Whether or not Dan Cathy is an idiot, he has a Constitutional right to be one.
*NOTE* This post does NOT reflect my own or this site’s views in any way. I’m not taking a side and simply making a point in order to make you, the educated reader, think. That is all. You’ve been warned 🙂
Karma: The ever-popular notion in our culture that the ‘universe is watching’ a la Big Brother and will reward or punish you based on your actions. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Outside of Hollywood, however, the Theory of Karma has bigger implications on life than whether or not the ex who cheated on you ends up with someone ugly or not. Karma, in fact, is a highly important and fundamental doctrine in Buddhism. Belief in this doctrine would cause you to look at life through a different lens than you otherwise normally would. For example, why are some people gifted intellectually from birth while others are born mentally incapacitated? Why are some born into rich families while others starve? According to Buddhist religion, such inequalities are not merely coincidence, but a product of Karma, the cause-and-effect moral law of the universe. In essence, we create our own Heaven, we create our own Hell and we are the architects of our own fate. To some, this may seem silly, absurd or downright stupid. To others, it is a fundamental aspect of what they believe and how they live their life. Neither is “right” and neither is “wrong”, it’s just personal preference and opinion.
In late July, Dan Cathy, current President of Chick-Fil-A, a restaurant widely known for their chicken sandwiches, clever advertising campaigns and Christian roots and values, made national headlines that have caused quite a stir when he stated on a radio show that:
“we’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage. And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude that thinks we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about.”
After these comments, the national spotlight suddenly shifted into focus on Chick-Fil-A, spawning incredible outrage at what has been deemed bigotry and homophobia. However, maybe a closer look should be taken.
Dan Cathy is, after all, a Christian. Christianity’s beliefs and values are based on the premise of love and compassion. Upon reading his comments, you’ll find he hasn’t violated those basic foundations here. In truth, it actually appears Dan Cathy is concerned, as he is offering prayers for people he believes to be wrong and acting contrary to what his fundamental beliefs that affect his way of life preach. His prayers are his call for mercy from the God that he has chosen to believe in. Were he Buddhist, he would presumably offer a sacrifice to prevent the ill-will of what he perceives to be inevitable, looming Karma. To concede, as far as equality goes, Dan Cathy has a severely messed up thought process. He has said hateful things in the past that could put him in jail if someone pressed charges for a hate crime. However, if you’re going to get upset at something this guy said, this wasn’t the time to do it. All Dan Cathy did was indirectly say he personally did not support gay marriage and, essentially, was afraid of what said support of gay marriage would result in, solely based on his religion. He didn’t go out of his way to hold a press conference to make an announcement, he was asked a question, and answered it honestly. Last time I checked, not only was that legal, but his right to do so was backed up by two of the biggest foundations our country is built on: Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion.
Consider this: What if Dan Cathy were a Buddhist and he attacked a Veteran’s Hospital because they were aiding wounded soldiers who were injured while attacking the “enemy”? In Buddhism, the First Precept (think Ten Commandments in Christianity) is to undertake the training to avoid taking the life of beings because all beings have a right to their lives. However, what if Dan Cathy’s statement had instead looked like this:
“we’re inviting the judgment of the universe on our nation when we shake our fist at it and say ‘we know better than you as to what constitutes who lives and dies.’ These men made an active choice to enlist in armed forces and led an attack to kill, and now we are supporting and aiding them? I pray that Karma not strike our generation, one that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude that thinks we have the audacity to redefine when someone can live and die”
Is that any better? Of course not. Is it right or wrong? Who’s to say? Is it a twisted way to look at a controversial issue, spun in the favor of how he wants to view it? Absolutely. But so are his comments about gay marriage. However, does Dan Cathy have a constitutional right to believe in and speak freely about whatever he wants? Undeniably, one hundred percent yes.
The only difference is that we live in a culture that fears Christianity and homosexuality, not Buddhism and war. But just because we fear, don’t understand, or disagree with something doesn’t give us the right to deny someone else their right to feel the opposite and express those feelings.
So do yourself a favor: Leave Dan Cathy alone to this thoughts and, if you like chicken, go grab a sandwich at Chick-Fil-A. If you do though, heed my warnings: your future spouse will not be ugly, you are not a bigot, and it certainly won’t make you homophobic. It simply means you’re hungry.