My Facebook newsfeed has been exploding this week from friends on both sides of the debate over Chick Fil A and statements made by their CEO, Dan Cathy. Well, here is my take.
(I should preface this by saying that I’m an evil, awful, God-forsaken liberal and if you hate liberals as much as you should, take this with a grain of salt…speaking of which, Chick Fil A needs to put more salt on their waffle fries).
I’ve been addicted to the chicken at Chick Fil A as long as I can remember. My brother used to love McDonald’s McNuggets and I told him once he had a Chick Fil A nugget he would never go back. As far as I know, he never has. I’ve been a loyal customer for decades. I have to say this so that you’ll know I’m biased when it comes to Chick Fil A. There can be no other chicken substitute for me.
So when I say that Dan Cathy can say whatever the hug he wants because that right is protected by the 1st Amendment you might think that it’s because I salivate at the mere mention of a Chick Fil A Chicken Sandwich please hold the pickles. Not true. It’s because I believe that freedom of speech is a living breathing thing and it cannot exist when only one kind of speech is acceptable. A long time ago this really smart dude named Voltaire said, “I may not like what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
On the flip side, as a consumer I have the right to not spend my hard-earned money at businesses where I disagree with their political values/affiliations, where or how they produce their goods, their business practices, their employment practices, etc. Which is why I won’t shop at Wal-Mart. So, if someone who hears Dan Cathy’s comments about marriage equality and disagrees, finds them abhorrent and hateful, well they have the right to not spend their money at Chick Fil A. They have the right to protest and boycott against CFA because that’s how we do in the United hugging States of America.
Obviously Dan Cathy has some pretty strong religious beliefs. I mean, Chick Fil A closes on Sunday (which frankly I never noticed because I live in Utah and a lot of things close on Sunday) and the statements he made were to a Baptist magazine. In the United States you can believe whatever you want and that’s one of the great things about this country. We have freedom of religion, even if other people find your beliefs and/or religion stupid, ignorant, or hateful. My religion is regularly called a cult and I just smile and put back on my tinfoil hat.
Just like I find the beliefs of the Ku Klux Klan to be abhorrent and disgusting and something that if it were in paper version I would wipe my read-end with. But if I look down into the deepest part of my soul and say with conviction that I believe in the freedom of speech, I have to say that the KKK should be allowed to have their marches, spew their hate, and clean the highway. And I have the right not to attend their marches, listen/read their hate, or drive down the highway they clean.
Just like when Rush Limbaugh, who I find to be piggish in every sense of the word, called Sandra Fluke a “slut” for trying to testify before a Congressional committee, as disgusting and repulsive as I find Rush, he has the right to get on the radio and spout off whatever ridiculously misogynist bull crap he wants. And I have the right to call him a sexist pig for his comments and not listen to his show. If others want to go so far as to pressure his advertisers to drop their sponsorship of his program, they can.
Just like if the “Million” Moms want to protest against JC Penney and not shop there because they have Ellen as their spokesperson, they can. And I have the right to call that action homophobic and hateful and shop even harder at JCP to counteract that. That’s what we do as Americans.
“The solution to bad speech is more speech.” -some smart person
I saw this controversy compared to the Dixie Chicks brouhaha of 2003 and not only did I laugh because they both have the work “chick” in them, I think some people who are supporting Chick Fil A now totally vilified and made death threats against the Dixie Chicks back then. Ah how life is a glorious circle. Dixie Chicks had the right in 2003 to say, “we’re ashamed President Bush is from Texas” and those who disagreed had the right to not buy their albums, go to their concerts, etc. (Interjection to say the things I was saying back in 2003 were way harsher but no one pays any attention to me because I can’t play the banjo). But let’s be honest…was it really that simple? Nope. Those ladies had their lives and families’s lives threatened. Their records/CDs were smashed and set on fire in some sort of Nazi book-burning re-creation. They lost their once at-the-top-of-the-world careers. Do I think this is going to happen to Dan Cathy? I hope not. If anyone threatens his life over this they are ridiculous and need to take it down a huggin’ notch. Will he lose his business? I doubt it. There are enough people who agree with Cathy to keep the CFA coffers filled. I hope no one abducts a Chick Fil A cow and sets it on fire. That is crossing a pretty big line.
To wrap this all up I have to come out as a gay ally. I believe in freedom of religion and separation of church and state. If a church chooses not to recognize gay marriage, that’s its right as per freedom of religion. But a church does not have the right to legislate the laws of the land per separation of church and state. I have many beloved LGBT friends or as I like to call them, just friends. I cannot in good conscience tell them that my marriage and partnership with my spouse deserves more rights and legal recognition than theirs. Some of them have been with their spouses longer than I’ve been with mine. So if one of my friends tells me that Dan Cathy’s words hurt them and they choose not to buy anything from Chick Fil A, I say that’s their right.
And just in case anyone doubts it, I have a testimony of Jesus Christ. I believe it when he told me that the second greatest commandment is to love one another. I’ve never had a problem with homosexuality and I never will. And if having a problem with it is a requirement to be “a real Christian” well phooey on you. I don’t believe it. I was a senior in high school when East High School had their big fight over a gay-straight alliance club. To say it was the talk of every class would be an understatement. The only thing that sticks out in my mind about it 16 years later (shut up, I’m old) was a Seminary teacher who said that the Jesus he knows would not shun, stone, or hate homosexuals. The Jesus he knows would wrap his arm around them and love them as they are. I strive to be like that Jesus.
So that’s my take on the Chick Fil A controversy, not that it matters. I just had to get it out, because like usual, I have an opinion on it.