How did Dan Cathy, president of Chik-fil-A, and Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, get to be good friends? It's a remarkable story of courage, kindness, respect, and a willingness to reach out and listen to each other. We can all learn something from Windmeyer's moving tale of how this unexpected friendship came about, and how it survives.
"Dan expressed regret and genuine sadness when he heard of people being treated unkindly in the name of Chick-fil-A -- but he offered no apologies for his genuine beliefs about marriage.
"And in that we had great commonality: We were each entirely ourselves. We both wanted to be respected and for others to understand our views. Neither of us could -- or would -- change. It was not possible. We were different but in dialogue. That was progress."
There are certain details in the story that I personally am not thrilled about, like Chik-fil-A ceasing its donations to groups that I think are unfairly labeled as hateful. And I'm sure there are other details that many of Shane Windmeyer's allies are not thrilled about. But let's not lose sight of the big picture. However difficult it might have been, these two men have achieved something rare and valuable: They've demonstrated that those on both sides of this ever-widening chasm in our culture can lay aside the slogans and the bitterness and the anger, and just talk to each other. Their friendship offers hope in a situation that has often seemed completely hopeless. That is indeed progress.