Why I Will Continue to Eat Mor Chikin

Chick-fil-a Rally Cow. Source Unknown

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock or you are one of the few who don’t have a Facebook account (the horror!), then chances are good you’ve heard about the recent controversy surrounding the nation’s premiere seller of all things chicken.

Dan Cathy, son of Chick-fil-a founder Truett Cathy, made a statement last week that incited waves of both rage and support. It was a bold move and, as much as people may not like his decision to publicly state his beliefs, it was an inevitable move. For several months I’ve watched, slightly bemused, as people began posting the news on Facebook of the organizations financially supported by Chick-fil-a.

Given the intense scrutiny they were under for the organizations they chose to support, I figured it was only a matter of time before Chick-fil-a was forced to make some kind of statement.

For days now, I’ve watched with a bit of confusion as people left and right, from Facebook posts, to official statements by major companies and public rants by elected officials, have tossed out words such as “tolerance,” “diversity,” and “discrimination.”

“You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against the population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion. That’s the Freedom Trail. That’s where it all started right here. And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail,” huffed Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

“The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors,” stated CEO Lisa Henson.

“I, along with many others, are boycotting chick-fil-a for your bigotry,” someone wrote on Chick-fil-a’s Facebook page.

And my personal favorite from their Facebook page: “Chick-fil-a is anti-gay!”

More than anything, I find the terminology being used here disturbing. What Dan Cathy said is anything but discriminatory. He stated a belief and an opinion, both of which he has every right to uphold. He did not say that anyone who believes different was not welcome to work at his chain or eat at his restaurants. Let’s not diminish the horror that is true discrimination.

Not allowing blacks to share the same bathrooms, sit on public buses, eat in public restaurants and so on…that was discrimination.

The holocaust was discrimination.

History itself is rife with examples of true discrimination.

Supporting an organization financially out of your own earnings is not discrimination. To try and compare the two is absurd. Chick-fil-a has not denied anyone any rights so the words discrimination and bigotry cannot be used in the truest sense of what they mean.

Is Chick-fil-a intolerant for their belief? Well, it seems that depends entirely on where you stand on the issue at hand. There has been little mention in the media of Office Depot’s $1 million pledge of support for Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” foundation, a large supporter of same-sex marriage. No one is breaking down their financial statements on Facebook with battle cries of “Anti-Traditional Marriage!” Or “Office Depot discriminates against heterosexual marriage.”

Chick-fil-a has every right to support who they want to support and fight for what they believe in. Should Mr. Cathy have taken his stance public? That’s hard to say. Again, I’m not sure he had much of a choice, but perhaps it’s wise moving forward to not toe the line of political hot button topics.

On the other side of that token, we have every right as a population to decide what we believe and how strongly we believe it. If you disagree with Chick-fil-a and don’t want to eat there, you have that right. Personally, I cannot imagine a world without waffle fries and the perfect chicken sandwich.

But that’s just me.

We all have the right to support and back those things in which we strongly believe. Not eating at Chick-fil-a may be enough to prove a point, but it’s not going to change anyone’s mind about how they feel and what they believe and, in all honesty, it’s probably not going to hurt Chick-fil-a’s business in the long run.

We can all stand up for what we believe, to be sure, but we can’t sacrifice free speech in the process. Dan Cathy was firmly within his rights to express his beliefs, even if the repercussions were a few less sandwiches sold.

Mayor Menino is firmly outside of his rights to block Chick-fil-a from building in Boston simply because of what they believe and support. If that’s the stance he’s going to take, then chances are he’s going to have to boot a lot of businesses and churches out of his city as well. I wonder if he’s really ready to try and strong arm his way through that battle.

Chick-fil-a is not discriminating against a population of people. Everyone is welcome inside their stores. Everyone can order from the same menu, eat at the same tables, use the same bathrooms, drink the same glorious lemonade and benefit from the same clean environment and excellent service, regardless of race, gender, orientation or religious belief.

It’s not an easy topic to cover and believe me when I say I don’t write these things without a measure of trepidation. I don’t like cyber fights and it is not my intention to start one here. I believe in our rights as individuals to express what we believe freely and to fight for what we think is right and good. Your opinion may differ from mine, but I hope that together we can come to a place of respectful, mutual dialogue and not resort to petty name-calling.

What are your thoughts?

Please be nice. What if I throw in a happy emoticon for good measure? Would that help? :)

This is the part where I would compliment your hair or your shoes in an effort to let you know I think you’re super cool and don’t want to offend you or hurt your feelings and still want to be your friend and maybe we could go get a chicken sandwich later? Wait…

No.

How ’bout a Starbucks. They’re neutral, right?

Have a nice day!

Image credit

Comments

  1. Lauren says:

    I do not agree with your position; however, I think you do have some interesting points. I did want to point out that the mayor of Boston has already tried to block other establishments in the city. He blocked walmart from coming because of its treatment of employees and the effects it has on small businesses.

  2. Donnie Condor says:

    Kelli,
    You are awesome!!! I feel the exact same way. And I agree, Chick-Fil-A is yummy. Everyone has the right and freedom to believe what they want and support who they want.

    I will say this, I do have a friend that work for Chick-Fil-A about 6 years ago and when he “came out” to his coworkers, he was let go. It was never clear on why he was let go, but it makes you wonder.

    • That would definately be disappointing to hear of someone being let go for that reason. Thanks for your comment my friend!

  3. Well said. And thank you for keeping some sanity in an issue where most people are firing comments that have little to do with truth and everything to do with emotion.

  4. Proud of you and intolerant of anyone who isn’t…

  5. I so appreciate how you wrote this. I have often wondered about CFAs hiring practices when it comes to people who are gay, but I have never seen or heard of any instances where they did discriminate in that manner. I agree with what you wrote here, especially how you (kindly) explained the difference between discrimination and supporting causes with which some people disagree or find offensive.

    My main beef with this whole “controversy” is how CFA is being held up as some beacon of Christianity, when clearly their money is going to “fight” for “traditional marriage” via political routes. They are a corporation. They want to make money. Nothing wrong with that, but all of this underscores so well the “Christian = Conservative” and American Dream form of Christianity that so many practice. I also get worn out on people confusing standing up for a moral issue with standing up for Biblical truths. (I’m not implying that the Bible doesn’t address homosexual acts, but that’s not the same as the Bible calling us to “fight” for “traditional marriage.”) So let’s not confuse being a follower of Christ with putting more money into the pockets of a corporation, even if that corporation is headed by Christians, is closed on Sundays and makes the best sweet tea outside of my Grandma’s kitchen.

    • I’m just not sure why this came as such a surprise to people. Chick-fil-a has never tried to hide their Christian roots or their beliefs so why would people be shocked that this was the position of the CEO? It’s baffling… :)

      • It IS baffling! Why is this a thing? It wasn’t a secret. My brother, who is gay, and I had this conversation last year, so I think that’s why I’m not seeing it as “news.” I totally understood his perspective, and why he chooses not to eat there. But we finally agreed that I could eat my chicken in peace and I wouldn’t harass him about his “support” for child labor with his many Apple purchases… Deflect, deflect, deflect. Ha!

        (And for pete’s sake, I promise not to use so many quotation marks on my next comment on your blog. Mercy!)

  6. Thank you for expressing yourself so beautifully. I agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinions. It sure feels like, however, that those who are more conservative are less entitled these days. (I hope I said that nicely! I like your shoes! (wink)

  7. Kelli, thanks for your point of view. While I don’t agree with everything you said, I appreciate HOW you said it, and it gave me some things to think about that I hadn’t before. I am thankful for a different perspective. I’ll admit that when I saw the title, I cringed a little (a lot!) and though “oh man, I hope this isn’t going to turn into an Internet fight!”. Hopefully it doesn’t. :-) (see, smiley faces make everything better!)

  8. I agree with previous commenters, I really like how you wrote it (even though we differ on the subject).

    But I will point out that the FFA Florida Family Association did go after Office Depot suggesting they promote teens eo “embrace homosexuality”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/lady-gaga-office-depot-partnership-anti-gay_n_1689809.html

    • Thanks for sharing that article, Tommy. I find it interesting that the title of the link uses the word “anti-gay.” It’s an interesting way to slide in what I believe to be propaganda. If you support same sex marriage, you’re “pro.” If you support traditional marriage you’re “anti-gay.”

      I knew there had been some discussion about Office Depots involvement with Gaga’s organization, but not to the degree that Chick-fil-a has faced. So why is it different? It’s very fascinating. :)

      • You are right, I don’t like when its phrased as “anti gay” because its antagnostic if anything. I agree with bill oreilly in the fact of let’s not promote big boycots when somebody doesn’t agree with you.

  9. First, this is very well written by my wife. Great job. My question, Is the Boston mayor discriminating against Chick fil a?

    • Hmmmmm…interesting.

      Anyone? :)

    • Not according to liberals; discrimination is only on the part of those who do not agree with them.

    • Can one discriminate against a corporation? I know the Supreme Court has deemed corps. people… but let’s be serious. I think that mayors have an obligation to meet the needs and wants of their constituents, so if the people of Boston say “no” to CFA, then I think he is well within his rights. Or duties… or whatever. But at the end of the day, capitalism rules, so if there is enough demand for the Christian Chicken in Beantown, then they will get there eventually.

      • The problem with the mayor and his thinking is that if he is serious about his viewpoint then he should follow this thinking to its logical conclusion. He should evaluate every company in his great city and remove business permits of every company who has different opinions on this issue or any other issue that is different than his. Of course, he won’t and can’t do this. So when he makes statements like he has, to me, he is just trying to sound tough but doesn’t have the courage follow through on his own worldview. So he is speaking out his “blow hole”.

  10. Really, really well-written, Kelli. I’ve been thinking a lot about this too, and it a little bit makes me want to scream when people are ripping on them, because I’m thinking, “Then just don’t go eat there. Save that delicious chicken and sweet tea for me!”

    I totally get supporting companies that are in line with your own beliefs with your money. So to me, the best way to go about this if you’re pro-gay-marriage is to boycott CFA, and I can even see encouraging your friends to do that. But taking it to intolerance and discrimination is a complete distortion of the truth, and it’s the crap the media likes to propogate.

    I am definitely NOT ok with a gay employee being terminated if that’s the reason he was fired, but it seems that would be major news right now if it was an issue with the company, so I’m hoping that was an anomaly and not what the company truly believes.

    I had to crack up at your last comment re: Starbucks, because here’s their stance:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/25/starbucks-same-sex-marriage-washington-_n_1231047.html

    • Darn it! But wait…where’s the outcry there?

      See that’s the thing. Everyone has an opinion on the issue. It’s not discriminatory. It’s a difference of opinions! Welcome to America. :)

    • Oh there has been plenty of outcry against Starbucks for their various liberal-leaning stands. Maybe you’re just not on the same email forward lists I am on? I’ll introduce you to my grandpa- he’ll make sure you get them! That one came right after we were supposed to boycott the French-owned (ha ha!) Target for not supporting the troops or something equally horrific.

      But let’s be serious, unless they’re selling children into slavery right out the back door, ain’t no woman gonna give up her devotion to St. Arbucks.

  11. My phone wasn’t working last night as I was laying in bed reading this…and frankly I was too busy being lazy to walk to the pc to comment. I also cracked up at your Starbucks comment b/c yeah, so not neutral. Seattle, remember?

    These are all great comments and thoughts. I feel the same as the majority of them so basically, what they said. Especially Jenn. Quite well spoken…er, written?

    Again, laziness…

  12. Kristina Silverman says:

    Kelli,
    One of the ways I’ve seen this “cyberfight” play out is an article on weeklystandard.com that reports the interview with Dan Cathy didn’t go as it was reported. It seems to point out some “sloppy journalism” at best, or outright bias at worst. Would love to hear your reaction.

  13. Last year, there was a huge boycott call on JC PENNY for hiring Ellen Degeneres as their spokesperson, so it definitely goes both ways. But for a society that is supposed to be tolerant, we are guilty of being intolerant of different beliefs. I still shop at JC PENNY, will probably never step foot in a chic fil a…. Location, location, ya know? Pretty soon people will stop shopping your garage sale, because they don’t agree with your beliefs. Sheesh.

    • But tolerance doesn’t mean agreement. We will never be a nation that agrees on every issue, but disagreement can’t be labeled intolerance. There has to be mutual respect and honest dialogue without everyone stomping off in a huff. The “I’ll just take my ball and go home” mentality doesn’t really get us anywhere.

  14. I couldn’t have said it better myself. My ADD kicked in before I finished all of the comments, so if I’m repeating someone else, I apologize. But has anyone said anything about how the Salvation Army stance on this topic? I bet everyone still puts a little change in their “Red Kettles” every Christmas. My brother is also gay…but I bet you 2 Chick Fil A sandwiches and large lemonade, he’ll still frequent their establishments. Just because they don’t support them getting married doesn’t mean they’re all homophobes.

  15. Very well put Kelli ! People are just so quick to jump on a band wagon of don’t eat here, don’t shop there, because they support/don’t support whatever…..I think people are free to choose whatever path they want to take . In the end the only opinnion that matters even one iota is GOD himself, He and ONLY HE can be the true judge of your own personal actions and behavior on ANY subject.

  16. Hmmm…the only issue I take is this [not your post, just the messaging I'm hearing in general] is that I don’t see being pro-homosexual marriage as being anti-heterosexual marriage. It’s not as if there can only be a finite quantity of legitimate or quality marriages in the world. Emphasis on the quality – I’m not including the 3 day Vegas variety marriages.

    I would hope that every person has the opportunity to be in a happy and healthy marriage whether it is to a man or a woman.

  17. I’m so glad you wrote about this Kelli. Mainly because I’ve been thinking a lot about it but also because I don’t have the balls to face impending public scrutiny :) . I am an enthusiastic supporter of gay rights. And until a few weeks ago I was also an enthusiastic supporter of my secret lover, waffle fries. I have taken a look at the websites of the companies receiving sizeable financial donations from Chick Fil A. While they don’t come out and literally say, “we hate gay people”, they do say they are anti gay marriage. I really try to do business with companies I like, and I don’t like that. But for the past few days I’ve been giving it some more thought. Maybe it’s my brain going into waffle fry withdrawl. Really, if you start to peel away the layers from any company you are certainly going to find things you don’t like. Am I wearing a diamond on my hand? Yep. Do I have any idea where it came from? Possibly from a child working in a dangerous diamond mine who has stubs for hands because they were blown off and can never go to another Justin Beiber concert because of the public humiliation of not being able to clap? And that’s just the first thing I noticed when I looked around. This laptop was probably assembled by a child being paid a few cents an hour. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I just really really want some damn waffle fries.

    • This comment right here, Hannah, is why you solidly remain one of my favorite people. All I would add is that support of traditional marriage doesn’t necessarily equate anti-gay. ;) Now go get some fries!

      • Danana says:

        I find it amazing that you can say support of traditional marriage isn’t necessarily anti-gay, yet earlier you implied that those who stand up for same-sex marriage are against opposite-sex marriage.

        I guess it depends on what you (and Dan Cathy) mean by saying that you support traditional marriage. If you mean that you just think opposite-sex marriage is swell and you support it, then you’re not anti-gay. However, if you mean that we should prevent same-sex marriage, then, yes, you are anti-gay.

        There seems to be a tendency for the religious right to cry about intolerance and supposed double standards whenever anyone disagrees with them. Relax. You’re not being discriminated against. But you are discriminating against others and establishing legal double standards when you try to prevent same-sex marriage.

        I’ll try to make this as clear as possible: Facing an argument or a boycott is not discrimination. Facing restrictive legislation is discrimination. That’s why people who care about equal rights are upset about donations to groups that work to prevent same-sex marriage.

        • Danana,

          While I respect your difference of opinion, unfortunately the combative nature of your comments leaves me little room to respond because it will get us nowhere. Unfortunately this is a very difficult subject with zero middle ground. We are coming at this with different perspectives and different worldviews. I don’t expect to change you rmind and you won’t change mine, but I do hope that we can share a mutual respect for the conviction we each feel.

          My issue with the phrase “anti-gay” is it implies that anyone who doesn’t support same sex marriage is hateful and judgemental of homosexuals. This is not the case and it isn’t a fair argument. I never implied that those who support same-sex marriage are against opposite-sex marriage. Just the opposite, in fact. What I said is those who support traditional marriage are not touting all over facebook that supporters of same-sex marriage are “anti-heterosexual.” You don’t see that phrase uttered anywhere because we know that’s not the case. So in the same vein, just because I support traditional marriage does not make me “anti-gay.”

          Likewise, you state that “Facing restrictive legislation is discrimination,” but that argument has a few holes. If that’s the case, you would have to apply it to every restrictive legislation out there. Is the restriction of polygamy discrimination against polygamists? What about beastiality? What about slavery? Did we discriminate against slave owners when we restricted slavery?

          No. Of course not. Restrictive legislation cannot, in it’s end conclusion, automatically mean discrimination.

          I could list my reasons for why I feel the way that I do, but in this medium, without the benefit of some civilized interaction, I’m not sure it would be effective or condusive to the discussion at large, though I would certainly be happy to discuss it further over email (kellistuart00 (at) hotmail (dot) com). I appreciate your point of view and respect your opinion. Thanks for taking time to comment.

  18. Kime Eubanks says:

    Just last night out youth pastor spoke to our students on the issue of homosexuality. He did an amazing job of counteracting the “Born this way”, gay tolerance message that the entertainment industry barraging them with (I know bad grammar). Christians should be tolerant because we are all sinners and all are welcome in our church. His point was that you can’t talk a person out of being gay–you love that person and pray for them and let the Holy Spirit work on them to change them. In a sense they are born that way, we are all born into sin whether we are a liar, a thief, or an adulterer. My father left my mother for a homosexual lifestyle when I was 4 and his choices landed him in prison. He passed away over 10 years ago but I still carry the scars of his sin. I have gay friends and I love them and they know it, but they also know I am praying for them to heal. Men like Treutt Cathy are going to be persecuted just for expressing their desire for God’s best for everyone. To me he is a beacon of light and a tower of strength. In this environment it is quite bold of him to express his beliefs.

    • Thank you for sharing your story, Kime.

    • Kime Eubanks says:

      I might add that it is very very disheartening to me how many Christians are totally disregarding the biblical teachings against homosexuality. Really we cannot and should not police a persons private relationships, but allowing gay’s to be legally married is just not biblical.

  19. Hi, Kelly. Read your post after you pointed it out to me today. Great job! Glad to see we’re on the same page and the posts both make some excellent (and different) points. As I mentioned in my comment to you on my post today, we may want to consider a weekly status meeting to discuss the editorial calendar… :)

  20. I’d just like to “come out” and say I ate at Panera today.

    I said that already at Bohemian Bowmans…but I still felt the need to share.

    And as a result of eating at Panera……

    …I…have a full belly.

    *sob* (also…you must read this comment in the same voice as the “My brand!” guy on the 1-800-CONTACTS commercial. That is the only acceptable way to ingest this and absolutely no other way will do it the justice of the absolute cornball-liciousness with which it was intended.)

  21. This is in response to Hannah’s post. You started off saying you have certain principles and then you go on to say you are willing to compromise said principles for waffle fries. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say you are an enthusiastic supporter of waffle fries, not gay rights. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s what I gleaned from your comment. Also, I am going to assume you have never been out of the country and witnessed true, abject poverty and despair because you wrote the following: Am I wearing a diamond on my hand? Yep. Do I have any idea where it came from? Possibly from a child working in a dangerous diamond mine who has stubs for hands because they were blown off and can never go to another Justin Beiber concert because of the public humiliation of not being able to clap?

    Since when is making light of forced child labor funny? Isn’t that kind of mean spirited? I understand you are trying to rationalize your purchases and I agree that there isn’t as much transparency as there should be for consumers to make informed decisions, but is it really necessary to take it that far?

    • Thank you for your comment, Mary. I feel like I should defend Hannah a bit. If you knew her, you would understand that her wit is sharp, quick, cutting and unconventional. But I also know she has a huge heart and loves people fiercely. You are wise in reminding all of us to think clearly how we might word or phrase things online, but I can say without a doubt that Hannah’s comment did not offend me simply because I know her in real life so I get the context of where she writes.

      That said, thank you so much for your willingness to comment and share your heart and what affected you. I hope that we can all learn from one another. :) Blessings to you, Mary!

  22. Rather than supporting CFA today, I think Christians should be there on Friday and buy lunch for the protesters who are staging a “Kiss-in”. Overwhelm with love…..

    Btw….have you seen the movie “Lord, Save us from your Followers”? It is not a ‘bashing’ movie as the title might imply, but is wonderfully challenging….especially the second half.

  23. Hey there! Love your blog title…made me literally laugh out loud. (i drive a minivan). Am your newest follower. Found you through your comments on everyday epistle. :) and BlogHer (I’m new) :) Looking forward to being a part of your site :)

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