Battling Real Injustices

Last week the internet was all abuzz with news about Chick-fil-A. Why you should eat there. Why you shouldn’t eat there.

And a fair chunk of talk about why the whole thing didn’t matter.

In her popular post, In the Basement, Jen Hatmaker spoke about retreating from the storm and getting to “the business of loving people and battling real injustices and caring for the poor and loving Jesus.”

I really want this to be enough. But here’s the thing.

For a lot of people, this is a real injustice.

Somewhere up to 40% of all homeless youth identify as LGBT, and of those, almost 80% left because their families rejected them when they came out.

That’s a real injustice.

There are more than 1100 federal benefits denied to same-sex couples.

That’s a real injustice.

LGBT youth are five times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers.

That’s a real injustice.

I want to be very clear: eating or not eating a chicken sandwich will not change these things. 

But hurtful language contributes. It allows parents of gay kids to feel vindicated in their decision to exercise “tough love.” It allows people to feel justified in putting their lesbian neighbor’s relationship up for a vote when they would not want their own marriage placed on a ballot. It allows people to shift blame to the young person who just needed to toughen up in the face of rejection and bullying.

If this isn’t a real issue, then why the vast amounts of money spent to pass Proposition 8? If it’s not a real issue, then why is God going to judge our nation so severely if gay marriage becomes legal? If it’s not a real issue, then why the fear about the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?

These are conversations that we need to have. They’re not easy, but they matter. To people of all different opinions, they matter. And to the people who are directly affected by these opinions, they definitely matter.

But sometimes we need to find common ground first. To see where we agree before we work through the areas where we disagree.

In Jen’s post, she noted that poverty is a “real injustice.” I agree with that 100%. I would say that all of my readers, whether or not they agree with my views regarding homosexuality or marriage equality, agree that poverty is problematic and that we should do something about it.

Several times I’ve written about Nuru International.

I would like us to stop talking about real injustice and go ahead and do something. Right now.

Mike Huckabee is asking people to eat at Chick-fil-A on August 1st to show support of their stance on traditional marriage. I’ve seen folks suggest eating at McDonald’s (I guess because they have a far inferior, but similarly named chicken sandwich?) if you oppose Dan Cathy’s comments.

How about a third option?

Why don’t we take the $5-10 we were going to spend on a fast food lunch and donate it to this group that is helping people lift themselves out of poverty? Maybe we can decide to eat some pre-chicken (read: eggs, since most of us have those at home) on Wednesday and rather than making a statement of disagreement, we can use our money to make the statement that together, we support ending the cycle of poverty.

I’ve donated $25 to get us started off. Because it can be very easy for me to worry about making a statement rather than having a conversation.

We can still have a conversation without making statements. 

We can battle a lot of real injustices.

Let’s go ahead and start with one we can all agree on.

Click here to donate.

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Let’s use the comments today to write something that we can all agree about. I want us to have conversations about the places where we disagree, but today, let’s find some common ground. 

  • http://www.inamirrordimly.com Ed_Cyzewski

    So many good points Alise. While I don’t care what the chicken guy said, i don’t want to live in  a culture of hostility toward anyone.i also don’t want to descend into petty squabbles. this is the chicken sandwich of justice posts…  ;) one handed typing courtesy of ethan.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      I think we can all agree that new babies are super cute. 

  • http://www.throughaglass.net Kari

    Totally agree with you. This one thing is not necessarily a big deal, but in the overall culture of GLBT people being bullied, rejected, and treated as second-class citizens, I can’t agree to hide in the basement.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Yup. I don’t want us to forget that this is a real issue for people, even if it’s just an intellectual exercise for a lot of us.

  • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

    Hurtful comments are a big deal and they absolutely add to a climate of hate and labeling.  I haven’t really engaged the chip-fil-a debate deeply on purpose, but I am all for supporting an organization that reaches out to people suffering from poverty in an unjust society.  

    You really got me on the LGBT you committing suicide, My heart is so tender for creating a world where people have a passion to keep living.  

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      I just plain adore Nuru. I love their model, I love the people, I love the work they do. They love people every day in tangible ways and if we can raise some money for them today, then absolutely I want to do that!

  • Carmen Lillian

    Dear Alise, You are awesome. I’m not able to donate right now, but I will commit to pray for LGBT youth and people who are dealing with poverty. Thank-you for fighting for marginalized people. 

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Thank you – and thank you for sharing this. It means a lot to me.

  • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

    I love the third way you provided here, Alise. No matter what “side” people land on, you’ve given a way to move forward in love. Thank you. Love the line: “We can still have a conversation without making statements.” It’s full of both truth and grace.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      As one prone to be a statement-maker, that was mostly for me. And I do believe that when we see those places where we’re the same or where we agree, it makes those difficult conversations a little less difficult.

  • http://profiles.google.com/andilit Andrea Cumbo

    Beautiful, Alise. Beautiful.  Thank you. 

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      And thank you back. I really appreciate your donation.

  • http://billyymcmahon.wordpress.com/ billy mcmahon

    this is very interesting. i usually go vegetarian in my food choices, but i think the pro/anti-chick-fil-a issue is a lot deeper here.
    i think a characteristic of Jesus that we oftentimes forget is his elusiveness. when asked about any given topic of the day in the gospels (perhaps someone trying to “corner” him), Jesus offers an unconventional answer or parable that seems to challenge common thought of the day and push people on all sides.
    I really like your ideas, Alise.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Well, you can skip the eggs & eat something else. ;-D

      I’m okay with people having opinions, really and truly. But I want us to be able to share them kindly. And sometimes working together for someone else can help us feel more kindly toward one another and bring about a better conversation.

  • Ashley Simone

    Hi Alise, I noticed that your information about the “1100 federal benefits” denied to the LGBT community is quite out of date — 8 years out of date, in fact. Do you have more recent statistics? All best.

  • http://www.JanetOberholtzer.com Janet Oberholtzer

    Wise!
    When people insist that there is only one or two ways to look at an issue, I always assume there needs to be a third way… sometimes I find it, sometimes I don’t. 
    Thank you for staying up late and writing about a third way in this scenario… and it’s one that both ‘sides’ can agree with and it could help many, so it’s win-win-win!

    And since I don’t eat chicken and rarely eat eggs (after all, as you said, they are pre-chicken :) I will omit something else I love (oh, no, that means I have to give up some chocolate or wine) and click to donate.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      There are almost always more ways to see an issue. 

      Wednesday is kind of a high stress day for me with the release of the podcast, so I’m not swearing off any wine then. ;-D But I don’t mind not eating out to make a little donation to make someone’s life better. Thanks so much for joining me!

    • Miles O’Neal

       Whenever someone tries to reduce an argument to “there are only these two sides” I think of Joshua on his way to battle, encountering a man with a drawn sword.
      “Whose side are you on? Mine or my enemies’?”
      “Neither. I am here as the commander of God’s army.”

      Too often, our reply would be,’ Oh. Then you are on my side.”
      And he might have to reply, “What part of ‘neither’ did you not understand?”

      • marie

        Miles, could I share your quote on FB (with attribution)

  • Melissia Mason

    Things we can all agree on. Hmm. I used to think I knew what these things were, but more and more I’m finding out that there is always someone who will disagree. So I’m not going to offer any blanket statements about what we can all agree on. But thanks for the inspiration… I’m going to make a donation to my local benefit agency (I’m sure Nuru is great, but I know my local agency needs help too). 

    And, Alise… I really need to tell you that I have shared your recent posts with my friends (who have a wide range of opinions about these issues) and they have been a healing balm in our discussions. Thank you.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Thank you for sharing that with me, Melissia. That means a lot. 

      And by all means – donate where you will. I’d just rather see us do something that unifies us rather than divides us.

  • http://rawfaithrealworld.wordpress.com/ RawFaith

    I think it’s a great idea, and I’m happy to donate. I think the issue is way too important to have it trivialized to arguing about CFL. I’m commited to working towards continuing to build bridges between the two communities and to faithfully loving all the gay kids and young adults in my life in Christ’s name.

  • http://www.spiritualglasses.me/ Jennifer Upton

    I have my beliefs on a variety of issues, but choose not to engage in a way that draws battle lines. When I am hungry I eat chicken and when I am thirsty I drink from a green straw and so on and so on. It truly is that simple for my family. We decided long before all of this debate that we are going where we are led on the days we are led. For far too long we allowed others to guide us blindly. I love how you wrote this post..thank you

  • Megan

    As a member of the LGBT community I love this post! A friend of mine shared it on a Mommies board, of which I am the LGBT Mod. I am lucky enough to have not gone through being disowned by my parents because of my sexuality however I know people who experience that sort of hatred from their parents.

    I can not donate because we just don’t have the funds right now, but I will keep this organization in mind for when we can spare it. Thank you for thinking of others. I wish more people cared about others like this.

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