I respect Chick-fil-A . . . and this has nothing to do with gay rights. Chick-fil-A is an exceptional company that has brought fast food to a whole new level. The entire business is built on principles of excellence, dignity, and respect that have developed a company which produces superior food, superb customer service, clean restaurants, and happy employees. Chick-fil-A has also funded camps to develop children and families, promoted programs that help foster children, provided thousands of college scholarships, a promoted first-class leadership training.
I believe that every company has the right to support whatever causes they deem important. In fact I believe it is not only a right but a responsibility for businesses to make a positive difference in the world. Unfortunately, the recent uproar over Chick-fil-A’s position on gay marriage has little to do with making a positive difference. It has a lot to do with creating a political (and religious) rallying point for the proponents, or opponents, of gay marriage.
The controversy began when Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A commented, in two different interviews, that he was opposed to gay marriage. This is far from a statement of opposition by the company. Contrast this to Oreo’s post on Facebook on June 25th which was an implicit statement of support for gay marriage. The Chick-fil-A sandwich has instantly become a political symbol with the declaration of Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day by Mike Huckabee, the vow of mayors of Boston and San Francisco to never allow Chick-fil-A restaurants in their cities, and an explosion of vehement comments on the web.
The most disturbing part of this situation is that it reveals our ethical inconsistency and the artificial politicizing of social issues. We are allowing people to think that they are standing for equal rights simply by refusing to eat at a fast-food restaurant. Conversely, we are allowing people to believe they are standing to righteousness by eating chicken and waffle fries.
Perhaps you have seen this photo floating around Facebook. “So, you stopped eating at Chick-fil-A because the owner of the company thinks that homosexuality is wrong. Tell me, when are you going to stop buying gasoline because the owners of OPEC put homosexuals to death?”
This is the kind of questions that we should be asking every time this type of controversy erupts. Why are we so anxious to either boycott or support companies that take a stand on gay rights, but we ignore other issues of life and death? Why are church leaders not rallying their congregations to buy Tom’s Shoes, which gives a pair of shoes to a poor child for every single pair they sell? Why are we not demanding that our restaurants and grocery stores sell Fair-Trade coffee, which ensures that coffee farmers in developing counties are not exploited? Why are we not boycotting and protesting Apple Computers, which has been accused of abusing overseas workers and is refusing to bring its manufacturing back to the US?
I propose that we all put more energy into bringing love and life to those who need it, and less energy into being outraged.