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07/20/2012

Chick-fil-A's new booster: Man who says gays are 'particularly evil lie of Satan'

by Jeremy Hooper

First it was Bryan Fischer, who used words like "sulfurous fires of hell" (and even worse) to defend the fast food franchise. Now we get Glenn Stanton, the Focus on the Family senior official who is known for saying this….

"…homosexuality does more than fail. It's a particularly evil lie of Satan because he knows that it overthrows the very image of the Trinitarian God in creation, revealed in the union of male and female.

This is why this issue has become such a flashpoint. It will become even more contentious because nothing else challenges this image of the Triune God so profoundly and thoroughly as homosexuality. It's not what we were made for.
"
-Focus on the Family's Glenn Stanton, quips from the "marriage and relationship" section of FOTF's website.

…stepping in to support the company:

After watching the uproar, Focus on the Family's Glenn T. Stanton, who often debates the issue of gay marriage and takes the traditional side, told Baptist Press, "I'm gonna have to stop by there for spicy chicken sandwiches and a milkshake more often."

"We hear almost monthly of new major companies announcing their support for the gay community, regardless of what most of their customers want," Stanton said. "And here we have the CEO of a clearly on-the-record traditional values company simply saying he supports the traditional family and how tampering with it is contrary to God's will. And the split-second reaction from these activists is to slander him and his company in the press and blogosphere. It just takes one company taking an alternative position to make the gay activists and liberal press hit the ceiling. But that's where we are today."

Stanton said the message by some opponents of Chick-fil-A apparently is, "Speak up for the natural, traditional family and we will come after you."

"If you don't believe this," Stanton said, "just watch how Chick-fil-A will be treated in the coming months. They [Chick-fil-A's critics] are the new close-minded fundamentalists."

Chick-fil-A, in nat'l media storm, swims against cultural tide [BP News]

Here's the thing: I get defiance. I do defiance. I'm a scrappy little booger who will stare down most any fight, even when practicality might tell me reconsider. Which is to say, I totally get why people like Fischer and Stanton want to go to the press and send a tough guy message in support of their treasured pickled-bun purveyor.

But in this case, Chick-fil-A's burden is to back away from animus. All involved will deny that, both in terms of the political supporter like Fischer or Stanton, as well in the company press releases, which will surely remain measured (if not deceptive). But I guarantee you that in certain corporate board rooms where the word chicken is deliberately misspelled, there is much conversation going on about how to walk back some of the most unbelievably offensive words that one could use to denigrate gay customers. To wit:

DAN CATHY: (1:05)"…I think we are 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 to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about"


AUDIO SOURCE: Dan Cathy [Ken Coleman Show]

That's some pretty harsh stuff. In Cathy's stated scenario, gays are not only destroying marriage—they are set to destroy God's kingdom. Just like in Stanton's world, gays are "a particularly evil lie of Satan because he knows that it overthrows the very image of the Trinitarian God in creation." For any objective ear, the rhetoric needs no further explanation.

I'm not even kind of surprised to hear Glenn Stanton misuse words like "slander," since a personal experience in the past year taught me that Focus on the Family is one of the most willfully disingenuous special interest outfits working in the socio-political world, and that no supporter of either equal rights or fair debate should ever trust the incongruous words and deeds of its stewards (no matter how good the veggie burger tastes). But this messenger-shooting, responsibility-shirking spin machine is not going to work. Not with people who can form opinions without the assistance of a special interest group.

Dan Cathy is not in hot water because of any one person's editorializing—he is in hot water because he said remarkably insensitive, corporately inept things about a massive customer base (LGBT people and their supporters). That is now part of the company's DNA, embedded into an Internet and larger media cycle that has a very long memory. Moving past this is going to take a lot of genuine effort. It's certainly going to take more than defiance from the sort of person who compares people like me to terrorists or who positions my sexual orientation as being a Beelzebubian fib.

Stanton and Fischer surely think they are helping, since they most likely have echo chambers around them greeting them with "right on!" applause. Therefore, these two individuals may not care to check their egos. There are many Chick-fil-A crisis management executives who are praying that they will.

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