The last few weeks, the Twittersphere and Google Circles and Foursquares and Facebook Triangles have been abuzz with controversy over the stance of Chik-Fil-A’s turbo-Christian CEO, Dan Cathy, who told a Baptist magazine that the company was against same-sex marriage and that people were arrogant for telling God that same-sex marriage is okay. After all, only Dan Cathy and a portion of people that identify as Christian are able to tell their God that may or may not exist what it says and thinks about gay marriage.

I’m not here, though, to stoke the flames of religiosity and get people worked up with my views on Atheism and lack of patience with those whose faith lies in a literal belief in any and all text written at a time when people shat into holes in the ground and watched or participated in executions for entertainment.

No, I’m not going to do that, because I need their help to address a very serious moral quandary.

I must begin by stating this unequivocally: I believe gays should have the right to marry. Actually, it’s a bit stronger than that. I think to not allow them the same rights and privileges is a violation of their civil rights. I find quoting the Bible for legal precedence to be antithetical to the legal and intellectual well-being of our nation. You’ll find many that will play softball with the opposition and claim to respect a faith-based opinion on gay marriage. I’m guilty of that myself. Like the President, though, my stance on this issue has evolved. Unlike the President, I will go so far as to say if you believe gays shouldn’t marry and would work to prevent legislation from allowing that to happen, you don’t have an opinion. You have a prejudice. I think there’s a very real difference and with time, thought, and research, I believe it even more strongly.

On the other hand, Chik-Fil-A is a fast food restaurant that makes fried food that I can eat.

Clearly you see and can probably feel the depth of the dilemma that lay before me.

Prior to this, if you had told me that a restaurant or business that I frequented had a CEO that held an actively hostile position towards an issue of such importance, I wouldn’t hesitate to boycott whatever product they put out. If, for example, the CEO of McDonalds said that the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s was a terrible thing and had Ronald McDonald scream “white power!” at the end of their commercials, I’d never eat their food again and I’d be horrified when people flocked to their locations for a free coke and fires on White Supremacy Soft Drink Appreciation Day. As such, I can’t support Chik-Fil-A knowing that its CEO not only opposes marriage equality but uses company profits to fund organizations that actively lobby against equal protection for gays, including but not limited to The Marriage and Family Legacy Fund, The National Christian Foundation, and the Family Research Council.

On the other hand, chicken sandwich.

It’s not an easy call to make. Anything but. I know and have known many gay men and women who grew up believing they had to exist in shadows and continue to live with casual discrimination in a society that, by and large, overlooks their plight and seems to think that we’ve come further than we have. Some of them I am indebted and under onus to due to their friendship, kindness, and generosity. It would seem only fair to and for them that I oppose any company that tells them they don’t deserve the same rights as me.

Then again, waffle fries.

How on Earth do I cope with this? I don’t want to support Chik-Fil-A, but how can I not eat food that probably lowers my life expectancy with each swallow?

The rights of friends and loved ones versus food that is kind of good tasting but awful for me. My cross is so heavy. Will someone please unburden me?

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13 Responses to I face a dilemma and need your insight

  1. GenWar says:

    Dude, if the worst thing you do, as a human being, is eat Chick-fil-a, you’re doing fine…trust me…

  2. Chuck Miller says:

    Go eat at a Waffle House.  They’re just as far away from the 518 as Chick-fil-A restaurants are…

    •  Plus, you know, pancakes.

      • J. Eric Smith says:

         I’m TOTALLY down with the Waffle House recommendation (though having grown up in that part of the world, I note that they should be referred to as “Awful House,” and you should only go to the ones where you can still smoke a Winston and eat your flat, burnt waffle [with pecans] at the same time) . . . but I have to say that while I am totally on the side of the anti-Chick Fil-A folks from a philosophical and moral standpoint, this debate has done nothing but make me crave the salty pressed chicken sandwiches I used to scarf down with aplomb in high school before going to Putt Putt Golf or the video arcade at the mall to bust my best moves . . . which I had totally forgotten about until the current kerfuffle. Am I very wrong?!?

  3. Siobhan GK says:

    The nearest Chik-Fil-A is about 200 miles from Troy, so that should make your decision a little easier. Also, have you been to Chicken Joe’s? It’s like Chik-Fil-A without kids or Christian values.

  4. Chris H says:

    You gotta make your choices.  I loath Walmart and I still shop there.  

    I also can’t help using oil and the number of very real human right abuses that funds everywhere from Texas to Saudi Arabia makes me pretty sad.

    Then again… I’m a vegetarian.  So, I don’t think Chick-fil-A will notice if I boycott them… :-D

  5. rogerogreen says:

    I agree with it all.  I’ve NEVER eaten at Chik-Fil-A , as far as I know, but it wasn’t a theological, philosophical decision; it’s just fat away.  Yeah, I avoid Wal-Mart, too, though, I’ve been dragged there thrice in the past decade.

    My problem with Cathy is not his views, it’s the money he uses to express his views.  I’d avoid going there myself, but that has to be an individual choice. 

  6. In all seriousness, though, it’s similar to my shopping at Hobby Lobby although the company donates to some causes I’m not terribly fond of. At the same time, they make no attempt to hide what they’re about and who they donate to, even taking out huge, Jesus-riffic ads on holidays in the local papers where they have stores. The tiny portion of the $5 I spend on some of their house-brand yarn you can’t get elsewhere that they’re sending to Oral Roberts University, well, I can offset that by donating to the national Secular Student Alliance organization.

  7. Kev, they make decaf versions that are very tasty.

  8. […] I face a dilemma and need your insight […]

  9. J. Eric Smith says:

     P.S. In my family, we refer to them as “Chik-A-Fil” . . . since that’s what they do . . .

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