Wednesday, August 1

On Speech and Chicken

Everyone else in the blogosphere has weighed in on the subject, so I figure I'll take a whack at the topic myself. Chick-Fil-A and gay marriage. If you're uncomfortable reading that phrase, go ahead and click here to look at funny pictures of cats that can't spell.

I miss the chicken nuggets and the lemonade. But currently I am not a patron of Chick-Fil-A. And long-time readers of this blog know that I appreciate my local franchise and the staff there - I have written before about my love for the food and the service. Right now I'm choosing to not visit.

Let me be perfectly clear - Mr. Cathy has EVERY right to believe what he believes regarding marriage. And he has EVERY right to state those beliefs in any forum that he chooses. I applaud his courage to stand behind his beliefs in the face of his critics. And, of course, he has EVERY right to donate the profits of his corporation to whatever cause he deems worthy. I would not spend a single breath denying him these rights.

So - having stated that unequivocally - why am I denying myself the delicious chicken and lemonade?

Because I disagree with him.

Now, I have the right to decide whether or not to patronize his company. Will the lack of my business even be a blip on his radar? Nope. Even considering that I averaged two visits per week to CFA prior to July 16 - no one will notice my absence. I am well aware that the $1000 per year spent at my local franchise would translate to about 12 cents being donated to organizations that make my blood boil (especially Exodus International whose belief that gay people can be "turned" actually turns my stomach). For me, that is 12 cents too much.

Friends have stated, "we don't know what the leaders of most businesses believe in. McDonald's or Target or Sheetz may be led by people with the same beliefs." True. But it is when I DO know and then choose to ignore how that makes me feel - that is when I compromise my integrity.

To all my friends who are visiting CFA today to show support for Mr. Cathy's right to believe and say whatever he wants - good for you. You are choosing to stand up for something you believe in. Even if it is just believing in the right to free speech.

To all my friends who are choosing to boycott CFA - whether it be for a day or a lifetime - good for you. You are ALSO choosing to stand up for something you believe in. For some, it is marriage equality. For some, it is a show of support for gay friends and family. For others...your reasons may be very personal.

Will I ever return to Chick-Fil-A? I honestly don't know. Would it be acceptable to eat there if I make a donation to organizations that are on the other end of the gay marriage spectrum? Can I offset my indirect donation to the Family Research Council with a direct donation to Marriage Equality USA? Would it be like a carbon footprint offset? One pack of nuggets = one dollar to a group that I agree with?

I still have a great deal of thinking to do on the topic. I know that I have seen long-term committed relationships involving gay friends. And some of those couples are doing a great job raising children. I have seen some horrible dysfunctional relationships involving straight friends. And some of those couples have severely damaged their children. Every relationship is unique. And each should be judged on its own merits.

For now...I know one thing for certain...regardless of how much I miss the food, I am choosing to eat at home. I know that the squash Mom made (from local farm co-op Lynchburg Grows) tonight will not cause me to lose any sleep.

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