Patch Blog: Why is Chick-fil-A So Chicken?

Defining what Chick-fil-A means.

It seems that Chick-fil-A is in some steamy water again over the gay marriage issue. Well, I investigated this a few months ago and figured I’d share some thoughts about it with you folks. 

Back in January, I heard through a local grapevine that Chick-fil-A had finally come out against gay marriage.  Being a little surprised, I did some checking around and found no evidence that this was true.  Not exactly, anyway. 

What I did find was a New York Times article from last year discussing the charitable contributions through its WinShape Foundation to groups that have been involved with various efforts to fight marriage equality, such as Focus on the Family and its efforts in California’s Prop 8 case.  What Dan Cathy, Chick President, said then is pretty much what he is saying now in an interview with Baptist Press that was published on Monday, which is that his family believes in the “biblical definition” of marriage and the family unit.  Although it is tempting to make the leap that he said they are against gay marriage, as the AJC concluded, this is incorrect.  He said they were "guilty as charged" in supporting traditional marriage, but he did not say they were against gay marriage.

And this technicality, or rather the logical hiccup behind it, is what aggravated me and I presume many others.  So, in February, I sent an e-mail to Chick-fil-A Cares, it’s online comment e-mail tool, to share a few thoughts and ask a few questions.  

I told them that despite my admiration for how they run their business (staying private, closing Sundays, polite service, etc), I would no longer spend my money at Chick.  I acknowledged that they were free to hold whatever views they wished and to run their business as they saw fit -- this “challenging of speech rights” is the distracting thread that usually develops in such conversations, that somehow the dispute is over a person’s or group’s freedom to have thoughts and express ideas.  My decision was based on their funding that implies the exclusion that they have been charged with.

To their credit, they responded quickly and politely.  “We are not anti-anybody,” the response said.  But now I was even more annoyed than before, and I replied again about the inconsistencies in their apparent beliefs with what the Bible actually says.  [Keep in mind that there are 613 laws in the OT, a vast majority of which Christians completely disregard despite Jesus warning that “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-21)] This time, Mr. Crays, operator of the Decatur Chick-fil-A responded, again quickly and politely, and used the exact same phrase – “we are not anti-anybody.”

I would have much greater respect for the Cathy family, and the Chick organization, if they would simply “come out” and offer their view with some clarity, to explain how it is possible to be for everyone (not be against anyone) and at the same time fund groups that are outspokenly against the freedom of some, and therefore against the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as applied to gay persons.  Then, perhaps, we can have a real dialogue about why they are so creeped out by gay persons and gay marriage and get beyond this “because the Bible tells me so” nonsense.  Only then can we addressing the discriminatory legal, financial, and social practices that surround this issue and do so without touching one hair on anyone’s religious head.

So, if Chick won't come out and say what they really think, I expect others will define the message for them.  I thought the golden rule of communication was "control the story, or it will control you."  Maybe Chick's not so good at golden rules.   

NYT Article - http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/us/30chick.html?_r=1&src=twrhp

Baptist Press Interview - http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=38271

AJC Article - http://www.ajc.com/news/chick-fil-a-president-1480243.html

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David D July 20, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Scott, well thought out comments. People who want to rage against basic human rights are little people. Gay marriage is a serious human rights issue that is just as much about being able to sit in the hospital with your partner, being able to trust your health care decisions to the person who knows you best, and not having to put up with small-minded bullies as it is about traditional marriage ceremonies. People who use their economic power to bankroll bigotry shouldn't be praised because of their business models.
Scott Tewell July 23, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Well folks, I stand corrected. Or, rather, Mr. Cathy stands corrected. In a radio Interview this week, he has clarified his position. He said "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 would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about,” he added. Sad, and it doesn't change my view. but at least the man was clear. I'll give him that.
steven c dewig July 24, 2012 at 09:31 PM
tucker steve So many people against the gays and human rights. I worked for an attorney who helped couples adopt babies and children that were on the reject list and the righteous right turned their heads away from or wanted to deny the exixtence of them. Children up for adoption from the state were mostly with HIV. It always impressed me that gays were the ones with the heart to apply for these adoptions. This is one reason why gays seek to legalize gay marriage: For the children's sake. Shame to those who wish to censore, control or ignore your brother's needs. Acceptance is the very core of christianity.
Judy September 02, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Jonathan I couldn't agree with you more. I don't think Scott actually read it with an open mind. If he agrees to disagree then he should understand you did just explain it to him.
Judy September 02, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Bulldogger, Scott doesn't get it. Honestly!


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