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?

Joe Blow August 12, 2012 at 05:43 PM
What a crock of sheeet. Since when does PRO-family become anti anything? I'm tired of the homosexuals trying to shove there immoral lifestyle down my throat. I could care less what they do in their bedroom but don't try to play it off as "normal" behavior. They are freaks of nature.
Carl Kolchak August 12, 2012 at 07:23 PM
I wonder if Joe realizes he just proved the author's point. Probably not.
Oldblooeyz August 12, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Tman August 13, 2012 at 12:55 AM
let the gays be married, they should be just as freaking happy as I am, that wil teach them !
Betty August 13, 2012 at 01:11 AM
DebraLee Hovey voted against gay marriage. True our state rep. voted against gay marriage in CT. Does anyone know why she is a hater?
QWERTY August 13, 2012 at 04:07 AM
Who cares. This topic is more of a fad than anything else. 30 years ago, no one cared about the subject. Then a few movements start along with legislation and everyone jumps on the bandwagon like it's the cool thing to do.
Nick Kapoor August 13, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Could not agree more with this article. LGBT rights = human rights. Joe Blow, did you know that approximatley 1,500 speicies of animals have a subset of their population that practice same gender acts as well as same gender relationships? Freaks of nature is the furthest thing from the truth that the LGBT community is.
Joe Blow August 13, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Hey Nick, you mean 1,500 species of animals have freaks as well. I do give you credit for one thing, the comparison of homosexuals to animals. BTW- another lopsided story. Ya forgot to mention about the Chick-fil-A appreciation day. Ya, people turned out in droves to support the family value stance taken by the company.
Alex August 13, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Chick-fil-a is welcomed to say whatever they want, and spend their money anyway they want as they are a private company. With that said, people have that same right, and if you disagree with that company's views then don't support them. Calling people bigots because their religion or personal beliefs disagree with your lifestyle is over the top though. I view tolerance and respect as a two way street. I may not agree with Chick-fil-as management's opinion or view of the world, but I'm not going to condemn it.
Cindy Cervini August 13, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Perfectly stated, Alex!
Nick Kapoor August 13, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Joe, your ignorance bewilders me. Why don't we mention Starbucks Marriage Equality Day last Tuesday where people turned out in droves. 1,500 species of animals have freaks as well?!?!? I have never encountered someone with such a blatant disregard for equal rights for all. I agree with Alex, say what you want about a company's policy decisions, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but calling a group of people "freaks" is inappropriate and discrimnatory.
Bob Zyskowski August 13, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Joe - In the 1860s when SLAVERY was the hot subject, did you know that people "turned out in droves" to support it? Just because people "turned out in droves" does that make it right? I think that most people who turned out for Chick Fil A appreciation day were ignorant of the fact that Chick Fil A donated large sums of money to groups that oppress LGBT rights. On a more serious note - Joe, how would you act toward your child if he/she turned out to be gay?
Bob Zyskowski August 13, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Alex - If Chick Fil A said "Iran should wipe Israel off the globe" and made contributions to terrorist groups within Iran, would that be okay? It would be okay in many area in the Middle East but it wouldn't be okay here. Can private companies really say anything they want? How would a Jewish person feel if they were working at a Chick Fil A when this statement was made? So, how would a gay or lesbian feel if they were working at a Chick Fil A when they found out that their workplace was sponsoring groups that had advocated for physical abuse and jail for their kind? I believe that free speech is fine just as long as it doesn't advocate for violence or oppression of others with differing and non-violent viewpoints. I'm sorry I used an extreme example to make this point.
QWERTY August 13, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Maybe government should focus on the 95% of the country who are eligible for marriage and start encouraging and rewarding the act. With a divorce rate of 50%, why aren't we focusing on fixing that instead of attempting to bring more people into a failing system?
Christine E. August 13, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Mountain, meet Molehill. Chick Fila isn't threatening anyone. You can't censor them, just like you can't censor the Westboro Baptist Church. You may disagree with it, you may speak out against it... but to say they don't have the 'right' to openly disagree with Gay Marriage is contrary to the founding principles of this country. Sounds to me like you are one of those people who supports free speech so long as it's what you want to hear.
MAC August 13, 2012 at 05:40 PM
We who disagree with the ridiculous notion of REDEFINING marriage in order to stroke the fragile egos of a tiny minority (about only 1 % of the population who actually WANT ssm) do not "hate" them. For most people who disagree with the radicals' demands, we are fine with them living how they wish to. We are not okay with them demanding that society's most basic foundational institutions, marriage and family, be undermined and further weakened, just because a few radicals' self-esteem is so DEPENDENT on what others think of them! We are also not "okay" with them bringing children into a deliberately 'emotionally and socially deprived' environment of being DENIED a MOTHER or FATHER! Far from "hating" anyone, I just feel sorry that anyone's self-esteem is so "dependent" upon having their "sexual identity" or "orientation" affirmed and acknowledged by others.
JoAnn Toth August 14, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Do all these pimples on the azz of society realize that they will stand in front of the Lord someday and be judged accordingly??
JoAnn Toth August 14, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Shes a "hater" because she stands for Godly principals, my dear! Thats why we keep her in office and I am proud of her and her beliefs.
Alex August 14, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Freedom of speech doesn't include threatening people, and it's illegal to contribute money to a known terrorist group. There are absolutely limitations to freedom of speech, which you've highlighted, but as long as a company doesn't cross that line, they can say what they want. I don't know exactly what the groups that Chic-Fil-a has donated to have said or what their mission agenda is, but if it has crossed the limitations of our freedom of speech then it should be reported and investigated. But if they have done nothing illegal then you don't really have a point. Many people would like to see the KKK go the way of the dinosaurs but you'd be trampling on their rights if you forced them to disband because you disagree with their opinion however hateful it is. As Christine E. has said, the Westboro Baptist Church is a good example too. Here we have basically a hate group under the cover of a "church" saying military personnel are dying because god hates gays. That's a terrible thing to say, but they have a right to say it. To start limiting freedom of speech to what you only agree with is a very dangerous path. Thankfully our laws transcend (or usually do) the opinions of our politicians and it would take literally an act of congress to alter the 1st amendment which I hope will never happen.
Charlotte J August 14, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Well said, Bob.
Alex August 14, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Since the tax code is out of date, it's actually a penalty nowadays to get married lol. If you and your spouse make the same amount of money then you'll be in a higher tax bracket filing married than single, if you make anything over roughly 70K. If we want to reward marriage then that should be fixed! I suppose back in the day most homes didn't need to have both husband and wife working, what a wonderful thing that must have been...
Nancy B. August 14, 2012 at 02:52 PM
And every time I think that we as a society have moved forward I get to read something like the above and it makes me sick. For those of us raised Christian: We are all made in His immage and God doesn't make mistakes. You do remember that don't you? For those of you who hide behind your Christian beliefs with such hate in your hearts in order to discriminate against those you disagree with, you and only you will have to answer when your day comes. Until that time I hope you enjoy the bounty of your anger.
Christine E. August 14, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Religion is all about perception. What you think defines a good Christian, others may not. I always find it funny when people try to tell others how their religion is wrong.
Alex August 14, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Calling people freaks won't earn you any respect. I'd just like to point out Joe, that many people thought individuals involved in inter-racial marriages were "freaks" too 40-50 years ago. Obviously some people still share that opinion, but I think it's obvious enough that history has not been kind to those who opposed it. I'd imagine gay marriage will be treated in a similar manner in the history books 20-30 years from now. Which side of history do you want to be on?
Walt August 14, 2012 at 03:56 PM
You don't have to worry too much about this topic as there aren't even any chick-fil-a's in the whole state. They DO make the best, by far, fast food chicken sandwich out there though. As for the whole religion thing, that's just a crock invented by man because no one wants to die and have that be the end of it. Pure Voodoo.


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