In Response to “Jesus, Enough with the Chicken.” Responses from the author and editor follow.
My name is Leslie Hicks, and as a blogger in the eco-friendly sphere, I have read and enjoyed many of your columns, most recently the piece on AT&T vs. Verizon and their respective environmentally-conscious efforts. Most of the time, I find your columns to be interesting, informative, and I reference them often in my own tweets (@LeslieJHicks). Because I do read your posts often, I felt, as a reader, both qualified and compelled to inform you that the article by Libby Lowe, titled “Jesus, Enough with the Chicken,” is not only inaccurate in several respects, it’s embarrassingly misrepresentative, and reads more as a tantrum, which I’m sure was not Ms. Lowe’s goal.
Firstly, the title of the piece is not only blasphemous in a thoughtless effort to employ a pun, it’s insensitive. I don’t know how much of the Bible or how much about Christianity any of you have actually read with an open mind or with a desire to truly understand what you’re attacking so carelessly, so I’ll explain exactly what I mean. Blasphemy is defined as “1 a: the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God, b: the act of claiming the attributes of deity 2: irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable,” which is exactly what your title does (except for claiming attributes of deity). In case you’re unaware of why exactly invoking Jesus’s name in such a way is blasphemous, and thus, offensive, allow me to direct you to the place in the Bible which clearly spells it out—this site lists the Exodus 20:7 passage in many different translations, which is sure to get the point across. You may want to pay strict attention to the NIV, The Living Bible, and Revised Berkeley translations. The sentiment is paralleled in the New Testament as well (Ephesians 4:29, Colossians 4:6). At the very least, the piece’s title is unfortunately negligent of professionalism, and at worst, blatantly disrespectful to a figure Christians recognize as Lord. Do you want to take that stance as a publication?
A second issue I take with this article is that it grossly misrepresents Christian values. For one thing, the term “Christian values” links to another obviously slanted article on a religiously-themed amusement park, as if to conveniently, albeit ignorantly, sum up Christian values in that post. Could someone please do me the favor of pointing out one Christian value in that article (and I don’t mean what you think or have heard from anti-Christian, misinformed activists are Christian values, I mean values that actually exist, substantiated by Biblical evidence)? Also, no one is “hiding” behind Christian values to fuel “bigotry,” sorry. In fact, most Christians, Christians who adhere to the principles and commands outlined in the New Testament, (as most educated Biblical scholars know to be the standard by which we’re to live our lives, not the Old Testament, which is present and still useful for prophetic examples, for historical records, and useful accounts of actions), will not shy from telling anyone that being homosexual is an abomination (also repeated in the New Testament, not just in Leviticus, as some confused reader argued in a comment).
Since true Christian values appear to be unknown or disregarded by your writers, I’m happy to share some that apply to this column/social conflict: God created us male and female to be husband and wife—Genesis 2: 18-24, Matthew 19: 4-5; engaging in homosexuality is an abomination and gross repudiation of God’s law—Romans 1: 18-32, 1 Timothy 1: 5-11; homosexuality is a sin, yet can be forgiven like any other—Romans 3:23, Acts 26: 17-18; Christians are to love all people (John 13:34-35, Romans 13:8) but to not take part in or support sin (Ephesians 5:11, 1 Timothy 5:22); God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9), but will not tolerate sinful behavior (see Romans passage). True Christians, on the basis of Biblical doctrine, do not seek to dehumanize or mistreat homosexuals—we love them as fellow human beings, and will be the first to agree that bullying is never acceptable. However, a belief system is not synonymous with bullying. We simply do not accept a homosexual relationship as legitimate or recognizable on the level of marriage. As long as you’re entitled to support same-sex marriage, we’re entitled not to. A truly non-bigoted organization cannot argue that, especially if the organization it opposes is a privately-owned company with the same rights to religious freedom and freedom of speech. Not agreeing with the company’s mission statement is one thing—maligning that company as “bigoted” is entirely another.
Of course, I cannot speak for every individual that claims to be a Christian, I can only speak for myself and for what the Bible says or logically implies. I certainly do not condone each and every group or organization that claims to be Christian or to be upholding Christian values—indeed, some are indisputably racists, child molesters, bigamists, etc. However, an honest and critical thinker will hesitate to apply the word “Christian” to any that eschew Biblical doctrine but instead construct their own religion and ordinances.
I’m fully aware that very few people actually consider the Bible to be a true, reliable, and revelatory guide for living, but rather regard it as a simple collection of stories. You’re entitled, as free agents, to believe whatever validates and serves you the best—and, I’m sure, you do. However, it’s not just the Bible that says homosexuality is unnatural—science refutes many of the propagandist claims for its inherent nature and inevitable expression. Of course, the strongly suggestive lack of evidence for genetic inheritance of homosexuality has been largely ignored by the homosexual and advocating community. Please also note in the above article the mention of the inaccurate compound word “homophobia,” which, intended to describe one who is discriminatorily averse to the homosexual lifestyle, literally means an irrational fear of homosexuals, which is not the same as the lack of acceptance based on principle, and is likely nonexistent entirely.
Homophobia is not the only misnomer being employed among the homosexual-rights activist community. So too is “bigot” and “bigotry,” which is specifically used by your own Libby Lowe (and in your publication’s flurry of tweets as well). She describes bigotry as a deplorable mindset against the homosexual community. However, a cursory search of the etymology of the word “bigot” clearly reveals that the word was initially used as a snub of religion by the French. Curiously, that original use and context would in fact put you and anyone else who expresses contempt for and intolerance of religious ideology (“we won’t coddle,” as your tweet says) in the line of fire for being actual bigots. Bigotry isn’t confined to Christianity, as you allege—it applies to anyone who is obstinately devoted to their own prejudices, beliefs, opinions, politics, etc., and intolerant of others’. You could be accused of the same mindset you blindly accuse Christians of. Plus, the earliest English use carried with it the connotation of a religious hypocrite, which also doesn’t apply here, since any sincere, practicing member of the Christian religion which condemns homosexuality is hardly a hypocrite—he or she is a strict adherent. No one who reads and lives by the Bible can credibly also say that being a homosexual is perfectly acceptable. Too, bigotry has also been historically applied to those who harbor prejudice against a certain creed or racial/ethnic group—and, since homosexuality is not a religion, race, nor is it inherent, it’s not on par with the preceding categories and thus is (conveniently) misused as a term for the strong conviction that homosexuality is wrong. And let’s not forget that prejudice means the uninformed, preconceived adverse opinion of someone or something. One would be hard pressed in light of another’s Biblical study and scientific knowledge to correctly say that anyone who is opposed to homosexuality is uninformed or ignorant.
The bottom line is Ms. Lowe and whoever else rallies behind her article are fundamentally wrong—the article’s claims are uninformed, unsubstantiated, and lack depth. And, it’s clear that this piece isn’t really about the food chain at all, but rather just another seized opportunity to picket for unquestioning acceptance of a lifestyle just because it’s allegedly widespread (homosexuals make up a very small percentage of the American population, contrary to pop culture portrayal, as the NHSLS found) and popular to do so. The folks who seem the most uncomfortable, actually, are Ms. Lowe and her enablers—uncomfortable with companies that exercise their religious freedom, which Ms. Lowe claims to like, yet…puzzlingly does not like when it allows those who are opposed to homosexuality to promote their beliefs. That’s ironically, inconsistently intolerant if you’re honest with yourselves.
In closing, I’d like to again state that I respect you as columnists, and I will likely continue to enjoy reading some of your articles. If you truly value your readership and are truly non-discriminatory as your attack on “discriminators” would imply you to be, I’m confident you’ll not only respect and honor my arguments, beliefs, and opinions, you’ll have the courage to publish them. Courage is, after all, part of having a heart, isn’t it?
From the author, Libby Lowe:
I appreciate that you took the time to share your views, but I think you missed the point of my piece. You say that I misrepresented Christian values. I wasn’t trying to represent Christian values, I was representing my values.
I am suspect of anyone stepping up to explain or represent the beliefs of an entire group – be it a religious, political or otherwise collection of like-minded (not single-minded) people – no matter how many quotes you have to try to support your points.
I’m not going to get into a debate with you about homosexuality in the bible or whether sexuality is genetic. I assume agreeing to disagree will be the result of any debate we might have, but I will say that being informed doesn’t get you off the hook. Your statements about homosexuality, no matter how you couch them in niceties about loving them as fellow human beings, make your position clear. Call it intolerance, call it bigotry, use whatever word you like, but homophobia is homophobia and it hurts people.
You say that it’s clear my story isn’t really about the food chain, but “rather another seized opportunity to picket for unquestioning acceptance of a lifestyle.” I say that your letter isn’t really about my story, but a seized opportunity to promote intolerance in a far
more transparent way than a little text on a sandwich wrapper.
Yes, I am uncomfortable with Chick-fil-A’s corporate belief system. But I do believe the organization has every right to put those beliefs out there. In fact, I am glad to know where they stand so that I can make an informed choice as a consumer.
From the editor:
The EcoSalon motto, “Have a heart,” does indeed stand for courage, including in the face of discrimination, which is why we would no sooner have a “heart” for homophobia than we would for pollution. Chick-Fil-A’s environmentally negligent fast food business model, coupled with the organization’s activism against civil rights, is a perfect example of the kind of unenlightened, unsustainable activity we find indefensible.
I must take issue with your interpretation of our motto, as if embracing a life lived from the heart – that is, bravely, generously and consciously – would cover all opinions and beliefs simply because they exist, regardless of their validity. EcoSalon is no more obligated to “honor” intolerance of an adult individual’s consenting habits in the bedroom than it would be to honor creationism as a debate, sexism as a precedent, or racism as mere prejudice.
While religious belief is a fundamental right and one we clearly support in this piece, there is simply nothing morally courageous about homophobia, however gently it is applied. Therefore, we appreciate you expressing your views, but remain unapologetic in our criticism.
The heart of EcoSalon beats for progress.
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