Content note for homophobia, suicide, death penalty, Islamophobia
It’s been a few weeks (roughly eight and a half years in internet time) since Jonathan Merritt posted a long Twitter diatribe about how hypocritical liberals are for not eating at Chick-Fil-A ( threads are here and here). To summarize, liberals who don’t eat at Chick-Fil-A are apparently massive hypocrites unless they not only boycott *all* Muslim businesses (regardless of that business’s actual stance or donations, just based on the sweeping assumption that Muslim = anti-gay) *and* somehow manage to boycott gas because Saudi Arabia is anti-gay.
And, despite everything that’s happened in the mean time (for example, our so-called President reneging on the Iran deal and courting open war because he hasn’t shit on President Obama’s legacy enough yet), I’m still pissed off about it.
At this point, one important reason I don’t eat at Chick-Fil-A is that the very mention of Chick-Fil-A makes me think about self-righteous conservatives lecturing me about how I should eat there, because if I don’t I’m a vicious bully who’s trying to single-handedly bankrupt the poor, innocent owners who are just trying to be good Christians.
Unfortunately for those conservatives, I reached my quota of bullying by the eighth grade, and I’ve also reached the point where I want to tell them exactly what they can go do with that chicken sandwich. At this point, it’s nice that Chick-Fil-A has stopped or reduced donations to some of the most virulent anti-gay groups, but nothing short of a public apology, a giant donation to the Trevor Project or the Trans Lifeline, or sponsorship of a freaking Pride parade, is going to make me want to eat there again. There are plenty of other fast-food places whose fries don’t carry the aftertaste of donations to organizations that think I’m a child molester because I’m bi.
Honestly, I think what really pisses me off about Jonathan Merritt’s crappy analogies is both the blatant Islamophobia and the insistence that LGBT people be grateful to Christians for not executing us. It’s telling that Merritt assumes that a random guy with a falafel cart must be as anti- gay as Focus on the Family, and probably more so. Never mind that affirming Muslims exist, or that he gets cranky when Christians are painted with a broad brush. In the same vein, he wants liberals to boycott Saudi Arabia (as impractical as that is) but doesn’t appear to care if they boycott products from Uganda. I’m sure that has nothing to do with the fact that Uganda is predominantly Christian, or that their anti-gay laws were inspired by American preachers.
Look, you don’t get a medal for not executing gay people, especially when Christians can call for *exactly that* without being thrown out of their churches or losing their livelihoods. Seriously, Google “pastor calls for executing gays” and you’ll find hordes of these guys. They might spark a protest or two, but their congregations don’t get up and walk out en masse when they say gay people should be stoned. Scott Lively literally blames gay people for the Holocaust. Has he been shunned? No, he’s running for governor of Massachusetts. The Liar Tony Perkins can accuse gay people of molesting and recruiting children all day long, and the Family Research Council continues to rake in millions of dollars in donations.
For that matter, a gay person executed in Saudi Arabia isn’t any deader than a gay teenager who freezes to death on a park bench because his family kicked him out. Or the one who slits their wrists after hearing a sermon about how people like them are disgusting to God and that natural disasters are punishment for their sins. Yes, obviously, gay people in the US generally have it much better than those in Saudi Arabia, but let’s not pretend that driving someone to suicide is fine and dandy, as long as you’re not tying the hangman’s knot yourself.
So, no, I’m not grateful that the majority of anti-gay churches in the US (though, let me restate, *not all*) have cleared the ridiculously low bar of not pushing for LGB people to be executed. No more than you would tell a kid whose lunch money was stolen to go back and thank the bully for not beating them too.
And, speaking of lunch money, I’m sorry that where I spend mine bothers some conservative Christians. I’m particularly sorry that it bothers them much more than the fact that their theology gets LGBT kids killed.