Friday, August 10, 2012


“My stance is simple. Love. That’s all I’m trying to promote.” That sounds just like something Jesus would have said, because that is what he did. He promoted love. Jesus didn’t say that though, a gay protester at the Chic-fil-A “Kiss-Off” this past Friday said it. I had photographed him and his boyfriend making out in front of a local Chic-fil-A and asked what his main goal or purpose behind being there was and that's how he answered me. His name was Matty. A desire to promote love, acceptance, and tolerance is why I’ve written this post – and that trumps my reluctance to put my thoughts on something that’s so politically charged out there so openly.

Let me first start by telling you a little about myself so you can better understand where I’m coming from with all this. I was raised Southern Baptist and have lived all over the United States, and even in Europe as a kid. As a result, I had to learn to adapt to different types of cultures and people. In 2001 I moved to Atlanta for commercial photography school and quickly had to adapt to a city that is considered a mecca for homosexuals. “Excuse me, Sweetie” a male server said to me as he walked past me on the server aisle of the restaurant we both worked at here in Atlanta. I responded to this in a not so nice way that got his and everybody else’s attention on the servers aisle -- I got written up for it even. This was right after I had moved to Atlanta -- I was not accustom to being referred to as “sweetie” by another man at all. Where I’m from you just don’t do that – and I let him and everybody else there know that.

Fast forward a year or so. I actually went in a gay leather fetish club called the Atlanta Eagle at my own free will for a school assignment I was doing called People On Ponce. I was deliberately trying to interview and do portraits of people from all walks of life that were totally different than me: drug addicts, prostitutes, etc. I got everything I was asking for and then some when I went in the Atlanta Eagle that night. There was not a single female in there that I saw. I will spare you the details, but for the first time I felt what it was like for a woman to get obnoxiously and explicitly hit on, and even have to fear for their safety sexually. Yes, I’m totally straight, so  this was not a fun experience. It took every bit of courage I had in me to stay and find somebody to interview and photograph that night -- somebody that would treat me with the same respect I was trying to show them.

Since then I have developed numerous friendships with different lesbians and gay guys, and in the process I have heard some stories about how horrible it was for them as teenagers growing up in rural areas and realizing that they were not attracted to the opposite sex like they were supposed to be. I truly felt for them, but could only imagine how terrifying that would be. Since then, I’ve also gotten to where I go to church most every Sunday and actually look forward to it, after having walked away from church for years due to the hypocrisy I saw in it, and the feeling that whatever I did would never be good enough. I never quit believing, but I quit trying.

So fast-forward to today. The past few weeks I’ve let the whole Chic-fil-A controversy thing get to me more than it should have. I spend a good bit of my time being isolated from others due to working from home and for myself, so the Internet and social networking is my way of being able to interact with others. Well, when this whole controversy got started, it blew me away and even depressed me when I  read some of the things people -- friends -- would post about it. It wouldn’t be so bad if these were people that were not so bright – but no – it was coming from some deep thinkers. People that I may not agree with on various issues, but that I consider to be intelligent.

The controversy all got started over Dan Cathy’s recent statement about his personal beliefs and support of “the biblical definition of a family unit.” He never said he hated gays, or that he was anti-gay, but you’d think he had based on how some people responded to it. Those that are more on the left side of things, and the media, were acting as if Chic-fil-A was hell and Dan Cathy was Lucifer himself. I just couldn’t understand why all these people were so surprised and offended by his comments. To me, it’s pretty obvious that it’s a faith-based company due to the fact that the company shuts down on Sundays – giving up all that potential revenue because that’s what The Bible – that’s what God says they should do. Why is it that some of these people that like to think of themselves as intellectually superior to others were so shocked by him standing behind what he believed in. If they're truly intellectually superior than shouldn't basic reasoning and logic tell them that he felt this way without him ever saying it? Why is it that they feel like he would be so concerned about not getting their business anymore when the company has already shown that they recognize that there is more to life than money by shutting down on Sundays? It baffled me.

So, thorough all this I paid close attention not so much to what the media said about it, but what my own personal friends were saying about it online. I have friends that range from the far right to the far left politically, and everywhere in between – and I appreciate them all for different reasons. Me, I’m an anomaly. I’m a Christian and respect the fact that Dan Cathy stood up and openly said what his personal beliefs were, knowing he would get heat for it. But, I’m also a supporter of gay marriage and feel that Christians have no business telling Non-Christians how to live their lives when most Christians don’t even do a very good job of acting like Christians themselves -- including me.

Okay, so before any of you post strong worded comments to me in response to this, please bear with me. I promise that everything I have to say is with good intent, and I know this is a long post, but it needs to be, to clearly cover the issues it’s about. In an effort to hopefully help my friends and family possibly see the situation differently regardless of what side they’re on -- I went to both the "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” this past Wednesday, and the "Chic-fil-A Kiss-Off” this past Friday, and I took my camera and a notebook with me. Below was what I experienced and my thoughts on both days / sides of things.

Chic-fil-A Appreciation Day :: 08.01.12

I showed up to my local Chick-fil-A that day at 11:30 hoping I’d beat the lunch rush crowd, eat, and then be free to mingle with the customers. I didn’t -- the place was packed already. I went to approach the other customers, ask them what their opinion of the whole situation was, and take a portrait of them while I was at it. I was not there to argue with them or challenge them in any way. One particular customer didn’t seem to recognize this though. I'll get to him in a minute, but first I wanna share the portraits and thoughts of the others that were willing to give me their time that day:

This is Jay. He's 20 years old, from Lawrenceville, and a auto-tech at a local garage. Jay told me he had no issue with gay marriage or the comments Dan Cathy made. "Everybody should have the right to choose who they want to spend their life with and love." he told me. 

This is Heidi. She is a 27 year old middle school string orchestra teacher from Fayettville, GA. She told me she had no idea it was Chic-fil-A appreciation day until she got there that day and ask somebody why it was so crowded. She then went on to tell me that she stood behind Chic-fil-A,  and that she is pro traditional marriage. "I believe gay marriage is wrong, but you won't catch me at a anti-gay rally." She talked about how hateful Christians can act these days and how they've seemed to have "lost the attitude of Jesus." Love the sinner, not the sin." she said. "One sin is no greater than the other" she told me in regards to how some Christians are being so judgemental towards gays but don't feel like their own sins are any big deal. She was raised Southern Baptist but now considers herself to be non-denominational. She then went on to tell me that she had been married three years but that things have not been going so well with it recently. I was actually amazed at how comfortable she seemed talking with me, a complete stranger, about something so personal. I will not go into the details, but she did tell me, "I believe no problem is bigger than God." in response to me asking if she felt it would get any better. After I took this portrait of her and wished her well I told her I felt like giving her a big hug after hearing about her marriage issues. She held out her arms as if she'd appreciate that -- so that's what I did. I think that hug was the best part of my day that day.

This is Elizabeth and her six year old son. She was there that day with both him and  her 17 year old daughter. All three of them seemed to be really good natured. "It goes back to free speech, and I'm 100% behind Cathy." "What you do in your bedroom does not define who you are. I bet there are people in these lines here right now that are gay." she said. "Why should the opinion of a company president effect whether you decide to eat at a restaurant or not. His opinion does not define the company as a whole, or the product and service they provide." She went on to tell me that she felt Chic-fil-A was the best fast food restaurant chain in the world and mentioned that they're always clean, have friendly service, and good food. She told me that particular location was their favorite. Right about this time the store owner came out and ask me to leave in the nicest possible way. She even offered to get me a lemon-aid free of charge to take with me. When I showed her I already had sweet tea she offered to refill it for me and did. I wonder if she was aware that I was a paying customer when she came and asked me to leave? I took no offense to it regardless though.
This was that particular locations department of health inspection score.  Nobody can deny that Chic-fil-A consistently is one of the cleanest fast food joints you can go to. I went to three different stores during this project. The other two had scores of 94 and 98. And they're customer service is great. Example: I ask for a half and half tea with lots of ice -- meaning -- give me half sweet and half unsweet. You can tell this to servers in much higher end restaurants and it'll go in one ear and out the other. Well, this guy brought my tea back and informed me that it may still be too sweet due to him adding more sweet than he meant to. He then told me to just bring it back and he'd make me a new one if I didn't like it. It's things like this that will keep me coming back to a restaurant -- not what the company president or owners political beliefs are.

So back to the customer that didn't seem to get that I wasn't there to argue or get in a debate with anybody -- his name was Alfred. I introduced myself to him, explained what I was doing there, and asked if he cared to share his thoughts with me as well as let me do a quick portrait of him. He agreed and inviting me to sit down. I soon found out that he was Pentecostal and that he was a pretty devout Christian. “Love the sinner not the sin” he told me. He then went on to tell me he was for traditional marriage. Marriage is not for the downgrading or degrading of civilization, it’s to lift up civilization. It’s for procreation.” “How could you have been born with two women living together?” he asked me.

It wasn’t long before he began to challenge me though. I had mentioned to him that I believed in equal rights for those that are gay when I introduced myself but that I was also a Christian. So he asked me to define equal rights. When I did, using what I felt was the pretty basic example of not having the benefit of being able to get on their partners insurance plan like a spouse can in marriage, he seemed to just act like I didn’t know what I was talking about. He told me that he had to pay for insurance for his wife and that gay couples can still buy insurance for their partner the same way he does and that they (gay couples) were not denied any rights. I tried to explain that I knew you could buy insurance for somebody else, but that you were not able to get on your partners insurance plan if they happened to have great insurance through their job, unless they were married to that person. Once again, he wanted to argue with this concept.

I was lost, feeling like maybe it was me. I felt like maybe I wasn’t expressing my thoughts clearly enough. It wasn’t me though, it was him. Soon after this I realized that he had no desire to understand me. He mentioned to me that I had a “Gimmie. I want it free attitude.” Once he said this, it occurred to me that he had placed me in 99% Protester category, when I certainly am not, just because I had mentioned I supported equal rights for gay couples. I never once mentioned ANYTHING about the health care debate or that I expected it for free, but that’s where he took it. He continued to challenge me. I cited the 14th Admenment’s Equal Protection Clause as a basis for my beliefs. This did not seem to slow him down. It was as if he was taking pride in feeling he was smarter than me. I mentioned to him about how some churches preach hate, and he actually asked me to give him examples of it, telling me that in all his years he had never seen or heard of churches preaching hate. This pretty much left me speechless and wondering what planet he had been living on. How about Westboro Baptist Church for starters, Alfred -- how about them. Their URL is Yeah.  Too me, Alfred was a prime example of why some people are so put off by Christianity and those that are on the conservative side of things politically. He acted very friendly to the restaurant employee’s, and even me to a degree, but it felt very superficial -- like I was talking to a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He declined to let me do the portrait of him, which bothered me since I had spent so much time with him already, but I felt the story about him was too good, and ridiculous / sad not to share. I promised him I would share it, and I have now, in detail.

For The Christians 

Yes, I know what The Bible says about homosexuality. And yes, it says that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God in I Corinthians 6:9-11. But how about everything else included on that list?
  • The sexually immoral. (Any of you having premarital sex, looking at porn, or just looking at the opposite sex in a lustful way? Anyone?)
  • Idolaters (Anyone love something of this world more than Jesus? Anyone? Anyone?)
  • Adulterers (Anyone?)
  • Thieves (Any of you ever fudged on your taxes? Anyone?)
  • The Greedy (Anyone?)
  • Drunkards (How many of you don't willingly drink too much at times?) 
  • Slanderers (Yes, I realize the irony of this, since I'm guilty of it just through writing this post.)
  • Swindlers (Ever taken advantage of somebody else's ignorance for your own gain? Anyone?)
My point is that I see Christians throwing rocks at the homosexual community, acting as if they're morally or spiritually superior to them in some way, when they're not -- according to the Bible. Every single one of us is, or has been, guilty of one or all of these items on the list at some point or another. It was Jesus that hung out with the tax collectors when everybody else despised them. It was Jesus that kept the adulteress from getting stoned to death by suggesting that anybody there that was not guilty of a sin throw the first rock at her. So, stop throwing rocks at the homosexual community. Stop judging the homosexual community because they sin differently than you. Stop trying to dictate how non-Christians live their lives when most of us Christians are horrible at living like Christians ourselves. Live it, don't preach it. Lead by example, not by condemnation. Isn't that what Jesus did?

In regards to the argument that I've heard from Christians about homosexuals choosing to be that way. Yes, I agree that some might, due to frustrations they've encountered with the opposite sex, but, most of the gay people I know would tell you that realizing they were gay was like a curse on them at some point. You can't choose who you're attracted to. Sometimes you find yourself attracted to people and not know why -- knowing that they're no good for you. You don't want to be attracted to them, but you just are for some reason or another. Well, put yourself in the shoes of an adolescent kid that has all those hormones raging and try to imagine how confusing it must be to realize that you're not attracted to the opposite sex like most everybody else? How horrible would that feel? How horrible would it feel to have your friends and family shun you if you openly came out about it? So, as a Christian, don't you feel that they need God's love and grace as much as, if not more, than everybody else? How do you think God feels about you using His word to make them feel like they're not worthy of his love and grace? How are you any better than them for making them feel this way? If you're Christian and you make people that aren't all that you feel a "christian" church goer" should be, feel like they're not welcome at your church because they don't dress nice enough, they have tattoo's,  or they've have or had drug or alcohol issues etc. Shame on you. How do you think God feels about you doing that?

So, lets just put the religious side of things aside and look at it from a purely legal standpoint? Check out the Fourteenth Amendments Equal Protection Clause. Yes. It basically states that no state can deny any citizen of the United States the equal protection of the laws. So, as an example, somebody can not be forced to testify against his or her spouse in court. Gay couples are denied this protection though, because they can't be legally married in certain states -- even though they may be in a more loving and healthy relationship than a lot of traditional married couples.  As a Christian aren't you supposed to obey the state and federal laws? Well, the Fourteenth Amendment is one of them.  It's part of our constitution. So what right do we have to make these human beings feel like second-class citizens that are not worthy of their constitutional rights because they're gay? So, regardless of what it says in The Bible, denying a gay couple the same legal rights and benefits that a traditionally married couple has is purely wrong and unlawful based on the constitution. You may as well say that it's a law that people believe in God and go to church every Sunday. We live in a free country, but right now some people are being denied the freedom to share their life with who they choose and have the same benefits as straight couples. I know I wouldn't like being told I couldn't marry a certain type of girl that happened to be the type I loved and was attracted to. That would just suck. So why the Christian community can't understand the gay communities frustration with this -- I just don't understand it.

Christians, whether you like it or not, things are going to continue to change in ways that you may not like. It even says this in The Bible. This is not always a bad thing though. Looking back on our history, do you think it's right to not allow women the right to vote? Do you think it's right to make black people sit in the "colored" section of a bus? Do you think it's right to treat an interracial couple like dirt because their skin color or ethnicity doesn't match up -- even though they were lucky enough to find somebody they truly love that loves them back? Does any of that make sense to you now? I hope not. So, know and expect that there will be more and more Christians like me that support gay rights as time passes. I'm not saying what The Bible says about homosexuality is wrong, I'm saying that how the Christian community is treating the homosexual community is wrong. God doesn't love you anymore than he loves them, no matter how good of a Christian you might be.  

The Chic-Fil-A Kiss Off :: 08.03.12

For the Kiss Off I first ended up going to one Chic-fil-A and it was business as usual -- busy and friendly. I was really looking for gay couples to be in there making out with each other -- no such thing was going on though. I quickly finished up eating and made my way down to another one right in the heart of the city. Midtown, at the corner of Peachtree and 14th. That's where the action was. Here is what I experienced and saw while there.

That's Matty in the blue shirt, who I've already quoted above, and Trevor on the left in the white shirt. I asked for their opinion on the whole situation and Trevor said, "I hope this will help people decide if they want to be on the right side of history or not. Love will win in the end. It always does." Matty said, "My stance is simple. Love. It's all I am trying to promote." 

This is "Jack" on the left, and Noelle on the right. After saying "Yes! I'm Queer!" in a very joyful way after I asked if she was gay, Jack told me, "I think that it's absolutely hateful to discriminate against individuals based on what their family may constitute, whether that's a man and a woman, man and a man, or a women and a women." Noelle told me that she was not gay, and was just there to support the gay community.

Security was there from the building that the Chic-fil-A was in, trying to get the kiss-off participants off the property via the Atlanta Police.  

That's Hero on the left, and Brice on the right -- they're just friends they told me. When I asked what his take on the whole situation was he said, "My take is that, you know, the people of Chic-fil-A are more than welcome to support whatever issue it is they want to support and that's fine, but there are those of us that believe in equality and we're not gonna support someone who donates millions of dollars to keep us down." Brice's thoughts were, "I think that everyone is free to, you know, do what they want to, including making choices about where your money goes if you have that choice to make. But, just as you're free to do that, we are free to express how we feel about it, so I'm pretty much here to make it clear that I'm for being gay, and being gay wherever I want to be gay." 

A reporter from the Atlanta Journal Constitution interviewing Hero and Brice. Right after this was taken, all of the kiss-off participants were asked to leave the property.

I was a little shocked to hear something like this about Chic-fil-A myself, so I looked into it, and was amazed  at what I found. Check out this link. Yeah, apparently all faith based organizations are "hate groups." This is why I like to investigate things like this myself -- because the spin the media puts on things is laughable and sad at the same time. Based on the logic they're using in this article, The Bible is a hate manual. Fellowship of Christian Athletes is a hate group? Really? 

This is something I noticed that a friend posted to their facebook the other day.  Notice it came from the group, "Jesus was Not A Republican." Apparently liberals think very highly of themselves as a group. Well, how about this. Another friend who is very openly liberal and atheist posted this on his facebook the night of the Chic-fil-A appreciation day: "So did you go to Chic-fil-A today? Go ahead, man up. Tell me you went so I'll know which of you fuckstains are dead to me." This is coming from somebody "free from prejudice or narrow thinking." Right. The guy that posted this is actually a really talented dude and is not somebody I would consider to be ignorant or dumb at all. I've actually had reasonable discussions with him on various issues. I like him and appreciate some of the points he's made to me. He's even told me he's envious of those that have the security that religious faith brings -- but that he just can't believe in God. But that's what he posted. That's how strongly he apparently feels about the situation.  So, the liberal society likes to present and think of themselves as the more tolerant and generous of the two, but this is how they act when somebody says or does something that doesn't fall within what they feel is right? 

This is just another example of the pot calling the kettle black.  Roseanne feels like it's perfectly okay to say something as nasty as this, but what Dan Cathy said -- oh no -- how dare he. Can you say bigot? 

For The Homosexual and Liberal Community

First and foremost, know that not all Christian's are hateful hypocrites like they've done an excellent job of making themselves out to be. Sadly, Christians have made it where they're more known for what they're against than what they're for these days. I don't think that most people -- especially non-christians -- realize that the majority of the Bible deals with how we should treat those that are down on their luck in life. The poor. And there are many ways to be poor other than monetarily if you think about it. A lot of churches and faith based companies, like Chic-fil-A, give money to things like homeless shelters, and what you all have labeled as "hate" organizations like Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Let me just go ahead and say that I'm one of those people that gives money to the church and organizations like FCA. Do I come across as somebody that's anti-gay to you?

I read the list of organizations that the media has labeled as anti-gay hate groups here and found it almost laughable. Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Really? I actually participated in Fellowship of Christian Athletes activities when I was in grade school. I personally have known somebody my whole life that works for FCA. He's a pastor and, to me, an excellent example of how a Christian should act. He's like family to me, and I'm proud to say I know him. Not once have I ever heard anything "anti-gay" at a FCA event or from him. What I have heard at these events and from him is a non-wavering faith in what The Bible says.

Yes, I know The Bible says some things that seem just plain nutty now -- things that just are not seen as  right in today's culture. Examples: In the Old Testament days it was common to have multiple wives and concubines. Solomon, the writer of Proverbs, among other books in the Bible, was said to have had 700 wives.  Seven Hundred. It says in The Bible that men shouldn't cut their hair, yet now, it's frowned upon in very conservative christian cultures to have long hair as a male.  It says that we should not eat pork -- yet Chic-fil-A themselves serve it up for breakfast. My point is that you can either find reasons to believe in or not believe in God and what The Bible says. But you can't deny that in general what it teaches is for the overall good of us as human beings, whether we like it or not.
  • Stealing from somebody? They're not gonna like it. You can go to jail for it. 
  • Sleep with somebody else's husband? His wife isn't going to like that. 
  • Gluttony? Eating too much can and will destroy your health.
  • Debt? The borrower is truly slave to the lander. Do you want to be a slave?
  • Pre-martial sex? This can lead to the inability to experience true intimacy when somebody special does come along, because you've given yourself to so many people prior to them. 
  • Drink too much? Your drinking can destroy your life when not controlled. 
  • Envy? Jealousy and constantly comparing yourself to others can destroy your ability to be content in life.
I can go on. What I'm getting at, is that overall it's in our best interest to pay attention to most of what you can learn from the Bible, regardless of whether you believe in God or not. Read the book of Proverbs sometime -- in it's entirety. It's like a guide book on how to live your life. It's tough to argue with the logic in it -- Christian or not. So, the media is labeling faith based organizations, like Fellowship of Christian Athletes as "anti-gay hate groups" when they're not. They're just teaching basic biblical principles, and The Bible saying homosexuality is wrong is one of those principles, but it's not their soul focus like the media has portrayed it. Fellowship of Christian Athletes does far more good than harm. They reach out to kids and give them guidance they may have not been lucky enough to receive from home. These kids may have crap for parents. Absent parents. Parents with serious substance abuse issues. Parents that just are not present in their life. That's what the "anti-gay groups"like Fellowship of Christian Athletes are doing. That's what Chic-fil-A is donating their money to. I assure you they're not putting on and funding gay bashing rallies.

No, you don't have to be a Christian to be a good person. My dad is just below Jesus when it comes to setting an example to me on how a Christian should act, yet I can count on one hand how many times I recall seeing him in a church service other than a wedding or funeral. I think he's agnostic. It doesn't matter to me -- he's still the most kind hearted human being I know. He is also more of a liberal than conservative in my opinion. But, I'd bet my life he's not out there calling or thinking of those that went to Chic-fil-A Appreciation Day as "fuckstains."

To me, as a whole, the liberal and gay community see themselves as the more tolerant and compassionate side of society. Are you really though? When was the last time you volunteered your time for a good cause? When was the last time you gave money that you didn't really have to give, to  help somebody that was down on their luck? I'm not trying to condemn you. I'm trying to challenge you. If you really want to be the more tolerant part of society than be that, and quit whining about Dan Cathy, the president of a private company, being honest with his personal beliefs when asked about them. He is exercising his right to free speech.

Do you realize that by calling for Chic-fil-A to be denied new locations,  you're doing the same thing that the racist did in regards to segregation? Put the shoe on the other foot and think of how you would  feel if Dan Cathy came out and said he would not open any new stores in states that allow gay marriage? That would go over about like a turd in a punch bowl with the liberal and gay community -- yet Cathy's statements were so much less offensive than that -- yet the liberal and gay community feels it's alright to openly say they don't want Chic-fil-A in new locations because Dan Cathy voiced his opinion in a unapologetic way when asked.

How Dan Cathy feels does not define the company. They have clean restaurants, great and friendly customer service, and good food. You don't go in Chic-fil-A and see any kind of faith based signage. They're not playing gospel music. They're not pounding you over the head with Christianity by printing bible verses on their packaging. They treat there employee's well, and it shows in how they treat their customers. The personal beliefs of the COO of the company has no bearing on the service or product they provide. I don't judge where I eat based on whether the owner of a restaurant is liberal or conservative, gay or straight, male or female, black or white. I can careless. What I do care about is if the place is clean, the service is good, and the food is good. If it meets all of these requirements than I'll keep coming back. I don't care or feel that I need to know where the restaurants owner donates their money -- whether it be to a church, or pro equal rights company. It does speak well for their character that they believe in a cause enough that they donate their hard earned money to support it -- even when it's a cause I may not believe in. Giving your time and money on a regular basis to a good cause that you believe in will prevent greed from getting the best of you.

So if you want to be the more tolerant side of society -- than really be more tolerant of those with beliefs different than your own. Acting like the president of a private company needs to be burnt at the stake for answering a question about his personal beliefs honestly is not being tolerant.

To Everybody 

I've really struggled with writing this post. I realize it's not good to mix in your political and religious beliefs with your business -- after all -- that's how this whole controversy got started. So, I usually try to keep both my religious and political talk to a minimum when it comes to public mediums like my blog. This issue I felt strongly about, obviously. Being a Christian myself I'm a big believer that it's a sin to waste a God given gift that you know you have. Well for me, I feel like God put me on this earth to take photos that may help people understand others and themselves better. Being able to make somebody feel better about them self through my work is an amazing thing -- I'm so lucky to have discovered what I feel is my calling in life.

So, here recently I've have felt a really strong pull to do something with my ability besides sell a product, personality, or service -- this being the primary job description of commercial photographers. I've wanted to do something that will help others -- both people and animals -- with the abilities I know I have. The abilities that God gave me. It'd be wrong of me not to. So, this blog post has been part of that effort. I'm ashamed to say how many hours I've put into it now -- it's truly been a labor of love. But, if just one Christian reads it and begins to treat the gay community with more compassion and respect than it's been totally worth the time I've put into it. If just one person that's been put off with The Church for some reason or another in the past, gay or not, reads this and realizes that not all Christians are hate filled hypocrites, and possibly sets foot back in church because of what I've written here, than it's been totally worth the time I put into it.

I very much appreciate it if you've managed to hang with me and read all the way through this post. I was really torn between trying to keep it really brief by just posting the photos and quotes, and then just directing you to Mike McHargue's EXCELLENT blog post on the subject, which basically mirrors my beliefs on the topic. That felt like it would have been a cop-out though. I wanted to make sure that I was not misunderstood -- and this is what it turned into. So, if you've read this and see any merit to it than please share it with others on Twitter, Facebook, wherever. Post your thoughts or questions on it in the comments section if you like. I will respond as time allows. This post is not about me or my work, it's about how we treat each other these days in this country. The fact that our country has been divided by the personal beliefs of a private business owner does not speak well for where our priorities are as a society.

Edit: I don't choose my friends based on whether they're male or female, the color of their skin, their sexual preference, their religious beliefs, their political beliefs, where they're from, or where they've been. I choose them based on how they treat me and make me feel. If you're a potential or existing client and have read this post, please don't hold it against me. The effort I put in on any job I do for you is not based on your political or religious beliefs. I always put in my best effort based on the resources I have for any given job. No, this post may not be politically correct, but sometimes doing the right thing and standing up for something you believe in is more important than being politically correct.

Edit 08.12.12 :: Since posting this the other day I've had numerous people message me privately, thanking me for the post. This just goes to show how controversial of a subject it is. Rather than publically comment on it, or post it, they've privately complimented on and thanked me for it, and sent it  only to select friends and family. I understand why. To me, it just goes to show that they're are more Christians out there than we  might realize that aren't so anti-gay afterall, they're just not comfortable with saying it publically due to how they may look to their peers. It also goes to show that maybe there are more liberals out there that are Christian, they just do not want to  be too out in the open about it due to how some Christians act. I very much can relate to this as well. This whole thing really is the civil rights movement of our time. I think, and hope, that one day we'll all look back on this and wonder what we were thinking. One of those people that messaged me suggested that I check out the following video and I'm glad I did. Christians, please take an hour and seven minutes to watch it. It is worth your time. It does not apply to those of you that are agnostic or atheist, but you still may learn something from it:


Unknown said...


Your masterful talent behind a lens puts something on this issue I never could: a human face.

Thank you.

Keith Taylor Photography said...

You're welcome. Attaching a face to quotes and comments from that person makes it a little harder to ignore a situation, or them.

Kristy M said...

Couple of things here.
1.) There seems to be a little of an assumption that libs don't donate time and money. I could be over-reading it, but IME this is quite wrong. Both my husband and I frequently volunteer and donate money to non-profit orgs. Maybe it's just the people we hang around, but that holds true for all most of our friends (both lib and con). We don't even claim all of it on our taxes (we never remember all the places at tax time.)
2.) Chick-Fil-A should NOT be denied locations. Period. It is a civil rights violation (religion) and is wrong. The hypocrisy is strong on both sides.
3.) Fellowship of Christian Athletes is probably not one of the ones that has people upset (unless of course someone happens to be a gay person that was part of them as a kid and told how immoral they are for something they can't control. That becomes a whole nother problem, possibly with very bad consequences.) I put them along side with Boy Scouts of America - mostly really great people in the org, but they do not allow gays. I'm not overly fond of the turmoil this causes kids that are probably going through hard times already. You may not notice it if you are straight, but I'll bet you do if you are gay. But FCA isn't the big problem. Groups like Family Research Council (labeled and tracked as a hate group by SPLC, whom the FBI lists as a reliable source for tracking such things) is one of the true hate groups that CFA donates to (albeit a very small amount.) Some of the other groups are listed as anti-gay because they actively lobby so that gays can not marry, something which denies gays over 1400 rights to heterosexual counterparts. These groups are sometimes labeled as hate, which I guess can be subjective. These same groups do not lobby for other bible immoralities regarding hetrosexual sexual/marriage issues, therefore mostly targeting only gays. I can see how gays may find that to be hate.
4.) I totally agree that there is intolerance on both sides of the argument. Very sad. Intolerance is intolerance, even if fighting against it with other things.
5.) I may be COMPLETELY wrong on this, but I would offer the suggestion that someone that chooses between being with a man or a woman is considered bi-sexual. (I'm sure there are exceptions, but that seems to be the definition of bi-sexual.) Heterosexuals can think of it like this: do you remember choosing to like one sex or another? Probably not - think about it.
6.) Chick-Fil-A also has a history of discrimination. This includes against women and firing a Muslim who refused to pray to Jesus. No cases against gays as it is not a federal crime to discriminate against them.
6.) Excellent blog post. I really enjoyed it. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a thoughtful, balanced, and honest blog. This is a sensitive issue for me ... I am Christian, conservative, and gay. You took a controversial issue and presented it in a compassionate way. It's disheartening to see the attacks from both sides on this issue as they only further divide our country. However, blogs such as yours serve to bridge the gap and, as for me, it is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

P.S. As always, amazing portraits!

Keith Taylor Photography said...


Thank you for such a well thought out reply.

Of course I don't think all liberals don't donate their time or money at all. I was just getting across that so many like to talk, but how many actually "do". Same thing goes for Christians. How many really "love one another", even when the "others" are different than them. There are a lot of Christians, based on my experience, that like to go to church Sunday mornings, but may rarely, if ever, actively go out and be or act like a Christian during the week, except for when it comes to condemning others that they do not aprove of. The liberal side can be much the same way to those that are on the right. So it's just a bunch of people that like to talk, but when it comes to doing, they're not so good at that. Whether it be liberals being more "tolerant" or Christians "loving one another." Rather than fussing so much, go out and do something to help out a cause you believe in, regardless of what side you're on. That's what I was getting at and not meaning to single out either side.

In regards to where Chic-fil-A has donated their money. I had limited time to really research where all they had put their money and what each of those companies was about. The one that stood out to me that was on that site that I provided the link to was FCA, because I personally have been a part of their activities. Most ANY faith based company organization is gonna be "anti-gay" to some degree because that's what The Bible says. As far as what you said about these groups ignoring a lot of other things the Bible says, but focusing on everything it says about homosexuality being wrong, that was my point to the Christians that read the post. If you have time, take the time to watch the video I posted at the end of the post. I know you're agnostic, but it is really interesting to hear the guy break the whole thing down based solely on what The Bible says. I think you would appreciate it, just from a knowledge standpoint, rather than spiritual. Churches are pretty good at making all sorts of people feel like they're not worthy and don't belong there. It's not just gays they do that to.

Not sure about, Chic-fil-a in regards to discrimination. Maybe they have been. But haven't we all been guilty of discrimination at some point or another -- even though we don't mean to? I do think it is pretty much their policy to only hire Christians though. I'm not certain, but that's pretty much the way they roll as far as I know. People should look at the good in the company, too. Last week on the news they did a segment on how kids and parents could come to a local church for free school supplies. They had enough for like 5000 kids. Well, as I was watching I caught a glimpse of one of the bags the supplies for each kid were in. It had a Chic-fil-A logo on it -- which to me -- let me know that Chic-fil-A was the main funder of it all. The news didn't point that out though. So to me, that's an example of some people being focused on everything that they deem to be so wrong with them, and totally looking over what they've done right.

Thank you again for your thoughtful reply to it all though -- I always appreciate your take on things. I appreciate the compliment on the post and you taking the time to read it.


Keith Taylor Photography said...


"As always, amazing portraits!"

I assume from this comment that I know you, or that you follow my work.

Thank you for taking the time to read what I had to say and for the compliment. Please pass a link to the post to others that you think may appreciate it.

Best of luck to you.


Kristy said...

Thanks Keith! I'll take a look at the video. Couldn't earlier because I was on my phone reading and the battery was low. :-)
Quick point: Chick-Fil-A is not allowed to hire only Christians (but they can fire for some pretty vague things.) They still fall under federal EEOC rules, even in right-to-work states. There are specific categories that are protected against discrimination (race, color, religion, sex, or national origin) for most USA companies.
A company discriminating is very different than a person, but yes, I think we all discriminate in one way or another. Hopefully we recognize it quickly and stop.

Dollie said...

I loved every word of this blog. Great job, Keith!

Keith Taylor Photography said...

Thank you, Dollie. Glad you found it worth your time.