August 1, 2012


Full Disclosure: I'm a liberal vegetarian. I like gay people.

As far as the Supreme Court is concerned, corporations should be treated like individuals when it comes to campaign donations. Fine. So let's use that logic and just assume that corporations - when appropriate - can have a corporate identity and philosophy.

A couple of months back I wrote about the local Jesus-yogurt place that makes no attempt to hide the fact that it's schilling froyo for the holy spirit. Fine. It isn't my thing and I probably wouldn't patronize them but it's not hurting anyone. Business owners can believe what they want and articulate it though their restaurants or businesses. If my local bank decided to show that they were hardcore Rolling Stone fans, kept Sticky Fingers on repeat in their branches and exchanged their lame logo for a big pair of lips, I'm sure it would alienate some smooth jazz fans (and those who think Let It Bleed is a far superior album) but, again, personal - or business - preference.

For a while I felt the same way about Chick-Fil-A. They're a business based on strong Christian values and those values inform them that homosexuality is wrong. If Chick-Fil-A president wants to support “the biblical definition of the family unit” and maintain that those involved in same-sex unions are “inviting God’s judgment” well fine. I think he's misguided but I'm sure there are hundreds of thousands applauding him. I don't like it and I don't agree but everyone's entitled to their beliefs. I don't ever have to go to Chick-Fil-A again and, since forceable poultry crimes are at an all time low, I doubt that anyone will ever force me through their doors at gunpoint.

But then Chick-Fil-A got stupid (and potentially illegal). To counter the media blowback, it appears that Chick-Fil-A set themselves up with fake social media accounts, leveraging the voice of a nonexistent teenager to try and do damage control. Which of course made everything worse. And now come claims that Chick-Fil-A fired women so they could be stay at home moms thus supporting corporate values. Which is kinda illegal and flies in the face of that whole do unto others thing.

There are two sides to every coin. Some would say it's no different than companies that come out in support of gay rights or businesses that embraced equal employment practices for African Americans in the fifties and sixties. I'd be hard-pressed to disagree. And hell, I applaud companies for taking and stand for and pride in a strong set of values. But my son's going to have to get his chicken fix somewhere else. The fantastic employees and wonderful service can't compensate for what I believe to be backwards beliefs.

Posted by Chris at August 1, 2012 7:15 AM

I would love to know your thoughts on the Boy Scouts of America. You know with their whole a Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent but if you're a homosexual none of that applies to you!!

Posted by: Darren at August 1, 2012 8:46 AM

Very well stated! Thanks!

Posted by: 3jaysmom at August 1, 2012 8:52 AM

I tend to agree with you but then where do we draw the line? Do we stop using gas for our cars because homosexuals are put to death in the middle east, where we get our oil? I started boycotting Nike because they have Michael Vick as a spokesperson..I've never had chik-fil-a, we don't have any near us. I hear KFC and Popeyes make some good chicken too and don;t hate...

Posted by: Lisa at August 1, 2012 8:57 AM

I am a Christian... but my views on homosexuality (which, if explained, would be an entire manifesto, so I'll spare you) are views that would make a conservative Christian's head spin and make them spit pea soup. That said, I have no plans to boycott Chick-Fil-A. Mostly because they wouldn't feel the difference since I've never been there in my life, and there isn't one anywhere near where I live, but also because I don't boycott businesses because of the beliefs of the owners/management/whatever. I'm not boycotting JC Penney because they hired Ellen DeGeneres. I think the Christian stay-at-home mommies should tend to their own back yards before they wake up one day and realize that while they were preoccupied making the world a more morally sound place for their children to live, their children were in the garage huffing paint and collecting bombs and guns to go on shooting sprees. I hadn't heard the recent Chick-Fil-A developments, but if true, it's frustrating to me, as a Christian. I'm not the type to go around trying to convert people, but I do like to set an example so that people will know not all Christians are like this.

Posted by: Julee at August 1, 2012 9:48 AM

I believe in speaking with my pocketbook. We have no chick fil a here in Vegas but I do choose target over Walmart, made in USA over made in China (when I can) and I will happile buy some back to school clothes from jcp. If you choose to associate your corporate empire with personal beliefs, I choose to let my personal beliefs dictate which corporate empires I will and won't support. Seems fair to me.

Posted by: rebecca at August 1, 2012 11:04 AM

I have such a tough time with this...I don't mind if corporations agree with me on social issues, so I shouldn't mind that they disagree with me. Of course, I feel very certain that my position is morally correctly. I just think the Cathys' position is uninformed and stupid, not malicious.

I'm not joining the boycott (except for today) because there's just no way for me to be consistent in selecting only vendors that support my positions on social issues. Like Lisa said, where do you draw the line? If my local CFA had out-and-out discriminated against individuals because of their sexual orientation (race, religion, or whatever), that would be a different story.

Darren brought up the organization that I really struggle with...BSA. My son is a scout because he and his dad outvoted me, and the experience with our local troop is proving to be so wonderful and so valuable. Still, I can't stand being associated with the organization knowing its positions on homosexuals and atheists.

Posted by: Kate M at August 1, 2012 2:38 PM

I was with you until the end, I havent heard about all the fake sites and firings but it sounds like someone taking something too far. Like the other side???? Wouldnt be the first time.... However, now....Mia got to decide on religion herself but Owen can only get chicken from philosophically approved places???? Thats unfair. What happened to letting your kid decide. Now, you know...I am right....

Posted by: linda at August 1, 2012 3:59 PM

While I don't disagree with you, Chris, and tend to follow rebecca's practice, I have to admit: I don't get Chik-fil-A. I mean as a restaurant. I don't get it. What gets people so passionate about chicken patties? I know people who couldn't wait to line up outside when they started coming to our area. We just had one open in town and I won't be going primarily because I'm not all that into the product. Boggles my mind. :-)

Posted by: kate at August 1, 2012 6:13 PM

yes to everything rebecca already said.

back in 2003, i was a store manager for abercrombie & fitch (so i'm no stranger to corporate controversy!) and i was sent to st. louis for over two weeks to help open up a new store. we were working at least 14 hour days and for whatever reason, i liked the CFA better than any of the other food court options and had many a delicious meal there (except on the sundays, and i remember being bummed). it was a brutal opening and i remember thinking (only half jokingly) later that that CFA kept me alive. we don't have any around portland, so i haven't had any since. until now, i don't think i would have had an absolute no patronizing policy against them even though i knew that they were evangelical "christians" and funded hate organizations (just like i still shopped at target when they were homophobic - yay, they've changed their stance! and just like i still like the coffee at the little christian coffee shop in my hometown and no doubt they also preach "family values" in the back room).... but this whole situation has left such a bad taste in my mouth, i could not go to CFA with a clean conscience.

obviously, businesses have the right to align themselves with a religion. the head honcho has the right to take his or her $$$$ and give it to whatever organizations they want. no denying that. but i have no doubt that it will eventually come out that state or federal laws regarding hiring practices and/or work environments (gay employees having to suffer higher-ups saying homophobic things under the guise of christian values) were broken by CFA and hopefully the fall-out from that will be the real warning to them and other corporations riding that same line. since the other 50% of our country will be actively supporting them, the boycott probably isn't going to do much more than make a cultural statement. CFA is not going to lose much money from this.

and, as usual, i've got to disagree with linda. yes, mia can decide whether or not she believes in god. but until owen makes his own money for his chicken, he's going to get it from where dad is willing to buy it. and believing in god and giving your hard earned money to a company that will turn around and give it to hate organizations (yes, that is what they are) are two completely different things. now, you know... i am right.

Posted by: kati at August 1, 2012 10:03 PM

I dont buy into the fake female account story. And Chick-Fil-A also claims they have been hoaxed. Occam's Razor- would a huge chain attempt something that took about three lines of dialogue on a facebook page to debunk to promote their beliefs ? Im a Christian... I am an actor.. I have countless numbers of gay friends that are very dear to me. I also am a Methodist that is a proud member of a reconciling congregation.. but.. cmon... sad to see this become so politically charged. To have political figures say they will keep the store out of their districts... THAT is illegal as well.. its getting a bit nuts...

Posted by: David at August 2, 2012 2:32 AM