Well…it turned out about the way I thought it would. And, surprise surprise, it’s a song and dance we’ve already heard.
Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day has come and gone, and surprised pretty much everybody by the sheer turnout, but one particular response was waiting in the wings.
Almost immediately, memes and soundbytes started showing up on Facebook and elsewhere, all with one theme:
And that is supposed to settle that.
Sad to say, it doesn’t. Here’s why.
This is not an argument. It is a preposition masquerading as an argument.
An argument requires at least another preposition and a conclusion. There is neither a second premise, or a conclusion, to this; it is adrift, bereft of force and consequence, and we are left to our own devices to figure out where this is rhetorically supposed to lead.
As rhetoric, it is perhaps clever, but it is not an argument.
But let’s treat it like the argument it’s pretending to be, and see where it leads, to see if it might be salvaged. Ignoring for the moment a second premise, let’s say that the conclusion is “Therefore, Christians shouldn’t speak out on issues like Same-Sex Marriage until they help the homeless/poor/oppressed/etc.”
Oh. Well. So much for salvaging it. Turns out it’s a red herring.
But it’s a guilt-trip red herring. And it hinges on an assumption that no one in their right mind would agree to: that Christians cannot speak at all about controversial social issues, or whatever issue is at hand–frequently this ‘argument’ is made regarding abortion, too–until XYZ issue, completely unrelated to the issue at hand, is “satisfactorily” or permanently resolved singlehandedly by Christians.
In case that doesn’t look absurd enough: How many homeless/poor/whatever people must be served before someone can make a statement about a moral issue? One? Five? Ten? One hundred? Every last one?
Yeah, it really does look that absurd to those of us who see it for the bad argument it really is. But let’s not end there. I love a good argumentum ad absurdam as much as anyone, and since this one is already absurd, let’s make it as absurd as possible.
Let’s say that every last chicken sandwich, waffle fry, and lemonade were given away to the hungry and homeless. How would that affect what someone who supports SSM think of Christians who oppose SSM? It wouldn’t. It’s a completely separate issue. Does the Muslim practice of Zakat, or alms-giving, temper our reaction to the regional practice of female genital mutilation? And if they help as many of the poor as they can, does that mean that they can practice FGM? No. It’s another issue. Don’t fall for a (questionable) premise posing as an argument.
Are Christians inconsistent? You bet. Do Christians fail, a lot? You bet. Does it mean they’re wrong about SSM? There’s no way to know from the recipient of a chicken sandwich.
Did Jesus say to feed the hungry and care for the poor? Yes. But He also reiterated the ordination of marriage as given by God, ideally and only between a man and a woman, as given in Genesis 1.