When is a chicken sandwich more than a piece of protein on a bun? When it’s a culinary weapon in the culture wars.
After Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy’s comments on marriage launched a national “Eat Mor Chikin” backlash, another cultural bigwig, former Arkansas governor and Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee, announced Sunday that he was coordinating a campaign in support of the “company run by Christian principles.”
“Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day,” Huckabee wrote on his Facebook page, has a simple goal: “Let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1.”
Huckabee continued: “Too often, those on the left make corporate statements to show support for same sex marriage, abortion, or profanity, but if Christians affirm traditional values, we’re considered homophobic, fundamentalists, hate-mongers, and intolerant.”
More than 95,000 have agreed via the event’s page to participate. (Updated.)
Eat Mor Chikin, take a stand against gay marriage?
The company, which the Cathy family proudly claims to operate by biblical principles, including famously keeping its restaurants closed on Sundays in observance of the Sabbath, may be feeling the heat. It wrote on its Facebook page July 19: “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
A July 16 article in the Baptist Press drew attention to Cathy’s beliefs about marriage. “Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family,” wrote K. Allan Blume, the article’s author. “ ‘Well, guilty as charged,’ said Cathy when asked about the company’s position.”
Cathy continued: “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.”
The attention focused by Cathy’s comments to the Baptist Press also pointed people to statements the businessman made on “The Ken Coleman Show,”a syndicated radio show.
On the June 16 episode, Cathy said (listen here):
“As it relates to society in general, 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. I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about.”
In response to Cathy’s comments, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino told the Boston Herald that he would act to block the company from opening in his city: “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population.” The Jim Henson Co. promised to avoid future partnerships with the eatery, and thousands tweeted, blogged and took to Facebook in opposition to Cathy’s statements on marriage.
On the other side of the food-as-political-fight, Oreo found its popular cookie in the center of the gay rights debate in June, when a rainbow-colored Oreo was posted to its Facebook page on Pride Day “with accompanying text that read ‘Proudly support love!’ ”
Your Take: Have you taken a stand on Chick-fil-A’s marriage controversy? Will you take up Huckabee’s case on Aug. 1, or are you more likely to stay away from the sandwich shop in protest? Is the gay rights cause now a food fight?