Friday, July 27, 2012

Chick-fil-"h A te" Gate

For those of you who are not interested in my bleeding heart,left-leaning liberal opinions...
here is a cute pic of my kids.

For those of you who are not dissuaded by my lame-stream, liberal gay agenda...please read on. 

**Warning:  This gets a little "raw."  I'd apologize for offending anyone...but this is my blog.  So if you don't like it.  Close the browser:)**

Three days ago I was ready to swear off Chick-fil-A for life.  Damn their delicious chicken sandwiches and orgasmic milkshakes, damn them all to hell.  F*ck their delightful service and dedication to customer satisfaction.  The pleasant restaurant atmosphere and clean, hospitable dining areas can kiss my lily white ass. 

But then I thought better of it. 

Because the reason that I was so enraged at the Chick-fil-A franchise was the perceived attitude of intolerance towards homosexuals. 

And this perceived attitude showcased for me during a segment on the news.

Ah, the "news,"  also known in my world as abbreviated coverage attempting to summarize a complex and multi-faceted story into three minutes or less.  My focus was fractured as I watched the report while pinning down a recently mobile baby and wrestling him out of a poopy diaper. 

So, since I believed it quite possible that I didn't have "all the facts" and because I have nothing better to do with my laptop when I lock myself in the bathroom, I conducted some investigative journalism of my own before jumping head first into the proposed witch hunt.   With a few meandering google searches and simple key words such as "Chick-fil-a corporate policy" and "Baptist Press" I found everything I would need to know about this issue and more. 

It turns out after a deeper delve into Chick-fil-hAte Gate, that the comments made last week by CEO Dan Cathy were not really defaming homosexuality but rather expressing support "traditional marriage." 
"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,” he said. The company was "guilty as charged" for backing "the biblical definition of a family." In a later radio interview, he ratcheted up the rhetoric: "I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.'"
But still...Barf.  Double barf.

After reading up on Chick-fil-A corporate policy, one would be hard pressed to find any wording that would suggest a homosexual customer would be denied any of the delicious menu selections at a  Chick-fil-A restaurant. It is not policy to hire only heterosexual, Christian conservatives to work at the fast food chain, nor is it policy to franchise only with traditionally married business persons. In fact there is no explicitly discriminatory wording in any of the company policies.

But they are missing a good chance.

The company makes no bones about it's deep commitment to biblical Baptist values. According to a 1997 article published in Forbes Magazine, The Cult of Chick-fil-A, the mission statement speaks of the restaurants drive to "glorify God." As such large sums of money have been donated in the corporate name to organizations that actively fight against marriage equality. 

And although there is no direct corporate policy that speaks to exclusion of any group of people in the hiring practices, the parent company does in fact asks people who apply for an operator license to disclose marital status, number of dependents and involvement in "community, civic, social, church and/or professional organizations." This according to Schmall who authored the 1997 article.
The reality is that the attitude of intolerance toward persons with homosexual orientation may not be on the menu at Chick-fil-A but it is held closely and fostered in the culture of the company. Although this attitude should not be a direct reflection of the independent operators of the individual Chick-fil-A Restaurants, the discriminatory nature of these beliefs make it hard to separate sinner from sin.
And then I looked around at my life.  It seems that I may have inadvertently become a member of the "biblical family unit" referenced above.  What, with our traditional heterosexual marriage and four beautiful children, our lovely single family home tucked away in a staunchly Republican community.  Our tendency to parent our children with Judeo-Christian values and frequent Chick-fil-A stops for good, God-fearing fried chicken treats.  It seems, much to my horror, that I may fit the stereotype of a Christian Conservative. 

And this realization struck fear into my bleeding heart liberalism. 

I hate intolerance in any form and as such it occurred to me that boycotting my local Chick-fil-A restaurant, privately owned by a person other than Dan Cathy, would be a blatant display of the very intolerance that I revile. By judging the individual franchise owners based on the attitudes of the corporate agenda, then using the same logic I may be judged by right-wing religious zealots simply because I am part of a traditional "biblical" family unit.

So for the record I'll do no such thing. 

Do I agree with Dan Cathy?  FUCK no.  Do I like Dan Cathy?  FUCK no. 

But the Bible Beating Baptist sure can make a chicken sandwich.