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Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:10 AM

The Chick Fil-A "Debate" is Largely Missing the Point

Last edited Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:21 PM - Edit history (1)

The debate over equal rights for LGBT Americans has recently focused, bizarrely, on an American fast food staple: the chicken sandwich. Specifically, Chick Fil-A, the Atlanta-based fast food giant that purports to follow "Christian values." Chick Fil-A's President and COO, Dan Cathy, recently proclaimed his support for "Biblical" marriage. A war of words arose, with those of the left boycotting Chick Fil-A, and those on the right tweeting pictures of themselves eating waffle fries. However, the real point of this debate has been lost in the rush to score political points. It is not Cathy's statements, however ignorant, that are the fundamental issue; it is Chick Fil-A's financial support of blatantly, and often vehemently, anti-gay organizations.

First, let's look at Cathy's comments. In an interview on The Ken Coleman Show, Kathy stated, "I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.' And I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about."

Liberal and LGBT-rights groups immediately decried these comments and encouraged their supporters to avoid the chicken sandwich chain. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted, "For the record, I prefer Kentucky Fried Chicken." The Democratic mayors of Boston, Washington D.C., Newark, Philadelphia, and Chicago all spoke out against the company in favor of LGBT rights. New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a Democrat, launched a petition, joining a New York University student-led petition with over 15,000 signatures, asking the university to remove the restaurant from the campus. The Jim Henson company pulled its toys from Chick Fil-A's kid's meals. "Kiss-ins" in front of Chick Fil-A restaurants were called .
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However, the real reason that those who support equality should avoid the chicken sandwich chain is who Chick Fil-A donates money to. Chick Fil-A donated at least $5 million to anti-gay groups between 2003 and 2010. In 2010 alone, Chick Fil-A, through its charitable arm, donated $1.9 million to anti-gay causes. These include organizations such as Exodus International and the Family Research Council that actively work to spread disinformation and prejudice about gays and lesbians

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Response to RyanPsych (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:15 AM

1. How can you stop them from donating money?

to whomever they wish?

We should continue to denounce their hatred and bigotry.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:22 PM

11. We can't really stop them

However it doesn't mean that we shouldn't make people aware of what their sandwich money goes to fund.

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Response to RyanPsych (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:19 AM

2. The author's failure to spell Dan Cathy's name correctly killed my interest in reading this piece

 

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Response to RyanPsych (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:24 AM

3. I quit eating there before the current brou-ha-ha because of these things.

Maybe the current Chick-fil-A controversy will help bring these things out.

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Response to mmonk (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:41 PM

7. Me too.

I was actually annoyed that more progressive people didn't already realize how vile they are. Now they do, and that's a good thing.

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Response to Lex (Reply #7)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:23 PM

12. Better late than never

I always say

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Response to RyanPsych (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:30 AM

4. I haven't eaten at Chik-Fil-A in years.

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Response to RyanPsych (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:36 AM

5. Who a company donates to is a very valid reason to boycott them. The Koch brothers for example.

 

I used to LOVE Marcal products until I found out Kock owns them. Now we only buy Scott's. I also won't buy another Dixie Cup product. Same thing.

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Response to RyanPsych (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:36 PM

6. Spam deleted by Neoma (MIR Team)

 

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Response to mama-repub (Reply #6)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:42 PM

8. It's ALL you have. One damn chicken sandwich store validating

your backward ass. Nice going.

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Response to mama-repub (Reply #6)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:45 PM

9. Bye bye mama!

See ya later when I go troll Free Republic.

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Response to RyanPsych (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:15 PM

10. Need to ban Chick Fil A under Obama health care. Its not fit for human consumption

The food is unhealth and needs to be banned. Do we have the right to do that during the 2nd term when we win.

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Response to RyanPsych (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:28 PM

13. Some of the "anti-gay" groups in the report from 2010 are subtly anti-gay.

Most people read a declaration that they're anti-gay and immediately say, "Ah, they're anti-gay. No more need to think about them!" But often it's very black/white thinking. "Not with us" means "decidedly against us." "Not friendly" means "rabidly hostile." I was trained for more nuance than that. Makes life messy.

A comment made by a prominent official in an organization about a conference that was held is the basis given for one designation.

A statement of purpose that is boiler-plate Xian and anti-hetero unmarried sex as gay sex is the designation given for another. It's disapproving of a lifestyle choice taken to mean open oppression. I'm not that sensitive.

They're speech crimes. Some official but hardly implemented; some unofficial. I have trouble calling them "anti-gay groups". The groups that ran ads in California. They're antigay. But most of the "anti-gay groups" are 99% something else entirely. I'd resent being defined as the bearer of my left toenail. I don't want others to define me. So what do the anti-gay groups actually do? There's a question. We know they're antigay. We have a label. Labels are user-friendly. But for most of CFA's "crimes" we have little more than speech crimes and labels.

Some got a token amount and those always make me suspicious. They're also the more virulent of the groups, actually doing something as opposed to making quips. But $1000 out of nearly $3 million in donations? That says less "I really support you" and more something else. "Please stop calling me," "I'd like to have booth 8B at the display room at your convention," "Yes, give me a 1/4 page ad in your next newsletter," or "We're having a training and would like a speaker to come and talk to us."

The Family Research Council is one such group. The group does more than anti-gay lobbying, but the claim is that everything it does must be antigay, so the only reason to support it is antigay. This is using a boycott to get a organization to fight an organization that it agrees with, either in whole or in part, because of a single stance. It does nothing to bolster confidence when a pastiche from a 2010 lobbying report that the group filed is posted as the entire document in order to make it sound like the organization supported the Uganda law calling for the death penalty for gays when the content of their lobbying on that point is a matter of public record and better claims could be made concerning what it lobby for. Let's distort what they do and not say what they actually do because, well, the distortion provokes more outrage. What they actually lobbied for I find more distressing. Still, the $1000 2010 donation didn't cover the first quarter's $25k paid to that one lobbyist. I don't like being manipulated or and really disapprove of attempts to manipulate me.

Things like the $1000 to Exodus International ... as far as I know, Exodus International is a solely anti-gay and ex-gay group. Then again, it's been around for 35 years, with most members volunteering to join.

We like nuance. We get nuance. And here we have nuance. Suddenly nuance bad.

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Response to RyanPsych (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:49 PM

14. How is this a new issue?

Hello everyone! I'm new to this forum and this is my first post.

It seems that what Cathy said in the interview has only confirmed and given an official expression of what Chick Fil-A has been doing for years. Only a year or so ago it was publicized (I believe it was The Huffington Post) that Chick Fil-A gave large donations to-and provided free food for a convention of-the National Organization of Marriage. This was about the time that I started boycotting Chick Fil-A in earnest, even though it shames me to admit that I do miss partaking of their Spicy Chicken Cool Wrap from time to time.

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