I didn’t want to wade into this hullabaloo over Chick-fil-A’s stance on gay marriage, I really didn’t. But I can’t help it.
To those on both sides of the issue, let me just say this:
You’re all being silly.
First, a little background. About a month ago Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy was interviewed by a small North Carolina newspaper called the Biblical Recorder. In the interview, he talked extensively about his Christian faith and how Chick-fil-A has always chosen to run their business on biblical principles, including closing their restaurants on Sundays. Toward the end of the interview, the topic turned to the subject of marriage:
The company invests in Christian growth and ministry through their WinShape Foundation. The name comes from the idea of shaping people to be winners.
It began as a college scholarship and expanded to a foster care program, an international ministry, and a conference and retreat center modeled after the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove.
“That morphed into a marriage program in conjunction with national marriage ministries,” Cathy added.
Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about this opposition.
“We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. 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 operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families – some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized.
The interview was picked up a couple of weeks later by the Baptist Press, and soon mainstream media outlets got wind of it, focusing only on Cathy’s supposedly “anti-gay” remarks and ignoring everything else. Before long, people began calling for a boycott of the restaurant chain. The mayors of Chicago and Boston went on record to say that Chick-fil-A wasn’t welcome in their cities. Then former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called on Christians to support the company by organizing a “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” on August 1st. All of a sudden a company that had been in business without controversy since 1967 had become a political lightning rod.
A young Baylor college student by the name of Sam Davidson wrote a lengthy blog post about the controversy and why it’s a “microcosm of everything that’s wrong with everything.” His post was way better than anything I could’ve written on the subject, so definitely go read that.
But here’s my take on the whole situation. First, it’s not like Chick-fil-A ever hid their Christian beliefs. I mean, if the whole “closed on Sundays” thing didn’t tip you off, then you obviously weren’t paying attention. Second, they’re certainly not the only Christian-based company in America. In-N-Out Burger, for example, is also a Christian-owned fast-food chain; they even print Bible verses on their cups. So why are people so outraged now and why aren’t they boycotting In-N-Out, Hobby Lobby, or any other Christian businesses? If it’s so morally wrong for non-Christians to support Christian businesses, then they should be boycotting all of them, and they should’ve been doing it all along.
But it’s not just the anti-Chick-fil-A crowd that’s acting silly. Acting as though the company is somehow the flag-bearer of Christianity in America is just as bad. Chick-fil-A is a Christian-based business, yes, but at the core, it’s still a business. If as a Christian you would prefer to give your money to them as opposed to McDonald’s or whatever, that’s fine. But don’t build them up as some kind of savior; they’re a fast-food restaurant, not Jesus himself.
Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day sends the message that we Christians should only be supporting businesses that agree with our faith (or more accurately our politics). But that’s not even realistic. Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook have all been vocal proponents of gay marriage. Are we supposed to stop using all of their products as a result? It’d be tough to do much online if we did. Every company that I’ve ever worked for has provided healthcare coverage to same-sex couples. Am I supposed to only work for companies that don’t? And what if I don’t know the political position of a certain business? Should I ask for a written statement of their beliefs before I decide whether to work or do business there?
Here’s my point. Sometimes businesses will agree with what we believe in and sometimes they won’t. We certainly have the option to not give our money to such businesses if we so choose, but we shouldn’t ever expect a particular business to agree with us. It’s not like if Chick-fil-A’s profits dive 80%, Dan Cathy will suddenly start supporting gay marriage. Or if we boycott Google, they’ll suddenly decide homosexuality is morally wrong.
So go “eat mor chikin” if you want. Or don’t. Whatever. It’s not gonna change anyone’s beliefs either way.