Yes, I’m from the southeast. I love fried foods. I love chicken. I vividly remember my first Chick-fil-A sandwich. I was just a kid. Yummmmm! That thing was divine! And for years, in the not-too-distant past, my weekday routine included a Chick-fil-A biscuit for breakfast while driving to work. Just perfection.
Ironically, most of the Chick-fil-A restaurants are located in the southeast, where obesity is out of control. (Almost half of the children in Mississippi are obese?! My god!) Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Chick-fil-A causes obesity, but that 420 calorie basic chicken biscuit packs in a whopping 44 grams of carbs*?!
Anyway, the Cathy family has long been successful (to the tune of $4.5 billion), very religious (always closed on the “Lord’s day“), and very conservative. They have also recently positioned themselves (clever marketing campaign?) in the middle of the “culture wars” with the COO‘s statement:
Guilty as charged. … We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. … We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized. “We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
You know what, Dan Cathy can say and do what he wants. It was his father’s company, though Dan has been running it for years. It’s their money. They make delicious chicken sandwiches**.
But years before we all learned that the Cathy’s give millions of dollars of their money to anti-gay organizations like the Marriage & Family Foundation and the Family Research Council (identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center) I had already stopped patronizing Chick-fil-A. You see, I was already troubled by the founder’s forcing others to live by his extremist views long before the whole anti-gay culture war thing recently surfaced.
Years ago I began voting with my money, spending it more carefully by supporting companies that are more closely aligned with my values. You see, I simply refuse to allow others to systematically use my money to fund extremism. To the extent that I can, I refuse to allow my money to be used to elect extremists to public office who will then create public policy that will attempt to force me and anyone else in the public to live by someone else’s private religious beliefs. Religious persecution: forcing others to live by another’s religious beliefs when you don’t believe them. But now the crazy wing nuts are claiming yet another example of religion under assault. Oh, good grief!
Others can believe what they want. I simply don’t want anyone to use my money trying to force me to believe what they believe.
The Cathy’s sincerely believe marriage equality is evil. OK. Cool. That’s fine. Then all that’s required of them is not to marry someone of the same sex—their personal choice for them. Their religious problem is solved.
But in no way would marriage equality hurt the Cathy’s, me, or anyone else. Marriage equality only offends some ancient religious notions about marriage, and we all know many very, very bizarre ancient religious notions surround marriage—polygamy, concubines, women as property, to name but a few. The Cathy’s and others need to stop forcing their ancient religious notions on other people who choose not to believe them.
Simply put: Marriage equality only affords more people the legal rights associated with the civil right of marriage. However, denying people their basic rights is hurtful, is, in fact, hateful. This odd and profoundly religious behavior is only making religion look more extreme and less relevant to contemporary, real-world issues.
The Cathy’s want to support hate. I don’t, and I still get to decide where my money goes.
The diversionary issue designed for soundbites for those who don’t choose to think: First amendment rights. Oh, Sarah Palin needs to get real***! If that’s really the issue (It isn’t; it’s yet another Palin-braindead logical fallacy.) then I claim precedent with Citizen’s United: The SCOTUS decided that money is free speech. My giving my money where I want it to go is my free speech! Now who’s assailing free speech, Sarah?! Hmmm???
Here’s the real issue: money equates to power and influence. The Cathy’s (and many others) have lots and lots of it—a grotesquely disproportionate amount****. The Cathy’s probably sincerely believe this blessing was given to them by God to further his work on earth, a holy calling they take seriously. The only thing I can do to address this ghastly inequality and delusional thinking is stop giving them more money. Actually, I appreciate the Cathy family calling attention to just how much of our money they have, yes: $4,500,000,000.00!
You can do what you want with your money. Think the Cathy family needs your money? Knock yourself out!
* Remember, guns don’t kill people. People kill people. Right? I mean, Chick-fil-A doesn’t make people fat. People make people fat!
** There is the matter of that pesky unsettled lawsuit brought by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine they lost about their cooking technique causing cancer…
*** I think she’s just bitter Dick Cheney has turned on her. Now, even he supports marriage equality. In fact, his daughter just married another woman.
**** In my opinion, no one on this planet can do anything that is worth a billion dollars while others suffer and die without basic necessities (you know, things like food—ironic isn’t it, clean water, shelter, healthcare, the right to marry the person they love…). No one is that special.
Good, fair-minded reads related to this topic:
- The title of this post is over the top for me, but the author has written brilliantly about some really significant issues I have neither considered nor thought about related to this whole topic: Post at Owldolatrous.com. If you can get past the title, you owe it to yourself to read what he has written, and written well.
- Also worth the read: Chick-fil-A Anti-Gay Controversy: Gay Employees Speak Out