On July 16, the Baptist Press published what has probably become its most popular article of all time: an interview with Dan Cathy, president and COO of Chick-fil-A, titled “‘Guilty as charged,’ Cathy says of Chick-fil-A’s stand on biblical & family values.” Thus began the social media firestorm.
Four days after the Cathy interview was published, The Jim Henson Company posted the following statement on its Facebook page:
The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors.
As a postscript, Chick-fil-A said they were going to pull the Jim Henson Creature Shop Puppets from their restaurants.
Chick-Fil-A spokeswoman Tiffany Greenway told HuffPost Gay Voices that the company had decided to recall the Muppets toys nationwide, as of July 19, “for the protection of our customers.” She said it was a decision completely separate from the Jim Henson Company’s Facebook announcement.
Afterward, there was some controversy about whether or not the company had created a fake Facebook account and gone online to defend its action to others on the social media network. I’ve yet to find a major media outlet that will corroborate this information and Chick-fil-A has released a statement denying any such action on their part.
In the midst of all this he said, he said ridiculousness who should want a piece of the action? That’s right! Politicians.
Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas and 2008 presidential candidate, decided to take up the banner for Chick-fil-A, freedom and America! Huckabee created a Facebook event titled “Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day.”
Let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1.
This push for people to frequent a fast food establishment is ironic, as Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank points out, considering Huckabee’s book “Quit Digging Your Grave With a Knife and Fork.”
As of lunchtime Tuesday, Huckabee’s Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day already had 100,000 RSVPs. If each of those people buys the Deluxe Chicken Sandwich meal (1,080 calories) and tops that off with a brownie sundae (590 calories), the weight gain associated with Huckabee’s effort could be about 50,000 pounds.
The RSVPs are now over 290,00, which would bring the cost of appreciation to 138,620 pounds for America. Better invest in some elastic-waist pants!
Within a couple of days, Rick Santorum was tweeting his support as well.
Many have come to scrutinize the Baptist Press article and criticize those who choose to boycott saying that Cathy never mentions homosexuality or gay marriage in the interview. It’s true. He never mentions those words. Instead, keywords like “traditional” and “biblical” are used. We’ve all learned to read between those lines and know what is meant when they are bandied about.
Let’s not forget that this isn’t the first time that Chick-fil-A and it’s principles have come under scrutiny.
In 2007, Emily Schmall wrote “The Cult of Chick-fil-A” for Forbes which outlined some of the company’s unusual hiring practices — not against the law, just unusual.
Earlier this year, an NYU student started a petition against the company for its supposed anti-gay affiliations.
According to [Hillary] Dworkoski, one of the groups that Chick-fil-A has donated to, Exodus International, uses therapy to try and cure gay people from their sexual orientation.
The bottom line?
Chick-fil-A is a private company. Their founders and leaders can believe what they want to believe as long as they don’t discriminate against people in hiring or serving in their restaurants.
You, as citizens of this fine, free country, can decide whether or not you want to eat there. Eat there if you like their food. Eat there if you want to support their beliefs. Don’t eat there if you don’t.
One of the marvelous things about living in this country is that we have a choice in the matter. Another is that our dollars speak quite loudly — one way or the other.