The first time I heard of Chick-fil-A, it was as a sportscaster in Victoria, BC. I had no idea what it was, but I was reading scores from a women's golf tournament it sponsored and I tossed out the remark that I wondered who the sponsor was. (I even pronounced it "Chick-fil-AH".)
A listener called in and told me -- and mentioned the amount of charity work Chick-fil-A did in the southern states, including the 11 foster care homes it funds in Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. I was very impressed. I've since learned that Chick-fil-A provides four-year scholarships to Berry College. It's the sort of corporate social responsibility that should get a lot of attention.
Unfortunately, Chick-fil-A's current media attention has nothing to do with its CSR -- and in fact, nothing to do with reality. It's president, Dan Cathy, has been "quoted" as making anti-gay remarks and as a result has been pilloried in the media, by pro-gay-marriage organizations and those who promote "tolerance" and "equality".
Just one problem with all this. He didn't say it.
Being in media relations myself, I have a pretty good idea of what it's like to have remarks taken out of context. But as Sarah Pulliam Bailey points out in her blog, Mr Cathy's remarks weren't just taken out of context - his detractors provided their own.
I'll let Sarah's blog speaks for itself, because she seems to nail it. But there's another thing Christians have to be aware of.
Jesus warned us there'd be days like these.
He said we'd be hated for His sake.
Were Cathy's remarks to be a stream of hateful diatribe, filled with slurs and stereotypes, the public criticism would be justified. But there was none of that, according to Sarah's blog: he simply declared his belief, as it related to marriage.
Kinda makes you wonder who the real bigots are, doesn't it?
But there's an object lesson here. As Jesus warned us, if we declare His Word -- no matter what precautions we take to make sure it comes out in a positive way -- we can expect to get whacked in these latter days. It's going to happen. No time to whine or complain about how unfair people are or try to outshout them -- because a spirit of anti-Christ cannot be shouted down.
The attacks will come from the most unexpected of places and the most unexpected of circumstances. At times like this, it's important to remember a decidedly non-Scriptural saying: when you are up to your ass in alligators, it is difficult to remember that your initial objective was to drain the swamp.
That saying has often been used as an excuse -- "sorry I didn't get back to you, but I've been up to my ass in alligators ..." -- but it's really a reminder. The saying doesn't suggest that we abandon the job of draining the swamp: it merely suggests that when you're beating away alligators who are snapping at your hindquarters, it's easy to forget what you initially set out to do.
For Christians, our swamp-draining exercise is the Great Commission: heal the sick, bind the brokenhearted, minister to the poor and fatherless, make disciples of all nations. The alligators are those who attack for whatever reason, just to try to silence the Word of God. If we spend our time trying to fight off the alligators, the real work won't get done.
We have to keep focused on draining the swamp, and trust God to keep the alligators at bay. Remember that Jesus says for those who won't receive the Word, Sodom and Gomorrah will be a nicer place; and in the parable of the ten talents (Luke 19), the "master" calls for those who didn't want him to reign over them to be brought before him and killed.
So forget the alligators. Understand that, as we get that swamp drained, the alligators will die from exposure. There will be more alligators to come, but he who endures to the end shall be saved (Matt. 10:22).