by: Aaron P. Taylor
…Okay, so I didn’t want to write a note about this. In fact, my goal was just to stay out of it altogether. But then I started reading more and more stupid comments from people about this issue, and felt the need to make my opinion on the subject heard.
There’s been a recent bru-ha-ha about comments the President of Chick-fil-a made during an interview with the Biblical Recorder in North Carolina (later reprinted by the Baptist Press). Prior to reading the actual comments made, the only thing I heard that could be gathered from it was that Dan Cathy and the Chick-fil-a company were against gay marriage. Frankly, I wasn’t surprised at this – Chick-fil-a’s been a company running on Christian values since it opened. What, you think their “closed on Sunday’s” policy is just to give the chicken an extra day to marinate?
What I couldn’t understand was why someone would come out and blatantly state this, knowing full well that gay people may actually go to their restaurants. So, rather than listen to what everyone else was saying, I decided to find the actual article that started this whole thing.
And, as it turns out, my suspicions were correct: that’s NOT exactly what was said.
For those of you who don’t care to hear second-hand info, here’s a snippet from the article as it was written (click here to read the entire article):
Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position.
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.
“We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized.
“We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
Let’s get a few things out the way here: first of all, nowhere in the ENTIRE ARTICLE do the words “gay,” “lesbian,” “transgender,” or “bisexual” appear. So, anyone who’s been saying that Mr. Cathy stated he was against gay marriage has been misquoting him.
Mr. Cathy’s statement was made when he was being interviewed by the Biblical Recorder, which one can assume is a CHRISTIAN organization. The website that posted the article, the Baptist Press, is also a CHRISTIAN organization who’s motto is “News With a Christian Perspective.” The Christian view of gay marriage is that it’s wrong. Therefore, companies built by Christians are going to have the same viewpoint.
Furthermore, nowhere in his answer did he say he hated or had any animosity towards the gay community. In fact, he didn’t even go into discussion about his company’s position on marriage – one that’s been well-known for YEARS – until he was asked about it. And even then, it wasn’t as if whatever answer he gave was going to be that shocking. Can all of you who are now suddenly against Chick-fil-a seriously tell me, based upon how they’ve operated all these years, that you’re really, REALLY all that shocked that Chick-fil-a would support what they consider to be the biblical definition of a “family unit?”
They assume Mr. Cathy’s comment is just about their community. It’s not. Look at the way it’s worded: “traditional family.” Their stance is not about NOT supporting gay marriage (though I’m sure it’s not exactly something they’re looking to throw money at to support either). It’s about supporting the things and values they feel make for the healthiest family environment.
Their statement, if delved into more deeply, means they’re also against the following:
*Kids growing up in single-parented households
*Parents wanting to get divorced
*Families that constantly abuse themselves, each other, or others
*Families where the parents live together but aren’t married to each other
It would be against the mission statement of the company – not to mention their image – if they decided to say “screw it” and show support for any and everything that goes against the nature of what their actual values are. If they are claiming to be a company based upon Christian values, supporting certain things – like the list above, as well as gay marriage – would be more harmful to them in the long run.
This is not to say these types of elements are not allowed to enter their restaurants. However, if their vision of what a “healthy family unit” is consists of households with a mom, a dad, a few kids and some grandparents, they have the right to support that vision. They’re not discriminating against other types of families who come into their restaurant, but at the same time they shouldn’t have to feel the need to bend and/or change their views of what they feel a healthy family unit is just to make one group of people happy. In fact, if they DID do that now, it would be worse.
Before I finish this article up, I feel I should add something: I know someone is going to read this and want to comment with the response: “But Aaron, you’re Black! You should empathize with how gays would feel about this issue! How would you feel if they said they only support the idea of White marriages?”
First off, please stop comparing the gay struggle to the civil rights struggle. It’s not the same thing: Blacks were taken from their homeland, sold into slavery, separated from their loved ones, whipped, demoralized, pit against each other, and had to fight to get even an ounce of freedom and recognition as citizens. Tommy having to “struggle” about whether to tell his friends he likes boys is NOT a comparable situation.
More importantly: a company’s opinion about what they view a true marriage to be doesn’t concern me. What concerns me is how they treat me when I go into their establishment. Reality check: many, MANY businesses in this country were started and/or still ran by people who have views on things that are against my viewpoint. If I stopped supporting each one who had an “opinion” different from mine, I’d be walking around butt naked with no electronic devices or apartment to speak of.
Bottom line: if you liked Chick-fil-a before, don’t let Mr. Cathy’s sudden “shocking” statement about his company’s views on marriage stop you from eating there. You were eating there the day before you heard about him making the statement, but the company’s opinion has been public knowledge for YEARS. Suck it up, get your eat on, and make sure you order their lemonade when you do.
Aaron P. Taylor is a graduate of Hampton University. He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, where he works as a film editor, creative consultant and writer. You can read more of his articles at www.1001ThingsToBeThankfulFor.com
Examining the Drastic Changes in Public Opinion—The 2000s
When Rosie O’Donnell came out in 2002 and became a spokesman for gay rights, public opinion shifted again. More people felt liberated by the caliber of celebrities coming out and the people started coming out of closets everywhere. The philosophical discussion around homosexuality also shifted. Do gay people have rights? Should they be allowed to marry? Should they be allowed to adopt children? Is homosexuality the civil rights issue of the new millennium? Interestingly, can you see how such questions subtly imply the acceptability of homosexuality generally, but the specifics within the “lifestyle” are up for debate?
We can’t forget JL King’s book, On the Downlow in 2004. “Down low” was no longer associated with the R. Kelly 1996 hit song talking about a secret (heterosexual) affair, but became a new term used to describe the anomaly of “straight” Black men who secretly had sex with other men, but didn’t classify themselves as gay. Society considered him as an authority because he was a Black man living the secret life he wrote about. As a consequence, the level of suspicion rose among different sects of the Black community against Black men.
Perhaps as a response the heightened suspicions, during this time period phrases like “pause” and “no homo” became very popular. “No homo” was used to preface a statement that may sound or be interpreted as homosexual, but is not. “No homo” is like a disclaimer people used so they would not be mis-taken as homosexual based on their comment. Soon after “no homo” came on the scene, “pause” was erected…no homo. LOL! If a man said something to another man that sounded homosexual in nature, the man hearing the message would have to say, “pause” to encourage the speaking man to think about what he said and say it another way to remove the homosexual suggestion. They not only showed a concerted effort of people attempting to distance themselves from being associated with homosexual before making a statement, it also indicated how homosexuality colored and influenced the mentalities of the masses. Language and definitions changed. Symbols changed. The general sense of humor changed. Popular culture changed. Advertisements changed. Everything, in a real sense, has been affected by homosexuality.
In 2006, I distinctly remember controversy surrounding the book, King and King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland. An elementary school teacher read the book to her class in Lexington, MA when talking about weddings. There was an uproar around the fact that parents were not notified and that children were being influenced to accept homosexuality as normal. But parents would not be able to stop the other forms of media as it injected ideas of homosexuality to an impressionable generation of children.
From the middle of the first decade in the 21st century, to now, so much has happened. I don’t know everything, but here is a short list of things that I remember. Feel free to comment and add what you remember and I have left out.
In 2004 Governor (New Jersey) James McGreevey resigns over gay affair.
In 2006, pastor and spokesman against homosexuality, Ted Haggard, is involved in a mega-scandal where he is accused of sexual relationships with a male prostitute.
In 2007, at the MTV Video Music Awards, Brittney Spears and Madonna. Also in 2007, John Amaechi made history as being the first (former) NBA player to be an admitted homosexual.
In 2008, Wanda Sykes came out of the closet (rather loudly) at a rally in Las Vagas protesting Proposition 8. Katy Perry, A preacher’s kid, became an overnight sensation with her hit “I Kissed A Girl.” Clay Aiken came out later in the year.
In 2010, there was a lot of talk about My Princess Boy—a book inspired by real events about a 4-year-old Black boy who enjoys dressing up like a princess (to see more books similar to this, click here)
In 2012, GLADD demands that CNN fire Roland Martin over controversial tweet that “encouraged violence against gay men.”
In May, President Barak Obama made headlines when he openly affirmed his support for same sex marriages and more recently Josh Dixon trying to make gay history by becoming the first out male gymnast on the US men’s Olympic gymnastic team, and the coming out of Anderson Cooper and Frank Ocean.
Next post: Formula to Normalize Homoxexuality
Examining the Drastic Changes in Public Opinion—The 1990s
In the early 1990s, I remember RuPaul getting a lot of attention in entertainment news. While I had seen Jamie Foxx portray “Wanda” on In Living Color, and Martin portray “Sheneneh” on The Martin Lawrence Show, and even heard about Flip Wilson’s portrayal of “Geraldine,” I never knew of any Black men so serious about dressing up like a woman they would make a career out of it. RuPaul’s appearance in the 1990s introduced the concept of a national figure (in my day) who didn’t care about what other people thought about his choices. While his presence was liberating to some, for the most part, homosexuality was still seen as unacceptable.
Later, during my high school years, I remember philosophies starting to change. I don’t know if I can put my finger on why, but it seemed like people were becoming more open-minded. In the black community, when rumors surfaces that certain celebrities were gay, I remember people saying they didn’t care what others did in the privacy of their bedrooms, as long as they didn’t approach them… For the first time, I also remember there being an intellectual debate around homosexuality. Where as in the past, the Bible was enough evidence to support the immorality of homosexuality, it became insufficient in philosophical debates that argued that homosexuality was natural, and that animals exhibited homosexual behavior. The argument that homosexuality was nature and not nurture was prevalent and talks of a “gay gene” promoted the idea that people are born gay. It was also during this time that homosexuality became a “lifestyle.” Historical Black figures like James Baldwin, Bayard Rustin, and Angela Davis were presented as evidence that homosexuality had been in the Black community for a long time.
I think Ellen Degeneres was one of the first famous people to come out of the closet. And when she did, she made waves. As I recall, the waves were not all waves of disapproval. Yes, her show was canceled later (some may say because of her falling ratings that resulted in her sexuality), but her coming out had a ripple effect that did not only influence other celebrities to come out of their own closets, it also shifted public opinion as a whole. We will see more of this as we make our way into the new millennium.
What do you remember about the public opinion of homosexuality from the 90s?
Next post: Examining the Drastic Changes in Public Opinion—The 2000s
You see evidence of it everywhere. You can’t miss it- even if you try. You may like it, hate it, dismiss it, or even applaud it; but one thing you can’t do is ignore it. The campaign to normalize homosexuality is real.
Let me be clear: I do not aim to be offensive. I use the word normalize to convey the dramatic shift in public opinion about the matter in just a few decades. My intentions for writing and sharing these ideas are four: 1) to examine the drastic change in public opinion, 2) to explore the potential motivation of the unseen parties behind (what I’ll call) the gay agenda, 3) to publish One Black Man, Inc. survey results on homosexuality and 4) to introduce (insert) my personal thoughts into the discussion about homosexuality and Black manhood.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with the notion of same-gender sexual relationships, we can all agree that there are more people today who identify themselves as homosexual than 20 years ago. We can also agree that media depictions of homosexual relationships have increased exponentially and that upcoming generations are more tolerant of “alternative lifestyles.” Upon noticing these observations, I wondered what other people thought of the matter. I decided to conduct some research of my own. Before we get into the results, however, I want to take a quick look at the morphing of the views of homosexuality in my short lifetime.
Examining the Drastic Changes in Public Opinion—The 1980s
When I was growing up in the 80s, homosexuality was taboo. People accused of being gay were ridiculed with names like sissy, faggot, and queer. There was a degree of shame and embarrassment associated with homosexuality, and nobody wanted to be linked with such behaviors or labels. AIDS was also connected with homosexuality on a large scale. Looking back at Oprah’s 1987 coverage of AIDS in Williamson, West Virginia, one can not only see how ignorant the American public was concerning the disease, but how vehemently opposed to the homosexual lifestyle most Americans were at the time.
Next post: The 1990s