I used to never eat Chick-Fil-A food. However, at the university where I worked and take classes, the downstairs caf? has Chik-Fil-A sandwiches up-for-grabs. They have salads, deli food, and a made-to-order grill, and when I had only ten minutes between shifts and seminars I would grab one of those hot envelope-bags containing a sandwich and eat that hot garbage on the fly. It was cheap, fast sustenance, but not in any way a delicious meal. If every Chick-Fil-A disappeared tomorrow in some sort of fast-food rapture, my only thought would have been, "Damn, now I have to wait in line."
The President and Chief Operating Officer of Chick-Fil-A (CFA) told The Baptist Press
that he and the company support "the biblical definition of the family unit." I am not sure if he is referring to the Old Testament definition, which encouraged all sorts of incest, like brothers-in-law marrying their siblings' widows, Lot and his daughters, or even Adam and Eve. Or perhaps he is referring to the New Testament, where fourteen year-old Mary is wed to a much older Joseph.
Later said on The Ken Coleman Show
, a Christian talk radio program, Cathy doubled-down saying that allowing gay marriage constitutes a national fist-shaking at the Almighty, a declaration by an arrogant generation that "We know better than [God] as to what constitutes a marriage." Supporters of equal marriage rights were incensed and investigations were conducted as to where the company spends its money, specifically in support of anti-gay causes.
Part of the fallout from those comments was responses by mayors of major metropolitan areas, Chicago's Rahm Emmanuel, Boston's Tom Menino, and San Franciso's Edwin Lee, suggesting that CFA avoid opening franchises in their cities. While Lee only made the statement on Twitter, the other two made their remarks in a more official capacity. Both Menino and Emmanuel said they would deny permits to CFA franchises, and it was these actions that turned Dan Cathy's asinine comments into a bona-fide free speech issue, making those elected officials speaking out against Cathy's closed-minded ideas into discriminators.
Mush-mouthed mayor Menino, who is holding onto his job like a pope, issued a letter urging CFA "to back out of [their] plans to locate in Boston." Perhaps well-intentioned, the letter makes the same kind of argument that detractors of the Park51 Islamic Center in Manhattan made. Menino speaks of greeting the first same-sex couples who were married once it became legal in Massachusetts and said that a CFA restaurant across the street from that spot "would be an insult to them and to our city's long history of expanding freedom."
Chicago's Emmanuel also said that "Chick-Fil-A values are not Chicago's values," which in-and-of-itself is not a terrible thing for a mayor to say. The problem was that he also said he was denying a permit for a CFA franchise in the city's 1st ward, "Because of [Cathy's] ignorance." If CFA were denying homosexuals employment or service, these Mayors may have had some legal legs to stand on in denying CFA the opportunity to do business. However, there is no evidence that, as bible-thumping as the organization might be, they have ever openly discriminated against homosexuals. Instead, they are quite literally infringing on Cathy's right to free speech.
In Chicago's case, the city is dealing with massive unemployment and it can be argued that Emmanuel should not be discouraging any business from opening in his city. Secondly, Chicago is facing a 38% increase in violent crime. Louis Farrakhan has been tapped by local activist Tio Hardiman, director of CeaseFire Illinois, to hold a "peace summit" to curtail the violence. If CFA doesn't represent Chicago's values how is openly anti-homosexual and sometimes anti-Semitic Farrakhan not subject to that same criticism?
Also former Arkansas Governor and talk show host Mike Huckabee encouraged his fans to stage an "appreciation day," for CFA. Given his own public struggle with weight-loss, Huckabee encouraged people to eat this fast-food with no sense of irony. It seems that giving CFA money in support of Cathy's comments is far more important to Huckabee than the health of his supporters. Conversely, gay-rights supporters staged a "kiss-in," at CFAs across the country wherein same-sex couples shared "a simple lovers' kiss," at the restaurant. Personally, I found this just as distasteful as Huckabee's appreciation day, but only because I don't want to see anyone of any gender kissing in public. Hand-holding even annoys me, but that probably speaks to my own internal bitterness more than any larger political ideology.
Daniel Truett Cathy (born March 1, 1953), known professionally as Dan T. Cathy, is an American business executive. He has served as President and COO of fast-food chain Chick-fil-A since 2001. The chain was founded by his father, S. Truett Cathy. | Photo: Chick-fil-A |
Everyone just stop it. Dan Cathy is an ass, who believes that because America doesn't openly discriminate against homosexuals that God is going to send some metaphorical lightning bolt of retribution against us. While his supporters say that his views are the same as millions of Christians, they sound closer to the views of fringe dopes like Pat Robertson and the hateful Westboro Baptist Church. Dan Cathy's personal views are discriminatory, but are his personal views. Still, boycotts and protests are perfectly acceptable ways to let him know that. The support of public officials is welcome by supporters of same sex marriage, but these officials must conduct themselves responsibly otherwise they merely give fuel to their opposition.
Those who say that the backlash against Cathy represents some sort of assault on Christian values are also wrong. The KKK dresses up their hate in the guise of religion as well, but that doesn't mean that those who oppose the KKK oppose Christianity in general. Those who think Cathy's comments threaten their way of life are equally incorrect. The man is rich and president of a large company, but he makes shitty chicken not public policy. While two weeks have been wasted on this nonsense, a gay man in Oklahoma had his car vandalized with the word "fag" and then firebombed with nary a word about it in the national media.
Homosexuals are still very openly discriminated against in this country. Those who (at best) seek to prevent them from sharing in the benefits of being American or (at worst) want them dead should get the focus and ire of the media, politicians, and activists. Dan Cathy is a rich asshole, Mike Huckabee is a failed politician desperate to remain relevant, the public officials railing against them are either avoiding other more serious issues or simply misguided. By reacting to Cathy's comments with anything other than disinterest, we give his nonsensical quasi-Christian ramblings a credit they don't deserve. Eat more kale.