It’s hard to believe that a chicken sandwich has polarized the United States. It appears that there’s no such thing as a simple chicken sandwich anymore. What a clucking mess.
In case you’ve been avoiding the media, Facebook, Twitter and all other forms of the news, fast-food franchise Chick-Fil-A has come under considerable scrutiny due to the remarks made by its president, Dan Cathy, and its documented support of anti-gay organizations. In an interview with the Baptist Press, Cathy, who is the son of Chick-Fil-A’s founder, went on to say that,
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that…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 biblical principles.”
In a later interview with a different media outlet, Cathy went on to say,
“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,’ and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about…”
The response to Cathy’s statements has been an outpouring of support for Chick-Fil-A and also broad condemnation by various celebrities, city mayors, and marriage equality groups. Cathy remains unapologetic for his beliefs.
Why should he apologize? I give to you the First Amendment of our country’s Bill of Rights:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Dan Cathy is allowed to say and to believe whatever he wishes. So, why are people so upset?
It appears there are two main reasons: religion and business. First, there’s the obvious schism between those who support and those who oppose marriage equality. Many are proud of Cathy for standing up for traditional marriage, “the biblical definition of the family unit.” Second, there are those who are outraged by the boycott of Chick-Fil-A by those who disagree with Cathy, saying that it hurts Chick-Fil-A’s employees more than it hurts Cathy.
I categorize myself as a Christian. That said, there’s plenty in the Bible that we no longer permit in our modern society like slavery and polygamy. As for the definition of traditional marriage in the biblical sense, let’s not forget that King Solomon had hundreds of wives and hundreds of concubines. That’s the marriage of one man and many women– not one man and one woman, which many say is the definition of traditional marriage. For the record, Jesus never mentioned homosexuality and he never married. However, as Cathy rightly said, “we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
That said, Dan Cathy fails to recognize the wide-reaching effects of his personal beliefs. Even if he feels that he speaks only for himself, as the President of Chick-Fil-A he must be aware of his impact on the lives of his employees. Some have spoken out that they don’t share his beliefs, some have admitted that they’re gay, and some have honestly said they only work there because they need a paycheck. It is naive for any figure who holds a leadership position within a business or other organization to assume his opinion is that of his followers or of his employees. As the issue with Adam Smith, former CFO/Treasurer of Vante, shows us, what you have to say in public is extremely important.
“Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day”, a demonstration organized by those who stand behind Chick-Fil-A, was a record-breaking day of sales for the fast food franchise. It’s unclear if the demonstration was predominantly religious or a political show of support. Regardless, Chick-Fil-A’s across the country ran out of food and saw their sales percentages skyrocket– the opposite effect boycotters were hoping to achieve.
The showing of support for Chick-Fil-A is evidence that this nation’s ability to rally around a cause– be it religious or in support of small business employees– is impressive. So is our national intolerance for those who disagree with our opinions. You might agree or disagree with Cathy; you may think he’s a bigot or a Baptist miracle; regardless, it is your duty as an American to be tolerant. Intolerance breeds things and people we fight against domestically and abroad. Intolerance does not a strong democratic republic make.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Did you go to Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day? Are you vehemently opposed to eating at Chick-Fil-A? Or, do you not give a cluck?