Chick-Fil-A comes under fire for anti-gay marriage position
On Sunday, my wife and I went to see Refused, a Swedish hardcore band that just recently got back together after 14 years. I’m not going to be a hipster about it, so I’ll admit that I didn’t get into them until around 2000, a couple of years after the split up, after seeing the video for “New Noise.” After listening to their last record, The Shape of Punk to Come (1998, Burning Heart Records), I realized that they were very anti-capitalist, going so far as to call it a “crime.”
So while I was at the show, I wasn’t surprised to hear Dennis Lyxzén, the band’s frontman, mention their views, even though it was incredibly brief. We paid around $70 for our two tickets, another $50 for two t-shirts, and walked into the show with a full awareness of what to expect. In fact, these viewpoints are common in the style of music to which I listen. Bands like Propaghandi, NOFX, and a slew of others all express an anti-capitalist point of view, whether it’s in their lyrics or activism. As a believer in free markets, I just happen to strongly disagree.
The same could be said of Chick-Fil-A. The Atlanta-based restaurant chain has once again come under fire over its stance on a hotly debated social issue. In an interview for the Baptist Press, Dan Cathy, President of Chick-Fil-A, expressed his company’s opposition to same-sex marriage:
In a departure from previous comments, Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy told a Baptist website that the Atlanta-based company is “guilty as charged” in its support of traditional marriage.
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit,” Cathy said in article published Monday by the Baptist Press. “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 know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles,” he said.
Chick-Fil-A, which formerly declined to weigh into the public debate over the issue, has come under fire in the past over donations to groups that oppose same-sex marriage. Groups that support same-sex marriage reacted by calling for a boycott of the restaurant.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I worked for Chick-Fil-A as a teenager. I eat there on almost a daily basis, and I credit the restaurant for aiding me in a year long diet — during which I lost 145 pounds. But I also support same-sex marriage, though I would prefer the government get out of the marriage business entirely. As Aaron Russo once said, “Marriage is for lovers, not for government.”
But with opposition to same-sex marriage now the formal opinion of Chick-Fil-A, the talk of a boycott is growing louder. But while we all certainly have a right to “vote with our dollars,” a boycott seems rather ridiculous; not to mention that they don’t often work.
This is actually a reversal on my part. I used to have a different opinion on this, but it has has “evolved,” to borrow a line from President Obama. If I stopped spending money at businesses with which I had some sort of disagreement — whether it be religious or political opinion — my choices would be incredibly limited. I’d never eat Ben and Jerry’s again since they supported Occupy Wall Street and other left-wing causes. I would never go see another movie due to Hollywood’s support of SOPA and PIPA. And I would never listen to music from bands, like Refused, that express an anti-capitalist point of view that I, as a believer in free markets, disagree with very much.
And let’s not forget that Chick-Fil-A hasn’t exactly hid its religious roots. In fact, they’ve basked in it. Truett Cathy, founder of the restaurant taught, has kept its doors closed on Sunday since it opened way back in the 1946. And you know what? More power to them. This is the great thing about living in a (mostly) free society. Just the same as you have the right to protest or boycott them, they have the right to support or oppose different aspects of public policy. The same should be said of the uproar from “pro-family” groups, many of which called for a boycott of Oreo after the cookie brand expressed support for same-sex marriage. The outcry was absurd, just as it is currently with Chick-Fil-A.
Again, I don’t agree with the opinion of Mr. Cathy, and now Chick-Fil-A, on same-sex marriage. But let’s be reasonable, they’re not denying anyone service based on their sexual preference, they’re simply expressing their point of view.
Do what you will, but I’m going to walk in the same Chick-Fil-A that I visit almost every day, pay my $9.35, sit down and enjoy my meal — not because I agree with them, but because they put out a good product.