Forgiveness and Fast Food

When I wrote about forgiveness last month, I wrestled with my personal feelings about how forgiveness is an ideal that does not work, for me. I reject the expectation that I forgive people who continue to do harm to me. I wrote:

The way I understand it [Christian concept of forgiveness used in therapy], forgiveness is for the healing of the harmed person, not the growth of the ill-intentioned person.

Forgiveness of unrepentant wrongdoers is not part of the moral structure I grew up in, or believe in. Forgiving the unforgivable is an ideal that I do not find healing to me or the world.

Last week, I jumped too soon on a feel-good story about Chick fil-a. They agreed to stop giving money to hatemongering organizations who are working to destroy LGBTQ families (stop same sex marriage).

I saw this as a good sign, and considered going out of my way to buy their food. This is a tried and true way to end a boycott; show the company a big boost in sales when they capitulate to the demands of the boycott. But, as I said, I jumped too soon.

When is an apology not an apology?

Ruth McCambridge in NPQ voiced an opinion about forgiveness that is parallel to mine, in relation the Chick fil-a announcement, which reads:

The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect—regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender…Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.

McCambridge point out that the Chick fil-a announcement glosses over an important fact: that their culture and service tradition did not treat every person with honor, dignity and respect.

By saying that they are “leaving the debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena,” they fail to acknowledge that, in America, same-sex marriage is a human right supported in 2015 by the Supreme Court.

There was no apology from Chick-fil-a. There is no acknowledgement of harm done. The LGBTQ community and their allies have no obligation to forgive Chick-fil-a.

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