On August 1st droves of people showed up at Chick-fil-A restaurants all over country. It’s not a huge leap to believe that the vast majority of them would claim to be followers of Jesus, but you know that. This is not another article about that, because God knows the world doesn’t need another Chick-fil-A blog post, especially when it was said best here, and here.
I bring it up because, for better or worse (I tend to think for worse), Christians were mobilized, and in a way that is exciting.
This mobilization of Christians is important to note because on Tuesday the news broke about a woman named Angela Prattis in Delaware County in Pennsylvania was told by Chester Township that she was in violation of local zoning ordinances by feeding children of the community, food provided by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, on her own property.
According to a few news stories the township has communicated to Ms. Prattis that she can continue distributing food for the rest of the summer, but if she resumes next summer, when children are once again not receiving meals at school, she will be fined up to $600 for every day that she distributes food. The Township said that she can apply for a variance, however that will cost her $1,000.00, and even then, it doesn’t appear that she will be guaranteed that a variance will be approved.
So let’s take a step back and look at this situation. Here is a woman answering the call/command of Jesus to care for the poor, and a local government has said no. Many people I talked to who were supportive of Chick-fil-A felt that they were speaking out for the CEO’s first amendment right to free speech, but this issue in Chester Township is a violation of a person’s call to follow Jesus. Standing up for free speech is a worthy thing to stand up for, but we have an even greater allegiance to Christ.
Christians should see the prohibition of the right to care for the poor as unacceptable.
That doesn’t mean that we burn down city hall, send hate mail, or even post snippy remarks on Facebook. We should go through proper channels whenever possible, and heed the Apostle Paul’s words to “as far as it depends on [us], be at peace with all people.”
For this reason, I was happy to read in one report about Ms. Prattis, that donations for the variance fee were pouring in after the story broke. But if the variance isn’t approved and if this isn’t resolved by next summer, then the call of Jesus still must be answered, and Ms. Prattis shouldn’t be there alone.
The line at the Chick-fil-A on August 1st should gather again at the house of Ms. Prattis next summer and join her in a holy act of civil disobedience.