Chick-fil-A Mea Culpa: I Have Changed My Mind

I thought Chick-fil-A's owners could separate religious beliefs from their business. I was wrong

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A photo posted on Sarah Palin's Facebook page of herself and husband Todd at a Chick-fil-A in Texas on July 27, 2012

Today is National Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, at least according to Mike Huckabee. The evangelical minister and former presidential candidate — along with Rick SantorumSarah Palin and a host of other Christianist culture warriors — is mounting a counteroffensive after big-city mayors tried to shoo the Southern chicken chain from their borders, the Jim Henson Co. pulled its toys from Chick-fil-A’s kids’ meals, and the fast-food company has become a flash point for the whole LGBT community and all their sympathizers in the nonfundamentalist real world.

And somehow I have found myself on the wrong side of this controversy. Some background: I wrote back in February that I liked Chick-fil-A’s food, and that as an American, I felt bound to respect its owners’ opinions, however wrong I might think them, as separate from a business whose practices and product seemed above reproach. (This is the New York Times official position, more or less, and it’s wrong too.) I also pointed to One Million Moms’ idiotic attempted boycott of JCPenney for employing Ellen DeGeneres at its spokesperson. No one came onboard, and I argued that this was fair-mindedness.

(MORE: U.S. Politicians Take Sides on Chick-fil-A’s Gay-Marriage Controversy)

But after hearing what Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy recently had to say, and — more important — after looking a little more closely into just how freely Chick-fil-A mingles its religion with its business, I have changed my mind. I had always thought of Chick-fil-A’s owners as hewing to private principles in nonintrusive ways, namely by closing on Sundays. But those private principles just got a lot more public. In July, Cathy told Baptist Press that he was “guilty as charged” in supporting “the biblical definition of the family unit.” In the same article, which went viral, he said, “Jesus had a lot of things to say about people who work and live in the business community … Our work should be an act of worship. Our work should be our mission field.”

(MORE: From Chick-fil-A to Amazon: Why Companies Take a Social Stand)

Opposition to gay marriage has become a matter of pride for the Georgia-based chain. Worse by far is the support, as IRS forms show, by the WinShape Foundation (Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm) for various anti-gay bodies including Exodus International, whose leaders talked up its gay “cure” in Uganda before the country introduced legislation that threatens gays with death or imprisonment — although Exodus now says that going to that anti-gay conference was a mistake.

The problem with Chick-fil-A goes beyond LBGT issues. A former worker recently filed a lawsuit against the parent company in which she claims that a franchise owner of a Chick-fil-A in Georgia fired her so she could be a stay-at-home mom. The corporate culture embraces an overt religiosity, from prayer meetings at business retreats to asking people who apply for an operator license to disclose their marital status and number of dependents.

I respect Chick-fil-A’s owners for taking a love-it-or-leave-it stance in regard to their religion; and, like a lot of people, I am choosing to leave it.

362 comments
Dawgs4ever
Dawgs4ever

Personally I think tying the commercial marketplace at all into one's religious or political beliefs is silly.  If I like the food, I'll buy it.  If I don't, I won't.  I don't care about the company's or owner's or manager's political or religious beliefs. 

I don't eat fast food because it's grossly unhealthy, so Chick-fil-A doesn't get any of my business anyway.

siennifer
siennifer

The Cathy family and their upper management are MORMONS, not Christians as is often assumed in these articles and comments.  

siennifer
siennifer

This story has passed its expiration date. There are many other ideas to fight about.

Holly Dawn Hewlett
Holly Dawn Hewlett

As I have said all along..if this were about Blacks or Jews..how may of you would be standing in line then? OR, how many CFA would have been burned to the ground? You put whatever philosophical and elegant language you want out of your mouth to feel less guilty...but the word I use is bigot..plain and simple.

John Metsopoulos
John Metsopoulos

Here is a novel idea, just don't eat there. By carrying on this CRUSADE, you have given Chic Fli A free press and increased there sales. DA

Nikki Hatch
Nikki Hatch

No one is objecting to Mr. Cathy have an opinion for or against gay marriage. This company; however, is using it's profits to influence legislation to deny equal rights to American citizens. I think the LGBT Community has every right to make that information known to the public and to encourage fair minded people to boycott a business that encourages discrimination. When people go to Chick-Fil-A and purchase a chicken sandwich they need to know that a small portion of the money they just spent will be used against LGBT people.

DanoM
DanoM

TuSA23,

You might want to look into your soul as well. What about the pathetic excuse for the gays going there and kissing each other? Is that OK in your eyes? Would you want your young child to see two men swapping spit ? I don't, and I think that most of the country doesn't either. Keep that at home behind closed doors where it belongs.

kate_203
kate_203

The owner of Chik-fil-a is just trying to espouse the values of his faith and apply it to his business. Being Christian means trying to live your life as authentically as you can according to Christian values. He's not breaking any laws nor throwing stones and slurs; he has  the right to give financial support to causes he believes in because he is allowed to an opinion and he is allowed to have his own beliefs. People should respect that no matter their gender or their faith. He just comes off as insensitive because Christian values are inherently diametrically opposed to the LBGT community's opinions. It is what it is and we should just live and let live.

Kenneth
Kenneth

Chik-Fil-A is horrible for all the reasons Ozersky has pointed out, not to mention extreme animal cruelty. Watch MeatVideo.com to see how badly chickens and pigs raised for meat are treated.

minstrelmike
minstrelmike

"Our work should be our mission field" sounds really good and fair as long as it is said by Christians in a Christian-dominated culture.

Does it sound so innocuous when said by Muslims or Sikhs?

How about Mormons or Seventh Day Adventists?

Erin Patton
Erin Patton

Idiocracy era has begun in the US. Imbeciles should eat at the new fuddruckers next and post pictures from that visit too.

killsmith
killsmith

So, JOSH OZERSKY, you'll support some one's opinions and their right to express them, until they cross an arbitrary line that you set, then they stop having the right to express themselves?  How is this different than every one else on the political left?

They're a private business. They have every right to do what they do. If people don't like it they don't need to eat there, work there, or go to the religious retreat. It's still a free country.

ComGenSupreme
ComGenSupreme

I don't condemn people, however, I choose to not have their anti-religious, and in-your-face lifestyle shoved down my throat every single day.  It appears as if their rights supersede mine, and I'm sick of it.

Tanya Strickland
Tanya Strickland

Dear DubitoErgoCogito -

You appear ignorant and poorly educated on human sexuality.  LGBT is not a choice, it is not simply a "behavior," and it is not a "lifestyle."  Homosexuality is natural, it is documented to exist in virtually all species.  

Your statement that LGBT cannot reproduce is rife with ignorance.  You are mixing biology with sexuality.  While it is true that a sperm and egg are required for human reproduction, and one is donated by a male and the other by female, this is biology.  Gay men produce sperm, gay women produce eggs and can reproduce with each other if they choose.  How the egg gets fertilized can vary.  LGBT are still capable of having sex with a member of the opposite sex - that doesn't change their sexuality because there is more to sexuality than having intercourse.

And finally, by assuming (and promoting the misconception) that all homosexuals by nature are having sex with 100s of partners, you confirm your ignorance.   To people who share your view, anything short of hiding in the closet and being invisible is "parading."  Just because something makes you uncomfortable does not make it illogical or an abomination.

Killroy71
Killroy71

No, you were right - the Cathy brothers CAN separate religion from business -- they just don't want to. And, this being America, I suppose they get to do that. And so do we.

And a word to the militants on both sides - please stop being hateful. You only hurt your case. Just shut up and vote with your dollars.

texan99
texan99

I don't even agree with Chick-Fil-A about gay marriage, but I'm not willing to stand by and watch petty municipal officials deny business licenses to people with non-PC attitudes.  It amazes me that people are offended by intrusive "fundamentalists" but fail to recognize PC-mongers as some of the most rabid fundamentalists among us.

I'll make up my own mind which fast-food outlet to buy from, thank you.  I don't need my mayor to vet their politics first.

LAscreenwriter_1
LAscreenwriter_1

>> Josh Ozersky: "I respect Chick-fil-A’s owners for taking a love-it-or-leave-it stance in regard to their religion; and, like a lot of people, I am choosing to leave it."

Wahoo!  Thanks, Josh!  That makes one LESS person in the long line so I can get to the counter quicker, and it means one MORE sandwich laying around that I can claim for me!

Dear Liberals:  Just a friendly tip. Next time you want to push more of your socialist, touchy-feely, politically correct nonsense -- DON"T step on the Constitution. Because this really WAS all about average Americans rising up and eating a chicken sandwich, as a fun way to show that Free Speech is one of the most cherished and beloved things that we,

as Americans, pride ourselves on.

And, yes -- I know this will come as a shocking news flash to you -- but even 200 plus years later, in the far LARGER and more IMPORTANT scope of things, protecting the Constitution STILL  supercedes things like gay marriage.

thejames2020
thejames2020

 Chick-Fil-A/American values/Free speech.........................100

Obama/leftist/radical gays..................................................0

thejames2020
thejames2020

 So the fascist leftist .mayors like Rahm Emanuel want to prevent a business from growing because they don't the religious values and free speech guaranteed by the 1st amendment. This is the crap Obama drags into the federal government......

Mark Miller
Mark Miller

 Thoughtful article ... I still adhere to the writer's original conclusion.  The owner of Chic-fil-A is entitled to his opinions.  He can close on Sundays.  He can speak on TV or radio if he wants.

I wouldn't expect a bakery owned by orthodox Jews

to be open Saturdays.  And, if the CEO were to say that he thought it

wrong that many parents fail to circumcise their male children, I'd

still buy bagels.  So the founder of Chic-fil-A is publicly ignorant and politically incorrect... so what?

I don't eat chicken and I believe in no religion.  I suspect that Dan Cathy I don't agree on much.   But that isn't important.  What IS important is that we and protect freedom of speech and religion and we respect diversity - even diversity that we don't particularly like or fully understand.

Talendria
Talendria

I think it's important to respect the rights of gay people, even if you privately disapprove of their lifestyle, because we live in a tolerant society.  However, respect is a two-way street, and gay people often seem not to understand or care about how their behavior affects others.  Be discreet.  Be polite.  Holding a public kiss-in at a fast food restaurant over summer break when there will almost certainly be children present isn't going to win any votes for gay marriage.

If you're going to boycott Chick-fil-A, do it because they're still serving food in styrofoam.

WayCoolJunior
WayCoolJunior

Every time one of those religious fundamentalist groups tries to boycott some TV show or other I always think, "How silly.  If you don't like it then just change the channel."   That's pretty much my stance on this issue, as long as they aren't denying service to anyone or breaking any laws, if you don't like it then don't frequent their business...  problem solved.

Personally, I don't believe I've ever been to a Chick-fil-A restaurant and I see no reason why I would start now.  

ezrarankin
ezrarankin

Bigotry dressed up in a chicken sandwich

ezrarankin
ezrarankin

Bigotry dressed up in a chicken sandwich

quitasarah
quitasarah

If you count yourself on the Chick-fil-A side of this debate, please read the following. It does an excellent (and civil) job of explaining the side of the boycotters, and why you should join us: 

http://www.owldolatrous.com/?p...

meepmeep111
meepmeep111

I'd never heard of chick fil a until this controversy, like most ppl in the world.we dont have it Canada thankfully .

Dinah Perez
Dinah Perez

I don't have a problem with this CEO being anti-gay.  He's a bigot, but that's the great thing about living in this country -- we get to choose and voice our beliefs.  What I would not be okay with is him discriminating against job applicants or his employees because they are Gay. 

Aaron Koepper
Aaron Koepper

The whole gay marriage debate aside - you probably shouldn't eat Chick-Fil-A because it's terribly unhealthy for you (same goes for any other fast food). We also subsidize said terribly unhealthy food to be the cheapest, making us one of the few countries where the poor weigh more than rich. Discussion worth having? 

squarebird
squarebird

I want to add this two cents to the debate:  

The owners of Chick-Fil-A are about SAVING people from Hell .. they considered them condemned already .. they are NOT in favor of the condemnation itself. They also do not believe it is their God or Savior who does the condemnation.  I'm an atheist, but at least I bother to understand those who are religious before arguing with them .. otherwise you are arguing against a strawman.  To their ears you are demanding that they let people burn in Hell because it is none of their business.  If that argument worked on them, I would think less of them, even though they would be conforming to my viewpoint.

squarebird
squarebird

The Constitution does not state that one should not mix religion and business .. it is government that is directed to keep its opinions to itself.  That is why I bought a Chick fila yesterday for the first time (and I am about as atheist as they come).

Tim Miltz
Tim Miltz

Why is this stuff ALWAYS on the fundamentalists minds ? 

WHY ? 

Is THAT ALL THEY DO ? 

Rick Santorum - every single problem in the world came - wrong word- was connected back to gay marriage.

Why's it ALWAYS ON YOUR MIND RICK ?

Most people don't care to think about these things swallowing a mystery meat - wait - wrong word-  a strange sandwich that probably has chicken in it.

NON GAY CHICKENS BY THE WAY - sure - some may have fooled around in the pen - but - we won't want to eat any gay chicken meat right ? 

But how do you know ? which chickens were gay ?

Surely there must be one.

And where there is one- there is another.

And now ? Chick-fil-A is serving up gay chicken breasts.

Just close your doors Chick-Fil-A -   get out while you can ! 

Go join Fred Phelps !  lol

you people deserve yourselves.

DubitoErgoCogito
DubitoErgoCogito

The bible is clear about fornication being something people should avoid in their behavior, does that mean that everyone that behaves this way should be declared a minority and be given Affirmative Action class status?

The bible is also against bee steel al a T behavior as well, does that mean that everyone that behaves this way should be declared a minority and be given Affirmative Action class status?

How about adultery? Another behavior that the bible is clear about NOT engaging in. I can see it already F as cited above, B as cited above, plus A... FAB... Everyone that is in the FAB group must be declared a minority, it is human rights you know. They don't just behave this way, they are FAB. FAB is not a behavior (sarcasm), FAB is a group of people that want their rights.

FAB wants to also add other deviant behavior people, some of them are often referred to as a louse by some because of their parasitic tendencies. They are otherwise known as pedofiles. I know, we will have a parade called FABuLouse.... Everyone hedonistic will be invited, and then after the party, we will demand to be hired for every government job, and stop any business that does not accept our hedonism, call anyone that does not accept us haters...

(Yes, sarcasm.)

 

These are behaviors people, not minorities. In the 1960s and before African-Americans were discriminated against because of something they could not control, the color of their skin. LGBT is a behavior, NOT a skin color. Stop the down low, stop the gayism proselytizing, you are not a different species, you are merely looking for any reasons you can to demand others accept your behavior.

Tim Miltz
Tim Miltz

This was so irresponsible of these religious fubarmentalists.

the #1 candidate to 'find jesus' inside of prison ? Pedophiles.

And go figure - it's those who can't control themselves who NEED to be compulsively driven by the bible.

In fact, BOTTOM LINE - Think about it- 

These religious nutjobs have managed to put IN THE MINDS of every child that eats at a Chick-Fil-A - issues that they would complain about if they were brought up in a public school sex ed class.

COME ON - people can never eat at Chick-Fil-A again as a family.

Good ole Christian fundamentalists - they will MAKE SURE certain subjects come up - why ? Bottom line it's ON THEIR MIND.

I don't see McDonalds having to market the Big Mac to people of a certain sexuality.  

Or the Whopper - my god- what demographic would that be for ? 

I give up- if Chick-Fil-A wants to marry issues about homesexuality to their sandwiches - fine - just don't go getting a divorce too soon !

Nutjobs - 

Hey- is that your stock I see crashing ? 

hahahahahahahahaha

Tim Miltz
Tim Miltz

Praise Jesus - let me be GUIDED by the holy spirit to make SURE I think about two gay men having sex while I chomp down this cheap commodities offloaded chicken patty that I really don't want to know what it's made of.

Tim Miltz
Tim Miltz

All I know is Chick-Fil-A has managed to ruin any neutral experience of having a chicken sandwich without bringing to surface things that I really don't think are appropriate for any child to meditate on when dining out - 

"Mom, why are all those people with signs outside the store"

"Dad ? What's gay mean ? "

And JESUS - they thought they were just coming for a milk shake.

Humor in that last one I suppose.

I wonder who owns Time Magazine now.

Tim Miltz
Tim Miltz

Chick-Fil-A has managed to bring to the surface the imagery of that cream that's formed during the pumping of two gay men - every time you ask for a mayonaise packet for the sandwich...

Tim Miltz
Tim Miltz

Good family fast food 

Post ordering

"Mom,  what's gay marriage"

Ah yes- something for the kids too chew on while they cram the mystery bird sandwich down the ole gullet

Tim Miltz
Tim Miltz

I used to fear I would get sick eating at Chick-Fil-A

Now I KNOW I will get sick at Chick-Fil-A

Tim Miltz
Tim Miltz

I wonder who owns Time

all of my comments are gone.

Such as "I'd like 2 chicken sandwiches" 

"Would you like a side of religious ideology with that sir ?"

Jane Myers Perrine
Jane Myers Perrine

Everytime I hear, "The Bible defines marriage as between one man and one woman" I have to ask, "Have you ever read the Bible?"  How many wives did Jacob have?  (Hint:  more than one at the same time)

Kempfan
Kempfan

By what law must the owners of a private company avoid mixing their beliefs with their business?  You certainly have a right to take your money elsewhere, but why do you expect private entities to remain disconnected from "public" venues?

meepmeep111
meepmeep111

America takes religion out of public schools, but yet it permeates every sphincter of your society, from the highest office in the country, to a low class (read : crap) fast food restaurant.

meepmeep111
meepmeep111

I say this as a Canadian, and as most ppl in civilized countries around the world are thinking, America is a strange, strange place.

LovelyLadyLiberty
LovelyLadyLiberty

Many conservatives (including Bill O'Reilly) came out AGAINST those who encouraged a boycott of J.C. Penney for hiring Ellen DeGeneres to be its spokesperson.  It is interesting, too, that the ACLU's position on the attempts of two mayors to prevent Chik-Fil-A fr0m opening outlets in their cities is decidedly negative.  I don't dispute the right of anyone to refuse to do business with any privately owned company, but I DO have a problem with any individual with political clout who attempts to prevent the owners of a company from expanding their business.  If a company wishes to display an "overt religiosity," so be it.  CFA doesn't strong-arm anyone into working in any of its restaurants.  Moreover, the corporate culture (as observed by me while living in Georgia for 16 years) must not be terribly oppressive in the view of CFA employees.  While the turnover among high-school-aged employees at CFA is probably about as brisk as it is in other chains  - after all, kids graduate and go off to college or out on their own - CFA customers tend to see the same friendly, polite, and efficient ADULT employees month after month and year after year in their neighborhood restaurants.  Because I never order chicken from a restaurant menu (as I have enough of that at home), CFA is never my first choice when grabbing a bite on the run; however, I DO like CFA's waffle fries, iced tea, and lemonade; therefore, while I don't necessarily agree with all of CFA's opinions, I'll make it a point when I'm down South next time to place an order at CFA if only to show my support of the company's right to have its opinions, to express its opinions, and to conduct its operations with those opinions in mind.

Shawn Bruffett
Shawn Bruffett

As a Christian I Am Ashamed and Disgusted that People Like this That are using the Name of Jesus and God to Promote Discrimination and Hate.They Are NOT Supporting "Christian or Biblical Values" by supporting a Company that Spends Millions of Dollars to Fund Discrimination Against Any Group of People, when that Money Could Have Gone to Feed the Hungry and Homeless. Those Values are About as Anti-Christ Like as You Can Get. 

Amos Feinburg
Amos Feinburg

I find it interesting we as a human race are required by the gay community to embrace their way of life.  There is no freedom of choice, it is gay embracing or they will set out to destroy you and your company.  

 I don´t like being forced to accept their ideas and I do not like a food critic back stepping and be a coward. If you like their food, do not be afraid to say so. OR what, next the gay community will boycott you?  Or me? or just everyone who is not gay?  

Epi Phyte
Epi Phyte

This isn't even necessarily about Cathy's or anyone else's support for gay or traditional marriage. It's about whether certain members of our cultural elite - folks like Rahm and his cohorts in San Fran and Boston - are going to dictate to us the terms upon which people will be "permitted" to have a public opinion  - especially a so-called "unacceptable" opinion that may run counter to some politically correct shibboleth of the progressive left.  Feel free to boycott if you don't like CFA's politics, but don't EVER attempt to dictate to free citizens, through speech codes or any other intellectual straight jacket, the terms upon which you will "permit" us to operate businesses or engage in political discourse, you despicable fascists.