In what has to be one of the most self-serving apologies I have heard in a long time, Adam Smith, apologizes to Rachel, the Chick-Fil-A employee he badgered and berated. You have to be living under a rock to not to know what I am talking about and I envy you that. This whole kerfuffle over Dan Cathy answering a question that was put to him has done nothing if not expose the ignorance of the general American populace and reinforce the veracity of the doctrine of Total Depravity. Here you can find a video of Mr. Smith's behavior and a statement about him losing his job. And then you can watch his apology video. Ready? Here goes.
I have no doubt that given the amount of negative attention Mr. Smith has received, it has become clear to him that he was wrong. In fact, I think he was so struck by Rachel's grace and composure that he felt compelled to try and make her feel better, hence the "nice guy" comment. I also think he realized his efforts at championing the homosexual population was going horribly wrong and he felt compelled to say he wasn't gay so his actions wouldn't be a mark on them. However, the pattern emerging seems to indicate Mr. Smith isn't good at communicating. Even his attempts at apology and contrition are self-serving. He used Rachel yet again to make his point to the world. The saddest part is I am not sure he knows it or that most folks will recognize it. I think it's a teachable moment for folks though, hence the post.
First of all, he wants to explain his behavior and let the world know he's tried to apologize already and in person. If his objective was to apologize to Rachel why would he need to let us know he went to Chick-Fil-A and Rachel quite understandably preferred not to speak to him? Because he wants to build his case about being a nice guy. That's why. Such an admission did nothing to restore Rachel, in fact it may give some muddled thinkers a cause to wonder if she is really as nice as she seems. After all he tried to make things right and she refused. You'd have to be pretty muddled in your thinking to go there, but none the less I am sure some have.
Next let's talk about his explaining his former employers told him not to upload an apology video. Why do we need to know that bit of information if this video is an apology to Rachel? Once again, it serves his purpose of trying to convince us he's a nice guy. That's why.
Next he takes the opportunity in his apology to Rachel to reiterate the reasons he believes her employer is an evil corporation that must be stopped. What has that to do with a sincere apology to Rachel? Nothing. It served Mr. Smith, not Rachel.
Here's the thing I would like Mr. Smith and others to understand. Not everyone supporting Chick-Fil-A is evil. Not everyone opposing same sex marriage is hateful. Disagreement is not the same as hate. Is it possible to combine the two? Yes. Mr Smith proved that in the way he treated Rachel and considered her collateral damage. To be fair folks claiming to be Christians have behaved hatefully to homosexuals. The folks in journalism like to report on extremes and have aided in creating an Us vs Them mentality wherein all Christians behave like the Westboro folks and all homosexuals behave in a manner true to their most outrageous stereotypes. Inaccurate though it is, read any paper or watch the news and you will see it gets perpetuated daily. Why? Because that's what sells, not truth or moderation. It's difficult to find folks who care about truth these days, isn't it?
Mr. Smith's apology, where do I begin? I know that folks can get caught up in their emotions and then do pretty stupid things. I have first had experience with it. I want to challenge you to consider what an apology really is. It's a statement acknowledging behavior you regret committing. It is not something that needs an introduction and a list of reasons why you committed the regrettable act. A true apology video would resemble this: "Rachel, I treated you so unkindly and you were so gracious and kind while I did. I am very sorry for my behavior. It was inexcusable. Please, forgive me. I regret that this is the only method I have to apologize and I hope you see this."
A video in that ilk would have been more believable. Regardless, at some point agendas have to come to halt and plain old civility needs to kick in. I am praying sooner than later for that event.
Mr. Smith, I don't really have much hope that you will ever read this but in the off chance you do, I want you to know that I am sure your life is difficult right now and that I am committing to pray for you and your family. I am asking that God will protect you and yours from people who make threats and are bent on being hateful to you or have some warped sense of reciprocity. I am also asking Him to soften your heart a bit so you can come to see the difference between a difference of opinion and hate.
Rachel, I am committed to praying for you too. For you I am asking God to maintain and nurture that sweet and gentle nature you displayed. The world has enough opinionated people what it needs more of are genuinely kind people who know how to act in public. I want you to know that your winsomeness has inspired me to behave less curmudgeonly and that my dear, is saying something.
Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger. (ESV)