Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Chick-fil-A brouhaha

Apparently the fast food franchise Chick-fil-A is making money hand over fist on the brouhaha generated by its president's intolerant comments concerning gay marriage. The whole thing was ginned up by Mike Huckabee, the Fox News commentator, who called for a national appreciation day for Chick-fil-A on  August 1, yesterday. Well, it was a whopper of a success, to reference a competing fast food franchise.

The president's comments have gotten a lot of response around the country, including from mayors of several cities that have indicated that Chick-fil-A is really not welcome in their neighborhoods and from the Jim Henson Company which severed its Muppets' association with the company. I think it's perfectly appropriate for the Henson Company to take the action it did. Having a city ban a company because its president is a jerk is a bit more problematic, in my opinion.

I can fully support individuals or groups boycotting the franchise because they object to and are offended by the president's stated opinions. (Full disclosure: I've boycotted Chick-fil-A my whole life, having never bought anything there, so such an action won't cause any inconvenience for me.) On the other hand, I support the rights of those individuals who choose to spend their money there, even when I can't understand why they would. But turning out to buy a chicken sandwich to prove that you are a supporter of heterosexual marriage seems more than a little kinky to me.

Of course, what Mr. Cathy, the president, had to say was pretty kinky when you think about it, also. He advocated for what he called “the biblical definition of the family unit.” Having read the Bible, I know that the biblical definition of the family unit includes polygamy, ownership of women by their fathers and by the men to whom they are married, passing a woman whose husband has died before fathering children on to her husband's brother, not to mention the role of slavery and and the sexual subjugation of women slaves and the children they bear for their masters. Well, it's not a pretty sight, but Mr. Cathy and his ilk long for those good old days and that old time religion.

Moreover, Mr. Cathy, the supporter of all things biblical, believes that supporting same-sex marriage invites "God's judgment on our nation." As I heard someone (Jon Stewart, maybe?) point out this week, if "God's judgment" hasn't been visited upon this nation because of its historical genocide of native peoples, its enslavement of Africans, its internment of perfectly loyal Americans who happened to be of Japanese descent during World War II, and any number of other crimes against humanity, it does seem unlikely that the marriage of a man to another man or a woman to another woman is going to trigger such judgment.

There are a lot of intolerant folks like Mr. Cathy in this country, people who self-righteously believe that they have a pipeline to God and are channeling God's opinions to the rest of us. Their intolerance and their right to voice it is protected by the Constitution. If they put their intolerance into action in their employment practices or in their service to customers, that's another matter, but as long as it is just voicing an opinion, however hateful it might be, they are allowed to do that in this country. 

I won't be buying any of his chicken sandwiches though. I prefer my fast food without the side of hate.

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