So, if you haven't heard by now of the major clusterfuggle that is "Chick-fil-A v. The Gays" then you simply must be living under a rock. But if you haven't, here's the Reader's Digest Version, complete with all the bipartisanship I can muster:
1) Chick-fil-A is a growing fast food chain that makes super yummy chicken sammiches (ooops, sorry I'm being biased already!).
2) Chick-fil-A is a family-owned company -- specifically, the Cathy family.
3) Chick-fil-A's business model is based in Biblical tenets (thus, they are closed on Sundays to honor their Sabbath, among other things).
4) Chick-fil-A has always donated money to political campaigns and organizations that support their business model, some of which are not gay-friendly.
5) Some folks found this out rather recently and a rumbling began in the gay community. A boycott was called.
6) Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy admits he does not support the gay lifestyle or marriage equality in an interview with the Baptist Press.
7) The gays hear about it and all hell breaks loose.
8) The Jim Henson Company publicly severs business dealings with Chick-fil-A due to their stance on marriage equality.
(This pic flying around Facebook made me laugh - c'mon, it's funny!)
9) Not only does all hell break loose again, but purgatory, heaven and whatever plane ghosts live on all join in. It's absolute mayhem.
10) Chick-fil-A stops putting Muppet toys in their kids meals, citing the toys as dangerous. Many think the company's lying in an attempt to save face. Chick-fil-A denies the allegation.
11) Chick-fil-A is accused of creating a fake Facebook account posing as a teenage girl to defend against the thousands of unfriendly posts made by the company's haters. A couple posters call "the girl" out as a fake, post a stock photo found online used on "her" profile and by the next day the account has been deactivated. Chick-fil-A claims they did not create the fake account and that they never would do such a thing.
There. You're all caught up.
Now, I've been noticing two particular arguments consistently brought up by Chick-fil-A's supporters:
1) Chick-fil-A isn't discriminating against anyone. They hire LGBT people and they serve LGBT people.
2) Tolerance goes both ways.
If you're reading this blog you probably already know my feelings on marriage equality (I'm for it) and gay people in general (I don't think it's a sin to be gay and yes, I think they're born that way). Here is the response I'd like to make to the above two points and I hope supporters of Chick-fil-A will read it with open minds and hearts. I know why you feel the way you do, because I used to feel exactly the same way once upon a time, for all the exact same reasons you do. So I hope you will give yourself the opportunity to look at the other side of the coin as vividly as you possibly can.
1) I am actually a fan of Chick-fil-A's business model in general. I think more businesses would do well to follow much of its example -- closing one day a week and holidays (Jewish businesses still do it and no one complains), operating debt-free, donating to organizations that help the community flourish, supporting families being together and staying together. I'd even be okay if Chick-fil-A ran commercials that stated flat out, "We're a Christian company, built upon Christian beliefs. Eat more chikin." It's their right to do all of that.
The problem is in where they put their money. It's not like they're "The Cathy Family Christian Bookstore." If that were the case, wouldn't you then certainly expect them to put their money in very specific, most likely religiously-oriented places? Why yes, you would, as is their right (and if you didn't expect it and go cause a stink about it, well then you're just a moron). But when Dan Cathy himself has said, "There is no such thing as a Christian business," and he's selling non-religious chicken sandwiches across the nation for the love of Pete, then why take the profits and financially support organizations with such controversial agendas? Why not put that money toward things that better the community for EVERYONE, regardless of religion, sex, sexual orientation, race or creed? No doubt they donate to many organizations like this, but honestly...if a certain minority's money is green enough for you to take as payment, then you should probably not be turning around and giving it to organizations that are trying to legislate said minority into second class citizenship. THAT is not only blatantly biting the hand that feeds you, but it IS discrimination, no matter how you look at it. If Chick-fil-A were hiring and serving black people and then turning around and donating profits to the KKK...see? Chick-fil-A is financially supporting continued discrimination, period.
Be Switzerland and none of this would be happening...just sayin'.
(For the record, it's my feeling, as a believer in the separation of church and state, that NO business or corporation whatsoever should be allowed to donate money to ANY political campaign or religious-based organization...things would be A LOT different in this country on both sides of the fence, wouldn't it? But we all know that isn't going to happen. Like...ever. Unless the people overthrow the government and start over from scratch. So yeah...like...never ever.)
2) Tolerance absolutely does go both ways. I tolerate Chick-fil-A supporters' religious opinions, even though I disagree. I understand why they feel the way they do. Jesus works for them and they want everyone to experience that and they think if only everyone could, this world would be a better place. I think 95% of people think the way they do out of genuine concern for what they perceive to be the greater good, whether I agree with it or not. And so I tolerate, readily, everyone's religious beliefs and I know that many supporting the boycott do as well.
However...no one has to tolerate a corporation's business practices, particularly when those practices are unethical in that person's opinion. I do not have to tolerate Chick-fil-A taking my hard-earned money and giving it to a cause I am vehemently against. Just like I do not have to tolerate the banks taking a government bail out and sending its CEOs on vacation with it. Catholics didn't tolerate "The Last Temptation of Christ" when it came out back in the 80's. Those One Million Moms (which are really only a few hundred thousand) don't feel they have to tolerate...well...just about anything, really. Here in the U.S., we get to vote not just at the polls but with our wallets, too. This is an example of true capitalism at work.
In addition, no one should tolerate a person's basic rights being threatened because someone else thinks they shouldn't be able to have them. I think some people do not deserve to be parents. This does not mean that passing a law that decides which people can reproduce and which cannot is remotely ethical. Even if I believe with my whole heart that it would benefit the greater good for some people to be forced to have a little snip-snip or a little knot tied - and I very well might be right - infringing upon someone's right to live his or her own life as he/she sees fit is never the right thing to do. Otherwise, you might find someone infringing upon yours one day.
Gay people are not aliens from another planet put here to destroy the earth as we know it. They are human beings like any other who just want to be allowed to live and love in peace. They are tax-paying members of our society who have families that deserve to be protected under the law just as much as Steve and Suzie SuperChristian do...or Mike and Mary Muslim...or Jerry and Joanna Jew...or Wayne and Wynona Wicca...or Neil and Nancy NewAge...or Burt and Betty Buddhist...
...or the Cathys.