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Jesus, Love, and Chick-fil-A: JP Moreland Responds to Matthew Paul Turner

Think Christianly: Jesus, Love, and Chick-fil-A: JP Moreland Responds to Matthew Paul Turner

Monday, August 6, 2012

Jesus, Love, and Chick-fil-A: JP Moreland Responds to Matthew Paul Turner

So are Christians unloving if they supported Chick-fil-A day or stood up for free-speech and religious liberty? Did Christians fail miserably as Christ's ambassadors earlier this week? Mathew Paul Turner seems to think so. But his well-intentioned post is misguided. Dr. J.P. Moreland provides clear thinking on these issues and responds to Turner's post, point by point:

Point #1:

Yesterday’s campaign, while I don’t think it should be considered or called “hate,” neither can it be called love. Christians all over America ignored the second greatest commandment: to love our neighbors. Call yesterday what you want, freedom of speech, a rally behind “family values,” a sincere fascination with CFA’s brand of fried poultry…but it cannot be called love. It was not love.


Here Matthew confuses standing against an issue with loving the people who engage in the issue.  We should stand against abortion, but still love people who get them.  We should stand against opponents of free speech and advocates of gay marriage, but also love individual homosexuals.  So he confuses a macro-issue (the issue of marriage and free speech) with a micro-issue.   Moreover, he also seems to think that love cannot be tough.  Sometimes the best thing you can do to love someone is to confront strongly their harmful, immoral behavior. So even in with regard to the micro-issue (involving a specific person) it is the right thing, given an adequate relational context, to say that their homosexual behavior is deeply immoral, their desire for marriage to be re-defined is contrary to Scripture and the natural law, and it will harm society significantly, and their desire to have political censorship brought against CFA is egregious.


People felt hate and we ignored that. At the end of the day, regardless of whether or not your Christian understanding of scripture harbors hate or not, a large group of people felt hated. Again, we can debate this point all day long, but that does not change the fact that people felt hatred because of what happened yesterday. Whether or not hate actually existed is not the point, people felt hated. And rather than acknowledging those feelings or trying to understand or engage them in any way, Christians everywhere marched off to their local CFA like it was a cross to bear, a necessity, a battle cry of some sort, the waffle fry’s last stand.


Regarding his point about people feeling hate, this is the other side's issue, not ours, and to be quite honest, they may need to search more deeply within themselves if they, in fact, felt hated.  Very few went to CFA with hate; they were angry about the other side's hate, but they were not hateful.  Matthew confused hate with the hard virtues of confrontation of moral evil and standing for what is right, and he confuses real hate with the feeling of hate.  The feeling of hate was not the protester's fault; it was a projection of the other side onto the protesters and probably reveals a need to be more discerning about those who disagree with you and not to react emotionally.  Such an emotional reaction is often narcissistic (I and my feelings of acceptance are all that matter; the issue, and people’s right to disagree with me are not the issue).

Point #3:

By rallying behind CFA, Christians put an issue above people. And it’s impossible to follow Jesus when issues trump people. Jesus never said “love God, love causes.” That is not the message that gets preached in churches all over America on Sunday mornings. I’ve heard a hundred different explanations from patrons of yesterday’s rally and nearly every one of them gives precedence to “the cause”. We can’t embrace love, mercy, hope, and peace when our causes (or a place of business) trumps people.


Regarding the point of putting an issue above people, this is hopelessly misguided.  How can you even know, love and care for people without truth and knowing “issues (alleged truths) about people and how they think?  One of the most loving things one can do to someone is to stand up against their harmful behavior.
Also, how about loving the CFA people and all those on their side?  Don't they need love, mercy and support?  Yes they do, and people chose to express that love and respect
Wednesday.  That was a very Christian thing to do.

You can read points 4 & 5 by visiting J.P. Moreland's excellent site here.

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