Poor Dan Cathy. It doesn’t appear that he has learned from his last go-round with the public last year. Once again he opened his mouth regarding the issue of gay marriage. In fewer than 140 characters he tweeted his disappointment with the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding DOMA.

I’m not exactly sure why this is news. It’s not like the world is surprised to know his position on how to define family. He was pretty clear last year that he believed in a biblical model of marriage. But it seems that some are quite put out that he would voice disappointment (and thus his opposition) with the Supreme Court overturning DOMA.

People are calling him names; accusing him of hate and bigotry. This bothers me on two levels:

~ First, the laws that provide pro-gay activists the right to express their opinions are the same laws that provide a voice to those who favor a biblical definition of marriage. I find it frustrating that some people demand the right to be heard but then try to silence any who oppose them. Free speech ought to be just that. It doesn’t matter what your personal belief is, when we start restricting people from expressing their opinions then we have lost one of our nation’s highest ideals. So it doesn’t matter if your are for or against marriage equality, Protestant, Catholic, Wiccan, or Atheist, you should be able to voice your opinion. Our country seems to be moving in a direction that the Christian voice is being shushed any time it speaks out regarding ethics or morality.

~ Second, giving one’s opponents derogatory labels is a cheap way of silencing opposition. It is not hateful or bigoted to express disagreement. It is a religious perspective. If Dan Cathy had kept his values to himself and never treated homosexuals in a poor manner then no one would have known his perspective. He would not have been labeled as hater or bigot. Simply because he expressed his opinion does not make him a bigot. He has not altered hiring practices or service standards at any of his restaurants. We should be able to disagree with each other civilly without resorting to name-calling. In the end, it is Cathy’s detractors who have become hateful and rude towards him and his expressed opinion.

Should Cathy have said what he did? That’s a different kind of question. I don’t think he was wrong to express his opinion. I don’t even think he opinions were wrong – I happen to agree that the biblical perspective of marriage is God’s ideal for healthy families and societies. But I don’t know if Cathy should have expressed his view publically. Perhaps he was caught up in the frenzy like so many others and tweeted before really reflecting on it.

C’mon, who hasn’t said something you wish you could retract later on?

The Bible tells us to be careful with our tongues. Just as a small rudder can steer a large ship, the small tongue can do a lot of damage. We often will speak without thinking about what we’re saying or who will be affected by our words. Dan Cathy is learning the hard way that words have consequences (even though I agree with the content of his words).

So learn a lesson from Dan Cathy. Even though we might not have the national platform he does – although I wouldn’t mind having 40,000+ followers on Twitter 😉 – our words have weight and impact. So watch what you say and how you say it. Consider not just your words but how your words will come across to others. Controlling your mouth will save you from hurting others or causing yourself grief.

Discretion. Look it up. I bet Dan Cathy had…