Dear Straight Allies, Please Stop Eating at Chick-Fil-A

Dear Straight Allies, Please Stop Eating at Chick-Fil-A

If these Christian-based groups want to spread their belief that being gay is a sin, that is their right.

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I was 12 years old, watching the news with my grandma in the living room. It was 2012 and Dan Cathy, the president and CEO of Chick-Fil-A had, in an interview with the Biblical Recorder, stated his company's support for the "biblical definition of the family unit." Suddenly, Chick-Fil-A had become a flashpoint in the culture wars, and social conservatives were lining up in droves to show their support for the fast-food chain.

On the TV screen, I saw a woman being interviewed, Chick-Fil-A bag in one hand and a Bible in the other, proclaiming her belief that homosexuality was an abomination. I walked away, locked myself in my room, and cried, feeling confused about how anyone could ever think that. I was a gay kid still in the closet but I remember thinking that if these people could just be gay for a day they would realize that being gay was the most natural thing in the world.

In high school and in college, I have been disappointed to see many straight people who call themselves allies eating at Chick-Fil-A. It seems so incongruent to me- to profess support for the gay community while at the same time boosting the profits of a company so explicitly anti-gay. It seems to me that people are willing to express support on Twitter but aren't willing to take any meaningful actions of solidarity. And actions speak louder than words.

I understand that the food at Chick-Fil-A is amazingly delicious. But if anything, this just makes the case for not eating there even stronger. If you are willing to give up something that brings you joy for the sake of a cause bigger than yourself, that is praiseworthy- it is the definition of altruism.

We must transform our ideas into action. If we don't we are hypocrites. And I recognize that with so many large corporations doing so many bad things- not paying their workers a living wage, polluting the environment, etc.- it is nearly impossible to avoid some level of hypocrisy. But that shouldn't bar us from trying at all. Perhaps being an ethical person means pursuing the horizon, working towards a goal you can never fully achieve but trying anyway.

I understand that consumer boycotts are often ineffective. But to me, effectiveness is not the point. I harbor no illusions that Chick-Fil-A will suddenly change its stance on gay rights anytime soon. Someone might wonder if their own personal choice not to eat at Chick-Fil-A will have any real-world impact, if it's a sacrifice worth making. But I would argue that it absolutely is.

Chick-Fil-A's tax-exempt WinShape Foundation continues to fund anti-LGBTQ organizations. Chick-Fil-A has justified this on the grounds that the money is going towards nonprofit groups that help disadvantaged youth. Yet all of these organizations deliberately exclude queer youth from their philanthropy and consistency preach against homosexuality. Now, I am all for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of association. If these Christian-based groups want to spread their belief that being gay is a sin, that is their right. But straight allies have no business subsidizing this message.

Chick-Fil-A has a vision for America, one where gay people are denied equal rights and condemned to live as outcasts. But we have a different vision, one where gay people have equal rights under the law, where they are not merely tolerated but accepted. In the past few decades, we have come a long way towards realizing our progressive vision. Yet old vestiges of prejudice remain. The actions of Chick-Fil-A perpetuate this ancient hatred, breathing new life into its decaying form.

I've always found it strange how the ones who preach homophobia the most are also the ones who proclaim to faithfully follow Christ, who had unconditional love for all. I remember in my freshman year of high school, my Christian friend explained to me the story of Christ's sacrifice on the cross and even though I'm not Christian and hadn't believed in God in years, the story still had profound emotional resonance. God loved humanity so much that he was willing to sacrifice his son for our salvation. What a beautiful idea- to have a love for someone so deep, so powerful, that you are willing to put their interests above your own.

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30 Bible Verses For The Broken-Hearted

The first month is always the hardest.
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These Bible verses aren't only for people experiencing a break-up; they're meant to be uplifting, comforting and to bring a sense of peace to anyone who's hurting. The first month after every hardship is always the most difficult.

1. Matthew 11:28-30

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened; and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

2. John 14:27

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

3. Psalm 55:22

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be moved."

4. Psalm 147:3

"He heals the broken-hearted, and bandages their wounds."

5. Proverbs 3:5-6

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight."

6. 1 Peter 4:19

"So then let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator as they do good."

7. Romans 5:1-2

"Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God's glory."

8. Romans 8:28

"And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose."

9. Philippians 3:13-14

"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive towards the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

10. Psalm 34:18

"The Lord is near the broken hearted; He delivers those who are discouraged."

11. Romans 8:39

"Nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

12. Psalm 73:26

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

13. Psalm 71:20

"You who have shown me great distress and troubles will revive me again, and will bring me up again from the depths of the Earth."

14. Isaiah 43:1 b

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine."

15. Romans 8:18

"For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us."

16. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord, 'plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and hope.'"

17. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed."

18. Ezekiel 36:26

"Also, I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will take away the stoney heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh."

19. 1 Peter 5:7

"Cast all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you."

20. Revelation 21:4

"God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. There shall be no more death. Neither shall there be any more sorrow nor crying nor pain, for the former things have passed away."

21. Isaiah 41:10

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

22. Deuteronomy 31:6

"Be strong and of good courage. Fear not, nor be afraid of them, for the Lord your God it is He who goes with you. He will not fail you, nor forsake you."

23. Romans 5:8

"I loved you at your darkest."

24. Isaiah 43:18

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past."

25. Psalm 46:1-2

"God is our refuge and strength; a well proven help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the Earth be removed."

26. Hebrews 13:5-6

"Let your lives be without love of money, and be content with the things you have. For He has said 'I will never leave you, nor forsake you'. So we may boldly say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?'"

27. Romans 15:13

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit."

28. Luke 20:17

"But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?”

29. Psalms 9:9

"The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble."

30. Psalm 30:5

"For His anger endures but a moment, in His favor is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning."



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From The Outside Looking In, UNC Is A Liberal Campus, But That Doesn't Mean God Isn't Working Here

Just because we don't always seem Him working doesn't mean He isn't

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When I decided to go to Carolina during my senior year of high school I specifically remember people immediately saying how they'd be praying for me and my faith as I headed off to such a liberal university. It wasn't until I actually stepped foot onto UNC's campus and became a part of the culture here that I realized how inaccurate people's assumptions of this campus truly are.

People's assumptions about what UNC is and isn't stems from a lot of stereotypes and preconceived notions they have about a university that many of those same people never actually attended. I know that comes off as harsh, and maybe it is, but the truth is you are never truly able to understand what an environment is like until you spend a significant portion of time there. It's the mundane moments or the day to day life events that I get to take part in which allow me to fully embrace all that UNC is. Until I was able to experience that for myself I too feared that my faith would be muddled by UNC.

Those mundane moments I mentioned, it has been within those moments that I've been able to experience the overwhelming love of Christ and see the work He is doing on this campus. It's sitting at a table in the Union to finish up some homework and overhearing a conversation about Christ or walking through Lenoir at dinner time and hearing a group of friends praying before dinner. If you aren't looking for it you'd probably overlook it or cast it off as another conversation, but these moments are so much more than that. The best part of it all, those are just the mundane moments.

Maybe it's bold of me to say that God has a plan for this campus, but I'm fine with being bold in that. I find the confidence in saying this because I get to experience Tuesday nights in a church on Franklin Street as a congregation of students fills the pews and for 45 minutes we stop what we are doing and praise God together. There are no denominations there, there are no barriers, it's a group of students coming together to worship God through music. Then as we break away and go our separate ways for the rest of the week each of us falls back into our own sphere of influence. In these spheres of influence, we build a deeper community that binds us to different churches and campus ministries and organizations, but at the end of the day, we all find our way back to that same church every Tuesday evening.

I will not deny that my generation has shown a drastic decrease in the amount of college-aged students who regularly attend church services on Sunday, but that a) doesn't mean that they've fully forsaken the faith or b) that God is not working on college campuses like UNC. As with everything else, I think it is important to put these statistics into context. When students come to UNC, or any college for that matter, most of the time they find themselves trying to reestablish who they are and redefine their identity. This seems to stem from a lack of community and not really knowing where their niche is just yet. Loss of a well-established Christian community can be detrimental for a lot of students as they go off to college and struggle to balance all their new responsibilities while trying to figure out who they are. So that drastic decrease we see may be less of college-aged students fully parting ways with the faith and more of them not being able to find a community where they feel at home.

This area, in particular, is one that really defines why I say that God is truly working on this campus. As a student, it can be hard to find that community, as I said, but UNC has so many campus ministries or local churches that before long students seem to meander into their niche. I know for me it happened fairly quickly, but for others, it doesn't happen like that and it takes time. At the end of the day though, people seem to find a community that suits them well and where they feel loved and known. For me, that's the most important reason behind why I say God is here working on this campus.

To anyone who ever worried about me going to such a "liberal" campus, fear not because God has a plan and has placed me on a campus full of people that He loves and wants to minister to for a reason. Don't let false assumptions and stereotypes jade your perception of the work God can do. He's working here, it's now just up to us to listen and obey His commands.

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