General Mills Vs. Boston

What does a cereal company have to do with the capital of Massachusetts? Find out on Deeper Waters.

We’re taking a break from our look at the law to discuss a hot topic going on today. Not too long ago, some companies like General Mills came out in favor of homosexual marriage and this caused an outcry from several Christians and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) leading to a boycott of General Mills and other companies.

Immediately, the blogosphere was ablaze with the imbecility supposedly of Christians doing something like this. Even on the Failblog one would see entries asking about how many other things would be boycotted because of the position of General Mills. Obviously, Christians were just dumb for doing what they did.

The reality of this situation is that Christians who want to do this are simply living according to their principles. Most people who believe in tolerance would agree that it would be wrong to force someone to do something that they deem to be immoral. Of course, if they say otherwise, one wonders what kind of tolerance they have when they believe they should force their opinions on others.

Enter Chick-Fil-A. Chick-Fil-A is known to be a company built on Christian principles. You will not find a Chick-Fil-A open on a Sunday. Chick-Fil-A has also been accused of being in support of traditional marriage. Before going on, let’s take a look at the way the debate is framed.

Chick-Fil-A is said to be in opposition of marriage equality. If you oppose homosexual marriage, you oppose said equality. This is fallacious however as it assumes that the opponents are people who oppose equality and we see equality as a good quality to have. Who would want to oppose it?

Now when I meet someone who claims an inequality, I ask how my marriage rights differ from someone who is homosexual. This is the response I get.

“You have the right to marry the person you love!”

Well, not necessarily.

Before some of you might start panicking, let me assure you I have not made a statement that says anything about the love I have for my Mrs. I have made a statement rather about the rights that I have. Let’s see what my rights are as a heterosexual.

I can marry someone of the opposite sex.
I can marry someone who is of age.
I cannot marry a close relative.
I must marry a human.
I cannot marry more than one person.

As it stands, the person I love falls into that criteria.

Here are the rights of a homosexual.

They can marry someone of the opposite sex.
They can marry someone who is of age.
They cannot marry a close relative.
They must marry a human.
They cannot marry more than one person.

Looking at the lists, the rights are identical. Now the homosexual community says that they are not allowed to marry the person they love, which is someone of the same sex. I agree. They cannot. The reality is that I cannot marry someone of the same sex either and I cannot force a change just by saying “I love them!” If I claimed to love my mother sexually, it does not mean that I should therefore have the right to marry her.

So the idea of marriage equality is just wrong. There is a different right that is desired. At this point however, we can just ask why we should not change any of the other rights. It could be that we will be told no one is campaigning for those rights now. So what if they are? What do we do then? By what criteria do we not grant them those rights that allows for homosexuals to marry someone of the same sex?

Anyway, to get back to where we were, some who think Chick-Fil-A has taken a wrong stance have also decided that they want to boycott Chick-Fil-A. Upfront, I think that is just fine. That is what their moral belief is and they have the right to act according to that belief. If they think Chick-Fil-A deserves to be condemned in this endeavor, then by all means let them speak with their pocketbook. We can speak about the rightfulness or wrongfulness of such a position, but we cannot say the action of a personal boycott is automatically wrong.

Now recently, Dan Cathy, president of Chick-Fil-A has come out with a statement in regard to their stance of being for traditional marriage and has said that they are guilty as charged. I find it interesting in this that someone who believes in traditional marriage is meant to automatically be seen as a bigot. He is not speaking out against something so much as he is speaking for something.

Now because of this, a different factor has entered the equation. Thomas Menino, the mayor of Boston, is moving to block Chick-Fil-A from opening a restaurant in Boston. Now when NOM went against General Mills, it was a personal boycott. Right now, Menino is doing a political action to make his case.

What do I not expect to see happen? I do not expect that the people who mocked Christians for their boycott will go after Menino for not just boycotting but actively blocking the business of Chick-Fil-A. A look at Twitchy shows that there are comments that have this. (For those who don’t know, Twitchy is a service that shows comments on Twitter in response to various news items)

Instead, what we are seeing is that Menino is proudly standing up for those who are being discriminated against. This is in fact Menino’s reason. He does not want a business that discriminates in his city. The problem is Menino is confusing persons with behaviors and in fact, his position is dehumanizing.

You are not a behavior walking around. You are a person. You are a person who happens to do whatever behaviors might be discussed. Menino’s actions instead define persons by their behaviors. It claims that persons must perform with such and such a behavior and they cannot avoid otherwise. With regard to homosexuality, a person must perform sex in a homosexual manner and they cannot do otherwise.

Now we could write endlessly about whether someone can change from homosexuality to heterosexuality. I’ve read of enough stories of that happening that I think they can, but let us suppose for the sake of argument that they cannot. Does it follow that a person who is homosexual must partake then of homosexual sex? No more than a person who is heterosexual must partake of heterosexual sex, unless you want to make the case be that heterosexual people have self-control and homosexual ones don’t.

Can that be difficult? Of course, but would someone deny that it is also difficult for a heterosexual person to not engage in heterosexual sex outside of parameters they believe that it is permissible, such as within marriage? (If anyone does not think it possible, I can tell them my wife and I were virgins until our wedding night) Sexual temptation is difficult for most anyone.

Now if someone does not eat, that someone will starve. If someone does not breathe, they will suffocate. If someone does not drink, they will dehydrate. There are things we have to do individually to survive. Sexual behavior is not like that. You will not find an autopsy anywhere that lists cause of death as “Did not have sex.”

Now of course, as a whole, the species must engage in sexual intercourse to survive, but we are quite fortunate that it seems that most men and women don’t really need encouragement to get together and make babies. We don’t see any reason to think the human race will soon die out due to a lack of babies coming, although abortion might make us wonder in the future.

And to be even more specific, no one needs to engage in homosexual sex in order for the species to survive. If no one ever had homosexual sex, the species would still get along just fine. It is something like this that makes me wonder why it is that so many atheists want to rush to defend homosexuality? One would think that from an evolutionary perspective, it doesn’t do much to bring about the fitness of the species.

At any rate, we can think of terms that describe our behavior like vegetarian or homosexual or baseball player or anything like that. We would not want any of those to be our whole identity. Behavior is an aspect of persons but not a definer of persons.

Hence, Menino’s position is really dehumanizing as it makes homosexuals be identified by their behavior. If saying marriage should not be changed is discriminatory, then what is anyone to say about people who are homosexual as well and want marriage to stay the same?

Furthermore, for all his talk about discrimination, Menino’s position is discriminatory. He has set up which businesses he will allow in his city, those who agree with him, and has set up which ones he will not allow, those who do not agree with him.

Of course, he could be right in his position, but let us not make the mistake of saying that he is not discriminating. In fact, he is also discriminating against a population, something he says he is against. He is discriminating against the population that believes marriage should stay what it is and that we should act to protect it.

Now we often hear from the homosexual community about how we should be tolerant and open of other opinions. Apparently, that means people who believe in traditional marriage should be open to being wrong, but people who are for homosexual marriage do not have to be open to being wrong. Tolerance in this case is never a two-way street. Will we see tolerance coming from the other side? Doubtful. This decision will be celebrated while at the same time the decision to boycott General Mills will be mocked.

Ironically, it is the marriage side that is practicing true tolerance. We are saying General Mills has every right to say what they think is true. Meanwhile, we have every right to not buy their products if we choose. Menino on the other hand is saying that not only is Chick-Fil-A wrong, he will not have a discussion with them. He is just going to block them and use the force of his political power to not let anyone in his city enjoy their products.

Ah. The loving tolerance once again that is being expressed. But what do we know? We’re just bigots who need to be more tolerant.

In Christ,
Nick Peters