I love the chicken at Chick-fil-A. I eat the chicken, I am not trying to marry it or Dan Cathy, the president of the company who ignited a firestorm when he was quoted saying, “we are very much supportive of the family… the biblical definition of the family unit.” Cathy opposes same-sex marriage. Although I don’t agree with him, I am happy he is standing by what he believes. The danger of his beliefs for a man who operates one of America’s favorite fast-food chains is that now his company has become the center of controversy.
I happen not to care what Mr. Cathy thinks about Adam and Adam saying “I do.” Yet, now my friends are asking, “how can you still eat at Chick-fil-A?” Here are five reasons why:
1. No Shoes, No Shirts, Sinners – No Service
Mr. Cathy is entitled to his personal beliefs (and we have the right to shop elsewhere.) But how far into the family business is he willing to take his Biblical principles? Is he willing to apply it to everyone equally, and not just same-sex couples? Should the sign on the door say “no shirt, no shoes, sinners, no service?” If every gay person were colored pink, and easily identified, perhaps Mr. Cathy and his overly eager, painfully pleasant, acned army behind the counter, would be able to turn people away based on sexual orientation. In reality, it’s harder to do.
Meanwhile, what about anyone else not living according to Mr. Cathy’s reading of the Bible? If someone works on Sunday, should they be denied service at Chick-fil-A during the week? Mr. Cathy believes in one marriage for life: saying of his company, “we are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives.” What about those who failed at their first marriage and are now working on wife number two, three or four? What if you are a liar, can you go to Chick-fil-A to have your perverse tongue cut-out? In Leviticus it says touching the skin of a pig makes one unclean. Should football players who love to toss the pigskin around be denied service? Or is it okay to play football only at the Chick-fil-A Bowl because that game starts with an invocation? The answer, to all of that, is that Chick-fil-A is not turning away sinners at the door, or stoning them to death in the parking lots, because it would cost the company customers. So I have no expectation of being turned away.
2. Why Be “Happily Invisible?”
There was a time not that long ago in this country when African-Americans were denied service based on the color of our skin. Although the ‘colored only’ sections no longer exist, I know when and where I am not welcome. There are many places that serve me simply because they no longer have the right to deny people who look like me. At those places, you are waiting for service and you are skipped or overlooked or followed around the store. Many of my friends are now avoiding Chick-fil-A, in remembrance of that history.