(Editor’s note: This week, Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press the Atlanta-based fast-food chain’s is “guilty as charged” in its corporate stance against gay marriage.)
It’s pretty clear the leadership at Chick-fil-A is homophobic, and the company is anti-gay and, if you aren’t, you’re probably swearing them off as hate-mongers and narrow-minded twits.
Don’t get me wrong, I am, too. It’ll be hard for me to financially support an organization whose president says such damning things publicly about not just gay marriage, but divorce as well.
But for those of you devout Christians out there, don’t get me wrong, either.
This issue isn’t as black-and-white as many make it out to be.
Philosophically, I found Dan Cathy’s reported comments to be incendiary, fear-based, hate-mongering and offensive. It’s a shame such narrow mindedness exists today. I thought Christians were supposed to be open, welcoming and accepting of others.
You don’t have to condone someone else’s behavior to follow your faith. And you don’t have to condemn it, either. Saying his company was “guilty as charged” for having a stance against gay marriage was a good answer: It’s criminal.
But let’s pull back for a moment, all of us – gay, straight, Christian or not – and consider a few items that make this less black-and-white and worth further thought:
• Dan Cathy didn’t say he hates gay people. He supports one side of a political issue. It doesn’t excuse the close-mindedness of the stance, but it’s not nearly as incendiary as many people are making it out to be with paraphrasing and third-generation repetition of what was actually said.
• Dan Cathy can’t speak for the entire organization. This is a personal issue, not a company one. Many Chick-fil-A stores are independently owned franchises and I’m guessing many are not run by people with their heads up their asses. (There’s a very crude joke about irony waiting to happen there.)
• Sensibility quickly returned to the company when a spokesman issued a statement saying Chick-fil-A prefers to leave the debate on this issue to the political realm and likely won’t be participating in any further discussion about it.
• I’m willing to bet if an obvious same sex couple went into Chick-fil-A today, they’d be treated with respect and served with the same, “My pleasure!” and friendly service we all get. Dan Cathy doesn’t get to implement bigotry with his employees. That would be against the law.
• Those who are offended by Dan Cathy’s statements are welcome to ban or boycott his company, but understand that your right to do so is the same one that allows him to say such things out loud. The bad comes with the good.
• Though I support love and marriage between anyone regardless of gender or other factors, I know the practicality of never eating at Chick-fil-A again is sticky. I have young children. I do not want to explain homosexuality or same-sex marriage to a four-year-old. And I can promise you that spending $18 at a company whose CEO is a narrow-minded, dim-wit is a lot better than breaking a daughter’s heart set on playing at Chick-fil-A on Saturday.
My plan is to avoid the restaurant from now on. But it’s foolish for those who think the company deserves what it’s going to get to believe Chick-fil-A will actually get it.
One man’s foolish quotes to a faith-based media outlet won’t bring the company down. If our principles are lucky, they’ll experience enough of a bottom-line effect they reconsider the public they serve and whether or not it’s a good idea to let Dan Cathy speak anymore.
It’s also short-sighted of us to think this is an easy decision or a black-and-white issue, regardless of how stomach-turning the comments.