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the Chick-fil-A boycot thing

FaceBook has been abuzz these last few days over a drive to boycott Chick-fil-A. There are several memes and links getting passed around, apparently inspired by the fact that Chick-fil-A's owners donated to an anti-gay marriage group.

To be completely honest I was a bit bored by the whole thing. The idea that the Cathies would donate to such a group was hardly news; I've heard of them doing things like that at least as far back as my high school years (so more than a decade). They also donate to other causes; back in 20080 they won some kind of award where it was announced they'd given away over $100 million, including to foster homes, camps that give inner-city kids a retreat, and scholarships for their employees. They also had a reputation, at least when I still lived in the South where Chick-Fil-A's were more common (this would have been as late as 2006) of working with smaller poultry-raisers with less ethical problems. I'm no fool; I know fast food always has its problems. But Chick-Fil-A always struck me as better than most, even taking the anti-LGBT thing into account.

To put it more generally: they always struck me as a business with a conscience. I didn't always agree with their values, but I liked the fact that they had them. McDonalds always seemed to be about making money, and I'll take a principled company (or in this case owner) whose principles I disagree with over one whose only principle is mammon, any day of the week. I'm also not a big fan of tempting people to hide their agendas. That's just how I am, and I don't expect everyone to agree. None of that excuses Chick-Fil-A's donations, btw. It always made me a bit uncomfortable; I just had always thought having a country that cared about morals and doing the right thing and genuinely felt like a place that respected its employees was worth supporting.

Not so much anymore. In the fall-out from all of that, Jim Henson pulled Muppets toys from Chick-Fil-A. That's every bit their right and privilege as Chick-fil-A's opposing gay marriage is their founders. He also donated the check from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD; again, their right. (Incidentally: This is how the marketplace of ideas (so much as there is such a thing) is supposed to work: different people advocating for their beliefs and using what resources they have at their disposal to support said beliefs and principles.) Here was Chick-Fil-A's response:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/07/24/1113286/-Chick-Fil-A-now-lying-for-Jesus-that-the-Muppets-are-unsafe

Having principles is good, but it only earns you sympathy in my book if you actually act on them. I don't know if there were problems with the timing of this pull stinks to high-heavens. And blaming your bad press on someone else is not cool (or particularly Christian, for that matter).

I may eat Chick-Fil-A the next time I'm in the South. Maybe. But it will be a mixed joy at best. As for now, here's the only poultry I'm enjoying thinking about just now:

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
dreamflower02
Jul. 25th, 2012 04:19 am (UTC)
Huh. I didn't know any of that about Chick-Fil-A. I knew that it was closed on Sundays, like Hobby Lobby, and so assumed the owners were Christian, but I didn't know any of that other stuff.

It's always been a favorite of mine, too. Their chicken is really good. But now I'm not sure I'd enjoy it.
marta_bee
Jul. 25th, 2012 01:57 pm (UTC)
Well, I grew up in a town where the biggest employer is a Christian non-profit, and worked there myself for a time. Franklin Graham actually had a good working relationship with the local franchise, and they sometimes catered company events. I saw the good they did (they regularly donated sandwiches for our volunteers, for instance) and when I heard rumors about the "traditional" marriage stuff, I wanted to find out more.

Sorry to have ruined one of your favorite sandwiches! I'm glad I could educate you, though - IMO it's usually better to know than not to.
engarian
Jul. 25th, 2012 09:37 am (UTC)
There aren't any Chick-Fil-A eateries here in Minnesota, but as a passionate supporter of gay rights, I'd boycott them on principle. Just saying....

- Erulisse (one L)
marta_bee
Jul. 25th, 2012 01:53 pm (UTC)
I don't mean to come off as excusing them. I guess for me it's a complicated situation because Chick-Fil-A actually does a good deal of work in the communities where they operate, treats employees with more respect than other fast-food employers, and the like. So as opposed as I am to their position on gay marriage, I also recognize it as part of a general approach to business I think is good. Very good, actually.

I guess the question is, does their stance on marriage trump all else? It's something I've struggled with. In many ways they made things simpler for me when they showed a willingness to lie. This moved them out of the "principled opponent I can respect" category into the "unprincipled !@#$ opponent" quite effectively, for whatever reason.
engarian
Jul. 25th, 2012 08:36 pm (UTC)
There was an article in our Sunday newspaper about bridal bachelorette parties in gay bars. Apparently this is quite popular and prevalent and the gay community is starting to rumble about the fact that they are expected to celebrate with the brides and in some cases even contribute financially to their wedding, but the gay community is forbidden from having similar ceremonies and legal standing. It's a valid point and one that they are trying to publicize in that venue.

I know I'll be voting for equal rights in November, while my DH votes the opposite because his Catholic background just won't allow him to approve marriage as a religious ceremony for same-sex couples, although he approves of civil unions.

- Erulisse (one L)
thelauderdale
Jul. 26th, 2012 01:47 pm (UTC)
I only ever ate at Chick-Fil-A once, many years ago, and I just happened to get a piece of chicken that was either gristly or raw, I can't remember which. It ended up turning me off before I ever heard about the owning family's beliefs. I know it was just a fluke - I've had oddball food experiences at other chain restaurants - but since it was the first time it made me not want to go there again. Too bad, because I really like chicken.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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