Saturday, July 28, 2012

Matt 24 watch, 166: Chick-fil-A targetted for "jamming" because its Christian owner supports the historic, creation order based, naturally evident nature of marriage

The Chick-fil-A logo
One of the common tactics of the uncivil today, is to bully, intimidate and "make an example of" those who do not shut up and go along with the agenda being pushed by radical secularists, neo-pagans and various groups such as the homosexualists. This is clearly meant to jam out counter-messages and to smear objectors, by polarising opinion against them.

As Kupelian pointed out in his The Marketing of Evil, this is part of a three-prong public relations strategy pushed by Kirk, Madsen and co [cf. a discussion of the 1987 proposal here and a summary on what has happened here], that breaks down moral, cultural and social objections to agendas that are often quite bizzare and may be quite destructive:
1: Desensitisation (and sometimes glamourisation though media promotion of celebrities who come "out") that tries to break down the "ick"/"yuck" factor.

2: Jamming of opponents, objectors or questioners that raise concerns about the agenda being pushed, to silence serious debate.

3: Conversion to tolerance or support (or even participation) so that the formerly clearly bizarre and objectionable is now tolerated, seen as a right or even seen as needing protection from the bigots who would dare object to it.
The current storm in a media teacup over a remark supportive of marriage as it has historically been understood (and as is evident from creation order and the natural complementarity of man and woman) is unfortunately all too illustrative of what is going on and where it is headed if we do not recognise the strategy and cut it off clean at the knees when it raises its head.

What triggered the latest media storm in a teacup? It seems, from a report that there was an interview of one of the Cathy family (who founded the fast food chain) with a Baptist newspaper:
“We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that,” [Dan] Cathy said.

In a separate radio interview, Dan Cathy said, “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. I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think we can try to define what marriage is all about.”
For most of that, there is nothing there but something to say, good for you about, or okay, this man is a Christian and is stating his view (which also happens to be the general consensus of humanity, civilisations and religions across time and culture for the past 5,000 or more years of record, which in turn responds to the obvious complementarity of men and women and the requisites of stability for child rearing).

But the homosexualist activists and their fellow travellers were incensed and were determined to make the Cathy family and their restaurant chain into public examples of the wrath that will descend on any who dare object to their recent and ongoing major attempt to redefine marriage in law and culture.

The Cathy family were denounced as bigots and as discriminatory to homosexuals. There were calls for boycotts. And in a highly significant development, the Jim Henderson Company of the Muppets familiar from Sesame Street etc, publicly severed longstanding ties with the fast food chain.

As the article summarises:
The Henson Co., creator of the Muppets characters, said it no longer would work with Chick-fil-A. The mayor of Boston publicly bashed the restaurant chain. Chicago officials said they would not want the company to operate in their wards. And “kiss-in” protests were announced in front of company outlets on college campuses.
Indeed, city officials have threatened to deny the chain access to their cities to set up franchises. (It seems this is legally quite dubious move, but that such was announced tells volumes about the attitudes at work.)

The matter is sufficiently serious that the Rev Billy Graham, ill and in retirement, has made a public statement of support for the Cathy family and their business:
“I want to express my support for my good friends Truett Cathy and his son Dan Cathy, and for their strong stand for the Christian faith,” he said in a statement released by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
“I’ve known their family for many years and have watched them grow Chick-fil-A into one of the best businesses in America while never compromising their values. Chick-fil-A serves each of its customers with excellence, and treats everyone like a neighbor. It’s easy to see why Chick-fil-A has become so popular across America,” he said.
As a counter, Former Republican Governor and US Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee (cf. here) has called for August 1st to be used as a day to publicly support the chain, and Sarah Palin has released photographs of her visit to a restaurant, in which she and her husband bought meals.

But, what is the relevance of all this?

First, it reflects the signs of our times, the specific theme for this blog series. It also shows us the ways in which radical and questionable agendas are pushed in our world today, as well as how there is a definite push to turn public sentiment against the Gospel, the scriptures, gospel ethics and those who take such seriously. We should not be so naive as to imagine that similar sentiments and agendas are not at work in our region, as the tidal wave from the north of de-christianisation hits us with ever mounting force.

So, the question is how can and should we stand in the face of such an onslaught and its sophisticated public relations tactics?

We know the answer in brief: the truth, in love, purity and power.

The challenge is to counter clever arguments and manipulation designed to undermine the credibility of what is true, good, right, pure, and to discredit, intimidate, silence and drive out from influencing the community those who dare raise objections to radical agendas.

Mr Huckabee has a telling point on that:
“The militant homosexual advocates have launched an all out assault on Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A, pushing for a boycott because the Cathy family has contributed to traditional marriage organizations. The attempts to hurt or destroy Chick-fil-A is nothing short of economic bullying. In the name of ‘tolerance,’ there is an effort being mounted to put pressure on people to stop eating at Chick-fil-A. Even worse is the vilification of the company and its employees. The Christian world view of Dan Cathy is being met with intolerance and vicious hate speech,” Huckabee’s announcement said.
John Hayward of Human Events, adds:
 “The name of the game being played against Chick-fil-A involved ending the discussion, by ruling one side of this important social debate completely out of order, and dismissing their beliefs as unworthy of respect. All resistance to gay marriage is instantly transmuted into personal hatred of gay people. On the other hand, criticism of traditional marriage proponents cannot be viewed as hateful, no matter how angrily it might be expressed. It’s a rigged heads-we-win, tails-you-lose game,” he said.

Cathy isn’t allowed to encourage reverence and support for the traditional family, or even worse, put his money where his mouth is.  He’s not allowed to say that he finds moral or practical value in the time-honored definition of marriage, without feeling animosity towards gay people.  His ideas and principles are automatic thought crimes, no matter how gently and constructively they might be presented.

Hayward bitingly continues, naming and shaming "Boston mayor Thomas Menino":

. . . who brings the power of government into the equation.  “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population [-->there is no evidence of discriminatory policies or practices of the firm; but moral objections to the twisting of marriage into the shape preferred by an agenda are being smeared with this scarlet label].  We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion,” he told the Boston Herald.

Referring to the proposed location of a Chick-fil-A restaurant, Menino thundered, “That’s the Freedom Trail.  That’s where it all started right here.  And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail.”  He promised that getting permits for restaurant construction “will be very difficult… unless they open up their policies,” by which he means the company abandoning its financial support for traditional marriage groups. [--> which includes support for a group that seeks to rescue and renew marriages and families that are in trouble]

What a bracing dose of Newspeak!  Menino’s all about making Boston an “open” city “at the forefront of inclusion,” except for people who believe in the traditional definition of marriage.  Those people get “excluded” as viciously as possible, but such exclusion is necessary to prove how inclusive the Mayor is.  Up is down, day is night, “freedom” requires submission to a political agenda, and “open” minds are welded firmly shut.  Hopefully the people of Boston won’t mind sacrificing some jobs, and culinary choices, in the name of the absolute ideological rigidity expected from an “open” city.

That is, at certain times, when assaults like this surface, we will need to expose the hostility, intimidation, manipulation, "he hit back first" turnabout false accusation  rhetoric and deceptive, destructive agendas that are at work in our day across the world and in our region. 

We should also take opportunity of such incidents to expose the underlying tactics and call for a return to civility, moral clarity, common good sense, decency and soundness. 

Last (but by no means least), such time are also opportunities to help our neighbours see the way sin enmeshes, deceives and destroys, then bring forth the truth , the intellectual and ethical credibility and relevance of the gospel and of its call to godly discipleship as a basis for salvation of souls, renewal of minds, hearts and lives,  and how it is a reasonable and trustworthy basis for positive transformation of societies. END