July 24, 2012 7 Comments
As I knew he would, John F. takes issues with my defense of eating at Chik-Fil-A:
Perhaps you don’t have any family members who have been denied their rights but I can’t imagine you or anyone on the left being o.k. with this if nearly any other group were impacted i.e. black, hispanic, women, etc. I would argue that it is our failure as a society to tie corporate actions to social & civil life, unlike many other societies that “get” the connection, that the power of the people is so diffuse and disorganized. This isn’t simply a matter of what a corporate board member or president believes, it is a failure to recognize people as equals and denial of the very thing the corporation stands for (profit) due to an errant ideological belief. It’s an abuse of a corporate charter and without punishment will only encourage other for-profits (especially if bigotry is profitable) to follow suit.
And here’s part of the original article, which I thought quoting and didn’t that explains why I stand by my earlier comments:
First of all, Chick-fil-A is not a hate group. In a statement released yesterday, company leaders made their commitment to equal service clear, “The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”
As a native Atlantan, I’ve dined at the chicken chain more than I’d like to admit over more than two decades and even interacted with its leadership team. I’ve never witnessed any customer refused service or even treated differently. On the contrary, Chick-fil-A is known for offering world-class customer service to each person that walks through one of the restaurant’s doors.
Additionally, the organization gives millions of dollars each year to charitable causes — and not just to “pro-family” groups. It funds a large foster care program, several schools of a higher learning, and a children’s camp. It has provided thousands of scholarships for Chick-fil-A employees to attend college and grow past the service sector where they got their workplace start.
Now, if Chik-Fil-A were refusing service to gay people, of course I’d agree with John and many others. But they are not. They are simply in support of a policy with which I disagree, but nonetheless find a defensible part of current political debate. I reject the idea that opposing same-sex marriage makes you a bigot. This is not some way of “how can we do more to make life miserable for gay people?” but let’s be honest, marriage has been an essentially heterosexual institution for milennia and it strikes me as reasonable that people would object to a sudden re-definition. Now, if this was in any way related to how Chik-Fil-A actually conducts their business, i.e., discrimination against employees or customers, that’s a completely different matter. But simply holding a political position shared by roughly half the American public should not be the basis of a boycott.