As I’ve taught my children to say when they don't like a meal they've been served, here’s my take on the anti-gay bigotry of Chick-fil-A: “No thank you, I prefer something else.”

The recent barnyard brawling over the anti-gay stance of Chick-fil-A has certainly raised a commotion in the hen-house. Squawking and cackles erupted over news of statements made by the fast food eatery’s president/COO Dan Cathy, who seemed to publicly embrace that position after growing attention focused on donations the company makes to anti-gay groups.

In an interview, Cathy told the Baptist Press, “We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that.”

In another interview, Cathy reiterated his belief:  “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’ I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”

Just in case it wasn’t explicitly clear, Cathy was blunt about describing the company’s support of ‘traditional’ marriage, “Guilty as charged.” 

Cathy, the son of Chick-fil-A’s founder, made these statements after reports surfaced that the company, via its charitable arm, made close to $2 million in donations to groups actively working to discriminate against homosexuals and the LGBT community, including making some behaviors illegal and criminal, here and abroad. The issue at hand isn’t just about gay marriage, but also about employment, life choices, health insurance and, in some cases, survival.

Let's be very clear about the brouhaha raised after Cathy’s comments:  This is NOT a first amendment issue; it’s really a civil rights issue. When you have an organization contributing money to groups actively engaged in trying to disenfranchise, segregate and isolate—let alone strip away civil rights from citizens—it is clearly a civil rights issue.

I emphatically contend that Cathy is entitled both to his opinion and his freedom to express it. In fact, I’m gratified that he has expressed it, because now we know where we stand, with him and with his company. His statements demonstrate his prejudices and bigotry, and they shed light on the discriminatory efforts his company’s profits support.

I’m perplexed by the contradictory nature of Cathy’s statement, characterizing those who have the ‘audacity to define what marriage is about’ as ‘prideful’ and ‘arrogant.’ Isn’t that exactly what Cathy was doing? Defining what marriage should be—between a man and a woman?

Protesters speaking out and demonstrating against those views are not intolerant of them. They are merely expressing their own view, that discrimination and segregation—whether cloaked in religious, moral or first amendment arguments—is still bigotry.

Imagine learning that KFC contributes to organizations campaigning for outlawing marriage between men and women of different races, based on arguments of sanctity or morality. Imagine discovering that the president of Taco Bell donates significant company profits to organizations that campaign for removing tax-exempt status of churches and synagogues, because of his interpretation of the phrase, ‘separation of church and state.’ If those moves were true, we’d certainly classify them as bigotry. So too, can we call Chick-fil-A’s actions as bigoted.

I’m glad to see that there have been mounting boycotts and protests against Chick-fil-A’s corporate dealings. They are not intolerant of someone else’s opinions or religious beliefs. Instead, such protests demonstrate an intolerance of intolerance itself, akin to those that that advanced civil rights legislation forward 50-60 years ago, and beyond. They harken back to sit-ins, Rosa Parks, abolitionists, Stonewall and women suffragists. We have a national history of accomplishing legislative equality and increasing public support in this way—that, to me, is more American than anything else.

In this case, like the others, it’s also tantamount to standing up to a bully.

But if we’re searching for some sort of religious foundation for condemning Chick-fil-A and Dan Cathy, perhaps we should look no further than the Golden Rule which, in addition to having some basis in all of the world’s major religions and ethical traditions, is a major tenet of Christianity:  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s also expressed: “Love your neighbor as you would yourself.”

Isn’t that the most traditional value of all?

gjb August 08, 2012 at 11:30 PM
its time that the anti gay movement gets put into its place/chick-fil and the boy scouts of america have the right to the own feelings and rules of who they do and do not support!!! the bible is very very clear that homosexuality is against the lord and all rules that were set up by him. but in this day and age men and woman just do not want to be accountable to whats right!!! and by the way it was adam and eve not adam and steve!!! our country is heading to complete failure because of the lack of morality and just doing what it feels is good at the time. just read in the book of isaiah the judgement that god brought to israel and its people and look at the united states from the day of 911/everything that happened to israel has so far happened to the united states!!!! please everyone wake up before its to late!!
Quaestor August 09, 2012 at 04:03 AM
Joan--Heterosexual married couples who undergo fertility treatment seek to restore proper functionality to the body; to make the body function as it was designed. Same-sex couples seek to force the body to do that which nature will not allow--conception without either a father or a mother. To use your words, "Anyone who is truly concerned about the welfare of children and the stability of families" should support efforts to ensure that all children have the benefits of both a loving mother and father.
Quaestor August 09, 2012 at 04:06 AM
As for the just accepting same-sex marriage, I recommend: http://www.minnesotaformarriage.com/2012/08/new-marriage-minute-video-shouldnt-the-government-get-out-of-the-business-of-regulating-marriage-and-leave-it-to-adults-to-decide-marriage-for-themselves/.
Tim Hendrie August 09, 2012 at 02:40 PM
I'm sorry Heather, the Creator of the Universe is too busy to take your call.
Stella August 12, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Recently Brad Pitt's mother penned a letter to her local newspaper stating her belief in "traditional marriage" and her writing was condemned by liberals as vitriolic, hateful and bigoted. My God, this woman simply stated her opinion based on her religious upbringing! Everyone USED to be entitled to their own opinions but that is rapidly changing. Many people simply object to the term "marriage" being used for same sex unions and would rather it be called something else while encompassing the same rights as a marriage. Many of the folks supporting Chik-fil-A were not the haters and bigots that liberals portrayed them to be, but were simply supporting the right to voice an opinion. And why does the government suddenly have the right to penalize a company whose owner's moral views conflict with their views? Will churches that support traditional marriage will be condemned and disbanded by the government next? Think that's far fetched? Remember how we scoffed at "1984"? Free speech is rapidly being quashed and this country is heading for disaster. As my father used to say "Be careful what you wish for ...." .


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