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?

Robert Rickman August 07, 2012 at 10:13 AM
I guess bigotry is alright as long as it's against Christians.
Jeff August 07, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Leftist like you Heather hate when the 1st Amendment goes against you. Afterall no matter what you say that's what it is. No laws were broken. 1st Amendment: against gay marriage = bad; voting rights for everyone = good. Tea Party = bad; "Occupy Movement" = good. Do I have that about right? Btw, support for Chick-fil-A against those who tried to destroy it was overwhelming. You forgot to mention that Heather.
Amber August 07, 2012 at 12:42 PM
So basically you are fine with Cathy having an opinion different than yours... as long as it agrees with yours and he doesn't actually speak or use that opinion in any way. Sad. People of all beliefs are speaking out against those like you.
Jack Kaplan August 07, 2012 at 01:13 PM
You people aren't reading this article in its entirety or something. We don't have a problem with his hate speech. Our problem is that his company funds organizations that want to harm gay people. It's a civil rights issue not a 1st amendment one. Read people!
Jeff August 07, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Jack define "harm". Maybe you can because the author was unable to itemize "harm".
Dana August 07, 2012 at 02:06 PM
I am so happy that Mr. Cathy voiced his opinion. Now I know where NOT to spend my money! I wish more CEOs would voice their bigotry under their First Amendment rights - or even by hiding behind the Bible. It makes my shopping so much easier! OH, and btw, which Bible?? He didn't say.
Michelle August 07, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Jeff, you sound like a real "hater" to me.
Marc Weissman August 07, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Well written. This is outlandish for sure. But what's likely even sadder is that if we conducted in-depth interviews with Bill Gates, the late Steve Jobs, Ray Kroc, Mark Zuckerberg, Dave Thomas and yes even Col. Sanders, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison about their personal views, I'm sure we would eventually come across something to be appalled by. Not saying I condone what's been said here. Au contraire. Just that we'd be left with nowhere to eat, sleep, watch TV, listen to music or perish the thought, even post comments on a web-site if we really knew how every CEO felt about compelling issues.
Jeff August 07, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Michelle, you sound like an authority on reading people's personality. Where did you discover your genius?
Michelle August 07, 2012 at 05:13 PM
A little over sensitive aren't you, Jeff? Or did I hit the nail right on the head?
Jack Kaplan August 07, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Do your homework Jeff. Must we bury more young people in this country via bullying and suicide? Treating gays like second class citizens. You know exactly the harm that's done to gay people here. And so does Dan Cathy.
Steve F. August 07, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Wow lady, you rewrote a few crappy stories you read. GO CHICK FIL A !! MARRIAGE = MAN + WOMAN . Anything else is a product of the devil and smells like butt.
Michelle August 07, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Stephen, "smells like butt"? Really? What are you, 7 years old?
Al August 08, 2012 at 06:10 AM
Well, you can "Ewww" all you like, but it doesn't change the fact that Chick-Fil-A has witnessed overwhelming support from the general public as a result of this. And it's not even because of their positions on homosexual marriage or similar; many people supporting them, including me, happen to disagree with Mr Cathy's views. But I emphatically reject local officials like Rahm Emmanuel deciding unilaterally that Chick-Fil-A doesn't belong in their cities. It's that sort of fascist attitude that comes so often nowadays from the left, that we all reacted to. The left talks a lot about tolerance, but shows none, and this is a perfect example. I only wish there was a Chick-Fil-A in Connecticut so I could support them more!
Jeff August 08, 2012 at 10:25 AM
Michelle if you must know I am a hater. I hate people who are destroying my country and I hate people who throw names at people without a shred of a coherent argument to prove it. The floor is yours. Define hater, as you view it of course.
MAC August 08, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Heather, you and millions have been misled by rabid gay activists into believing that "defending" traditional man-woman marriage, as Mr. Cathy did (and many groups do) is discriminating or "hating." I urge you to ponder the many societal reasons, and above all for the best good of children, that traditional, natural marriage between man and woman must be defended, rather than be redefined by the demands of activists. Gay couples raising children are necessarily teaching those children, by their daily lives and examples, that the other gender is dispensable!! It is a biological fact that it takes a man and a woman to create children, which is why governments recognize "marriage." It has nothing to do with "recognizing" 'love and affection.' Society and governments have a vested interest in traditional man-woman marriage in order to have an "ordered society" in which children have known fathers who are 'financially responsible' for their progeny. Male-female relationships are NATURALLY going to result in children (in most cases) when the partners are of child-bearing age. That is simply NOT true of same-sex relationships, which is why governments view the two differently, as Supreme Court judges in NY and other states have recognized. Gay couples' children are deliberately created by frankly unnatural means and are totally optional to them. Thus, government has no like interest in encouraging same-sex relationships, which are thus "different"
moses jr August 08, 2012 at 08:44 PM
So DICK Cheney, hero to the neo-conservative base doesn't have his facts straight on gay marriage that he endorses so openly and with his whole heart? What would you do if your daugher was in the same boat as his, disown her?
Pat Gharet August 08, 2012 at 08:46 PM
He can speak out all he wants about anything he wants. He can also fund any organization he wants. What he cannot do is fund organizations that support descrimination and hatred while claiming to have "respect" for everyone.
Pat Gharet August 08, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Stephen, I suppose you are working with your elected officials to outlaw divorce and enforce laws against bigamy. This is the only way to protect the sanctity of marriage.
Pat Gharet August 08, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Homosexuals are destroying your country? Where do you live, Iraq?
jrmillerII August 08, 2012 at 10:03 PM
how do homosexuals affect your "life" Pat?


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