you will search deep and listen to that still small voice that will clarify your actions as what they were. None of us know that. Only you will.

David Richmond (@dsrichmond) | Aug 3, 2012

"I don’t think we turned out by the thousands to support Chick-fil-A just because of its owner’s positions, but because elected officials tried to punish him for those positions."

That's a bit of a stretch, isn't it? From Mike Huckabee's site, where this all started:

"Let's affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1."

There is nothing there, or in the Facebook event page, indicating that this has anything to do with opposing government intrusion into private politics. The call, from so many, was to support biblical values of traditional marriage. Yes, the participation of politicians brought more publicity, but you ask someone why they went to Chick Fil A on Wednesday and they'll probably tell you, "Because they're being attacked for supporting biblical marriage".

Anyway, regardless of that, the problem is: this event wasn't about loving anyone. It wasn't about doing something good. It was about celebrating with each other the current majority position in opposition to same sex marriage. So tell me: in what way did you love your neighbor on this day? How did this person who you passed by, and the entire people group he represents, feel loved by you or anyone else on this day? Because they didn't. They saw a celebration of hate, a tyranny of the majority, a festival of discrimination. And they felt hated.

And that is truly sad.

Ashley | Aug 3, 2012

I am a Christian who supports the legalization of gay marriage and for the most part this article was a breath of fresh air to say the least. however... the rationale behind defending the institution of marriage between a man and a woman is faulty to me. This is coming from someone who spends a LOT of time and effort explaining to liberal-minded thinkers why it's absolutely valid for people like you to have these beliefs, so please do not think that I'm one of the nasty ones. The assertion that children fare better under the care of male-female couples does not, according to the sources I've read (which can almost always admittedly be biased) always hold water. Since that can be debated, I won't use that as the crux of my arguments here. The fact that you use that as the basis for the belief that marriage between samesex couples should be illegal does not, in my mind, make any more sense than making it illegal to be a single parent. If laws can be created to ensure that children are raised by male-female couples, then it should be illegal for parents of children to divorce, and it should be illegal for single parents to raise children. Beyond that, in this day and age a lot of married couples do not want children. It seems that your definition of marriage is "two people who want to spend their lives together raising children" and that is not the case. I can understand the reasoning but it is faulty because marriage is a lifelong partnership and bond that no longer necessitates bringing children into the world. Also it's worth mentioning... that if you believe that children should be parented by traditional male-female couples, there is also the fact that not all male-female couples with children are married. it seems that your beliefs extend more to a parenting license than a marriage license. In my mind. I respect your article immensely and i thank you for putting it out there -- it's been really frustrating to me the way people label opponents of gay marriage as hate machines. You clearly are representative of the fact that a person can have these beliefs and not be an arrogant jerk. Thank you.

Sojourner_Truth | Aug 3, 2012

I have been saved for 30+ years, and while that doesn't necessarily make me more qualified to speak on this particular subject I feel that I do have something to share from having seen much in the Christian world.
Everyone has the right to eat at Chik-Fil-A or not, just as Cathy has the right to state his opinion on marriage values. However, what was not acknowledged in this article is that part of the uproar was over the fact that CFA was actively funding organizations that were fighting against gay marriage. Again, there is nothing wrong with that in principle if that's the wish of the company. However, if we pause for a moment on that thought there is much to be discussed from a Christian (biblical) perspective.......
While, I do believe that it's the right and duty for Christians to speak out for justice and on social issues there is a broader undercurrent to scripture that warns us of steering clear from the path that American Christianity has taken, now that so many of us have waded into culture wars, and the political sphere. Our greatest example, in scripture of course, is Jesus. After having read the bible for 20+ years, I find it difficult to comprehend how specifically politically engaged most American Christians are. If we study the life of Jesus, we find that he was largely disengaged from politics and political hot-button issues of his time (taxes, being Jewish and hanging out with Gentile tax collectors, women, indifference toward paying taxes etc). In addition he confronted and specifically warned his disciples to beware of the leaven of Herod. If you study the Herodians you'll find that they were a Pharisaical politically active bunch. In one instance (maybe John6?) Jesus, after feeding a crowd heard whispers of the enamored people hoping to forcefully appoint him as their "king". I could go on and on with other examples, including the offer that the devil himself made to Jesus during his temptation in the wilderness to give him dominion over the earth's kingdoms. With all of that being said, my point is this......
Eating at Chik-Fil-A on the appreciation day is fine if you felt convicted to do it, however you're fighting the wrong kind of battle. As you mentioned above Paul made it quite clear to the Corinh church that it is not his/our place to judge those outside of the church. Jesus was appointed by God himself to do that. In the meantime, the BEST possible thing that we can do for a lost and fallen world is to pray. The bible clearly tells us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood. Therefore, debating with the lone protestor outside of Chik-Fil-A wouldn;t solve a thing. An open dialogue, perhaps could have been fruitful, but it still misses the larger point. You never mentioned that you prayed for the young man, and I would be willing to bet that most people in that long CFA line did either. We have misplaced hope in the American Church these days. We've engaged so heavily and casually in political issues and culture wars because we no longer believe that Jesus has the ability to change people if we simply pray for them first that the Holy Spirit will open their heart and then share the gospel. This is what Paul and Jesus did. They did not go around telling everyone what they disagreed or agreed with in the culture. Instead, as Paul said - he simply preached Christ crucified. Protesting the treatment of Cathy doesn't change anyone's heart or transform them into the image of Jesus. Only the Holy Spirit, who leads and guides all men into truth can do that work. We've become "earth-bound" therefore in our thinking. Przing the here and npw over our own eternal hope. Fixated on the degredation of culture around us when the bible clearly tells us in the book of Revelation that this exact thing would happen. At one point God himself will reign natural disasters down on men who will hide in caves to escape the torture, and even though they know it’s directly from God they still will curse his name. My point? These types of hardened hearts that we’re seeing in these times will not change by bumper stickers, supporting fast food restaurants that are “Christian” or voting for a particular candidate and watching your favorite election news source every night.
I’m afraid that because we’ve ignored the true message of Christ we’ve been lured by the enemy into fighting the wrong battle. The enemy is crafty like that. He sets us smokescreens all of the time to distract us from what really needs to be done by us to create change. Only Jesus can change people. I don’t believe that a single person’s life was changed as a result of Christians patronizing CFA. It’s telling when you figure that more people may have shown up for CFA Appreciation Day than give to the church (according to Barna studies), or how easy it is to get people to show up for political events like that one, versus pulling teeth that happens when you ask people to volunteer for kids ministry at church. Houston, the American Church has some serious ailments! And, I hope the letter that Jesus writes to our church is not similar to the church in Ladeocia. We’ve lost our first love. I’m afraid that the devil has pulled off the ultimate slight-of-hand on us by replacing our greatest hope with the hope of winning a culture war in a fallen world, that the Holy Spirit revealed to us through scripture will one day fall away from the truth. In that case, that young loaner outside the CFA with a misguided scripture from Levicticus may have been wrong in not understanding the nuances of the new covenant vs. the old, but….. Look at how many American Christians don’t understand the life and aim of Christ. He was in no way out to win a culture war, because his kingdom was not of this world. What he did do, is come to give us life and life more abundantly! That’s the kingdom message! The kingdom come thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. He wasn’t talking about winning a culture war, so that we could maintain a “way of life”. He was talking about transforming people by the renewing of their mind. Only Jesus, who bring rebirth to a man’s heart can do that.
I don’t write this too be critical, and I only found this article via friend’s posting on Facebook. I pray that we all prayerfully consider where I coming from, as I am processing many of the posts above to make sure that my heart is open to change as well. BTW, I have my own blog where I write about this kind of stuff. Let me know if you would like to check it out one day ;-) Again, for other above, I’m not interested in debating or quarelling, just thought I would share what’s on my heart.
God bless you brother.

Go Fish | Aug 3, 2012

Very good points, Joe Dallas! ;o)

sandy myers | Aug 4, 2012

Joe, today I am new to your to any sort of blog! My heart is touched by the way you felt for the one lonely gay protestor. That is how I would feel about him. I would want to buy him a meal and tell him that I love him in Christ Jesus. I have gay friends and I love them. Yet I know as a Christian that I cannot go along with their lifestyle. It is pushed upon all of us by Hollywood and television. Gay folks are gifted and smart and endearing. God loves them and made them just as special as any of the rest of us. No one should ever harm them or abuse them. I can't agree with them but I can love them in God's Name. I have lived 69 years and things have changed drastically over these years. I don't understand but I know how to pray about it.

Deb Anderson | Aug 4, 2012

I am surprised you didn't talk with him..maybe even buy him a sandwich. I certainly hope someone reached out to this young man. I'm sure his momma was praying someone would.

Dan | Aug 4, 2012

This is very well written and you bring up some excellent points. I do see a contraversy in your reply to this individual however. You state that you would not want legislation brought up to keep Christian people from marrying non-Christians because that would be unfair to the citizenry, but you support keeping same-sex marriages from being institutionalized because it would threaten the "emotional stability and productivity" of future generations. Yet marriage is a bond between not only two people, but God as well. This bond cannot be complete if one of the individuals within the marriage is a non-believer, whether they be aetheist or of some other religious following. A household like this is divided at it's core, as one parent will support the Christian beliefs to their children, while the other will not - or at least will not to the same extent. This creates a rift in a child's understanding of what is correct in their faith, or whether or not their faith is even real. So it's ok for this to occur, which would certainly disturb the fabric of a child's emotional stability and productivity - especially since the divorce rate is higher for inter-religious marriages than same-religious ones - and you would have to agree that divorce is certainly a poor influence on a developing child's emotional stability. I agree with and appreciate the rest of this article, but I can't see the legs you stand upon with this position.

Citizen Alan | Aug 4, 2012

If the owner of a restaurant chain said he favored same sex marriage, and in response a city councilman and two mayors of major metropolitan cities committed themselves to shutting his business down, how would you feel?

FYI, significantly more government officials than that have committed themselves to ensuring that no mosques can be built anywhere in America where good Christian folk by see them and be offended at their existence.

chritina | Aug 4, 2012

Joe Dallas, That was AWESOME. Thanks for your thoughts and expressing them so clearly.

Jocelyn B. | Aug 4, 2012

I will not argue with you on any aspect of the bible but there is one flaw with your argument. You state that you fear the development of children raised by homosexual parent, but in reality there is no research that backs this up. Take a moment to read this ( ) as I read what you had to say on a subject in which I personally disagree with you.

Heather M | Aug 4, 2012

Why are you assuming that this man is not already Christian? Or that he doesn't already pray? Are we not all Children of God, created in His image and likeness? Laws that promote inequality or injustice are written by man from a place of fear, not by God who only knows love. Bible or no Bible, it seems hypocritical of you to go through your defense of why the New Testament supports your anti-gay marriage stance when this is a civil issue and our great country believes in separation of church and state. So, laws that require a defense that uses Bible passages or any religion should be obsolete. Have we all forgotten that our Founding Fathers were not Christians per se, but rather practiced Deism? I am a Christian and I believe that if Jesus Himself returned to us today, He would walk with the marginalized and ridiculed and oppressed just as He did 2,000 years ago. And He would be saddened by the amount of hate and division present in our world today, especially from those who proclaim such things "in His name." I believe that the message of the Gospel is one of healing and forgiveness and compassion, not division. My final thoughts pertain to your willingness to invest the time you did in writing this blog entry, which by the way, I appreciate as it is well-written, kind, and thought- provoking. However, despite your hungry family and the enormous crowd surrounding you, wouldn't your time had been much more powerful and "Christian-like" if you have invested it in the person himself, the relationship...How beautiful a message you would have sent to your children and anxious crowd to actually interact with the man, even stop traffic if necessary, and demonstrate that among differences, there can be peace. A part of you must have known that writing about your experience was good, but not great as the man was unlikely to ever hear your words or more importantly, be given a chance to share his story with you, and maybe even touch your heart a bit enough to open it just slightly. Writing was safe, unlike Jesus who lived boldly and befriended those who were outcasts. As a busy mother of three, I try (and fail) to teach my children that when someone or something is important to you, you MAKE time to do the right thing. You go out of your way, even if it means get in the way of others, to look at the person and hear their story.

Sean O | Aug 4, 2012

As a believe in gay rights as civil rights, my real issue with the Chick Fil A mess has just been the free speech issue. The CEO is legally allowed to say whatever he wants, and that's fine, and as a corporation, Chick Fil A can donate money to whatever charities and funds it wants, too. Sure, I'm disappointed that this man and this company have chosen their particular stances, but it's within their rights to do so. That should have been where the story ended.

In regards to this post, though, I'd like to reexamine this little bit:

"So while it’s un-Biblical for a Christian to marry a non-Christian (2 Corinthians 6:14) we don’t want laws on the books criminalizing such marriages, because not all citizens are Christian, and don’t submit their lives to Biblical standards."

If not all citizens are Christians and therefore shouldn't be required to submit their lives to Biblical standards, why, then, is gay marriage even a political issue for Christians? If you do not believe such unions are valid, then don't get one. The entire debate, from the traditionalists anyway, reeks of the anti-miscegenation debates. And that should be scary.

Citizen Alan | Aug 4, 2012

Let me also say how deeply touching it is to see all these comments on the love you have for these gay sinners. Love, love, love, in every other comment. You all love the gays so much that (purely for their own good) you want to ensure that none of them ever have any lasting relationships with anyone with whom they are sexually compatible. Ideally, you want all of them to spend their entire lives in denial and self-loathing and to enter into loveless, opposite-sex marriages and to force themselves to have sex with someone they're not attracted to at least often enough to produce two or three children who can then be raised in a God-fearing home. Failing that, you want gays to live their lives in quiet celibacy, never experiencing sexual relations with anyone else, before dying alone and being remembered fondly as that spinster aunt or bachelor uncle who always seemed so sad at family get-togethers. Such love you all have. I can't imagine why the gays aren't more open to it.

L H Partridge | Aug 4, 2012

I too found your blog through a Facebook post. Reading it brought up a question that I've never known the answer to. Why is there so much emphasis given to Paul in Christianity? So much of what Paul said seems to go against what Jesus told His followers to do. I can find none of these kinds of proscriptions in the Gospels. In your blog, most of what you reference is NOT from the Gospels. It's always seemed to me that most people who call themselves Christians are actually Paulists. Can you explain this to me?

Carolyn Myer | Aug 4, 2012

I fully agree with what many are saying here concerning the Christian's call to show love to homosexual persons. However, the reality is that many people will NOT believe you love them unless you can tell them that their homosexual behavior is not sinful. If I say, "Homosexual activity is a sin," I am accused of "hate speech." I am accused of hating instead of loving , even though that accusation is totally false.

When I say, "Fornication is sin" no one accuses me of "hate speech" or accuses me of hating young people who are sexually involved before marriage. Yet, that's the reaction we get when we call homosexual behavior sinful. With that in mind, we shouldn't feel guilty when a gay person THINKS we don't love him/her. As proof of "love" they demand approval for their behavior. I don't think we should allow the bullying to manipulate us.

Tom | Aug 4, 2012

But I don't believe in god so what does that make of my hetero marriage?

Roger Radford | Aug 4, 2012

This is a well written piece and I have shared it with others. Thanks for taking the time to post. Blessings to you brother. Roger

Cathy | Aug 4, 2012

I appreciate your thoughts and can support your personal reason for supporting Chick-Fil-A versus governmental individuals who can be quickly voted out and/or legally challenged if they illegally misuse their elected powers. However, I believe that as a whole other customers were most probably supporting an anti-gay agenda or at least a conservative agenda. And it is very common for conservatives and liberals to boycott each others businesses for non-Christian motives. Here is a website entirely devoted to the boycott of liberals.

Here is another website where someone questions the actual organizations that Mr. Don Cathy supports and how these types of organizations are neither Christ-like or humane.

I believe that this whole incident shows how many Americans are suffering on both sides.

Bobby Key | Aug 4, 2012

Why are Christians so eager to respond to gay marriages, but not atheists who get married? What's the difference? If marriage is a sacred and Godly communion, then why are we not just as outraged when this happens?
Joe- your article is truly inspiring. I hope as a lover of Jesus and of lost souls, that I have the same passion and desire for those who are against my views as you. We are so quick to judge when this happens, and I pray that my response is in line with the way Jesus would have responded. Thank you for this article!

Andrea luhman | Aug 4, 2012

Love your post very well put.

Frank Wunder | Aug 4, 2012

To those who have left comments in the vein of "Jesus would have done this and that" and if Joe really had a heart for reaching out to the lone protester he would have let his chicken sandwich go cold...comments like those really don't take the debate anywhere other than making you look bad.

It's a sucker punch. You're playing an obvious weakness in the experience as if it's supposed to make you look good and Joe look bad.

It didn't make me think more deeply about the other side of the debate. It didn't generate sympathy for the lone protester or anger towards Joe. All it did was make me all the more resentful of your comment. Is that what you wanted? I don't think it is because a sucker punch is an easy way out, especially when done anonymously over the internet.

But let's take the argument further: this whole situation is about choices. Don Cathy chose to speak what was on his mind. The public chose to react by supporting and protesting. Joe chose to support Chick-fil-A just as the one protester chose to protest. We can fault Joe with not talking to the guy and I'm sure his family could have waited just a little longer, especially if they knew what he was doing. Joe could have also chosen not to have gone to Chick-fil-a and then he would have never seen the protester and this blog post would never exist.

For those of you who fault Joe in not talking to the protester, lets consider that for a moment. What if the protester didn't want to talk or chose to spit in Joe's face or chose to tell him to go to hell for eating at Chick-fil-A.

How often do we really consider all of the possible choices that are available to us?

Joe missed his chance to talk to the protester, but he chose to post this blog and I guarantee that more people have thought about that protester and prayed for him and made it a point in their own lives to get involved the next time they see something like this.

Because of Joe's choice to blog about this I truly believe that he has inspired more fellowship and good will towards the lone protester than what would have been offered in person.

fred2w | Aug 5, 2012

Mr. Dallas,

Thank you for your commentary. In the debate over marriage, it is easy to forget that those who want to redefine it are still made in the image of God and should be loved and respected.

On that note, here is an amazing story about Chick-fil-A that did get much coverage. On Friday, "gay marriage" activists held a counter-protest to "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" that was not as massive as they boasted it would be:

It would have been very easy for the Chick-fil-A staff to mock the tiny size of the protests or ignore them completely. Instead, they showed genuine Christ-like love and compassion by giving hot meals and cool water to the activists:

This action is even more amazing considering that one Chick-fil-A in California was vandalized by a "gay marriage" activist prior to the protest:

Chick'fil-A showing true love in the face of intolerance and hatred remind me of Matthew 5:43-48:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the
righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your
heavenly Father is perfect."

Carey | Aug 5, 2012

What I keep thinking of is this. Do people, these cities and their government trying to keep Chick Fil A out, that Chick Fil A does not turn away Gay's to work there and I personally know 3 that work at my local CFA. Also, do they realize that these are franchised companies and what if the person wanting to build in Chicago or Boston was gay himself? Just because the CEO believe in traditional marriage, doesnt mean an owner of a store is. Plus, do these people understand this CEO is in his 80s and of course he is going to believe that way. Just like why they are closed on Sundays. It is TRADITION. He is a tradition man. Back in the day men married women. Back in the day, EVERYONE was closed on Sunday. NOT just Christian companies, EVERY COMPANY. Grocery Store. Gas Station. Etc... I just get confused to why gay people (and some non gay people who support the gay community) get so angry and full of hate. This whole thing blew up because of them. Why do they think they deserve the world handed to them? Just a question. And, I have gay friends and love them all dearly and love them as much as my straight friends. I love my Christian friends as much as my athiest friends. I may not agree with the things some people do or believe, but I still care for them. I think having our own opinion makes us special. If we all agreed in the same things we would be a very boring group of people. If we all came together and showered love on each other, life would be so much better. But when someone states he is traditional and doesnt support something, there is no reason to lash out in hatred. Then, are other mega million dollar companies going to be shut down or banned because they print Bible verses on their packaging or are Christians or believe certain ways. I can sit here and list a lot that have the same beliefs and traditions as the CFA CEO and they are all over the USA, in Malls, stand alones, and items are in your homes, or bellies.

Steinar Eliassen | Aug 6, 2012

"That’s where you and I part company. You see same-sex marriage as a civil rights issue; I see it as an experiment jeopardizing our future health and well-being. Not much common ground there"

Good grief. The rest of the world live in 2012. What dark ages did you get stuck in?

Jeff Buchanan | Aug 6, 2012


As always, such a clear, consistent, uncompromised, yet compassionate response to a difficult and sensitive situation. I so appreciate your prophetic voice into these issues. Wonderful article!


L DeCarlo | Aug 6, 2012

Dear Mr. Dallas,

I read your blog because someone on my friend list shared the link. I take some offense to some of your comments about how same sex marriage would hurt our children. First let me give you some background, I am 38 years old, I have 2 degrees and my wife and I have a 14 year old boy. I have 2 loving parents and am very close with my family. Please know when I say wife I am not trying to throw my lifestyle in any ones face, I use it with the same loving, devoted, and respectful way you would. Our son is very well rounded and does very well in school. He is polite and respectful. He knows how to play football, baseball and soccer. He knows how to build a deck and do electrical work. He also knows how to cook, clean sort and do laundry. He assists some of our older neighbors with lawn work in the summer and snow removal in the winter. His friends and their parents know he has two Moms’, some think it’s fine other disagree. When he was younger sometimes he did get picked on, he would come home and ask why he was getting picked on because he had 2 Moms’? We do all the same stuff his friends do with their parents, we don’t fight, we don’t argue, we teach him right from wrong. We expect him to do chores and help with other things and when he lies or disobeys he gets punished. As far as he is concerned we are exactly what a family should be. We explained to him some people think our relationship is wrong and we are doing an injustice to him because he doesn’t have a father in the picture. He replied by saying he loves both of us, and it’s not our fault his father is not around. His father lives an hour away, he doesn’t visit his son, he doesn’t send anything on Christmas or birthdays and he doesn’t assist with any monetary funds. Can you really tell me with a straight face that he would be better off with his father? I could tell you plenty of other things about his father but I do not want this comment to turn into a dead beat dad bashing. 2 years ago we had a Commitment Ceremony, friend and family were there, our son was the ring bearer and it was officiated by a minister. I do not believe in organized religion, not for lack of trying. I’ve gone to churches of different denominations: Epospicial, Catholic, Born Again Christian, and Sothern Baptist. I’ve spoken to many priests and ministers about God and what the Bible says but I cannot make sense out of the hypocrisy and flip flopping. I understand people don’t agree with my lifestyle and my family but our nation is not a theocracy, our laws are not based in Bible scripture, and our country was not founded on Christian ideals. If anything our country was based on Masonic teachings. So if we have a country without a national religion, if our country was made great by immigrants and a diverse culture, if our country does not persecute based or religion, then why do you feel your religion should dictate my life? I don’t need a Bible or greater being or the promise of heaven to make me respect others, or know what is right and wrong. I also don’t need someone to tell me being Gay is a choice, because it’s not. I knew I was attracted to girls long before I knew what “Gay” was. I would like to know why you and other Christian feel it is ok to deny me the opportunity to provide for my family and share my life with someone I love because you disagree with it. I disagree with organized religion however I would never fight against your right to believe or practice.

sidmcgregor | Aug 6, 2012

I agree with your assessment of the protestor and his peaceful approach. I think you would of protested better by not wasting an hour purchasing food that you could of had at any point in time, and missing on the opportunity that your heart was tugging you towards. If there is a next time - forget the food, and converse with the people. Or maybe take your meal and share it with the protestors. Something tells me Jesus would of done such a thing.

Ono Kono | Aug 7, 2012

Why do you say others sound angry and bitter, when you don't agree with them? Isn't that making a judgment call, or you projecting your own on to them?

As far as buying the protestor a meal, don't you think that would be an insult to the very thing he is protesting? And what about the others telling you, you missed your chance to spread the word? What do you think the message was that you and all others who participated in this feast-fest sent to that lone protestor and the rest of the LGBT community?

How about instead, you speak to him in love, not expecting anything, no strings, just pure love for a person. Or stand next to him as Jesus would have and asked the others, who will cast the first stone? Perhaps put away your judgments all together as Jesus told us to do, and love one another. What did you really teach your son that day? Was it God's love, or humans lacking love? I wish I would have been there that day. I would have stood next to that courageous lone protestor and locked my arms in with his, just as I believe Jesus would have done too.

Instead you go and stand in approval of the bigotry that was spoken against him in the name of God. I highly doubt this is Jesus approved. My heart weeps for our LGBT brothers and sisters who are beaten down by the words and actions of people who profess to be Christians.

As a fellow Christian, I ask you to please go pray about what you are doing and read what Jesus wrote about love and about judging. Search that heart for God's love, because I am having a hard time seeing it in this post, and some of the comments that followed.

VCSYboy | Aug 9, 2012

I didn't realize that a Chic-Fil-A sandwich was worth a hour wait...

Caryn LeMur | Nov 5, 2012

Carolyn: I have reminded Christians that fornication (pre-marital sex) is sin (Deut 22); divorce is sin and marrying a divorced woman is living in adultery (Matt 5, 10; Mark 10; Luke 16). I have been accused by Christians of giving a 'hate speech'. So, my experience is quite different than yours.

I am so glad that you've not had the experience. But ... I've experienced some vocal bullying from Christian 'elders' in their second marriages, when I remind them that they 'sin 'just as does the homosexual. In fact, when I remind them that God will not hear their prayers due to divorce and/or remarriage, they become furious... even though it is plainly written in Malachi 2.

Almost any person will react with anger when they perceive we are about to 'checkmate' them into a corner of argumentation. The bottom line is that there is an 'out' to the checkmate... they need to give mercy with impartiality (James 3:17), and give to the same-sex marriages the same mercy they wish to give to their own (or their children's) fornication, divorce, or second-marriage. Mercy must be impartial and triumph over judgment.

Much love in Christ always and unconditionally; Caryn

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