In case you live out in the boondocks and haven't heard about it, Chick-Fil-A's president recently made some comments about family and his beliefs in an article for Baptist Press. (Granted, you would have to live wayyyy out there, not to hear media screaming about it.)
Here's exactly what he said:
Company president Dan Cathy told a Baptist website the Atlanta-based
restaurant chain is "guilty as charged" in its support of traditional
"We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition
of the family unit," Cathy said in article published Monday by the Baptist Press. "We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."
Ooh, that's awful. Shame on him, advocating for the family and thanking God like that!
From the same article...
Chick-fil-A spokesman Don Perry emailed a prepared statement to the AJC Wednesday evening.
"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is
to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect -- regardless of
belief, creed and sexual orientation," the statement said. "We will
continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent
Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy
debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena."
In his own words, Perry said, "There is no change of course in our previously stated Chick-fil-A position."
Cathy expressed his opinion. In fact, he also said, "We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord,
we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on
Sadly, I have heard more venom, bigotry and name-calling used against this man than he ever said in person. Did he advocate getting rid of all gay people? Did he say they would never employ people whose lifestyles he didn't agree with? Nope. What he did was express his opinion -- and got jumped on all over for it.
The backlash may not be what you would think. Instead of boycotting Chick-Fil-A, customers have been visiting it in droves today to express their support. "Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day," they call it, after a movement started by Mike Huckabee. ("Daniel Jordan of Atlanta, for example, said that while he doesn't agree
with Cathy's marriage view, he came out specifically to support
Chick-fil-A because he's equally opposed to shutting down a company
because of the views of one of its leaders.")
Husband stopped by our local Chick-Fil-A today, and had a heck of a time getting two salads to go -- because the lines were so long. At 2 p.m.!
Cities have been backpedaling, too. Although some of their mayors have sent nastygrams, they're not actually acting on their words. Philadelphia is a prime case in point. After threatening to block Chick-Fil-A's recent applications for new stores, they got hit with such a backlash of complaints (thanks in great part to potential jobs lost) that they quickly backed down, though muttering all the way. Now they're "considering" a resolution condemning the chain -- though they're happy to take Chick-Fil-A's money while they're thinking about it..
They're not the only ones, either. The modus operandi seems to be 'make a big public fuss -- and quietly approve the applications.' That way, you look noble to one faction of your constituents, and you get to use the tax income a new business brings in, as well.
Doesn't that seem more two-faced than Cathy's actions?
The issue has been blown way out of proportion. As been grudgingly admitted, Chick-Fil-A is not advocating barring a gay lifestyle. Nor do they refuse to hire -- or serve -- gay people. (And if you've never visited one, not only is their food really tasty -- but I have to pinch myself not to grin when I'm treated so politely at the front counter. Obviously good training.)
Does this refusal to condemn Chick-Fil-A mean I hate gay people? That would be difficult to argue, since I've had several friends (and admired colleagues) who were gay. A much-loved cousin is gay, and other family members who we cherish have made similar choices.
What I do hate is seeing someone pilloried and bullied for his politely-expressed personal opinion. You have a choice here; that's why we live in America. You can choose not to eat at Chick-Fil-A. I'm just not sure, though, how it helps the cause.