My family ate at Chick-fil-A this past Saturday night. We didn't do so to show our appreciation, although we do appreciate the Cathy family's willingness to stand up for biblically based beliefs. We didn't eat there to show our support, although we do try to support businesses run by Christian owners. We picked Chick-fil-A that night because I asked my six year-old daughter where she wanted to go and that was her choice. After all, six year-olds are the experts on chicken nuggets.
I am a people watcher so I couldn't help but notice the people around me that night. A toddler couldn't stop smiling at my eleven year-old. My eleven year-old, who loves babies, had all kinds of fun smiling back and making the baby giggle. I saw children playing in the activity area who were nice to the other kids and didn't throw a temper tantrum when their parents said it was time to go. I saw multi-generational families come together and sit down for a meal.
The two men in this picture caught my attention most of all, though. The man on the right is the local fire chief. I'm not sure about the man on the left but he wore a USO hat - which he respectfully removed while eating - and his shirt said "Congressional Medal of Honor Convention." I admit it - I eavesdropped on their conversation and I believe he received the Medal of Honor during his service in Vietnam. As I dipped my waffle fries in Chick-fil-A sauce, I thought, "If these are the kind of people that eat at Chick-fil-A, then no wonder I like coming here."
I thought about going through the facts of this particular issue but I decided not to. People have already decided what they think is the truth; no amount of links to internet articles will change their minds. Besides, the real issue is something different. The issue isn't Mr. Cathy's freedom of speech, discrimination against gays, or even the death of religious freedom. If it was the latter, LGBT organizations and supporters would oppose companies run by practicing Jews and Muslims as well. All three of the Abrahamic religions oppose gay marriage and homosexual relationships.
The issue at hand is the onset of persecution against Christianity within America's borders. We knew it was coming although I doubt most of us are ready. Just because the founding fathers built this nation on biblical principles doesn't free American Christians from the threat of persecution.
In my next book, Everything We Need: God's Path to Know Him Better, I dedicate a whole chapter to persecution. Here is a little hint summarizing what I discovered in God's Word regarding this frightening possibility -
Persecution is on the rise both around the world and within America’s borders. As believers choose to walk a Christ-honoring path through the power of the Holy Spirit, the world will become increasingly hostile to their lifestyle. Satan intends for persecution to squelch the Christian and the gospel message; however, it has a positive effect. Persecution serves to advance the gospel, encourages and comforts others, is a cause for rejoicing, teaches us to trust in God and the power of prayer, and brings us to spiritual maturity.
"Resist him [Satan], standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings" (1 Peter 5:9).
A good verse to ponder as I return to dip some more waffle fries at Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.