There is a scene in the first Spider-Man movie from 2002 that pops into my head fairly often. It’s the scene where the villain tells Spider-Man, “the only thing the world loves more than a hero, is to watch a hero fall.”
I felt like this statement was true over the last week as pastors and bloggers rushed to condemn a restaurant because they changed which charities they financially support. Why would the collective evangelical voice be in such uproar? To be fair they still give millions of dollars to end hunger, and help the poor and marginalized.
It almost seems like this Christian outrage is a seasonal allergy. Remember when everyone got upset at Starbucks for their red cups? That was around this same time of year.
This overreaction gets picked up by a media that loves to fan the flames. Our response seemed so quick and fierce, going so far to say that this fast food giant had betrayed us somehow.
If you haven’t noticed I haven’t mentioned it by name except for the title because I want you to remember that we are talking about a restaurant that serves good fries and chicken and not an individual.
Restaurants are mostly amoral. There are a few exceptions that use immorality as the main theme for their customers, but that would not apply here. Basically, restaurants are just buildings with a kitchen and seats. They cannot be good or bad morally; that is reserved only for individuals.
But it is not an individual we are angry at; it’s some unspoken collective of leadership that we think is caving to social pressure. You don’t know the names of these people, nor do you know all the reasons for this decision. Facts like this should firmly apply pressure to the break pedal of our brains.
I think one of the reasons people get so upset by this is because of the value they associate with this food chain. It’s like a Golden Calf that makes them feel like their own values are good and righteous.
In a society of believers with a shallow faith, some people need
these little victories to make them feel as though they are winning the culture
war. It’s totally possible some have delegated their charity and voice to such
an entity, and when it doesn’t meet their standards, they fear they might have
to do the work themselves.
I’m of the opinion that this fast food chain still has better morals then those who critique or praise their every decision. They give more money to charity than many believers; they are always closed on Sunday, but many of us don’t always go to church on Sunday. Their staff is always friendly even if someone is rude; we tend to be nice only when other people are nice to us. Lastly, they serve everyone, and we tend to give attention to those who are similar to us.
I imagine that if they still had the service and food that they do, it would still be extremely popular, regardless of what their founders believed. I’ve never decided which restaurant to eat at by asking what their charitable contributions are. Instead of us being mad at them, I think it’s more reasonable for them to be mad at us for acting more like the world and less like Jesus.