The personal is political. Yes, that includes you, Chick-Fil-A consumer.

I’ve been silently watching and reading as the emotional, heated debate over Chick-Fil-A unfolded this past week on my Facebook newsfeed, TV and Twitter. Until now, I haven’t felt compelled to write anything on this issue because the news that Chick-Fil-A donates some of its corporate earnings to anti-gay organizations is old news. And I’m confused why Chick-Fil-A supporters think this is a freedom of religion issue. No one’s telling Chick-Fil-A to close on Sundays or stop being Christian.

The issue is that customers’ money is funding the harmful and hateful agenda of organizations that are actively denying rights to Americans. Chick-Fil-A is mixing business and politics in the name of Christianity and using the cry of freedom of religion as a smokescreen to get away with questionable corporate donations. Christian ethics and beliefs demand that you love your neighbor as yourself. It doesn’t instruct us to hurt each other and deny each other full equality as men and women. What kind of Christians are the people who run Chick-Fil-A?

What motivated me to finally write about Chick-Fil-A is this opinion piece in The Atlantic by Jonathan Merritt, in which he defends the fast food chain and questions the effectiveness of boycotts in the culture wars. Sure, Chick-Fil-A donates to more worthy causes like education and boycotts of consumer products are sometimes questionable in their effectiveness, but I stopped following Merritt’s argument when he wrote this:

But my bigger question is this: In a nation that’s as divided as ours is, do we really want our commercial lives and our political lives to be so wholly intermeshed? And is this really the kind of culture we want to create? Culture war boycotts cut both ways and are much more likely to meet with success when prosecuted by large groups of people, such as Christian activists, who are more numerous than gays and lesbians and their more activist supporters.

(bold emphasis is mine)

What! Stop the chicken frying for a second and let’s think about this rationally. Merritt’s question – “do we really want our commercial lives and our political lives to be so wholly intermeshed?” – has already happened. Yes, Mr. Merritt, the personal is (still) political. Always was, and always will be. Ask any feminist. The daily decisions I make on where and what I should spend my money on is personal and has political consequences, no matter what political party I belong to. If, as a country, we thought more about how the mundane details and decisions of our personal lives connected to and affected larger politics, we’d fully realize our power as voters and citizens and demand real change. Instead, we’re told to shut up, eat the damn sandwich and accused of attacking religious freedom.

Merritt’s second claim in the paragraph is that Christian activists outnumber gays, lesbians and whoever else happens to support them (???). Following this logic, being a Christian activist and gay/lesbian are mutually exclusive. Sorry, you can’t be Christian and gay/lesbian. Oh, and if you’re wondering, there are no Christians included in the “more activist supporters” category for gays and lesbians. If Merritt believes that culture wars like Chick-Fil-A are so damaging and ineffective to our society and country, why is he pitting one group (Christian activists) against another group (gays and lesbians) and betting that the Christians will win in culture war boycotts?

I agree with Merritt that we need more healthy, level-headed disagreements and Facebook, 24-hour news channels/cycles are not the forums to hold them.

Here’s a suggestion: acknowledge and fully realize that the personal is political. Go read Wayne Self’s outstanding piece, “The Chick Fellatio: Stuck in the Craw” for a rebuttal to Merritt and all other Chick-Fil-A supporters. Then ask yourself if you’re still hungry for Chick-Fil-A.

Focus on the Family thinks Tim Tebow deserves more respect than you.

The Golden Rule doesn’t apply to the good Christian folks at Focus on the Family. Last week, The Washington Post ran an op-ed piece, “The Temptation of Tim Tebow,” by Esther Fleece, assistant to the president for millennial relations at Focus on the Family.

In the piece, Fleece chastised the Web site AshleyMadison.com for offering a $1 million bounty to anyone who offers proof of having sex with Tim Tebow, the New York Jets quarterback who is also known for being a 24 year-old Christian virgin, and the site’s CEO Noah Biderman for defending it. While I agree with Fleece that the actions of this Web site are crass and silly, she finally gets to the real point of her column: “…namely, that abstinence before marriage is an impossibility and/or a silly relic from the past.” After trotting out statistics to support her point that abstinence before marriage is more common than you think, she gets to her final point:

Here’s the bottom line: Noah Biderman is sadly representative of those who deeply underestimate the power of sex. It was not designed by God as a casual act to be shared indiscriminately with anyone and everyone. It was devised by our creator as the healthy byproduct of a healthy marriage, not the objective of a relationship…

Fleece then goes on to write that she agrees with people when they tell her that she has “missed out” on having premarital sex:

I have missed out on heartbreak, insecurities relating to my body, sharing the most precious part of my heart with someone other than my husband, STDs, unplanned pregnancy, etc. Not all my friends then, or now, understood or understand my commitment to purity. The difference between AshleyMadison.com and my friends, though, is that even though they don’t share my convictions, they respect me for the way I am living them out.

Uhhh, what? Just because a man or woman chooses to remain sexually abstinent before marriage, doesn’t mean he/she misses out on heartbreak, bodily insecurities and sharing his/her heart with someone else. All of these things can happen if you are a virgin or not. After all, you can love someone deeply and have your heart broken even if you haven’t had sex with him/her. We like to pretend that the bonds of matrimony automatically protect you from having your heart broken, STIs and unplanned pregnancy and it doesn’t. Some spouses cheat and use birth control inconsistently or not at all. And as a woman in this culture and society that constantly bombards me and you with gendered beauty norms, how has Ms. Fleece NOT had bodily insecurities?! It’s impossible. It’s clear she’s talking about heterosexual, vaginal intercourse as the only sex that’s worth discussing. But what about oral sex? Can you still be a virgin and have oral sex? If you answer yes, then I’m sorry – you can still be exposed to STIs.

Tim Tebow deserves that same respect. He not only believes, but boldly lives by the belief, that sex outside the context of marriage forms permanent bonds and memories from temporary relationships, and is therefore neither long-lasting or truly satisfying to the soul.

Fleece’s last claim – that Tim Tebow deserves respect for his personal decision to remain a virgin until marriage – is correct. He does. But her unwillingness to give the same respect to those who don’t fit her definition of “good sex,” (even if it’s a sleazy Web site and CEO) and who have sex in many social contexts outside the confines of heterosexual marriage, is hypocrisy. Tim Tebow and others like him have one view of sex and it doesn’t make it any better than other views of what sex is and isn’t. Fleece’s view is one that I happen to disagree with and don’t live by, but that’s what makes the world go around.

If Esther Fleece doesn’t like people judging her and not respecting her for her personal, sexual decisions that only concern her, then why is she doing the same thing to those of us who don’t think sex outside of marriage is wrong and can be long-lasting and satisfying to the soul? Spare me the morality lesson.