Fundamentalism: Not just for Conservatives

Before you write me off and call me a bigot and an ignoramus, I’d like to kindly request “hear me out.”

I am sure you are all aware of the hoopla surrounding Chi-Fil-A because Dan Cathy,President of CFA, expressed his support for traditional marriage. In response to this, many people have declared CFA as anti-gay, and others have redidedicated their support to CFA because of their family values. It has made quite stir in our country, to say the least.

Tonight I read Joel Stein’s Awesome Column,Chick-Fil-Gay,” in TIME Magazine. In the article, Stein poses the question “If I disagree with the president of Chik-Fil-A, can I still enjoy his sandwich?” It’s a curious question.

If you are familiar with Stein’s column, then you know that his column is riddled with satire and often his points are “half-serious.” This particular column piece is less satirical than usual, and his points are, well, still half-serious. In order to answer his question, Stein decides to go to a Chik-Fil-A and reason with patrons. Despite his pilgrimage to the CFA, Stein doesn’t actually make an explicit conclusion based upon his encounters. However each encounter, more or less, serves as a helpful talking point when considering his question. One in particular stood out to me.

And I quote, “I was then approached by Kubi Grombelski,” [says Stein,] “a customer who I could tell was gay because he told me he was gay. ‘I wanted to see how they treated me,’ [Grombelski said,] ‘I have no complaints.’ He too thought it was extreme for me not to engage with an organization just because I disagreed with its president, if its policies weren’t discriminatory.”

Personally, I applaud and implore this kind of discourse. Both sides of the debate (and any debate for that matter) would do well to engage with the opposing view cordially and politely, rather than lambast anyone who dares to say “I disagree.” Nothing fruitful will come from fighting fire with fire.

Yet unfortunately, some people have spoken out quite hatefully and with blatant discrimination toward CFA. For example, some mayors have said they’ll ban CFA from entering their cities. While at least one private citizen has gone out of his way to humiliate a CFA employee. I find these examples, and others, to be extremely ironic.

Typically, we only see this kind of militant behavior and attitude in conservatives. We call them fundamentalists. But the fact of the matter is many same sex marriage supporters are acting and behaving in ways that we think only fundamentalists do.

Granted, fundamentalism is mostly linked to religion and not every same sex supporter is like this; perhaps only a few. But staples of fundamentalism can be seen in these recent events. They include: hate-mongering, vilifying opponents, embodying a “with us or against” mentality, and/or very closed to discussion with the other side.

I am empathetic to the gay community and its supporters because they feel that that they are hated and/or discriminated against. I have no doubt that happens and I am sorry that it does happen. But the evils made against me or you do not give us license to turn around and strike our enemies on their cheek. That’s doubly true for people we meet who just simply disagree with us. And all the more so true if we are trying to end hate. You’re only adding hate on top of hate when you chastise your enemies. What will that achieve? Not much.

Regardless of your position on defining marriage, I hope you can at least see the accuracy of my observation. Both sides have done a poor job at keeping the peace. So let’s pick up the pieces and move forward as a nation without compounding hate.

But how? I suppose Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr are both prime examples that both sides of the conversation should consider to imitate; Jesus too.

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