As I’ve taught my children to say when they don't like a meal they've been served, here’s my take on the anti-gay bigotry of Chick-fil-A: “No thank you, I prefer something else.”

The recent barnyard brawling over the anti-gay stance of Chick-fil-A has certainly raised a commotion in the hen-house. Squawking and cackles erupted over news of statements made by the fast food eatery’s president/COO Dan Cathy, who seemed to publicly embrace that position after growing attention focused on donations the company makes to anti-gay groups.

In an interview, Cathy told the Baptist Press, “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 operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that.”

In another interview, Cathy reiterated his belief:  “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 have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”

Just in case it wasn’t explicitly clear, Cathy was blunt about describing the company’s support of ‘traditional’ marriage, “Guilty as charged.”

Cathy, the son of Chick-fil-A’s founder, made these statements after reports surfaced that the company, via its charitable arm, made close to $2 million in donations to groups actively working to discriminate against homosexuals and the LGBT community, including making some behaviors illegal and criminal, here and abroad. The issue at hand isn’t just about gay marriage, but also about employment, life choices, health insurance and, in some cases, survival.

Let's be very clear about the brouhaha raised after Cathy’s comments:  This is NOT a first amendment issue; it’s really a civil rights issue. When you have an organization contributing money to groups actively engaged in trying to disenfranchise, segregate and isolate—let alone strip away civil rights from citizens—it is clearly a civil rights issue.

I emphatically contend that Cathy is entitled both to his opinion and his freedom to express it. In fact, I’m gratified that he has expressed it, because now we know where we stand, with him and with his company. His statements demonstrate his prejudices and bigotry, and they shed light on the discriminatory efforts his company’s profits support.

I’m perplexed by the contradictory nature of Cathy’s statement, characterizing those who have the ‘audacity to define what marriage is about’ as ‘prideful’ and ‘arrogant.’ Isn’t that exactly what Cathy was doing? Defining what marriage should be—between a man and a woman?

Protesters speaking out and demonstrating against those views are not intolerant of them. They are merely expressing their own view, that discrimination and segregation—whether cloaked in religious, moral or first amendment arguments—is still bigotry.

Imagine learning that KFC contributes to organizations campaigning for outlawing marriage between men and women of different races, based on arguments of sanctity or morality. Imagine discovering that the president of Taco Bell donates significant company profits to organizations that campaign for removing tax-exempt status of churches and synagogues, because of his interpretation of the phrase, ‘separation of church and state.’ If those moves were true, we’d certainly classify them as bigotry. So too, can we call Chick-fil-A’s actions as bigoted.

I’m glad to see that there have been mounting boycotts and protests against Chick-fil-A’s corporate dealings. They are not intolerant of someone else’s opinions or religious beliefs. Instead, such protests demonstrate an intolerance of intolerance itself, akin to those that that advanced civil rights legislation forward 50-60 years ago, and beyond. They harken back to sit-ins, Rosa Parks, abolitionists, Stonewall and women suffragists. We have a national history of accomplishing legislative equality and increasing public support in this way—that, to me, is more American than anything else.

In this case, like the others, it’s also tantamount to standing up to a bully.

But if we’re searching for some sort of religious foundation for condemning Chick-fil-A and Dan Cathy, perhaps we should look no further than the Golden Rule which, in addition to having some basis in all of the world’s major religions and ethical traditions, is a major tenet of Christianity:  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s also expressed: “Love your neighbor as you would yourself.”

Isn’t that the most traditional value of all?


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Kelly Denton September 12, 2012 at 03:07 PM
If "the only way to have a family is with a mom and a dad making a child," what about all the children that moms and dads abandon and are raised successfully by single parents or same-sex parents, by aunts and uncles, grandparents, family friends? Are those units not families? I say those units are as much families as any other units. It only takes a single act of sex to make a child, but it takes any number of different types of units to raise those children. Now, back to the marriage movement. The union of two people should not be such a hot issue for people not involved in the union itself. Everyone should have the privilege having their union legally recognized. Because what is available for one should be available for all.
Sean M September 12, 2012 at 03:25 PM
It is not relevant. Mom and dad is what a child needs. Who are you to decide that you know better than nature. Since you have such a great position, let the people vote on it. Your side never wins when it is done. Why is that?? Changing the definition of a family affects the entire country as a whole. Your side shows NO regard to the religious rights or parental rights of others. Once marriage is a right, then you liberals attack and attack some more. You start teaching people's kids about sex, homosexuality, and the rest of it, substituting your judgment for the parents. You demand that churches then marry you, in direct violation to the 1st Amendment. I can keep going, but you might look up what happens after gay marriage comes up and what happens first. At the end of the day, let the people vote on marriage. Traditional always wins. Gay marriage has never won. There will be more initiatives in November. Traditional marriage will win again. Marriage is not a right. It is a legal recognition. The equality argument holds zero weight.
Kelly Denton September 12, 2012 at 03:46 PM
It is relevant. Mom and dad may be what a child needs, but sometimes they don't have a mom and dad. Sometimes they have no one, or worse yet, they have a mom and dad that hurt them. I do not know better than nature, nor did I claim to. Also, no one is claiming that the definition of family should change, except you. You seem to think the constitution says that "Family should be between a mother and a father and their children..." I think the definition of Marriage should change, and that is my personal opinion. Neither did I claim that churches should be forced to marry anyone. No one should be forced into anything. Whether marriage is a right or a legal recognition, everyone deserves it. The churches idea of marriage should have no consequence, because in this country we strive to separate church and state. Tradition or not, this country has been changing since it's inception, and it will continue to do so until the end of time. Everything changes. It is inevitable. I can tell this is a very personal argument for you, and I really don't want to upset you. I understand that you feel that the Left has no regard for the Right, and I'm sure many people feel that the Right has no regard for the Left. That's how it is and that's how it has always been. People will always disagree. That is one of the things that makes life interesting.
Sean M September 12, 2012 at 04:41 PM
"Also, no one is claiming that the definition of family should change, except you." Really? I am the only one. That is just plain silly. First of all it is not changing the definition of family, it is keeping the one we have had for centuries. You are the one that wants to change it. The Constitution does not mention marriage nor family. It should and 6 more states vote on traditional marriage and there will be a convention. You made some very inaccurate assumptions about my views. The federal government has no jurisdiction on marriage with one exception. DOMA. No state can force another to accept a gay marriage. You should also understand what "separation of church and state" means. It has a narrow definition, as defined in the 1st Amendment. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The words do not appear in the Constitution and the way you reference them is factually wrong. I can spend hours on how the left uses this issue to violate our rights. What upsets me is the lack of understanding of a number of issues of uninformed and disengaged Americans. I am not that conservative in the social arena. What bothers me is the behavior of the left. There are some on the right who do bonehead things also.
Sean M September 12, 2012 at 04:43 PM
You can look at Mayor Menino in Boston and Rahm Emanuel in Chicago. They actually stated they will stop Chick Fil A over its owners' view on marriage. That is fascism of the Soviet type. What they did is grossly unconstitutional. If they take action to implement that, they will lose in court.


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