Yesterday, August 1st was Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. Sponsored by Mike Huckabee, the purpose of this event was to “affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse.” Evidently, business was booming yesterday at Chick-fil-A stores across the country.
Tomorrow, August 3rd, is National Same-Sex Kiss Day. Sponsored by GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), the purpose of this event is to “speak out against Chick-fil-A’s stand against the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] community.” We’ll have to wait and see what impact both this event and the Chick-fil-A boycott have on the company’s bottom line.
As for me, I didn’t eat at Chick-fil-A yesterday. Although I support marriage and oppose same-sex marriage, I’m tired of the politicization of everyday life. Can’t a guy just eat—or not eat—his chicken sandwich and waffle fries without worrying what political statement he might be making? Can’t we carve out some politics-free zones in life where considerations other than legislation come into play? Or must we all become soldiers in the army of “the personal is political” and draw up battle lines accordingly?
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. Neither the August 1st nor August 3rd events are illegal. Each group has the right to support or to boycott whatever company it desires to. I can’t—and wouldn’t if I could—stop any group from exercising its rights of free speech and association. But I can opt out of that kind of politicization entirely, and I did.
This doesn’t mean I’m opting out of politics. I’ll cast my ballot this November and encourage you to do the same. I’ll engage in civil and rational argument about my preferred political values and policies, and I encourage you to do the same. And whether this election goes well or ill for my “side,” I’ll strive to love my neighbor and even my enemy, as Jesus teaches me to do, and I encourage you to do the same.
But I’m going to go ahead and eat waffle fries and Oreo cookies in good conscience, regardless of what politics their companies support, for the simple reason that they taste good. Doing so is my little rebellion against the divisive effect of the politicization of everyday life.
Here’s another little rebellion: If you disagree with me about my preferred political values and policies, let’s go to lunch and talk about them. Let’s prove that people can remain friends and enjoy meals across the political divide. The alternative—the politicization of friendship—is, to my mind, unthinkable…unbearable.