The meek may well inherit the Earth, but first they’re running out in droves to snack on fried chicken sandwiches — and snarling at anyone who says they shouldn’t.
This past week, seemingly apolitical people who’d previously only posted inspirational memes set against backdrops of kittens and sun-pierced clouds suddenly shouted through social media a cacophony of comments defending Chick-fil-A
And everyone’s getting in on the act. From a South Carolina senator smiling with a sackful of the fried chicken, to the Illinois G.O.P. offering Chick-fil-A gift cards, to mayors from San Francisco to Boston, as well as New York City Councilwoman Christine Quinn all bullhorning from their bully pulpits that the chain is not welcomed in their cities.
It is clear from both sides of the political arena that culinary nourishment is now nourishing intolerance.
When New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has publicly supported the state’s marriage equality bill, took to the podium last week, we felt surely we already knew where he stood. And as he’d done in the past, he stood up for other people’s rights; this time in defense of the fast-food chain’s right to open more properties in New York City.
The aforementioned examples show a clear demarcation line down the party aisle: the Republicans defiantly pose with the poultry; the Democrats deny the company’s right to exist in their midst, and the Centrist who, while disagreeing with the fundamental beliefs of Chick-fil-A’s president, “welcomes” the company to build more stores “with open arms.”
But what about the bystanders, the ones who say they don’t care one way or another? They’re “sick of it,” and while they’re feeding their faces with waffle fries they’re also filling your Facebook feed with their non-opining: “Who Cares? It’s just a sandwich!”
It would be impossible to solely support businesses whose moral compasses align with our own. The left would nearly starve to death searching for morally healthful options, and the right would have little to entertain themselves outside of a Ted Nugent concert and a Patricia Heaton film festival.
In the case of Chick-fil-A, however, it is public knowledge where exactly the company stands and now you can no longer sit idly by. To eat or not to eat — either way, your decision now defines your stance on, not just gay issues, but human rights issues. Think that’s a little bit of a stretch? Here’s why it’s not just a sandwich anymore…
1. Your Money Goes to Further Anti-Gay Legislation
Between 2006 and 2010, Chick-fil-A, under the aegis of its own charity Winshape, donated over $5 million to anti-gay charities.
Most Americans agreed with Dan Cathy’s statement “Thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.” Yet, running a business in a certain manner, while financing lobbyists and filling the coffers of organizations that denigrate other American citizens, places one squarely in the center of “it’s not just a sandwich anymore.” Mr. Cathy doesn’t merely express his personal beliefs; he wants laws changed to take away other people’s civil rights.
You may not “approve of the gay lifestyle,” but it’s doubtful you’d give money to an organization ($25,000 to the Family Research Council), which in 2010 lobbied, in effect, on behalf of a bill in Uganda to legalize the execution of its citizens who were convicted of being homosexuals and even rape victims (if raped by someone of their own gender), as well as people with H.I.V.
Designated a “hate group,” the F.R.C. has stated that the Supreme Court should enact sodomy laws and set “criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior,” and “export homosexuals from the United States.” This isn’t promoting traditional family values; this is promoting hatred and intolerance.
2. Chick-fil-A Funds Organizations That Can ‘Pray the Gay Away’
Exodus International is a religious organization composed of self-professed ex-gays who preached that they could cure other gay people, despite an abundance of scientific proof to the contrary And now, after thirty-six years, it seems the company may finally be coming to its senses. Just last month, in an interview with The New York Times, the president of Exodus International said the organization no longer condones “reparative therapy” and that they now question “sexual orientation change.”
3. This Is Not About ‘Free Speech’
The First Amendment protects Mr. Cathy’s comments and he has every legal right to state publicly his support of “traditional marriage” and the flipside of that coin, which is that he is against marriage equality. Words are weighty things, however, and political commentary (even when bracketed by scripture), by its divisive nature alone, forces an equal and opposite response. No sensible American would attempt to deny Mr. Cathy his public opinion, and no American who’s read the previous six paragraphs — who is compassionate toward his or her fellow man — could support a company such as Chick-fil-A.
Let’s put it this way: the Westboro Baptist Church is protected by law to picket and yell at our fallen soldiers’ funerals, but would you stock up on brownies at their bake sales?