On boycotting Chick-Fil-A

This Thursday, July 19, 2012 photo shows a Chick-fil-A fast food restaurant in Atlanta. Gay rights advocates were surprised in July that the president of the Atlanta-based chain has taken a public position against same-sex marriage. Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy said that his privately owned company is "guilty as charged" in support of what he called the biblical definition of the family unit. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

AP Photo/Mike Stewart

A business is only in business as long as they have customers to keep them there.

That’s true for every free market economy, including the United States. Growing up in Atlanta, there were locally-founded companies I knew would always be bulletproof: Coca-Cola, The Home Depot and Chick-Fil-A.

But now our local, beloved Chick-Fil-A establishments have come under fire because of comments made by their COO, Dan Cathy, about the company’s view of the family structure. Let me first say this — if you were outraged or shocked by anything Cathy said, you’ve been living under a pretty hefty rock.

But he has the freedom to say what he said, and now you have the freedom to boycott a company. That’s the glory of America. If something bothers you, there’s nobody forcing you to ever eat there again.

I will continue to support Chick-Fil-A because they make a good sandwich and every employee I’ve ever come in contact with (thousands, probably, at this point) has been a courteous and friendly part of my day.

Find me one other restaurant you can say that about.

The word “bigot” is thrown around way too easily and carelessly these days, so before I draw ire and find that word in the comments of this post, let me just disclose this: I am a supporter of gay marriage, and any kind of marriage. I am a Christian, yet I don’t think I will go to hell for thinking all people on this planet deserve to be happy and afforded the same rights, regardless of their orientation.

I also believe Christianity will come to fully support all types of marriage, in time. Until then, they’ll be labeled “hypocrites” by hypocritical people.

But you’re not perfect, either. Nobody is.

There will be an instance where someone will throw a rock through a Chick-Fil-A window as a means of protest, or will try to take their boycott to the next level and customers of Chick-Fil-A will be harrassed. I guarantee it. And that will be sad, because the folks at your local chain really are the friendliest people in fast food, and they’re just out to sell you a great chicken sandwich.

They’re not bigots. But you already knew that.

As a matter of fact, if that employee is under the age of 18, there’s a good chance they will eventually go to college on Chick-Fil-A’s dime. A lot has been made about the donations of the company in past weeks, so here’s one more fact for you: according to their website, the company will shell out $1.65 million this year to send kids to college.

And I know the response from most has been, “It’s not their statement, it’s the way they donate my money that pisses me off.” To that I say this: as a conservative, I’ll still see George Clooney’s movies, even though I know he’s going to turn around and donate $1 million to Barack Obama’s campaign. I may not support what’s going on behind-the-scenes, but because I appreciate the product sold, I still support people who do their craft well.

Mayors of Boston and Chicago have tried to intimidate Chick-Fil-A, saying their company isn’t welcome in those cities. God forbid anything happen in those cities like the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, because who would feed all those policemen and women?

A buddy of mine posted a very eloquent response to the shouts of “bigot!” and “hate-mongers!” on Facebook this morning: “Go picket one if you’d like. But don’t be surprised when the employees come out and offer you something cold to drink and thank you for standing up for what you believe in. It happened yesterday in California.” Cathy’s statement of the company’s belief on marriage didn’t shock me, and neither does the outpouring of love from inside the restaurants being protested.

So protest if you’d like; it’s absolutely within your rights. But know this before you start your boycott — they still aren’t open on Sundays, because their beliefs are that strong and unwavering. Every week, they turn down millions in profit to adhere to their strict Christian values.

Your $7.25 isn’t going to change their mind.

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