Editor's Note: R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.
By R. Albert Mohler Jr., Special to CNN
(CNN)–Cultural upheavals often occur in the most surprising contexts. Who expected that a clash between sexuality and religious liberty would be focused on a restaurant company mainly known for its chicken sandwiches?
And yet the controversy over Chick-fil-A is a clear sign that religious liberty is at risk and that this nation has reached the brink of tyrannical intolerance from at least some of our elected leaders.
The controversy ignited when Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy, son of the company’s legendary founder, Truett Cathy, told a Baptist newspaper that he and his company “operate on biblical principles” and “are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit.”
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Defining Chick-fil-A as “a family business,” Cathy went on to say that “We intend to stay the course. … We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
Media attention to Cathy’s comments revealed a radio interview he had given a few weeks earlier in which he commented that “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at (God) and say, ‘We know better than You what constitutes a marriage.'
“I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think we would have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about,” he said.
Within days, elected officials in Chicago, Boston and New York were pledging to deny the company access to their cities.
“Because of (Dan Cathy’s) ignorance, I will deny Chick-fil-A a permit to open a restaurant in my ward,” Chicago Alderman Proco Moreno said, in a threat echoed by
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino was just as blunt: “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston,” he said. “We’re an open city. We’re a city at the forefront of inclusion.”
But the kind of inclusion he had in mind would evidently exclude Chick-fil-A.
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who just recently married her lesbian partner, called upon New York University to kick Chick-fil-A off its campus.
9 religious companies (besides Chick-fil-A)
Echoing the Boston mayor’s lack of irony, she also called for exclusion in the name of inclusion: “We are a city that believes our diversity is our greatest strength, and we will fight anything and anyone that runs counter to that.”
Within days, Moreno, Emanuel and Menino had qualified their statements somewhat, promising to operate within the law and constitutional limits. Those clarifications became necessary when legal authorities quickly recognized threatened violations of First Amendment rights.
To his credit, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an ardent supporter of same-sex marriage, warned, “You can’t have a test for what the owner’s personal views are before you decide to give a permit to do something in the city.”
Note carefully that Chick-fil-A was not charged with discrimination in hiring or service but simply with the fact that its president and chief operating officer supports traditional marriage.
Note something else: Dan Cathy’s statements were explicitly religious. He made his comments to the religious press, including a Baptist newspaper. His comments were infused with his Christian convictions, the same convictions that have led the company to close for business every Sunday.
The threats made against Chick-fil-A betray the principle of religious liberty that is enshrined within the U.S. Constitution. Civic officials in some of the nation’s largest and most powerful cities have openly threatened to oppose Chick-fil-A for the singular reason that its president openly spoke of his Christian convictions concerning marriage.
When Quinn, one of the most powerful officials in New York, announces, “I do not want establishments in my city that hold such discriminatory views,” is she also threatening the Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Jewish synagogues and Islamic mosques?
They, along with evangelical Christian denominations, openly oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage. Cathy’s statements are completely consistent with his own denomination’s statement of faith and official declarations. He was speaking as a Christian and as a Southern Baptist, and he was speaking as a man who does his best to live and speak as he believes.
Christian groups allege threats to religious freedom in anti-Chick-fil-A campaigns
When Emanuel and Moreno tell Chick-fil-A to stay out of Chicago, are they audacious enough to deliver that same message to the churches, mosques and synagogues of their city that also oppose same-sex marriage? What do they do with the fact that their own state does not allow same-sex marriages?
This country is deeply divided over the issue of same-sex marriage, and the controversy over Chick-fil-A is an ominous sign that many of the proponents of same-sex marriage are quite willing to violate religious liberty and to use any and all means to silence and punish any individual or organization that holds the contrary view – a view sustained by the voters in 29 states by constitutional amendments.
Addressing the intersection of same-sex marriage and religious liberty, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley has warned that the government must not be “viewed as unfairly trying to pre-determine the debate or harass one side.”
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That is exactly what some elected officials have just shown themselves ready to do. It will not stop with Chick-fil-A. Who will be next to be told to get out of town?
I know Dan and Truett Cathy and other members of the Cathy family. Truett has spoken on our campus. I have prayed at the opening of multiple Chick-fil-A locations. I serve on the board of directors of Focus on the Family, which has been supported by Chick-fil-A. My son, Christopher, is a part-time service employee of a local Chick-fil-A restaurant in Louisville. I have not communicated with Chick-fil-A about this column.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of R. Albert Mohler Jr.
Mr. Mohler mentions that he serves on the Board of Directors of Focus on the Family. What he doesn't say is that the "research" arm of FoF has been designated a hate group by the SPLC.
Sorry, Albert...y'all's a SOUTHERN BAPTIST and everyone knows SOUTHERN BAPTISTS are nothin' but devil worshipers.
Why all y'all don't even recognize Baby Jesus! Y'all pay and pray to yer preachers and reap the rewards of Satan.
Oh. My. Gawd! That has to be the funniest essay I've read in years! You MUST do stand up!!
What a laugh – a huge majority of the U.S. is religious. Stop wagging the dog.
if only someone would open a chain of vegetable restaurants and claim they hate gays, we might solve the obesity epidemic.
In my opinion everyone's concerned about two opposing ideas regarding marriage, but how many have researched the totally unChristian way that chickens are treated when being raised and processed for fast food? Just research on the Internet and watch some of the videos. And cruelty is only part of it–research the unsanitary conditions. Then consider how Christian people could own a company that allows chickens to be treated this way.
In my opinion, the owners of Chick-fil-A could not be Christians. I cannot imagine Jesus torturing animals in the way these chickens are raised and prepared. They have also supported abuse through advertising:
Christian is as Christian does. To me, animal cruelty is not Christian. It doesn't matter at all to me what they think about marriage–but what they promote in animal cruelty, unsanitary conditions, and unwholesome, health destroying fast food.
So ... whats your solution.
I am not going to stop eating chicken, you will have to force me to stop eating meat at gunpoint.
Given what I know about the majority of americans .your going to have a tough time:(
furthermore. Chickens are not raised OR killed in a cruel way.
Not sure what your talking about.
They are given ample space, food water.
They are killed quickly and humanely.
Id rather be a chicken and get a quick zap death, than a gazelle getting eaten alive by a lion...but thats just me.
Basically the message from Chicago, Boston, and New York.... BELIEVE IN WHAT WE SAY OR GET OUT OF OUR TOWN
How did you get that message from them? Not one of mentioned having to believe a certain way. Instead, they came out in opposition to the exclusion practiced by Dan Cathy.
We need to get the claim that gays are normal revoked. That will take some of that puffiness out of them.
".DISAGREE LOUDLY......TOLERANCE for something so AGAINST biblical values cannot and will not be tolerated."
No, it's not. Some argue that since homosexual behavior is "unnatural" it is contrary to the order of creation. Behind this pronouncement are stereotypical definitions of masculinity and femininity that reflect rigid gender categories of patriarchal society. There is nothing unnatural about any shared love, even between two of the same gender, if that experience calls both partners to a fuller state of being. Contemporary research is uncovering new facts that are producing a rising conviction that homosexuality, far from being a sickness, sin, perversion or unnatural act, is a healthy, natural and affirming form of human sexuality for some people. Findings indicate that homosexuality is a given fact in the nature of a significant portion of people, and that it is unchangeable.
Our prejudice rejects people or things outside our understanding. But the God of creation speaks and declares, "I have looked out on everything I have made and `behold it (is) very good'." . The word (Genesis 1:31) of God in Christ says that we are loved, valued, redeemed, and counted as precious no matter how we might be valued by a prejudiced world.
There are few biblical references to homosexuality. The first, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, is often quoted to prove that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But the real sin of Sodom was the unwillingness of the city's men to observe the laws of hospitality. The intention was to insult the stranger by forcing him to take the female role in the sex act. The biblical narrative approves Lot's offer of his virgin daughters to satisfy the sexual demands of the mob. How many would say, "This is the word of the Lord"? When the Bible is quoted literally, it might be well for the one quoting to read the text in its entirety.
Leviticus, in the Hebrew Scriptures, condemns homosexual behaviour, at least for males. Yet, "abomination", the word Leviticus uses to describe homosexuality, is the same word used to describe a menstruating woman. Paul is the most quoted source in the battle to condemn homosexuality ( 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 and Romans 1: 26-27). But homosexual activity was regarded by Paul as a punishment visited upon idolaters by God because of their unfaithfulness. Homosexuality was not the sin but the punishment.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul gave a list of those who would not inherit the Kingdom of God. That list included the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers. Sexual perverts is a translation of two words; it is possible that the juxtaposition of malakos, the soft, effeminate word, with arsenokoitus, or male prostitute, was meant to refer to the passive and active males in a homosexual liaison.
Thus, it appears that Paul would not approve of homosexual behavior. But was Paul's opinion about homosexuality accurate, or was it limited by the lack of scientific knowledge in his day and infected by prejudice born of ignorance? An examination of some of Paul's other assumptions and conclusions will help answer this question. Who today would share Paul's anti-Semitic attitude, his belief that the authority of the state was not to be challenged, or that all women ought to be veiled? In these attitudes Paul's thinking has been challenged and transcended even by the church! Is Paul's commentary on homosexuality more absolute than some of his other antiquated, culturally conditioned ideas?
Three other references in the New Testament (in Timothy, Jude and 2 Peter) appear to be limited to condemnation of male sex slaves in the first instance, and to showing examples (Sodom and Gomorrah) of God's destruction of unbelievers and heretics (in Jude and 2 Peter respectively).
That is all that Scripture has to say about homosexuality. Even if one is a biblical literalist, these references do not build an ironclad case for condemnation. If one is not a biblical literalist there is no case at all, nothing but prejudice born of ignorance, that attacks people whose only crime is to be born with an unchangeable sexual predisposition toward those of their own sex.
Guess this is the tolerance gay people are always talking about. Tolerance for themselves and no one else.
there is a difference. there is no need to not support gay marriage. its uncalled for to be against it.. there is no logical reason to be against it... so thats why its a tolerance issue. It shouldnt be an issue at all, it should be accepted. thats the problem we face.
CHAD........DISAGREE LOUDLY......TOLERANCE for something so AGAINST biblical values cannot and will not be tolerated...EVER....Luckily the good thing that happened from this is that the sleeping giant of Christianity FINALLY woke up...AND I PRAY this is a showing of what will be happening in November...
Why we want to tolerate a behavior that leads to a 20% infection rate for AIDS/HIV? We certainly dont have any problem opposing IV drug use and smoking.
you do realizing aids is dying off? and male female encounters is the majority of disease on the U.S . Also, you cannot expect everyone to follow the bible. So that is irrelevant to the issue........... there should be no issue.... if they want to get married there is not an REAL reason to stop it. There is no rule that said a man is supposed to be with a woman... i mean.... there is no difference
Your bible is irrelevant when it comes to laws in this country. Or do you think the constitution is only supposed to keep religious other than yours out of government?
Neither straights or gays will "win" anything from their statements or actions. It has remained an issue only because the media chooses for it be. Both "sides" are the pawns of media moguls so they (moguls) may sell their rags or garner ratings on the tube.
chik fil a should no better than to make a statement that harsh on a company level. you are hurting the feelings of gay employees and customers.
It wasn't a company statement and it isn't company policy. It was a personal statement by the company's owner. It wasn't a negative statement. He expressed his personal values and gratiitude.
when you OWN the company, how can u make a personal statement and not expect people to look at the company as a whole?
Say what you want, do what you want....... But – it will all have its consequences one day! For when you die, and have Denied God all of your life for your Own selfish desires, even though deep down inside there was something telling you that it was wrong........ Philipians 2:10,11 That at the Name of JESUS CHRIST, Every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under earth...... And Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, To the Glory of God the Father. And that will be a Most Horrible day for any Unbeliever, for if your name is not written in THE BOOK OF LIFE, then you Will be cast into the Lake of Fire. Do not doubt Gods Word, because it will be the only thing that stands when its all over. Tremble and Cry out to God, while you still have a chance. Blessings to Mr. Cathy, and his Resturante, and Anyone else who will not back down from the Truth in these last days!!!
Deep down I know your nuts.
The sky is falling.
que-rs and f-gs, que-rs and fa-s
Hey Tlemming. Whens the end coming? Today, tomorrow, 1 billion years? You silly people constantly use ridiculous scare tactics to keep the sheep in line.
Thank you Mr. Cathy for being open about your prejudice which allows sane persons not affected by the brain adling drugs served in the religious cool-aid to avoid your restaurant.
If heaven exists but is full of the hypocrites that claim to be going there, then I don't want in. Even eternal fiery torture would be better than spending a few hours with these smug self righteous imbiciles.
Way to prove your case and educational as to your character as well. "if you dont agree with me, youre a bigot". Appears there are plenty of bigots on both sides of this issue.
i pray to GOD that you rethink what you have just said - my friend - unless you turn to the very GOD you just talked down to - HE may very well grant your request - the hypocrites will have to answer to GOD - SO WILL YOU - please keep that in mind and heart
Hello Chick-Fil-A group, I want to say a big "Thank You" for you boldness and determination to stand for "the Truth" since "Truth" is always absolute and not relativistic. I am not an American citizen but I want America (a country which I love and respect) to get back to its root – THE HOLY BIBLE.
Chick-Fil-A group, you have obeyed the Bible scripture in Act 4:29, "But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge." I want to thank God for His much needed Grace at this hour upon your company and thank you for judging well that God's Way is the only Way. You have my wishes, support and God's blessings. Please continue to be the shining star for the Lord Jesus in an otherwise value-decaying culture of a Christian nation like USA.
beware of those who capitalize "truth"
@ Sam stone:-
Jesus is the only "Truth". He is "Truth" incarnate. The Bible clearly says in John 14:6, "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
So Sam Stone, I feel there is no need to beware of Jesus (in a good sense but at the same time being cautious to obey His teachings). But one should rather beware of the devil, (not by being terrified by him but by not giving him a chance / blind-spot) who is the father of all lies, that he might take people aside to do his will in them who do not believe in Jesus and His teachings and those who do not make a sincere effort to understand them. The Bible clearly says in 2 Timothy 2:26, "..and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will."
A nation without God .....well you know the rest. Be prepared all that soon it will be illegal to state your faith, say or write the name of Jesus, and to be caught in prayer. The day is coming, remember all ..we will soon be unable to trade or buy or sell without denial of God.
Scare, frighten, and scare more. Scare tactics are a joke.
THANK YOU - ALL AMERICA NEEDS TO READ AND HEED YOUR PLEA
i don't speak for sam, but i think he was speaking of the inbred f-nuts posting about knowing the "Truth"
Thank you Mr. Cathy for not being afraid of the PC bully police and stand with God! Glory to you LORD...
The Scriptures at no point deal with homosexuality as an authentic sexual orientation, a given condition of being. The remarkably few Scriptural references to "homosexuality" deal rather with homosexual acts, not with homosexual orientation. Those acts are labeled as wrong out of the context of the times in which the writers wrote and perceived those acts to be either nonmasculine, idolatrous, exploitative, or pagan. The kind of relationships between two consenting adults of the same sex demonstrably abounding among us - relationships that are responsible and mutual, affirming and fulfilling - are not dealt with in the Scriptures.
In the Bible, God says that marriage should be between a man and a woman. I guess that's not clear enough??
Reply to Melvin – it was the Pharisees who were concerned merely with 'acts'. Jesus said that sin was more than the act... it included wrong desires. If the act is wrong then the desire to the act is wrong – so says the Bible repeatedly from front to back.
This passage describes the marriage of Adam and Eve, the first people on earth. God creates Adam and, noticing his loneliness, decides to make a helper for him. From Adam's rib, God makes Eve and unites them. The scripture notes that, because of this first union between man and woman, a man should leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. The companionship between Adam and Eve serves as the blueprint for all other marriages.
"This passage describes the marriage of Adam and Eve, the first people on earth. God creates Adam and, noticing his loneliness, decides to make a helper for him. From Adam's rib, God makes Eve and unites them. The scripture notes that, because of this first union between man and woman, a man should leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. The companionship between Adam and Eve serves as the blueprint for all other marriages."
Some argue that since homosexual behavior is "unnatural" it is contrary to the order of creation. Behind this pronouncement are stereotypical definitions of masculinity and femininity that reflect rigid gender categories of patriarchal society. There is nothing unnatural about any shared love, even between two of the same gender, if that experience calls both partners to a fuller state of being. Contemporary research is uncovering new facts that are producing a rising conviction that homosexuality, far from being a sickness, sin, perversion or unnatural act, is a healthy, natural and affirming form of human sexuality for some people. Findings indicate that homosexuality is a given fact in the nature of a significant portion of people, and that it is unchangeable.
I'm guessing you didn't read the end of it
The scripture notes that, because of this first union between man and woman, a MAN should leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife(MEN CANNOT BE WIVES). The companionship between Adam(MAN) and Eve(WOMAN) serves as the blueprint for all other marriages.
I hope that clears it up...
"The scripture notes that, because of this first union between man and woman, a MAN should leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife(MEN CANNOT BE WIVES). The companionship between Adam(MAN) and Eve(WOMAN) serves as the blueprint for all other marriages."
The Scriptures were written approximately 2000 or more years ago when there was no knowledge of constitutional homosexuality. The Scripture writers believed that all people were naturally heterosexual so that they viewed homosexuality activity as unnatural. Women today are pointing out that the inferiority of women expressed in the scriptures was a product of culture and the times in which the Bible was written; it should not be followed today, now that we are beginning to appreciate the natural and God-given equality of men and women.
Similarly, as we know that homosexuality is just as natural and God-given as heterosexuality, we realize that the Biblical injunctions against homosexuality were conditioned by the attitudes and beliefs about this form of sexual expression which were held by people without benefit of centuries of scientific knowledge and understanding.
It is unfair of us to expect or impose a twentieth century mentality and understanding about equality of genders, races and sexual orientations on the Biblical writers. We must be able to distinguish the eternal truths the Bible is meant to convey from the cultural forms and attitudes expressed there.
I have a crazy aunt that loves jesus and hates facts. Can she be a CNN blogger too?
LOL look @ his disclosures... of course he would write this article...
You know...what happens with Mosques that Muslims are trying to build in America?
Aren't these exact same issues used in reverse and objected to vociferously?
I tell you what – the pronouncements of 'banning' were not correct, and they will be corrected, but this episode has NOT highlighted the 'intolerance' of Liberals – however much Rupublican Christians try to convince everyone else, especially a whole generation just growing, and utterly bewildered by it's incarnation as the most non-sensical party around – that this is the case.
What it HAS done is make it clear now that The Republican message and the Christian one are one and the same and neither has anything to do with the principals that define 'Republicanism' or 'Christianity'.
It is the exact same progression as the Nazi's.
And before people tell me that I am calling Republicans Nazi's, I am not.
I am calling them Republicans.
On dangerous ground.
"...religious liberty is at risk..."
Seriously? Religious zealots seem to be spouting their venom all over the place in the U.S. It's finally time that they simply realize that the narrowness of their views has real-world consequences. If someone were to believe, for example, that Elvis is still alive, and expressed that view, say, during a job interview, it's not likely that he would land the job. Does this mean that his liberty is at risk? Does society have an obligation to tolerate stupidity? We don't have to try to convince him that Elvis is dead; we merely exclude him from normal society, and wait for him to realize his error. Same thing with religious fundamentalists.
Mr. Cathy is right on to take a stand for godly biblical morals in a PC and increasingly godless world. Opponents state that they will stage "kiss-in's" and other perverted nonsense at chick-fil-a's today, SO WHAT! They desire to have their voices and opinions heard and seen, but will label anyone who opposes their godless views as h a t e r s and intolerant! Who are the real intolerants? God is good...
Two things, Kiddie MD...
What venom are you refering to in the article? Can you quote me a venomous statement? something resembling or suggesting poison in its effect; spite; malice: the venom of jealousy.
And second... you're comparing fundamental Christains to someone I would guess is mentally deranged. That's more venomous than anything I've read in the article.
"Mr. Cathy is right on to take a stand for godly biblical morals"
The scriptures actually say nothing about homosexuality as a psychosexual orientation. Our understandings of sexual orientation are distinctly modern ones that were not present in the minds of Scripture writers. A few passages of Scripture (seven at the most) object to certain types of same-sex expressions or acts. The particular acts in question, however, are sexual expressions which are exploitative, oppressive, commercialized, or offensive to ancient purity rituals. There is no Scriptural guidance for same-sex relationships which are loving and mutually respecting. Guidelines for these relationships should come from the same general Scriptural norms that apply to heterosexual relationships.
correctlycenter: yet you call their views "godless".....can you be any more pompous?
Cathy has contributed nearly five million dollars to anti-gay Christian groups, including groups that supported a potential law in Uganda that would have imposed the death penalty on gays.
That is a wholly relevant fact. I wonder why Mr. Mohler couldn't be bothered to mention it in his extensive article?
Oh that's right - he's dishonest. My bad.
We need a low like that too. Let's kill the siners, no more sin.
Mario: "let's kill the siners, no more sin."
I have good news for you! You don't need to die for your sins anymore because Jesus aready did that for you!
Pluto: back up your claims with info, please.
Hana: Jesus didn't die, he had a bad weekend.
No Satan had a bad weekend. Jesus triumphed
@bill deacon i d io t.
bill: that is an opinion
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.