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Monday, May 6, 2019

Fox in the Chicken Coop

Political activism has taken some mighty strange turns at this point in my life. It is something I’m pondering more as I approach the 50th year since graduating from high school. By this time in 1969, two political leaders of the Kennedy family and Dr. Martin Luther King had been assassinated.

Having lived through the 60s, I can recall all the visuals of movements supported by the likes of folk singers including Bob Dylan, Peter Paul and Mary, Woody Guthrie, and Joan Baez. Their voices helped shaped the causes they found important.

There were protests galore. A lot had to do with resistance to the war in Vietnam. The Civil Rights movement was full steam. Feminism had women burning bras. (Never did quite understand that act of rebellion.)

Then there were hippies. They supported the resistance efforts toward Vietnam and encouraged the Civil Rights cause. But by and large, they were not protestors.

In writing about the age of hippie-dom, Sarah Pruitt recalls, “In many ways, the hippies of the 1960s descended from an earlier American counterculture: the Beat Generation. This group of young bohemians…made a name for themselves in the 1940s and ‘50s with their rejection of prevailing social norms, including capitalism, consumerism and materialism.” Many turned to Eastern religions. Drugs and open sexuality were their forms of protest. They were…“beatniks.”

Not all protests were peaceful, even though some might have started out that way. There was the 1962 protest in Birmingham, Alabama, organized by Dr. Martin Luther King and several other civil rights organizers. Within a year, the Birmingham sheriff chose to deal with protestors using fire hoses and police dogs.

There were the famed Watts riots. Watts is a Los Angeles neighborhood that became enflamed from August 11-16, in 1965. It started with an arrest by police that fostered a brawl. It took 4,000 members of the California National Guard to quell the riots. But only after 34 people had died and $40 million in property damage had been done.

College campuses were a hotbed for generating protest movements. One in 1970 became deadly and the subject of hit song. It was a Vietnam protest at Kent State University. The Ohio National Guard was called in. Careless overreaction left four students dead and nine injured. Neil Young’s classic “Ohio” shared the pain on Top 40 radio stations across America.

That was then. This is now. Political activism remains, but in a very different way. People of faith are considered “prejudiced” and “phobic” if they don’t accept sexual standards embraced by certain groups. But it isn’t just language being used for protest. It’s political control. And it’s ugly.

Perhaps there is no single business with more noble purpose and a desire to serve others than Chick-fil-A. Yet this company has faced ongoing criticism and political retribution because they’ve offered support to groups that encourage healthy, traditional forms of marriage. For that view, they have been rejected from having restaurants on college campuses and even in some communities.

But then there’s Tim Fox. He’s the Republican Montana Attorney General. Mr. Fox has posted an open invitation to Chick-fil-A to open several franchises in his state. Then he went further—accusing the critics of Chick-fil-A of inciting “division and outrage.”

Fox’s letter to Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy said, “While your company faces a barrage of unnecessary criticism…I want you to know that Montanans don’t discriminate against others based on religious affiliation.”

Jesus of Nazareth was known for putting truth ahead of political correctness in his day. Just look at His Sermon on the Mount! (Matthew 5-7)

We need leaders today to do the same. More guys like Tim.

Looks like there’s a Fox in the chicken house. And that's a good thing.

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