If you look up the term: to take a stand, you generally come up with the definition of taking a firm stance or holding ones ground on a subject. It falls directly in line with the way I was brought up. My mother taught me from a very young age to take a stand. She believed that whether it was God, country, family, friends, attitudes or actions....it was important to take a stance and stick with it. She also taught me that taking a stand on certain things might make me less than popular because popularity is usually built on anything but a firm stance. Popularity is usually built from a wishy washiness of trying to please everyone......which is simply impossible. You can't be firmly planted on both sides of an issue. You will ultimately have to choose and someone will undoubtedly find your choice or stance wrong or offensive simply because it doesn't agree with how they think. I guess that comes from our modern societal narcissism that our own personal thoughts are always right and even in a free society if someone disagrees with us....they must somehow be punished for having an attitude or belief other than our own.
If you have turned on the tv, read a paper, or looked at any form of social media in the last week...then I am sure you have an inkling of where this all is going. Yes...Chick-fil-A (for those of you who live under a rock or in the vast middle of nowhere with no fast food eateries....I am speaking of a chicken restaurant) had the audacity to take a stand on a highly charged subject....and stick with it, causing a frenzy of boycotting and name calling. Why? Because their stance was offensive to some. What subject could cause such a social upheaval? Why same sex marriage of course!!!!
Now before I proceed further....let me preface this with a few things. First of all...I have never stepped into a Chick-fil-A. I have heard they are quite good and Wichita just got a Chick-fil-A a few months back. Apparently it has been a madhouse of culinary delight since it opened and even now you have to wait when going through the drive through as cars wrap around the building. To me this says that there is a pretty yummy product being created and served at this chicken place and customers are going wild to get it. Again though...I am going strictly on what I have heard although maybe someday I will have the pleasure of trying it myself. That being said here is the second part of my preface. I was brought up at a time where homosexuality was looked on as a societal tabu and to "practice" it made the world see that person as strange, an outcast, a criminal in some places and even mentally deficient in others. It was not until I grew up and realized that given a choice...no one would choose to be that different in a world where being attracted to or loving someone of your own sex was seen as so deviant. It made me realize that these people were not deviant, criminal or mentally deficient at all. This was simply the way God (not their parents, not their environment nor even society) made them. It was not a choice and how horrible must their lives have been to constantly have to hide or be ashamed of who they were when they had no control over the situation. It was after realizing all of this that my feelings about homosexuality changed. Who was I to say that two consenting adults didn't have the right to love who they wanted? I don't believe God made love so that it could be expressed and received by only the few.
Even with my new found progressive thinking (only 40+ years in the making), I will admit that I have still ridden the fence on gay marriage. Why? I don't know! Perhaps old ideals die hard. It wasn't however until I talked to several people my age, also brought up with the same ideals, morality and basic beliefs that I was who are currently dealing with children who are either gay or lesbians that I finally got it. These kids certainly did not ask to be born this way and certainly their parents never wished such a difficult (even in this day and age) life on them and yet here it was. Do the parents of these kids turn their backs on them because they were made to be attracted to their own sex? Are these kids somehow bad people because who they love is different than whom society says they should love? Of course they aren't and their parents want for them what all parents want for their kids. They want a happy and full filling life for them and this may include marriage, a family and all the trimmings. By wanting this for their kids, does this mean that along with the gay and lesbian children that the parents should be ostracized and labeled deviant for wanting love and happiness for them? I really don't think so. So all of this brought me to here: I can honestly say that I openly support two consenting adults right to marry! I don't care what color their skin is, what religion they are or what their sexual orientation is. Love is love and I don't believe God put limits on whom we could/should love. Man did that. So that is my stand and I am quite comfortable sticking with it and in a country of free thought and free speech, while I don't expect or demand that anyone like my stance or agree with it....I do expect that you respect my right to feel that way.
Now back to the original reason for this blog. Recently Chick-fil-A came out firmly standing behind the fact that they believe marriage should be between a man and a woman only! Why they came out with this or what prompted the public statement I am not sure and since the media and social networking has gotten a hold of it....I am sure that by now the reasons why are a moot point. The only thing that anyone seems focused on is the statement itself. Since being made public....Chick-fil-A has found itself in the middle of a war where one side is now gorging itself on Chick-fil-A delicacies in support of their stance while the opposing side is demanding we all boycott the product and never darken a Chick-fil-A door again! To that I say: "Hmmmmm!" Perhaps we should back the truck up a bit.
I am trying to wrap my head around all of this and I certainly don't have all the answers, so please feel free to chime in with your respectful thoughts and opinions. Currently same sex marriage is a work in progress. It has been a tough fought battle and would not be where it is today if not for the fact that we live in a country where ALL voices can be heard and because differing views and voices are allowed....then changes can be made. Never will any one subject, issue, etc have a unanimous acceptance. There will always be someone with an opposing view and distinct reasons for believing differently. In a democracy you can't shut someone up or bully them into believing as you do just because you don't like what they have to say. For change to happen there must be education....and for education to happen...all sides must be heard. If you quiet one voice, thought, belief or perspective....then how long before someone steps in and quiets yours? To boycott a company because they took a stand that disagreed with a certain sect is the same as trying to bully them into shutting up and where is the democracy in that? Am I right? Am I wrong? Truly...what does that gain anyone? Does that not further divide the gap between the opposing sides of the same sex marriage issue? Again...I don't know why Chick-fil-A spoke out on the subject, but I will say that I respect anyone.....even a company who takes a stand that they feel morally they must...especially in light of the fact that it could hurt them or their business. While I do not agree with them, I feel they as an American company have every right to free speech and this statement was covered under that. And lets face it....if more companies where completely honest with where they stood and what charities, groups, etc that they supported and were affiliated with....each of us would have a list a mile long of companies whose ethics, ideals and beliefs personally disagreed with our belief system, morals or general ideals. Do we boycott them all? Maybe or maybe not?! So here are my questions: Should a company take a stand on a political or socially "personal" subject such as same sex marriage? If a company does take such a stand.....as Americans are we being Constitutionally fair by boycotting American companies for invoking their right to free speech or is it that same right that gives us the ability to take our business elsewhere and thus at least mentally silence those who do not agree with us?
Personally.....my lack of dining at Chick-fil-A has nothing to do with a boycott and everything to do with location and availability. Given the chance I just might have to try them out and see what all the hype is about. And if the day does come that I do eat there....it will not mean that I no longer support gay marriage. It will simply mean that I was really hungry!