Today is Chick-fil-A Day. No, it’s not a public holiday but for many Americans it is a religious holiday. Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and former Republican presidential candidate had declared Wednesday, Aug. 1, as “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” in support of the company “whose executives are willing to take a stand for Godly values.” He wants people to celebrate those values “by simply showing up and eating” at the fast food restaurant.
Exactly what are those values, which have not only been espoused by Huckabee, but Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum and Tim Pawlenty (maybe not such a smart move as he’s being vetted for veep by Mitt Romney)?
According to the president of the company, Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A is “very much supportive of the family…the biblical definition of the family unit.” What that means is that Cathy, whose father started the company in Atlanta, is against gay marriage.
Bishop Gene Robinson, the first gay Bishop in the Episcopal Church, has a new book,”God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage.”
“What would Jesus think about two men and two women getting married?” he asks in his book. “According to the accounts of the life of Jesus as recorded by the Gospels, Jesus never said anything about sexually intimate relationship between people of the same gender. Nor did he comment on sexual behavior between people of the same gender. Period.”
Cathy is a devout Christian and has emphasized that “we are a family owned business, a family led business and we are married to our first wives.” His employees are trained “to focus on values rooted in the Bible.” Some franchises pipe in religious music and they are all closed on Sundays. If today goes well, who knows, they may consider closing every Aug hereafter to commemorate.
When Cathy first made his anti-gay marriage remarks a few weeks ago, it became a major media event and a PR nightmare for the company (tragically the head of PR died of a heart attack last week) which, according to one outfit, YouGov Brandindex polling, dropped its public brand approval from 65 percent to 39 percent in the days following the Cathy remarks.
While Christians will be showing up at the restaurants in droves today, there is a movement afoot by “The Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation” to stage kiss-ins in front of many outlets. Mayors of Washington, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago have expressed their outrage at the company policy.
What to do if you feel the same way?. The idea of a boycott is so clichéd. Even the kiss-in doesn’t really make the point.
Gays and lesbians could start applying for jobs at Chick-fil-A. Get in there. Become managers, take over the places. Gays could begin patronizing Chick-fil-As and I don’t mean carry out. Make the restaurants the gay hangouts of the community. Gay partners and Married gays could begin taking their children there. They could start having birthday parties for their kids. They could have Gay pride events there. (They have an events manager – just call) They could even have gay weddings there.
As Cathy points out, he would surely welcome more business. The more business they have the more money they can continue to contribute to anti Gay marriage causes. As Cathy says himself, “We have a lot of gay and lesbian customers. We have nothing against them. To us, it’s a moral issue, not a civil issue.”
He also says that “We don’t claim to be a Christian business. But as an organization we can operate on biblical principles.
The question is, what are biblical principles?
Bishop Robinson points out that Jesus was “consistently on the side of those who were outcast by society and bore the unfair burden of disdain, discrimination, and prejudice.”
Finally he asks, “can anyone imagine that Jesus would denounce and decry two men or two women who have fallen in love, have promised to live in a faithful, monogamous lifelong intentioned relationship and now seek the civil status and the church’s sacrament of marriage. I cannot.”
Dan Cathy can. Having been criticized for being against gay marriage, Cathy continues to stand by his remarks:
“Well, Guilty as charged.”
Related links from On Faith:
Sally Quinn | Aug 1, 2012 11:50 AM