We Don’t Need Another Martyr

This summer has been crazy, and it has left me with so many thoughts swirling through my mind. There are so many of them that I honestly don’t know where to begin. As I have been pondering what to say to begin this blog post, one common question has come to mind: “when did we become such an angry nation?”

As this summer brought more freedoms to more people, I also noticed the increase in popularity of what I will call Angry Christian Bloggers. From political wanna-bes like Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin to talk show hosts Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh down to Matt Walsh and Joshua Feuerstein, I have seen an explosion of anger across social media sites. It frightens me that the angriest people claim to be Christians.

Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Instead of explaining in my own words, I am going to go to the scriptures to support my argument that American Christianity is heading down a dangerous path. After all, the scriptures explain things more clearly and plainly than I ever could.

15. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” – Matthew 7: 15-20.

I see many follow these bloggers and personalities in a cult-like manner. They, to me, have become the false prophets of which we have been warned about since the time of Jesus Christ. Now, I am not saying that any one of the people I mentioned above actually claim to be prophets, but all use their Christian beliefs as a means to build up a following in social media outlets. Unfortunately, their message seems to be one of fear, anger and hate, and it scares me how many followers they have.

22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” – Galatians 5: 22-26.

If the Spirit speaks to use through all of the peaceful means listed in the scripture from Galatians, what does it mean when these Christian bloggers cause their faithful followers to be fearful and angry? I don’t think that’s Christ’s way.

Not a Hero Nor a Martyr

Now, to the Kim Davis controversy. I think Stephen King stated it best when he tweeted “Kim Davis has gotten exactly what she wanted: martyrdom.

Some believe that the only way you can be a true Christian is if you are persecuted for standing up for your faith, so they find twisted ways to become martyrs in their own minds. Too often this perceived persecution comes to people who treat others in ways contrary to Christ’s teachings. These people aren’t really martyrs; they are simply sowing what they reap.

Let’s make Tuesday a Day of Love

Mike Huckabee and Joshua Feuerstein are gathering the angry mobs to protest Kim Davis’s consequences for refusing to abide by a court order. They are using angry rhetoric and scaring good people into believing that their religious freedoms are being eroded.

I propose we create a counter movement and designate the same day as a Day of Love. Choose a happy color to wear: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo or violet. Share messages of love on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media feeds that day. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or do something to lift others less privileged than yourself. Let’s show the world who really has the spirit of love within their souls.

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Ender’s Game Boycott is Misguided

News is spreading about a group calling for a boycott of Ender’s Game when it released in the theaters this November. The proposed boycott is in response to author Orson Scott Card‘s anti-gay comments and his participation on the board of the National Organization for Marriage. This boycott is misguided because it is not going to impact the target of their fury.

While I agree that a boycott is a great way to voice disapproval of comments or actions of an individual, this particular time it is misguided. This is an attempt to hit Mr. Card in his pocket book, but the author has already been paid for this film. If they had thought this out clearly before they made their announcement, the boycott organizers would have realized that film studios purchase the rights from the story’s author before they can even begin adapting the script and producing the film. Orson Scott Card was likely paid years ago.

Who, exactly, is this boycott going to harm, if it were successful? It’s not Mr. Card—unless he is concerned about the possible sequels to come from the other novels in his series. The studio backers—the people who have invested money into this film production—are the ones who would be affected by a successful boycott. Since we don’t have any public declarations about gay rights from any of them, this boycott is pretty pointless.

Some claim this proposed boycott is a message to the studios—don’t do business with a bigot. Well, it’s too late to send that message. They paid for the film rights to Ender’s Game, they have paid the actors, the filming is complete, and a release date has been set for November. I, for one, look forward to seeing the movie. The trailer looks amazing.

I already see a backlash starting because of this proposed boycott. Within the week, I foresee Mike Huckabee establishing a national “Let’s Go See Ender’s Game Day.” I am sure he will pull in Chik-fil-a as a sponsor, and they will sell popcorn chicken as refreshments. This proposed boycott has caused early interest in the film among people who weren’t previously aware of it.

I hope Mr. Card’s feelings about homosexuality are evolving, just like they are for many people as we come to better understand one another. One day he will hopefully realize that he has displayed intolerance similar to what his character DeAnne Fletcher in The Lost Boys despised. I have to paraphrase now, because I do not have a copy of the novel, but DeAnne recounts the intolerance many of her former neighbors displayed towards an African-American girl in her Utah community. She moves away with her family and hopes to never again live among people who could dislike somebody just because they were different in some way. For some reason, that little insignificant passage from the novel has lasted with me since the time I read it nearly 12 years ago.

Free Speech vs. Human Dignity

Dozens and dozens of posts are coming through my Facebook account regarding yesterday’s Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day. I’ve read comments from “friends” stating things like “Another good reason to eat at Chick-fil-a,” “Yummy waffle fries,” “I’m not going to let anyone tell me where I can’t eat,” and “Take that you liberal idiots!”

It has been a very discouraging couple of days. I don’t think a lot of my friends can really imagine how it feels to know that they are supporting a cause that keeps me and thousands–actually millions–of brothers and sisters second class citizens. They say this isn’t about same-sex marriage, and I agree. Many of them said the issue was about free speech, and I believe in that American value just as much as anyone else. They say they are angry that a few–yes just a few–government officials said that the restaurant was no longer welcome in their jurisdictions, so they decided take a stand and eat at the restaurant in the name of free speech.

Well, I want everyone to think about the thousands of gay and lesbian brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, and friends that you threw under the bus yesterday in your support of free speech.  What about the young boys and girls who are terrified to go to school because they are bullied for being a “defect of nature?” What about the women and men who are brutally attacked for being different? Is free speech more important that treating people with dignity?

I know most of my friends would never outright say they hate homosexuals. Unfortunately, their actions yesterday say they side with those who do hate. Here are some comments on different websites to show who many of my friends and relatives sided with yesterday [note, I am not editing their comments in any way]:

“When I turn on the TV to watch the news and I see two men kissing my stomach turns.”

“The faggots just don’t get it. They are going to lose this one!”

“You want to be different, but at the same time you want to be treated the same.  PUT on your big person panties and lets get on with our lifes.”

“It seems GAYS want special rights..not Equal Rights. Don’t you remember that childhood song… Stick and Stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me. Quit being so thin skinned.”

“It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. They make me sick!”

How can we not take those words personally? I’ve heard similar and worse comments my whole life, and they tear at the soul. My LDS and friends get offended when their faith is attacked, so I guess I was hoping for more from them yesterday.

I want my good Christian and Mormon friends to think about what they thought about and discussed while waiting in line for your chicken sandwich and waffle fries. Did you say or laugh at any derogatory comments about “the gays.” Did you put a stop to hateful comments you may have heard?

Video campaigns were started to help gay and lesbian teens overcome depression and suicidal tendencies. They are told that it will get better, and that people will be kinder and more accepting as they get to know them. Unfortunately, I fear that many will not believe that after yesterday’s events. I fear that attacks against gays and lesbians could increase because of the crowds at Chick-fil-A yesterday.

I am grateful for a wise brother who invited me to have dinner with his family last night. His family bought a bucket of chicken from KFC, we watched the Olympics together, and we played a few board games with the kids. Nothing was mentioned about the Chick-fil-A controversy, but everyone there let me know that I am loved.

Go ahead and continue standing up for free speech, that’s your right. I, however, will choose to stand up for kindness, compassion, empathy, and love.  After all, isn’t love the greater commandment?

Chicken, Cookies, and Mike Huckabee

Oreo cookies
Oreo cookies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a battle brewing in our country. The battle lines have been drawn. It’s red against blue. Republicans versus Democrats. Some claim it’s good versus evil. Whatever it is, things have become very heated—maybe it’s partly due to the record-breaking heat and dry weather—and things are about to explode. The amazing thing to me is the symbols of this summer’s battle are a snack cookie and a chicken sandwich.

It all started earlier this summer when an advertisement featuring a rainbow-cream-filled Oreo was posted on Facebook. The picture created an instant controversy. People called for a boycott of the popular treat, while others applauded the gesture and promised to buy more cookies. Some devoutly religious people resented the fact that Kraft Foods would promote a lifestyle they cannot tolerate, but others applauded the company’s attempt to celebrate diversity, equality, and love.

Suddenly, a cookie became the symbol of a war of wills. On one side people were crying about the loss of religious freedom. On the other side were people passionate about tolerance and equality for all citizens of this great country. Somewhere stuck in the middle was a larger, quieter group of people who long for a reasoned, balanced resolution to both problems.

Just when things were about to cool off, Chick-fil-A‘s CEO Dan Cathy reaffirmed his stance on gay marriage, and the battle was out in the open again. News reports pointed out the millions of dollars Cathy had donated to anti-gay organizations, and another boycott was called. This time around, the people who originally called for an Oreo boycott called foul for those calling for a Chick-fil-A boycott—oh, how soon we forget. The arguing about morality, love, and equality started once again on Facebook, The Huffington Post, and dozens of other websites.

Eatmorchikn
Eatmorchikn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It seemed like every five minutes, another new story was published online. Jim Henson Company announced they would discontinue their partnership with the fast food restaurant. Chick-fil-A fabricates a story as to why their toys are no longer available in kids’ meals. A suspicious character appears on Facebook to defend Chick-fil-A. Civic leaders send letters to the restaurant chain telling them they are not welcome to open business in their communities.

I am pretty skeptical of a lot of what I read on the internet, but this past week has been ridiculous. I am not sure which of these dozens of stories are true. Most, however, seem to be clever works of fiction written to destroy the enemy.

The few stories that I take at face value, however, lead me to what I think would be the best solution to this war we are experiencing. Mike Huckabee has declared August 1 Chick-fil-A day. He has called all good Christians to eat at the restaurant that day in a demonstration of solidarity and support. The only problem is that I know many Christians who don’t support Mr. Cathy’s—nor Mr. Huckabee’s—views. On the other side of the battle is this solution that I find to be quite clever.

As I was pondering how in the world we let a cookie and chicken nuggets expose this huge divide we have in our country, I had an epiphany. If there’s one thing we’re more passionate about than current politics, it’s food. We love our food—just look at the alarming obesity rates in this country. It appears to me, the only way to build bridges that are currently being blown to bits is for us all to sit down together for a nice dinner. Just imagine what we could accomplish with a national sit-down dinner provided by Chick-fil-A and Kraft. The only thing that would make it better is if JC Penney and Target were to provide the table settings for the meal.