I really didn't want to write about the recent Chick-fil-A controversy, but things have gotten so out of control on it in such a short period of time, that I feel like I need to state where I stand on this whole mess.
Let's get this little thing out of the way first. Chick-fil-A has never made it a secret that they were a Christian owned business. They run the corporation based on Chistian principles as they see them. For example, it is my understanding that they are not open on Sundays. Fine with me. When I was young and learning to drive, my mother rode with me quite a bit. She use to complain about the speed I was driving by saying "Just because the speed limit is forty doesn't mean you have to go forty." Just because a business CAN be open on Sunday doesn't mean they have to be. They have the right to run their business anyway they want as long as it does not infringe on people's rights as afforded by the constitution or local laws.
Now, as for the interview that started this whole mess with Dan Cathy, President and CEO of Chik-fil-A, much of what was written in the article was taken out of context as far as his quote goes. the quote in it's entirety as far as I can find was this:
“We don’t claim to be a Christian business,” Cathy told the Biblical Recorder in a recent visit to North Carolina. He attended a business leadership conference many years ago where he heard Christian businessman Fred Roach say, “There is no such thing as a Christian business.”
“That got my attention,” Cathy said. Roach went on to say, “Christ never died for a corporation. He died for you and me.”
“In that spirit … [Christianity] is about a personal relationship. Companies are not lost or saved, but certainly individuals are,” Cathy added. “But as an organization we can operate on biblical principles. So that is what we claim to be. [We are] based on biblical principles, asking God and pleading with God to give us wisdom on decisions we make about people and the programs and partnerships we have. And He has blessed us.”
The company invests in Christian growth and ministry through its WinShape Foundation The name comes from the idea of shaping people to be winners. It began as a college scholarship and expanded to a foster care program, an international ministry, and a conference and retreat center modeled after the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove.
“That morphed into a marriage program in conjunction with national marriage ministries,” Cathy added.
Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position. “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. …
“We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized. “We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
Okay. The man sounds very sincere and is very clear about what his beliefs are. Now there are people who believe that gay and lesbian marriages should be a right afforded to them by the Constitution. Most of these people can read the quote as a negative quote as far as their belief system is. For example, if you are for traditional family values, then you are REALLY saying you are against Gay marriage. That is probably a fair assessment of how Mr. Cathy feels. I would suppose that he is indeed against gay marriage. The thing is though, that he never speaks the word "gay" and he never says that there is no right to gay marriage. He speaks on a positive note about his beliefs, not a negative note about what he does not believe. There is no hate speech in his words.
His final statement in the quote is the biggie that everyone should adhere to and agree with:
"...thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values ..."
Yes indeed. We live in a country where EVERYONE can share and live to their own values.
As to my own point of view, I have made it no secret where I stand on marriage, gay or straight. I wrote a blog entry about it ( http://wm-clark.blogspot.com/2012/05/marriage-civil-unions-and-constitution.html ) . In short, I feel that marriage is the culprit and is unconstitutional, and that Civil Unions certified by each individual state should be available for everyone affording the same rights to everyone.
I made one mistake when this whole thing burst open. My sister-in-law posted something about this and it was from the Chick-fil-A point of view, and I think it stated how gays would probably boycott Chick-fil-A because of this half quote that appeared on the internet or something like that. I commented on her post with this:
"I would boycott Chick-fil-A but I never go there anyway. (and won't now)"
She answered my comment with:
"Everyone has the right to speak up for their beliefs."
to which I responded:
" I agree, sis. I have no desire to stop you from standing up for how you, or anyone for that matter, feel on any particular subject."
My mistake here was that I was being sarcastic, as in funny sarcastic. The (and won't now) should not have been written but should have been a smiley face emoticon. She is right when she says everyone has the right to speak their beliefs. I agree with that. I think the gays have the right to speak their beliefs as well and to respond to the business model that Chick-fil-A is run by.
Honestly I have no idea where I would find a Chick-fil-A and have never really thought about going to one and do not plan on going to one. When it comes to chicken, Kentucky Fried is the only way to go as far as I am concerned. If you told me "Let's go to Chick-fil-A!!!" I would have to ask, "where??" I don't have a clue about the company as a whole.
Here is what I worry about when it comes to the statement by Mr. Cathy where he states :
" ... asking God and pleading with God to give us wisdom on decisions we make about people and the programs and partnerships we have. " (emphasis added)
Has there ever been a case when someone was denied employment or let go from a job at one of your restaurants because they were known to be or suspected as being gay? If so, that is wrong and against the law and the Constitution, and I might add, not very Christian in my own personal thinking.
Has service ever been denied to a person because they were known to be or suspected of being gay? If so, that is wrong and against the law and the Constitution, and I might add, not very Christian in my own personal thinking.
I did some research and didn't come up with any situations that suggested that Chick-fil-A was guilty of either of those scenarios. I hope that they aren't and never will be.
The strange thing about this whole ordeal is that the LGBT community has been rather quiet on the subject. I have not heard or seen any cries for an organized nationwide boycott of Chick-fil-A. They seem to be okay with it. It could be that they already knew what the philosophy of Mr. Cathy's was and have already been running a boycott for years. I don't know. But the supporters of Mr. Cathy's statement are all up in arms defending his philosophy, which is okay. What I see happening is a very strange event. A "pro-protest" is shaping up as supporters are gearing up to all eat at a Chick-fil-A on August first. That is how I read their postings anyway, I could be wrong and if I am I would love to be corrected on that. Most protest are "anti-protests". In this case there doesn't seem to be a large contingent of loud voices hammering away against Mr. Cathy's statements. Sure there are the obligatory remarks made by the gay community, but nothing that is calling the whole LGBT community to show up with signs outside every Chick-fil-A in the country. (They may just do that now that the pro-Chick-fil-A people have August first designated as a sort of support Chick-fil-A day).
My biggest hope is that this doesn't become a political issue in the campaign. It isn't that big of a fish when it comes down to the exchange of ideas that this country needs to address. The only way it does become a big fish is if Chick-fil-A has fired, not hired or have not served people based on their perceived or real sexual orientation comes to light. So far, as far as I can see, that has not happened.