(Originally aired on FlipCollective.com on August 9, 2012)
There’s a lot of chatter on the Internet about Chick-fil-A lately. Everyone seems to have an opinion about recent revelations that the company gives millions of dollars to religious groups that oppose same sex marriage. Dan Cathy, the company’s CEO recently stated that the company supports, “the biblical definition of the family unit,” outraging gay rights advocates and organizations everywhere.
For the last week or so, social media websites have been swimming in everyone’s varying opinions: boycott Chick-fil-A. Go join your favorite former Vice Presidential candidate at your local Chick-fil-A on a special “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.” The issue has been discussed ad nauseam. You must be sick of it by now; I know I am. Bear with me though, because this controversy isn’t deflating anytime soon.
However unintentional (or perhaps intentional), Chick-fil-A has landed itself right smack in the middle of the gay marriage debate. The debacle has expanded beyond the conversation of same-sex marriage, into conversations of religious freedom and freedom of expression. The company has since “backed out” of the discussion; meanwhile everyone from employees of the company to the mayor of Chicago is stepping into the ring to weigh in on the dispute. (Alderman Proco Moreno wants to block construction of a Chick-fil-A restaurant on the Northwest side of the city due to the company’s pro-traditional marriage stance.)
Even Nancy Pelosi commented on the scuffle, stating that she prefers Kentucky Fried Chicken. Zing!
Since I am a whiney, veggie-loving, hetero-ally leftist, many of my friends on social media websites tend towards the same. (I also have plenty of friends and family that represent the opposite side of the argument.) With the loveliest of intentions (combat oppression, fight homophobia), many are taking up an anti-Chick-fil-A stance.
While I can appreciate the pro-gay sentiments behind the “boycott,” it seems to be a distraction from any productive movement towards equality. If Chick-fil-A were actively discriminating against employees or customers based on sexual orientation, like say, a certain cake shop in my hometown of Lakewood, Colorado did last week, then we’d have a real story. For now, it’s nothing more than chatter.
There is nothing new about private and public companies shuttling their money towards causes that interest them. We recently learned that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos gave 2.5 million dollars to the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington State. Does this mean that traditional marriage advocates should no longer order copies of Heaven is for Real from Amazon? No. Because showing support or disapproval of a business should have nothing to do with a Civil Rights movement, which is meant to expand freedom – not limit it. Cathy’s comments are outdated and foolish, but that’s no reason to boycott his company altogether.
Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of reasons not to patronize Chick-fil-A. The company does nothing to uphold or promote animal wellness, and it encourages cruelty through the mass production of meat and animal by-products. The food is fatty nonsense; it’s essentially nutritionally void, and contributes to obesity and other disease pandemics plaguing our country – particularly the lower class, for whom wholesome, nutritious food is largely unavailable or unaffordable.
And let’s not forget – it’s foul tasting. (I realize this may be the most controversial thing I say today.) I mean, really, I can think of two scenarios under which I would actually consume that garbage; one involves an inaugural bong rip I took freshman year of college, the other a post-bender state of starvation and desperation.
Both involve regret.
It might be tempting to jump onboard with the anti-Chick-fil-A movement, but I would encourage you not be distracted from the real issue – the struggle for equality. Keep fighting the good fight. Donate your money to causes you believe in. Volunteer your time to organizations that promote love and acceptance. And by all means, pay attention to the stance your members of Congress take on same-sex marriage and vote accordingly.
Let them (bigots and otherwise) eat Chick-fil-A. You don’t want that bullshit anyway.
Gay marriage is happening. And there’s no amount of waffle fries the GOP can shovel in their gullets to stop it.