My Thoughts On Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day and National Same-Sex Kiss Day


Yesterday, August 1st  was Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. Sponsored by Mike Huckabee, the purpose of this event was to “affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse.” Evidently, business was booming yesterday at Chick-fil-A stores across the country.

Tomorrow, August 3rd, is National Same-Sex Kiss Day. Sponsored by GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), the purpose of this event is to “speak out against Chick-fil-A’s stand against the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] community.” We’ll have to wait and see what impact both this event and the Chick-fil-A boycott have on the company’s bottom line.

As for me, I didn’t eat at Chick-fil-A yesterday. Although I support marriage and oppose same-sex marriage, I’m tired of the politicization of everyday life. Can’t a guy just eat—or not eat—his chicken sandwich and waffle fries without worrying what political statement he might be making? Can’t we carve out some politics-free zones in life where considerations other than legislation come into play? Or must we all become soldiers in the army of “the personal is political” and draw up battle lines accordingly?

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. Neither the August 1st nor August 3rd events are illegal. Each group has the right to support or to boycott whatever company it desires to. I can’t—and wouldn’t if I could—stop any group from exercising its rights of free speech and association. But I can opt out of that kind of politicization entirely, and I did.

This doesn’t mean I’m opting out of politics. I’ll cast my ballot this November and encourage you to do the same. I’ll engage in civil and rational argument about my preferred political values and policies, and I encourage you to do the same. And whether this election goes well or ill for my “side,” I’ll strive to love my neighbor and even my enemy, as Jesus teaches me to do, and I encourage you to do the same.

But I’m going to go ahead and eat waffle fries and Oreo cookies in good conscience, regardless of what politics their companies support, for the simple reason that they taste good. Doing so is my little rebellion against the divisive effect of the politicization of everyday life.

Here’s another little rebellion: If you disagree with me about my preferred political values and policies, let’s go to lunch and talk about them. Let’s prove that people can remain friends and enjoy meals across the political divide. The alternative—the politicization of friendship—is, to my mind, unthinkable…unbearable.

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17 thoughts on “My Thoughts On Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day and National Same-Sex Kiss Day

  1. I didn’t eat at a Chick-Fil-A because there aren’t any on Santa Barbara otherwise I would have just to support the owner of this companies RIGHT to religious freedom and freedom of speech both of which are give to us by our Creator and not our government!

  2. George, I appreciate what you say here and mostly agree. However, what you leave out of the discussion is the context for the Chick-fil-a response. This started with threats being made against the expansion of a business by political leaders based on religious faith. I don’t see the response on Wednesday as political but as defending an attack against faith in the realm of commerce. Economic impact is as forceful a tool in squelching free speech as any political oppression. I ate at Chick-fil-a, not as a political conservative but as an expression of defense of the right of free speech. Rather than fight against the politicians in a cost-free exchange of words, many put there money where there mouth is! I’d love to see more of this kind of response to the intolerant liberal machine.

    And then, let me eat in peace!

    • Gary:

      I agree that remarks by the mayors of Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco precipitated Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. And I agree that government officials threatening to stop the expansion of a business because of the remarks of its owner is both abhorrent under the First Amendment and, in consequence, quite illegal.

      However, the remedy to such government threats is political action, not consumerism. Buying waffle fries in Altoona won’t stop the denial of building permits in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. Elections will. Lawsuits will. Political pressure brought to bear through letters to politicians, letters to the editor, editorials, etc. will. Use political action to counter political abuse.

      And let me eat my chicken in peace! :)

      George

      • Nicole Meguiar says:

        I see your side of this discussion George and a large part of me agrees with you. But even you cannot deny the overwhelming showing of support at Chick Fil A yesterday is a good sign there are still a lot of people out there who are willing to stand up for their faith. I for one find great solace in that.

    • Esther Saltiban says:

      Great answer, I guess that is what got to me the most, is that politicians got involved and was going to deny the owner of Chick-fil-a to run, open or expand his business due to his religious belief.

    • Mike Bundy says:

      Nicole, I’m sure there were many standing up for their faith, but I’m sure there were many buying chicken who are not Christians, yet they were there in support of freedom of speech. I have to agree with George that this demonstration was not about sharing our faith.

  3. Leila Ojala says:

    Agreed. I have to wonder how much money was spent yesterday on chicken (though I think we’ll never know, since apparently they won’t be releasing that figure), and what could have been done with it to show what Christians are really about. But we made a statement! Or something. Next time maybe we can all just send an encouraging email to the nice multi-millionaire and use the money to feed children in Bosnia for a month or something. Sigh. Can’t wait for all this to blow over.

  4. XA Missionary says:

    As a missionary, I am incredibly frustrated by what happened yesterday. In my city, hundreds of thousands of dollars was spent on chicken sandwiches — most of that by self-identified evangelical Christians. Thinking about the impact that around $10 a meal (between sandwich, drink, fries) could have had toward people who are working on the front lines to win people to Christ. I’m all for free enterprise, I’m all for supporting Christian values — but instead of making a “statement” why can’t we put that money toward something that will actually change lives.

    As a human, I am incredibly frustrated by what happened yesterday. There were people willing to wait over an hour just to get in the door of a Chik-Fil-A. That, to me, is a waste of time. What if instead of spending all of our time fighting these battles we went out and befriended someone in the gay community and began building a bridge to people’s lives. Let’s stop this us-vs-them battle and start, as a Body, living a missional lifestyle.

    • Leon Longard says:

      As fellow missionary, I understand your frustration.

      The money part is not that big of a concern to me. The Cathy family gives to charity, so some of the proceeds will go to those charities. The two local franchises I know of in my community are both owned by Christians who are very supportive of missions and other local charities. In fact, I know of at least one person in our community that doesn’t like the national corporation, but is ok with the local franchise because of the things they do locally.

      The time part is more of a concern. I didn’t participate Wednesday mainly because I didn’t want to spend the time in line (I had other things to do) and i rarely eat there most days (just not my taste). I also knew that eating there and posting pictures on my facebook had the possibility of alienating friends for whome my first priority is helping them get to know Jesus. I’ll let the Holy Spirit sort out the other stuff later.

  5. Donna Walsh says:

    It’s my understanding that purchasing food at Chick-fil-A yesterday actually had more to do with the very point you are making, not whether we agree or disagree with the founder’s position on Same-sex marriage. It was about freedom to hold different positions and not to be told by a city that you can’t set up shop because you hold a different positio than the mayor of that city!

  6. I came to the blog out of curiosity and appreciated your courage, George (and others), to talk about this interesting chain of events. I’d like to add something to the discussion. I agree that the responsibility to vote in November, or to write letters to those currently in office to register our concerns is vital to our political process. The power of a vote, a poll of collective opinions, or the cascade effect of a pile of letters and emails certainly cannot be underestimated.

    However, as a pastor, and later as a college president, I discovered that people “vote with their feet.” In fact, I believe it to be the most powerful form of influence. I think we would agree that, if a pastor is abusive or doctrinally heretical, people should “vote with their feet” if correction is refused. A process may be needed within a network of spiritual authority. When that process, however, is stalled or a network of authority is absent, the only power left to the member is to “vote with their feet.” On the other hand, churches where the people are loving and energized, and where pastors deliver accurately and faithfully the Good News often attract added foot soldiers.

    In our country’s political process, many feel powerless to make changes that are substantial. They feel their opinions, and even their votes, are often invalidated by political maneuvering. So, it gives them a little satisfaction and, perhaps, a sense of significance to empower the success of a business where the leaders are willing to take a risk, swim upstream in a “politically correct” world, and declare values based on their biblical world view. They, the foot soldiers, may have showcased an otherwise stifled view held by many who are being silenced with greater and greater ferocity today. When the courage of Cathy was countered with open threats by big power brokers who are supposed to represent the people, it was the convergence of elements that make up “critical mass.” So, people take to the power of their feet and “vote” with them.

    I say, “Power to the foot soldiers!” Voters who feel they are given a voice – even if the interpretation of their ideals may not be clearly identified. Were the masses who “ate mor chicken” anti-gay? Or, were they saying they are against the establishment of gay marriage, not necessarily GLBT people? Since they weren’t generally holding hate signs or shouting obscenities against gay people, I doubt that the consensus was so much “against” something as “for” something. They may be “for” the courage of a CEO to say he is “for” traditional family values. Or, they may be voting “for” the right of that CEO to declare his values without reprisals against his company by the very people elected to protect his rights.

    In my view, I think most were “for” something. And it is refreshing to me to see people united “for” something rather than “against” something. I say, “Go for it!” Vote with your feet! A pleasant contrast to the footsteps of those who have “feet that run rapidly to evil.” (Prov 6:18)

  7. Gavin Brown says:

    Great insight George. I did go to get a chicken sandwich yesterday. My reasoning was to applaud and thank the president of Chick Filet for standing up under pressure. But i guess what he did is applauded because it’s on a national stage. As a youth pastor, i challenge my students to do this everyday. I’m with you- eating waffle fries isn’t really standing up for my faith. Standing up for my faith is, not just in the public, but most importantly in everyday life. I desire to continue eating “whatever” in peace. :) Thanks again for your post- it’s challenged me to continue to think. Thanks again.

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