The Chick – Fil – A Controversy

How a Chicken Sandwich Became a Political Statement in America’s God vs Gay Culture War

Those in the inner circles of LGBT activism have long boycotted Chick Fil A. According to Truett Cathy, the founder of the Christian Chicken chain, the first and foremost mission of Chick- Fil-A always has been, is, and always will be to “glorify god.” Now, anyone who is familiar with the ongoing culture war between conservative religious groups and the LGBT community in this country can guess, with no clarification needed, just where Chick- Fil- A stands on LGBT rights. However, recently, the founder’s son and current President, Dan Cathy, made sure that no guess work was needed in this arena. He said that he is, quote, “guilty as charged,” in his stance against same- sex marriage.
Just as Dan Cathy and Chick- Fil-A have made their stance on LGBT rights clear, so have gay rights supporters.  Politicians have come out on both sides of the issue. While former Republican governor  turned Fox News correspondent Mike Huckabee organized a “Chick- Fi-l A Appreciation Day,” the mayors of Boston and Chicago have made it clear that Chick-Fil-A’s anti- gay chicken is not welcome within their borders. There have been protests and “kiss-ins” at Chick-Fil-A restaurants around the southeast since Dan Cathy publicly affirmed Chick-Fil-A’s anti-gay sentiments. So, in short, yes, you’re getting more than chicken at Chick-Fil-A these days. You’re getting a heaping helping of politics as a side along with those waffle fries.
Now, I have followed Chick- Fil- A and its anti- gay activities for a very long time, and I have let this current controversy marinate and be tried in the court of public opinion online and off before saying anything here. The thing is, Chick-Fil-A has every right to their views. Chick- Fil-A has every right to voice those views, and I would personally be horrified if anyone tried to deny them that right. Under the First Amendment of our Constitution, we all have a right to free speech.However, this situation with Chick-Fil-A is not a First Amendment issue.
Chick-Fil-A’s entire charitable arm, the Winshape Foundation, is known for donating food to so-called “Marriage and Family” conferences- which anyone in the know is aware is code for “No Gays Allowed.” Further, Chick-Fil-A has donated millions of dollars to causes that actively work to restrict LGBT rights in America and around the world, even going so far as to give money to registered hate groups, such as the American Family Association. There was even mention of Chick-Fil-A’s affiliates participating in dubious activities with regards to the “kill the gays” bill in Uganda, which sought to actively execute people for “homosexual acts.”
Now, while I would defend to the death the right of Chick-Fil-A or anyone else to say what they like about any subject, as we are all guaranteed by the First Amendment, I cannot say that this is just a First Amendment issue any longer. No one is trying to silence Chick-Fil-A or take away their right to feel the way they do about LGBT people. No matter how repugnant, ignorant, and untrue I might find their message, I would never want Chick-Fil-A to lose their rights to free speech. But this stopped being about free speech the second they gave the first dime to organizations that actively work to restrict the rights of an entire population of Americans. What Chick-Fil-A is doing is working to fund the legislating of their personal religious beliefs, while actively harming other Americans. People with far right conservative views like those held by the people who run Chick-Fil-A are always crying about rights-rights to religion, rights to free speech. No one is trying to trample those rights. But Chick-Fil-A and its supporters need to realize that free speech is protected yes; however, the First Amendment does not protect against the consequences of said speech. Chick-Fil-A is feeling that speech in the form of boycotts of their brand around the nation from people who believe in equality for all Americans, not just the straight ones.
The way I broach the subject is this: replace “gay” or “LGBT with “black” or “Jewish.” If Chick-Fil-A were speaking out against those groups of people and actively donating money to have their rights denied, Chick-Fil-A would be persona non grata with almost everyone in the nation. In fact, there would be no Chick-Fil-A, because they would be out of business. The only reason that hasn’t happened in this instance is because it is still socially acceptable to abuse, degrade, and dehumanize LGBT people in this society. However, that is, slowly but surely changing, and that Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich that is a symbol of “family values” to so many conservatives, citizens and politicians alike, will be seen as the symbol of hate that it is, as it is the signature sandwich of a company that is about nothing but hate against LGBT people in America and around the world. The sooner people realize that hate is hate, no matter what, the sooner we can truly say that America offers liberty and justice for all. Chick-Fil-A, you’re on the wrong side of history. Just wait and see.