What I want you to know. Which is everything.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Chicken on the Fence

I have been on the fence. Not about Gay Marriage. There's no question, gays and lesbians should absolutely have the right to marry. I've never heard a relevant or reasonable argument otherwise.

No, I have been on the fence as to whether or not I should demonize, or more specifically boycott Chick-Fil-A over the recent remarks made by their CEO, Dan Cathy. There's other people to think about, like local franchisees and employees who are innocently stuck in the middle of this controversy.

I've always been aware of the Evangelical Christian nature of Chick-Fil-A, and despite some minor annoyances when I get a chicken craving on a Sunday, I've always admired the way they seemed to conduct business. I felt that they represented Christ well, without being in everyone's face about it. I'm now hearing about lawsuits due to wrongful termination of women and gays, but I don't know enough about those to really use it as a basis for any stance I might take. So I won't comment on the lawsuits further, except to say that it's reasonable to assume that a company that size would be ridiculously lucky to avoid litigation of that kind, from time to time.

The money they donate to anti-gay organizations is certainly troubling. I've heard a myriad of claims about what these groups stand for, from wishing death on homosexuals to their imprisonment. I didn't dig deep enough into their websites to verify any of the harshest claims for myself, but I took a look at the website for the Family Research Council, and the rhetoric and fervor with which they demonize homosexuals and same-sex partnerships got pretty ridiculous to the point that I believe it falls way outside the mainstream beliefs of most Americans. Still, there are lots of companies that likely give money to organizations with whom I might disagree. A Facebook friend of mine did some looking and listed all the oil companies that purchase from Saudi Arabia, a country with laws that degrade and sanction violence on women, not to speak of their stance on homosexuality. Would it not reason that, unless I'm willing to do the research on every single company I patronize, wouldn't it be hypocritical for me to boycott Chick-Fil-A, simply because it is fashionable to do so in this moment?

Then I read this article that another Facebook friend posted. And, it made me realize, if I really believe what I say that I believe, if I really do love my gay friends and family, if I truly believe that they should be given the same rights as I have, and that it matters whether or not they are treated like a second class citizen then I need not support organizations and companies that actively support such oppression of gay Americans. To be clear, there is a difference between a company with a CEO who is against same-sex marriage and a company that gives money to organizations that are dedicated to making life more difficult for homosexuals.

As for other companies that might support misogynist governments or other social problems with which I disagree, perhaps I need to be more vigilant, and do a little more research on these companies before I give them my business. But I already know where Chick-fil-A stands on this issue that I believe is a matter of civil rights. They make no apologies or qualms that they are against giving gays a right that all straight people take for granted. The groups they support financially go even further by rallying against legislation that would simply allow gay people to keep their jobs and not have to fear for their safety. I don't have to guess or shrug and say, "who knows how they are spending my money?" because I do know. To say that I disagree with them, but they have the right to disagree would to put it on the level of an opinion regarding taxes or economic theory. They do have the right to disagree, but they should not have the right to discriminate or infringe on the rights of others. It's a matter of right and wrong, rather than simply agreeing to disagree.

So, as for future visits, I can't say whether or not I'll ever set foot in a Chick-fil-A again, but, to be perfectly honest, it is very likely that I will, I'm sorry to say. Amanda and I are bound to break down amid the regular indecisiveness and "where do you want to go" routine. I certainly wasn't going to go today given the amount internet activity surrounding "Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day." Going today would have been tantamount to a cruel stance of betrayal to those gay people in my life for whom I care, dearly. Every Facebook post I read from a Christian boasting of their haul from Chick-fil-A broke my heart a little more, because it was an open display of their allegiance to a chicken store above the feelings of their LBGT peers. With the new amount of knowledge I now have about the company of Chick-fil-A (including the way the "f" in "fil" is not to be capitalized), and where my chicken-dollars are going, it's far more likely for me to think twice about eating there, and choose to go somewhere else. Here in Abilene there's a Rosa's Tortilla Factory right next door. They serve chicken there, too, although I doubt they can do a Peach Milkshake. But, the Chick-Fil-A can't really do tortillas, so we'll call that a draw. All I can say is that I'm urging Cane's to open here ASAP.

1 comment:

Mary Lou said...

Good post.I think you expressed a lot of the same things of this whole situation that Kim & I were discussing yesterday. I was so tired of all the FB chat on it too. So glad when the day ended, but I too was a little downhearted to see who of my friends had actually gone by Chic fil a and bragged about it on FB. I was a little surprised a little at who I saw that supported such in a very verbal way. I was also a little ashamed (yes, Kim, ashamed) that I didn't speak out on FB about the whole thing.Good post Kyle. I'm proud of the person you are. - Mom