Has Chick-fil-A Become Chicken?

chick fil a

Last Monday, conservatives almost forgot about impeachment when Chick-fil-A announced it was ending donations to Fellowship of Christian Athletes, The Salvation Army, and Paul Anderson Youth Homes. Many see this as the family-owned restaurant chain founded on Christian values kowtowing to the LGBTQ community. Let’s slice through this controversy and get to what has really happened here.

Business reporters quickly jumped on Chick-fil-A’s new policies for donations by its non-profit foundation this past week. Every year, the company’s foundation donates millions of dollars to worthy charities, mostly those that support the needy and disadvantaged. The new donation criteria for 2020 excludes certain organizations that oppose the LGBTQ/gay marriage/transgender rights agenda.

Chick-fil-A founder, Truett Cathy, declared the new corporation’s purpose 50 years ago: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.” Cathy, a faithful Southern Baptist, was never shy about his belief that homosexuality, gay marriage, and transgender lifestyles were sinful. Since its inception, the company has been constantly derided by the LGBTQ community, often involving large demonstrations and boycotts.

Upon Truett Cathy’s death in 2014, his son, Dan, took the reins of the corporation as CEO. Since then, he has been virtually silent on LGBTQ positions, while continuing to donate to prominent charities that are outspoken against those positions. Even before his father death, Dan Cathy declared he would stop engaging in the national debate over marriage equality. He stated that even though his views hadn’t changed, he realized talking about them publicly was bad for business. One can only conclude that his removal of faith-based groups that support heterosexual relationships and traditional marriage from his foundation’s donation list was considered good for business.

This past week, evangelist Franklin Graham called Dan Cathy to determine his objectives in this turn-around. Graham reported that Mr. Cathy “was very clear” in saying that the company “did not bow down to anyone’s demands, including the LGBTQ community.” Cathy said his company will continue to support whomever they want to support and that they haven’t changed who they are or what they believe. Mr. Graham went on to argue that the LGBTQ community will never be satisfied with Chick-fil-A because of the founder’s strong stand for biblical traditional values and his desire to honor God.

Franklin Graham is right about the LGBTQ radicals not being satisfied. Over the last few days, social media has been filled with comments like, “A public apology is needed here, not just saying they stopped,” and “When Chick-fil-A apologizes directly to the LGBTQ community and begins to donate to pro-LGBTQ causes, then I will eat there. Not one second before.” The company can expect Dan Cathy’s initial peace gesture to the gay crowd to be incentive for them to press for more.

So, where does all this leave us who crave that delicious chicken sandwich meal, enjoy the restaurant’s wholesome Christian atmosphere, and love the positive, friendly service? As for me, I plan to continue to patronize Chick-fil-A. If I abandon a Christian family business that is stumbling over some of its biblical principles and choose to patronize its competitor with no known connection to my faith, what have I gained? However, I plan to share my concerns with the company, both locally and at corporate level, and will watch closely for any signs of its further departure from its Christian roots. Finally, I will include Chick-fil-A and Dan Cathy in my prayers from time to time, particularly before enjoying my grilled chicken sandwich.

 

 

Impeachment Hearing Reality

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I have avoided commenting on the impeachment because it has been so media saturated. However, after watching much of the first day of the televised hearing, I must make a few observations. Never in my life have I witnessed such a brazen attempt to invalidate the majority will of the people. True patriotic Americans must stand against this elitist liberal majority in Congress who are denying Democracy.

In 2016, Americans elected one of the most unusual candidates for president in our nation’s history. President Donald J. Trump won 57% to 43%. His victory so shocked most Democrats, many were talking impeachment before he even assumed office. Since his election in 2016, liberals have been obsessed with impeaching this duly elected president any way they can. When the two-year, over $25,000,000 Mueller investigation flopped, the desperate Dems had to come up with something else quickly to ensure he didn’t win a second term. The best they could do was to make something huge out of almost nothing in the president’s dealings with the president of Ukraine.

The problem Democrats and a scant few Republicans have with President Trump boils down to his unorthodox businessman approach to running this country. He is not playing by the norms of Washington and is a threat to the establishment, often called the “deep state.” America did something in 2016 that had never been done before. The majority got so fed up with Washington’s incompetence and lack of accountability, they opted for an outsider businessman who would bring fresh ideas to governing and would not be intimidated by the politically ensconced establishment.

That out-of-the-political-mainstream president America elected has produced the best economy in decades, strengthened the military, re-established our respect abroad, reassured domestic freedoms, streamlined governing processes, and refocused the nation’s priorities toward Christianity. He has without question kept his campaign promise to “make America great again.” Granted, these national advancements have come with some consternation involving many people’s concept of how the nation’s leader should behave. This is evident in the current impeachment debacle.

President Trump came to the White House as a wealthy business man, not a seasoned politician. Regarding the Ukraine issue, he stretched the political norm by engaging in personal, back-channel negotiations with another head of state in what might seem more like a business deal than a diplomatic action. Our president has acted in both domestic and international exchanges more out of business pragmatism than out of political expediency. This alternative diplomacy, celebrated by most conservatives, is being flagged by the liberals as bribery and extortion–a giant leap from reality. I suppose desperate times call for desperate measures from today’s Democrats.

The president had good reasons to pursue investigation of Ukraine’s past corrupt business dealings that have hurt the United States. The fact that his potential opponent, Vice President Biden as well as his son, were likely involved in some related shady activities added to his incentive to investigate. However, there is no law to prevent him from doing so. If anything was broken here, it was only precedent, not law. The substantive issue is whether the president withheld foreign aid approved by Congress for Ukraine in exchange for an investigation by that country–a so-called “quid pro quo.” Although, he obliquely implied to Ukraine’s president Zelensky that the aid would follow the commitment to an investigation involving the Bidens, the aid was delivered without such a commitment. The businessman Trump apparently used the aid temporarily as an incentive for Zelensky to investigate, but wisely never intended to make it a quid pro quo.

The Democrats’ problem is two-fold. First, they can’t get past the election loss that set back their liberal socialist agenda. Secondly, they just can’t stomach the undiplomatic maneuvering and the unconventional methods being used successfully by the president. Even though it is ultimately in the best interests of America, his methodology counters much of the tradition the establishment has learned to operate within. These changes in technique reduce the power of his opponents. How dare an outsider sit in the oval office and operate from a whole new paradigm! What they don’t seem to grasp is that the same majority that elected this “renegade” likes what he is doing and will vote for him again. The Democrats’ determination to take Trump down is only feeding the Republicans’ determination to give him a second term.

I predict the Democratic majority House will impeach President Trump regardless of how irrational that is. Then, the Senate impeachment trial will exonerate him leaving him in office for the rest of this term. The majority of Americans will be so disgusted with the Democrats, they will hand a landslide victory to the president next year. The Democrats’ unprecedented hatred for our president will be their demise.

The last three years of American politics have been a laughing stock for the entire world to see. Our political process resembles that of a third-world country. We should all be embarrassed. I sure am.

 

Worship Wars

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America’s church environment and culture have changed radically in the last three decades. Some are distraught while others are elated about the changes. Probably the most controversial of church refashioning is the evolution of worship substance and style. Some have dubbed the discord “worship wars.” Although more contemporary praise and worship have become accepted in many churches, others are holding a tight grip on the traditional hymns.  Let’s look at what is really at stake here.

I’m a septuagenarian. No, that is not a church denomination. It means I have been blessed to have matured to seventy-something years of age. In my youth and early adult years, worship in church by singing was exclusively in four part harmony from a hymn book. Most of the hymns were written by centuries-old lyricists, and set to old secular melodies. Usually, the song leader would announce that we would be singing the first, second, and last verses from the hymnals stowed in the seat backs. Often, there would be a choir on the platform consisting of people who could actually sing harmony. Most Sundays, the choir or soloist would sing a “special” from the hymnal or other source.

Contrast that with today’s worship services typically consisting of four to six singers on the platform usually backed up by musicians on guitars, electric keyboards, and drums. This “praise team” leads the congregation in praise and worship songs with lyrics on a big screen rather than in a hymn book. The messages of the songs are more simple than in the past. The music is at a higher volume and at a more modern beat and style than that of days gone by.

Churches across America are presently experiencing a wide range of transition from traditional to contemporary worship. Some are hanging on in defiant deference to the old worship styles and hymnals. Others have completely welcomed the popular praise team concept. Yet many are trying to keep one foot in traditional music and one foot in contemporary by mixing hymns and praise songs sung with both a choir and a praise team. One thing is common with almost all churches moving through this generational passage: some level of internal worship wars.

Those who defend traditional worship often bemoan the loudness and what they consider a “rock and roll” style. Some disfavor the “performance-like” presentation with showy lighting and big screens. Others decry the lyrics as being too generic and simple and not doctrinally edifying. My comfort level with contemporary worship is sometimes challenged by the first two concerns. I believe churches can get a little over-the-top with amplification and showmanship that may be too man-centered and may not honor and glorify God. However, I have to challenge the idea that the lyrics and style of the old hymns were better suited for worship.

Yes, my old-school worship foundation made it somewhat difficult for me to initially warm up to singing repeated lines of lyrics that sometimes don’t even rhyme. But the more I compared the traditional with the contemporary, the more God helped me realize that the contemporary lyrics were much closer to how God instructed us to worship. For the most part, hymns are sung “about” the Lord and are mostly instructive. Contemporary songs are primarily sung “to” the Lord and are expressing our love and devotion to Him. Church congregations have many other outlets for doctrine and instruction in sermons and Bible studies. Worship is a connection to God and a musical conversation with Him. With a few exceptions, the songs in the Psalms are praises and odes to God. The Psalms were sung with various musical instruments. Note Psalm 92:

It is good to praise the Lord and make music to Your name, O Most High, to proclaim Your love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp. For You make me glad by Your deeds, O Lord; I sing for joy at the works of Your hands. How great are Your works, O Lord, how profound Your thoughts!

One final thought. I have lived through the entire worship evolution from hymns and choirs to praise and worship with praise teams. I must say I sometimes have a nostalgic yearning for the former type of worship. However, when I observe the younger generations enthusiastically worshiping with higher energy, higher volume, and higher levels of connectivity with their Creator, I am happy to support them and join them in their preferred and biblical style.

 

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