Who knew that same-sex marriage and fried chicken would be such odd bedfellows? Especially after the Mayor Menino letter that has galvanized people in Boston. Oddly enough, the same-sex kiss-in being planned to protest against Chick-fil-A's anti-gay CEO has roots in early Christian traditions. Not as a weapon, mind you, but as a gesture of reconciliation and friendship.
The latest on the controversy
With so many more serious issues in the worlds of politics, business, and religion to be resolved, the Chick-fil-A controversy continues, confounding countless critics. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, and other proponents of the Cathy clan's conservative clucking cuisine company are going ahead with their plans to show support for poor ol' Chick-fil-A by organizing an official national day of appreciation. (In the Boston area, the Burlington Mall Chick-fil-A store said business was up 150% as "hundreds" flocked in to show their support for the beleaguered chicken chain. Meanwhile, a New Hampshire Chick-fil-A manager is reportedly donating sandwiches to a gay rights festival. Figure that!)
In reaction, opponents of the proponents are organizing their own response, a "Kiss More Chiks" event, in which they are encouraging people of the same sex to show up for kiss-ins at Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country.
According to the gay rights organizers of the "National Same-Sex Kiss Day" on August 3, the intent is to "thank" the chicken restaurant chain for its "support of love, equality, and the real definition of family." All are invited to enlist a same-sex partner or pal, head to the nearest Chick-Fil-A, and go at it as the company's religiously righteous execs squirm. So far, they claim they have more than 3,500 RSVPS.
From the faith perspective, one can only look on in amusement at these goings-on. Kudos to the people organizing the counter-event, for getting their point of view out there in the media. Why should the religious right hold us all hostage with their anti-gay stance? The more headlines they get, the harder it is for a more welcoming, inclusive Christianity that does embrace all people, regardless of orientation, to be heard above all the ruckus.
The first Christians started the kiss of peace
As a side note, here's a bit of trivia from early Christian history: back in the first century or so, Christians used to greet each other with the "kiss of peace," exchanged as a way of demonstrating their love for all fellow believers. Later, this custom eventually evolved into the present-day "passing of the peace," in which handshakes and hugs seem to be the more politically correct practice, rather than actual kisses.
Although, to be totally fair, the original kissing tradition does still live on in certain ethnic groups and denominations. The Orthodox Christians, for example, do their "kiss of peace" among both clergy and laypeople. Since all of their clergy are male, that does entail same-sex kissing. It takes place both in worship services and at very ordinary fellowship occasions, particularly around holidays like Christmas and Easter.
So there's nothing intrinsically or spiritually wrong with kissing a member of the same sex, according to our Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters. It would be nice to see Chick-fil-A, Huckabee & Co. squirm out of that one!