I had a couple thoughts on the big Chick-Fil-A controversy that’s swirled, but I’ll make it brief since you’re probably tired of reading about how terrible/great Chick-Fil-A is. I know I am.
There have been two reactions I’ve seen from a lot of people who fall on the side of supporting gay rights but don’t seem to see an issue with eating at a place like Chick-Fil-A.
The first one is the “I don’t care what their beliefs or their CEO’s beliefs are, it has nothing to do with their food” reaction. I saw this a lot on Twitter. It’s unfortunate because it speaks to a disconnect that many people have with the things they consume and what happens to their money once they’ve handed it over.
The truth is, Chick-Fil-A has donated over $5 million over the years to organizations and campaigns that are anti-gay and support anti-gay causes. They donate to groups such as the Marriage & Family Foundation, Georgia Family Council and the Family Research Council, all of which support anti-gay legislation and agendas. That number doesn’t include the donations that Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy makes personally.
Where does Chick-Fil-A get all that money? Oh right…from you. The money you used to pay for your chicken sandwich may just be part of those donations that support groups fighting equal rights for gay people.
If you’re okay with that, fair enough. If you don’t agree with those stances, why are you giving them your money? You wouldn’t give the Marriage & Family Foundation your money if they asked for it on the street, but you’re basically giving it to them by eating at Chick-Fil-A.
The second reaction I’ve noticed a lot of is the “we’ve known for years that Chick-Fil-A is a Christian company, why are you surprised?”
It’s true, Chick-Fil-A has worn its religiousness on its greasy sleeve for years. They’re closed on Sundays. They’ve supported anti-gay groups for a long time. They’ve quoted the Bible in printed materials.
It’s not that Chick-Fil-A has changed. It’s the rest of the world has.
If Dan Cathy says his company is “guilty as charged” in supporting anti-gay marriage stances in 1992, it probably causes a few grumbles but would probably go away soon after.
In 2012, however, you can’t get away with that. Not in a country were gay rights are being expanded and fought for every day. Not in the country where social media carries every piece of information to the far corners in seconds. Not in a world where gay rights is this politicized. No one can make discriminatory comments and get a free pass, even if they’ve already done it in the past.
At the end of the day, the gay rights fight will not be won or lost at a fast food restaurant. But to dismiss the value of withholding your money from a place like Chick-Fil-A because you don’t see the cause and effect of your $5 purchase is naive and lazy. Nothing in America speaks like money. Spend yours with intention, purpose and integrity.