LGBT issues buried under Chick-fil-A drama

Courtesy of Duke Archives

By Ollie Gratzinger | Assistant Features Editor

It all started with a chicken sandwich.

Well, maybe not really, but that’s sure what it looks like to the thousands of critics and commentators who’ve bought into the recent uproar surrounding the Chick-fil-A coming to Duquesne. It exploded into a mess of divisive commentary when members of Lambda, Duquesne’s gay-straight alliance, voiced their concerns regarding the installment of the restaurant because of its corporate ties to organizations that have a history of supporting anti-LGBT rhetoric.

After gaining momentum from right-wing news outlets like Fox & Friends and Breitbart, and even earning a contemptuous tweet from Donald Trump Jr., the story released a few weeks back has gone national. But sadly, I don’t think I lot of people understood where those who stand in opposition to the restaurant were coming from.

It’s one of the issues that’s a lot like an iceberg: you see the top and it looks kind of silly, and you think that there’s no way it could possibly do damage to anything. Then you hit it and you sink, because you didn’t see the larger picture just beneath the surface.

With that being said, the whole Chick-fil-A fiasco is the tip of an iceberg that members outside of the LGBT community have been hitting for ages. Below the surface, it isn’t about safe spaces or the views of some big-wig CEO. It isn’t about the chicken sandwich or the shakes and fries, no matter how tasty they’re supposed to be. It’s about the hateful rhetoric and the divisive commentary that this dialogue has sparked, perpetuated and encouraged, both online and now on campus. It’s about feeling like you have to hide an important part of you or else your friends won’t be your friends anymore.

It’s about feeling like you can’t be yourself because someone, somewhere, decided they don’t believe in it.

This is something that most non-LGBT individuals haven’t experienced, at least not to the same degree. Being told that you don’t exist, that it isn’t natural to love who you love or feel how you feel, is the real issue that’s being overshadowed and buried alive by talk of restaurants, safe-spaces and snowflakes. And that’s the issue that needs to be addressed, especially on a campus like Duquesne’s.

For the most part, the comments I’ve heard in passing around the Bluff are as ignorant as they are unpleasant, ranging from the age-old, “We Christians don’t believe in same-sex marriage, and therefore the whole world should refrain from it,” to the more timely, “Millennial snowflakes are so pampered that they don’t have anything else to do with their lives but protest a fast-food joint.”

I’m not offended by chicken nuggets. In fact, I don’t even care if the restaurant opens or not; I don’t have to eat there if I don’t like what it’s all about. But I am offended by the responses this discourse has engendered. I am offended by the seemingly widespread notion that my rights are less right than yours, and I am offended by the university administration’s silence and passivity surrounding the comfort of its students, all in the name of something as abstract as faith.

Don’t get me wrong — I believe in faith, and I believe that faith can be beautiful, but here’s the catch-22: It can unite the divided or it can divide the united, depending on how one chooses to use it. In this case, it has largely been a proponent of division, with individuals who identify strongly with Duquesne’s Catholic Mission speaking out against and suppressing the LGBT voices that already struggle to be heard over the sounds of opposition. When faith is used as a tool of hate, it stops being beautiful and starts to become something toxic, contentious and, frankly, dangerous.

“We attend a Catholic university,” read one comment on website for The Duke. “Chick-fil-A is simply running its business in a Christian way.”

Are they, though?

I don’t know very much about the Bible, but I do know that Jesus spent a great deal of time around the prostitutes, the physically ill and the criminal offenders of his time. He talked about loving your fellow humans, and he stressed the importance of being kind and gentle and forgiving, even to your enemies.

The passage that supposedly condemns the act of same-sex relations can be found in Leviticus, right alongside others that many Christians rightfully chose to ignore. According to the Bible, you’ve booked yourself a one-way ticket to Hell if you’ve eaten pork (Leviticus 11:4), worn that cotton-polyester blend (Leviticus 19:19), gotten a haircut (Leviticus 19:27), shaved (Leviticus 19:27) or picked out a tattoo (Leviticus 19:28).

Why ignore these? Because they’re ridiculous. Because they’re old and outdated. Because the New Testament popped up and Jesus swooped down to die for mankind’s sins. With all that being well within the realm of Christian belief, why is Leviticus 18:22 still used as a way to justify hating people that are just the slightest bit different from you? What would Jesus say if he saw you write that comment mocking a bunch of twenty-somethings you don’t even know?

There is so, so much hate in this world. Why condemn love? Members of the LGBT community feel a unique and unprecedented tension every day, from the mass-murdering of gay men happening in Russia to the bathroom laws targeting transgender folks in America, to the silent opposition felt on campus.

Before you call out a college kid for being made uncomfortable by the thought of an organization that might be bigoted, ask yourself if maybe, just maybe, there’s more to the issue than you understand.


  1. The Catholic Church considers LGBT activity to be a sin against God and a sin against the body and soul of the practitioner. The truth is that there are no “homosexual” people, there are merely men and women made by God for His purposes. Some people are swayed by Satan to practice LGBT nonsense and have convinced our fallen culture that what they are performing is somehow the same thing done by normal people….and it clearly is not. The natural abhorrence for that sort of perversion can only by unlearned by way of the liberal brainwashing. The devil is working hard in middle schools, high schools and Duquesne University to push his LGBT agenda. Already, the Supreme Court of fools has been taken over, as has that idiot Trump. The sexual revolution is what has caused perversions and infertility ,and a falling birthrate and cultural decay. Duquesne University is now a major contributer to the death of the West…………maybe Duquense’s president can get a rainbow flag tatoo on his forehead now…..

  2. To
    clearly you miss the point that virtually all anti-LGBT protestations that choose a Bible quote choose the one from Leviticus rather than the one from Romans 1. And do you mean the same one that also condemns others because “(t)hey are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents…”? Yes, this is why Romans is usually not used.
    And this is how extreme that anti-LGBT behavior can get:
    The LGBT community views businesses like this as a gateway to increased intolerance, prejudice and bigotry.

  3. There is obviously “a little more” to Christianity than this author understands.

  4. To LJ P: would your attitude about Chik-fil-A change if instead you found out the the owner routinely kicks dogs? On purpose? Enough to really injure them?
    This is how the LGBT community feels about businesses that make an effort and point to support discrimination and bigotry. The students who oppose the restaurant are simply standing up and saying “not in my backyard” to discrimination and bigotry.

    And only butter, no mayo? Blech.

  5. very thoughtful opinionated article….leaves a little to be desired however….for example…she mentions feeling like you can’t be yourself because someone, somewhere, decided they don’t believe in it…how does this equate to Chick-fil-A? Where is the correlation between chicken on campus and our faith in Christ? What are safe-spaces and how does Chick-fil-A violate them? And most importantly, Ollie mentions “maybe…just maybe, there’s more to the issue than you understand.” What don’t we understand? What are we missing?

    For me, when someone provides criticism and condemnation without context, it’s just as bad or can do just as much damage as divisive rhetoric….I would seriously love to know…. why???? Why are you so mad at Chick-fil-A’s CEO for having his beliefs? Why take it out on Chick-fil-A as a whole?

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