Chick-Fil-A Comes Under Fire For Stance On Same-Sex Marriage
Restaurant chain Chick-fil-A is facing criticism after its President's comments on same-sex marriage.
Chick-fil-A, which in recent years has broadened its restaurant business far beyond the areas of the Southern United States where it started out, finds itself in a bit of hot water because of comments made by its President regarding the hot button issue of same-sex marriage:
Chick-fil-A is “very much supportive of the family,” according to Dan Cathy, president of the popular fast food chain. That is, “the biblical definition of the family unit,” he said.
And that doesn’t include Adam and Steve, suggests Cathy, whose father S. Truett Cathy founded the Atlanta-based company.
In a new interview with Baptist Press, Cathy puts on the record what critics say his company’s actions have indicated for years. “Well, guilty as charged,” he said in the interview when asked about Chick-fil-A’s backing of families led by a man and a woman.
“We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives,” Cathy said.
The chain, according to the report, has 1,608 restaurants, sales of more than $4 billion and employees who are trained “to focus on values rooted in the Bible.” Chick-fil-A’s across the country shut down on Sundays.
“We don’t claim to be a Christian business,” Cathy said. “But as an organization we can operate on biblical principles.”
Last year, protesters accused Chick-fil-A of supporting an anti-gay agenda with donations, which the company has steadily denied.
As for Chick-fil-A, Cathy said the company’s leaders “intend to stay the course.”
“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,” he said.
In all honestly, I can’t see why anyone would really be surprised by this. The contributions have been a public issue for years now, and the fact that the chain closes its restaurants on Sundays has always been a pretty obvious clue as to the religious and political positions of the owners of the privately owned company. Nonetheless, we’re hearing the usual suspects renew their call for boycotts of the chain because of the positions that the parent company, just as we heard calls for boycotts of Rush Limbaugh’s sponsors because of the comments he made about Sandra Fluke earlier this year. Boycotts are nothing new, of course, they were a part of the anti-apartheid movement and have been a tactic used by left and right to advance their agenda pressure private businesses to adhere to whatever their idea of political correctness might be. It also happens to be profoundly stupid.
We already live in a world where far too many things have become politicized and, with the hyper-partisan nature of our political culture, that means that even something as innocuous as what movies one might choose to go see in the theater or, as in this case, what restaurant they might patronize, becomes a target for criticism. After 9/11, the Dixie Chicks became the subject of a boycott campaign because of comments they made during a concert, but it gets even more ridiculous than that People on the right will say you shouldn’t go see a movie staring Sean Penn because of his supportive comments about Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. People on the left will say you shouldn’t buy pizza from Domino’s because the founder contributes large sums of money to conservative Catholic and pro-life organizations. Sometimes it seems as though there isn’t a business that you can patronize without offending someone.
Jason Pye notes just how illogical it is to base consumer decisions on political opinions:
If I stopped spending money at businesses with which I had some sort of disagreement — whether it be religious or political opinion — my choices would be incredibly limited. I’d never eat Ben and Jerry’s again since they supported Occupy Wall Street and other left-wing causes. I would never go see another movie due to Hollywood’s support of SOPA and PIPA. And I would never listen to music from bands, like Refused, that express an anti-capitalist point of view that I, as a believer in free markets, disagree with very much.
I don’t know about you, but that seems like a dumb way to move through life. Why not just leave the politics out of it and frequent the businesses that provide things that you enjoy at a reasonable price?
It’s all completely ridiculous. When it comes to entertainment, or consumer decisions like which restaurant I might get lunch from tomorrow, the absolutely last thing I care about is the political opinions of the stars or owners. Who cares what Sean Penn thinks if he made a good movie, and who cares what the owners of Chick-fil-A think if you think they make a decent, healthy meal for a reasonable price? The extent to which we have let politics invade every sphere of our lives in this manner strikes me as quite unhealthy, and yet another sign of how polarized we are becoming in this country. There are extreme examples where boycotts might be called for, such as the case of a company who may be trading with a repressive regime, but that’s not the situation we encounter with most of these calls for a boycott. Usually, it’s just the fact that someone, somewhere doesn’t like a political statement that someone affiliated with the company has made.
The other point about calls for boycotts of companies like Chick-fil-A, of course, is that the boycott ends up hurting completely innocent people. Like most restaurant chains of its type, Chick-fil-A is franchise operation. A boycott doesn’t hurt the parent corporation as much as it hurts the franchise owner, typically a small businessman, and their employees. Where’s the logic in that?
As if the boycott talk wasn’t bad enough, we even have public officials vowing to block the opening of new restaurants because of the company’s political stances:
[Boston] Mayor Thomas M. Menino is vowing to block Chick-fil-A from bringing its Southern-fried fast-food empire to Boston — possibly to a popular tourist spot just steps from the Freedom Trail — after the family-owned firm’s president suggested gay marriage is “inviting God’s judgment on our nation.”“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion,” Menino told the Herald yesterday.“That’s the Freedom Trail. That’s where it all started right here. And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail.”
Even if you don’t see a problem with privately run boycotts, and I will say that as much as I oppose the concept of people boycotting businesses over politics I do support their right to do it, you’ve got to be profoundly disturbed by a politician threatening to strong-arm a business using the power of government because he or she happens to disagree with their political opinions.
Chick-fil-A has apparently decide that the public uproar over their President’s comments were too much and announced late yesterday that they would no longer be getting involved in the same-sex marriage debate. That’s certainly their right, and I can see from a business point of view a company that has been involved in a major expansion for several years now would want to reduce the risk of losing customers by offending them. At the same time, though, if they did this because they were being pressured by interest groups on the opposite side of that debate then I think its unfortunate that they were bullied into suppressing their speech. I don’t agree with the position they took at all, but they have every right to take it and I’m not comfortable with living in a world where it’s okay to bully people into shutting up.
Totally agree, wrote a similar post a few months back. http://bmbl.us/HWrcWe
A big part of the problem comes from how Chick-fil-A is being used by the National Orginization for Marriage. When a company stands up for traditional marriage NOM hails it as a rightious religious freedom voice. But when a company like Starbucks or General Mills comes out in favor of marriage equality then those companies are trampling on religious freedom and NOM demands that they remain netural in the culture war. NOM, like most anti-gay orginizations, is trying to have it both ways.
They probably decided to shut-up based on complaints from franchisees.
That said, I think calling for a boycott is stupid for many of the reasons you cite. Additionally, people should probably understand that there’s a difference between the personal opinions of corporate leaders and the policies of the corporations themselves. If Chick-fil-a starts refusing to serve same-sex couples, then they deserve a boycott. In other words, boycott over onerous policies, not merely onerous opinions.
So if interest groups make customers aware of a company’s public political advocacy, that’s bullying? Bullshit. They are “suppressing their speech” because management decided profit is more important than publicly hating gays.
you’ve got to be profoundly disturbed by a politician threatening to strong-arm a business using the power of government because he or she happens to disagree with their political opinions.
So much for support for local governments. I suppose you would find it highly disturbing if a mayor publicly opposed a new location for “Nathan Forrest’s N!gger Pies” moving to his town. Because freedom, that’s why.
Good for Mayor Menino. He is representing the people of Boston, and if they decide his stance against bigoted restaurants that sell crappy food is wrong, they can vote him out of office. Until then, he’s doing the right thing.
I tend to agree especially about refraining from living in a politicized world. However, I am conflicted when businesses use the power of their megaphone to shout their opinion at me. They shouldn’t complain when there is pushback. Every action has a reaction. If they can’t handle the reaction then I think businesses should refrain also.
Additionally, people should probably understand that there’s a difference between the personal opinions of corporate leaders and the policies of the corporations themselves.
Screw that. No one was ever forced to work at Chick-Fil-A. If my “corporate leaders” were bigoted assholes, I would seek employment elsewhere.
What is the biblical definition of fast food?
What, did they do their marketing research and find out that gay or lesbian married couples don’t patronize Chick-Fil-A?
Well, yeah, of course. I’m not sure what that has to do with a boycott except for the obvious point that people can choose where and when to spent their dollars.
Local fried chicken shop: “I think pale, freckle-faced Irish people bring god’s wrath on our country.”
Me: “Oh yeah, well I don’t think I want to buy your fried chicken. And I don’t think other pale, freckle-faced Irish people should either… and they should convince their friends not to buy their chicken.”
See, because I couldn’t help but be born a pale, freckle-faced Irish person, I don’t see any problem with such a boycott.
Bigot Chicken created this problem by using their business to push a political ideology. No one forced them to announce their bigotry, no one “outed” them, they did it themselves. They are proselytizing.
They set this table, they picked this fight, they created the politicization in question, so, the rest of your post rather falls apart.
In any event I find it exceedingly add that a libertarian would object to the workings of the free market. I don’t like these people, I think they’re bigots, so I don’t take the matter to the government but go instead to the market, to consumers. I thought that’s how we were supposed to manage things in the libertarian ideal: change the channel, close the wallet,.
Of course, in this case, the threat of the boycott worked. The company made profits the priority, as most, but not all, companies would.
(But, of course, if the President of the corporation hadn’t felt the need to make his statements, the whole issue probably wouldn’t have come up.)
Well, yeah, of course. I’m not sure what that has to do with a boycott except for the obvious point that people can choose where and when to spent their dollars.
I was responding to your comment, which I read to mean “don’t blame the local business for the stuff corporate headquarters does:”
Additionally, people should probably understand that there’s a difference between the personal opinions of corporate leaders and the policies of the corporations themselves.
Perhaps I misunderstood your point.
@mantis: People in mimim wage jobs can just go find another job somewhere else? Who are you really, Herman Cain?
@michael reynolds: Government blocking businesses from opening because of unpopular opinions is never going to be o.k. with libertarians, left or right.
Agreed, but then shouldn’t you be blaming Chik-Fil-A for using the company to push a political agenda rather than just focussing on making better chicken sandwhiches? When a company or celebrity takes an explicitly political stand, it’s silly to blame the people responding to it for politicizing things. And if a company presumes to go around judging who real various people’s families arms, it’s silly to expect the people in the “fake” families not to be angered by it.
While I think that organized boycotts make little sense, and tend to fail in any case, personally I will be damned before I support anyone or anything that offends me. There is nothing in Sean Penn’s performance art that is so great that I will ever put a dime of my money in his pocket if I can help it. I do not buy Ben and Jerry’s products. That leaves a few hundred movies every year and at least a dozen brands of ice cream to choose from that do not profit people who will use the profit from my purchase to support causes that I know I already dislike. If I don’t like Pepsi, I can always get a Coke. We call it freedom, and it is there for a purpose. Not gonna cost the vendors much, but with so much choice available in the marketplace, I can grant my custom wherever it pleases me to do so. Now I have to find a Chick-fil-A in my area so that I can support a business that believes in something that does not offend me. I hear their chicken is pretty good anyway.
If the CEO of Chik-Fil-A was donating his money to anti-gay groups I would buy that. When the corporation itself is donating money to such groups then it is the policy of the corporation itself.
People in mimim wage jobs can just go find another job somewhere else?
Did I say that?
That’s my feeling. Chi-Fil-A should be perfectly free to run their bigotted company. I simply refuse to do business with them.
I would absolutely oppose any government effort to squeeze them out or block them expanding. BUt I have a perfect right to suggest to my friends and acquaintances that there are better places to spend their fast food dollar.
If someone feels passionately about something, then that person could very well be affected by the political (or other) opinions of entertainers or businesspeople. For example, if gay marriage is the most important thing in your life – even more important than the Washington Redskins – then it would be understandable if the mere sight of a Chick-Fil-A upset you.
But the problem occurs when people are NOT passionate about boycotts but participate in them anyway. Back in the 1980s, I knew a church secretary who was serving food and drink at a church event. This secretary was roundly criticized for serving Nestle products. It is highly doubtful that the people criticizing the secretary were African mothers, yet that particular boycott was important to the critics.
Because then you support evil and bigotry.
People are …. amazing …
So, Adam and Steve cant deep fry chicken as well as Adam and Eve?
Look, it’s simple. Individuals who are offended by Dan Cathy’s remarks can get their fast food chicken elsewhere, and god knows how difficult it might be find an alternative to Chick-Fil-A
I have to say, boycotting companies that did business with South Africa during the 80s didn’t make me feel dumb at all. In fact, standing up to bullies who insist whole sections of our society are undeserving of civil rights seems like a pretty good way to move through life.
Chick-fil-A requires its franchisees to sign statements that they agree to abide by the Company’s Biblical values. They know what they’re getting into when they go into business with the Cathys.
The very tail ends of the political bell curve are flip sides of the same coin and they engage in these sorts of scorched earth tactics because they’re saddled with bad demographics, bad brains and waaaaaay too much time on their hands.
Whether we’re talking about cement heads who want to boycott fast food restaurants over gay marriage or cement heads who want to boycott big box retail over Salvation Army coffers the key point — which ironically enough is lost on both sides — is that either way we’re talking about cement heads.
Says our leading cement head.
BTW, Wendy’s Asagio Ranch Chicken Club is amazing.
@michael reynolds: “In any event I find it exceedingly add that a libertarian would object to the workings of the free market.”
Yes, this is where libertarianism’s pretensions to be something other than adolescent anarchism fade away.
Well if they cant stand the heat then get out of the kitchen.
Chick-Fil-a is no national treasure. It’s overrated and this other baggage makes choosing some other fowl vendor much easier.
Why is it appropriate for corporations to get a voice in our elections with their massive campaign spending, but we the consumers should have no say in the political advocacy of those corporations?
@Gromitt Gunn: I assume such contract clauses are legal even if it is infringing on the franchisees religious liberty.
@Nikki: Because this is a bizarro-world version of libertarianism where the rights of corporations and other non-natural persons trump the rights of individuals any time the two come in conflict.
Isn’t it a whole lot better, from a free market perspective, to get corporate money out of politics by making political speech unprofitable, than to try to get corporate money out of politics by government regulation and intervention?
It is a stupid way to go. On the other hand, I do let my opinions of actors, directors and producers occasionally color my decisions regarding which movies and TV shows to watch. Movies and TV shows are (IMO) works of art, and an artist will express himself through his his artwork.
Check out the Human Rights Campaign’s rating for Chick-Fil-A (0). Look at that list of policies. Now substitute the word “race” or “religion” for “sexual orientation” or “gender identity”. How does that feel?
I will not patronize a company that I know is shovelling money to organizations that want to hurt people I know and respect and have no respect for their own employees.
I don’t mind people boycotting ChickFilA, but you’ve got to pick your battles. I think Reynolds makes a good point, though, that they went out of their way to announce this. Boycott away, but also keep the government out of it, please.
As for me, I’ve heard of them but I don’t think there’s any around here; I probably wouldn’t eat at one anyway if it’s anything resembling the typical fast food restaurant.
Because libertarianism is just a political front for corporations. They’re not about liberty, they’re about substituting corporate control for government control. Corporatarians, if you will. Oligarchs. Bend the knee to the CEOs.
Which corporation am I fronting for? I’d like to know because they’ve been remiss in sending me my stooge checks.
Such a weird post. Chick-Fil-A’s got a right to be bigots. I’ve got a right to tell them off.
Just another day in a free country … nothing irrational about it.
Fact is, I’m not going to make my 7YO suffer because of politics he can’t understand, so I won’t tell him no more Chick ever.
Hate on the Cathys all you want, but they opened their Aurora store at 4:45 AM, in the same mall as the theater where the shootings were, for free food and facilities for all law enforcement personnel involved in investigating the shooting.
From where I sit, religious people do more good for humanity than any liberal ever did by abrogating personal responsibility in favor of government.
Who’s hating the Cathy’s? I’ve only heard some people say that, based on the Cathy’s attitudes toward gay couples, that they’d choose to buy their fast food chicken elsewhere. What’s wrong with making that choice?
What if they were
bulliedpressured by American citizens expressing their displeasure with actions taken by a corporation and acting on said displeasure through the use of one of the few effective methods available to them? Is that also bad?
This reminds me of the uproar over Komen and Planned Parenthood, where it was completely reasonable and fair for Komen to stop funding PP, but somehow unreasonable and unfair for PP to go public about it or for those who disagreed to stop contributing to Komen. Or vice versa.
If people don’t like wht a company or organization is doing, and they complain and threaten to boycott, what is the problem with that? Regardless of whether it is pro-gay right individuals objecting to Chick-Fil-A or anti-gay rights individuals objecting to Penney’s. What is the problem? If you disagree with those choices, no one is forcing you to make them.
If avoiding funding an agenda I disagree with is as easy as going to a different restaurant or picking up a different brand of tissues, why is that wrong?
Sorry, but I’ve got to ask; How is your 7 y/o going to suffer because you might choose to get your fried chicken elsewhere?
Because it offends me deep down to the bottom of my devoutly raised Seventh-Day Adventist soul to . buy the products produced by those corporations who engage in practices that don’t adhere to the lessons taught by Jesus Christ. I consider them un-Christian and un-American.
Umm… why is that supposed to impress me? The LE personnel are all being paid to investigate the shooting. I’m not sure why they deserve free lunches for doing their jobs. Indeed, this seems exactly the sort of obsequiousness to the state you complain about in liberals in the very next sentence.
Total disagree with Doug’s take on this. Chick-fil-A is an entity, it is composed of not just the employees, the infrastructure, the 1600+ stores, the corporate owners, and franchisees. It’s the complete package, and it has an identity and vision that it puts forth into the marketplace. Support of that identity is part and parcel of your dollar votes when you patronize one of those franchise locations. In a market, your dollar votes are your implicit acknowledgement and overt validation that you support that identity. It isn’t just about a high quality chicken sandwich.. I, for one, am offended by the religiosity and homophobia that is implicit with this organization. Moreover, for the owners to suggest “We don’t claim to be a Christian business, but as an organization we can operate on biblical principles” is simply laughable. What bible is it you are pulling your values from? The Koran? Please.. At the end of the day, this is a simple matter. You have a fundamentalist Christian based business wanting to have their chicken and eat it too. Sorry, but I aint buyin..
I said libertarianism, the ideology writ large. And no one said you were getting paid. Most water-carriers are unpaid.
The drones know this, and it pisses them off to no end.
Seriously, this is one of the dumber essays I’ve found on OTB.
Consumers wisely choose to withhold their financial support from businesses or entertainers who use their outsized wealth and/or popularity to pursue policy goals that offend these consumers.
If these businesses or entertainers did not take the wealth, popularity and influence that is bestowed upon them by consumers to pursue an offensive agenda, then consumers most likely would not boycott them.
Should the anus be used as a sex organ? Google First Scandal.
I eat somewhat often at CFL, about once every few months. I think that the food, service and employees are great: a very friendly place to eat. Their toys for children over the years are usually educational (books, software) and different from other fast food places. I did not know about Mr. Cathy’s statements and really don’t care as long as the food remains great, the service stays friendly and efficient, and the stores are clean and bright.
You’re right: why should you give a damn if they work to reduce your fellow Americans to second-class status so long as you get your chicken? You’d have fit right in during the Jim Crow era.
@al-Ameda: Because he loves Chick-Fil-A. Duh. Have you ever been a child, much less had an autistic 7YO?
Well, I kinda like Penn’s politics, and he used to live right up the road from me & he seemed like a pretty regular guy.
On the other hand, I always really liked Mel Gibson’s work, but I won’t watch it any more because he is a hate-filled puke, and I don’t want to support him in any way.
I’ve never boycotted any business based on the political beliefs of the ownership. Businesses earn my money by providing a good product at a fair price while also providing good service. Chic-fil-a meets all of the above criteria. The food is always fresh and hot, tastes good, and is served with smile, a welcome and a thank you (a lot of fast food restaurants could take pointers on customer service from Chic-fil-a), and less than $6 for a sandwich, fries and a drink seems pretty fair. Based on the crowds present at all of their restaurants (4 at last count) where I live, I don’t seem to be the only person that feels this way.
Unless and until Chic-fil-a starts refusing to serve patrons based on their sexual preference (or race, religion or gender), I’ll continue to give them my money and enjoy their food.
Michael, as an author, your depend on the public buying the product (a book) that you produce in order to earn your income. At least 50% of the country probably disagrees with many, if not most, of your political stances. Would it seem fair to you for people to refuse to purchase your books, not because they were not well written, but instead because they just don’t agree with things that you believe in, even though those beliefs are not reflected in the product you produce?
It certainly wouldn’t seem very fair to me.
They should turn that into an ad campaign: “Hey, our president may be a Christianist homophobe, but at least we feed cops for free!”
Oh? Praise for devout Muslims? How liberal of you…
Ask all the heterosexual couples who have anal sex…
@Moderate Mom: I certainly agree with this. When I go to any kind of business, I do not check out what the owner’s personal opinions are before I do business there. All I know is that the employees and customers at every ChickFL I have been to are very happy and satisfied there. This to me shows that this guy Cathy can’t be the bad guy that a few people are trying to paint him as. He gave his personal (not business) opinion about one issue.
I’ve raised 2 daughters and I believe that would have survived a switch from, say … Chick fil A to, say … any other decent chicken place, just fine. It would not have caused a family crisis, or a loss of sef-esteem on their part.
Does that help you out?
If you don’t feed kids the toxic garbage fast food joints serve you are probably saving them some suffering down the road.
Taking the joy out of childhood much?
You mean if I were in the business of trying to reduce their friends, family, parents to second-class citizenship? If I were promoting bigotry and contempt for those unlike myself?
I’m quite open about my politics on Twitter and Facebook, which is where I interact with fans. My readers know where I stand. But I’m not taking much of a risk: this generation seems to have outgrown people like the Cathys. And certainly the percentage of teens who read books and also support the hatred of minorities is pretty small. I’ll take my chances.
One more point. A fan just today called my attention to a graf we wrote in 1998:
The kids who read that tiny nod in the direction of equal rights 14 years ago are now in college or grad school. We get letters from them all the time. In a very small way we helped to shape the generations that no longer feel the need to treat people with contempt for being different than they are.
This isn’t a matter of a “political stance” any more than it was a political stance almost 50 years ago when my parents risked the wrath of the Ku Klux Klan in the panhandle of Florida by having black teenagers over to our house for tutoring. There’s right and there’s wrong.
I had a wonderful childhood. The first time I had fast food, I was 12, and even after that it was infrequent. How does eating crappy food sold by corporations who are supplied by factory farms who torture animals add joy to childhood? “Here junior, have some pink slime.”
Do you know that up until a few years ago McDonalds was selling burgers made from cows who were too sick to walk into the slaughterhouse? They had to be dragged in.
Do you think fast food adds joy to life because you have seen a zillion TV commercials that say it does?
Or maybe you think 13 year olds with adult onset diabetes is somehow joyful. Your credentials as a corporate tool have never looked stronger.
Michael Reynolds also probably doesn’t start each of his books with a note from the author discussing his views on taxation. I try not to get worry about what a business’s employees do in their spare time either. But there’s a distinction between that, and when they start advocating as part of the business, and Chik-Fil-A has clearly crossed that line. When they make political activism an integral part of their business model, I’m not going to ignore it.
@al-Ameda: Fried chicken is not a healthy meal. It’s no wonder so many people are obese in this country.
I would absolutely tell my 8 yr old that we are not eating at Chik fil A and the reason why.
Well, yeah, because I am pretty sure that the First Amendment doesn’t apply to franchise agreements.
@Doug Mataconis: I had a lot of joy in my childhood, and I can’t think of a single time my parents took me to a fast food joint.
And because you never went to fast food restaurants as a child, parents shouldn’t take their kids to fast food restaurants?
How about not forcing your values on everyone else?
I think teaching children the lessons of political polarization is pretty sad
Can’t you let people live their own lives as they see fit?
After reading through some of these comments, I think I’ll make a Chick-fil-A run tonight.
Please show where I said they can’t. Or where wr did. All I did was voice an opinion about the health consequences of fast food, and I ventured the opinion that people equate fast food with fun because they have been brainwashed by decades of slick marketing.
I’m sorry you made yourself look silly on this thread, but lying about other people’s positions will not make you look any better.
I’m not the one purporting to pontificate about what restaurants people should eat in
I am pretty sure I am entitled to have an opinion and express it freely. This in no way interferes with anyone else’s ability to live their lives in the manner they see fit.
As far as “pontificating” goes, well for one thing, this is a blog, that is pretty much what we do here. When someone agrees with you, they are speaking words of wisdom, if not, they are pontificating. That is pretty much how it goes, is it not? I think we are all guilty of this to some extent.
Do you have an argument that says fast food is healthy, especially for growing bodies? Or that factory farming does not involve systematic cruelty? I would love to hear them.
There are also the long term costs that our society is going to incur as the result of the explosion of obesity in this country to consider. They will be in the hundreds of billions, and perhaps more. A legitimate cause for concern in a country with so many serious problems in the areas of deficits and exploding health care costs, no?
@Doug Mataconis: Since when is instilling in your children the idea that discrimination is wrong “teaching children the lessons of political polarization”? I won’t encourage my sons to join the Boy Scouts or the Catholic Church because those institutions are homophobic and they enable pedophiles, however my mom is Catholic and takes my kids to mass with her on occasion. She supports gay rights and respects my views on indoctrinating my children into a religion, any religion, and as long as she continues to respect that, I’m fine with them going to mass when they are visiting her, they are too young to understand anyway. But my daughter, 4 1/2 is already aware of the concept of homosexuality, we have gay friends, some of her friends have 2 dads. You’d be amazed at how accepting kids are if they never learn about bigotry and polarization.
Dougie sure does hate it when anynof the plebes dare stand up to their betters.
@ Rick Almeida
Dude, shut up and eat your chicken 🙂
@Doug Mataconis: teaching children that bigotry should not be tolerated seems like a fine lesson to me.
Among the many things wrong with this post, the one nobody’s mentioned yet is the “what if everybody did this for every single thing they ever bought?” reductio. Well, it doesn’t matter what if everybody did that. Because people aren’t ever going to. People pick their spots for personal or group boycotts, on various bases. And there’s nothing wrong with being selective about whom you boycott for what reason.
I choose to avoid Chik-Fil-A not just because their corporate stance against gay people offends me, but because: 1) it is a corporate stance, not an incidental opinion of its owners – try being a gay couple and getting a franchise; 2) Chik-Fil-A puts non-trivial money into making the lives of people I love harder than those lives need to be; 3) Gay rights appear to be at a tipping point where this kind of shaming can be effective (the strategic effectiveness argument); 4) It is, frankly, not that big a sacrifice on my part – I like their chicken well enough, but I can get perfectly tasty and perfectly unhealthy chicken from Popeye’s, thanks.
Now if you say, “See, Number 4 proves you’re not really serious about following your ideals in the marketplace!” you are missing the point. You created the strawman of the fanatic who buys and boycotts based only on political sentiment. It’s not my fault for not being that strawman.
Meanwhile, @Michael Reynolds:
I don’t think it’s necessarily corporatism – or only corporatism – that animates libertarian abhorrence of this kind of thing. A deep current running through libertarianism is a fantasy of an escape from politics itself. If we unleashed “markets,” they could displace most or all of the political sphere. (Yes, this means redefining an enforced minarchism or ancapistan as somehow “not politics,” but that’s just blinders.) Boycotts are society moving in the other direction: “polluting” the market with politics. Hence, libertarian distaste for them.
This isn’t a defense of my former confreres, by any means. Because libertarians also insist that we don’t need to “legislate values” because we can rely on social pressure. So hamstringing the effectiveness of social pressure by a) trying to keep it (boycotts) out of the market, while b) expanding the market to cover ever more spheres of existence makes a mockery of their assurances.
How many of you people check out the personal opinions and beliefs of owners of other businesses? How about these famous corporate people:
Mr. Henry Ford
Mr. Walt Disney
Mr. William Fox
Colonel Harlan Sanders
Mr. L.L. Bean
@Racehorse: They were all bigots and excepting Mr Levi and very,very rarely Mr Sanders I don’t buy their products. And they are all very dead. What’s your point? Can I not read and respect the Constitution since most of the people who wrote it were douchebags by modern standards?
After reading Doug’s latest comment I don’t want to hear any shit about Doug being a Libertarian, he is a Republican. One of those dick Republicans who goes out of his way to hurt others just for the satisfaction of feeling superior to them.
I could easily see him joining the KKK, not because he hates black people, but because it hurts someone else and it makes him feel superior to a whole class of people.
I’m a libertarian, friend. I think businessmen have a right to their political opinions and I simply refuse to join in boycotts.
And, yes, I disagree with the Cathy family, but I’m not going to punish their franchisees just to join your circle of smug moral superiority.
No, you’re a Republican in denial.
For future reference, I am ignoring any comment you direct at me.
I don’t think anyone has said that a businessman does not have the right to his opinion. But this freedom to an opinion does not mean freedom from consequences if he chooses to politicize his business.
And you have every right to boycott boycotts, just as others have a right to participate. Niether choice is right or wrong, it is simply personal preference.
AWWWW, did the little Republican get his feelings hurt. :>(
I don’t see the problem. If they didn’t want a political reaction of one sort or another (ie supporters of their view going to them, opposers keeping away), they wouldn’t have voiced an opinion. They have the right to voice their political opinions, and people have the right to act on what they hear.
Though I suspect most folks wouldn’t care one way or another about the political views of most businesses …
I think businessmen have a right to their political opinions and I simply refuse to join in boycotts.
Does anyone disagree with that? Does anyone assert that businessmen do not have a right to their opinions? No, it’s a straw man.
Seems to me you believe businessmen should see no consequences for their public actions, that it is wrong for anyone to take their business elsewhere based on those actions.
As I said in the post people have the right to do whatever they wish in these situation. I am just uncomfortable with these organized boycott campaigns and generally think its kind of silly to base your decision on what restaurant you eat in, or what movies you watch, based on politics
As you yourself said:
I am baffled as to why when wr or I puts forth an opinion we are killing childhood, preventing people from living their own lives, and pontificating, and when you do it, well that’s another matter entirely.
@anjin-san: The people that I’ve talked to around here haven’t even heard of anything about this. Chick-Fil-A that we go to was packed as usual Saturday at lunch. A new one is planned over at the bypass exit. We don’t have a lot to choose from in our small town – a couple of fast food places and that’s it. Chick – Fil -A is the best as far as food, service, and atmosphere go. The food has always been hot and good, the milkshakes are great, and so are the soft drinks. The employees are happy and friendly. The regular restaurants are clear over in another county. There is no where else to go even if we wanted to. The owner is entitled to his opinion, I’m entitled to my food!
Quite a different article than your opinion of the Boy Scouts of America.
Doug, boycotts are like gay marriage. Don’t like it? Don’t do it!
“From where I sit, religious people do more good for humanity than any liberal ever did by abrogating personal responsibility in favor of government”
– Michael Gersh (comments at the NYC Planning Commission hearings on the plans to build a Muslim Center near 911 site) advocating the approval of the site for an Islamic Cultural Center.
I’m sure that The Vatican would like us to believe that.
This is the portion of the LA Times article I believe to be the most relevant:
@LadyLiberty1885: That Chick-Fil-A says this kind of thing is presumably why Mr. Mataconis has no problem with them.
But seriously, Chick-Fil-A. Be a fast food company whose leadership is dominated by conservative Christians – honey badger don’t care. But this chickensh*t where you’re operating on biblical principles but not claiming to be a Christian company is just that. I can’t think of a single thing that isn’t more important than the latest method by which the President of Chick-Fil-A gets to tell his shareholders that he built their brand while sticking to their values.
@Doug Mataconis: you’re doing it wrong: just eat their tasty chicken sandwiches if you want and don’t give people being wrong on the internet the satisfaction of influencing your decision one way or the other. Buying Solidarity Chikin to prove a point about boycotts is just as vacuous as not buying Homophobe Chikin to prove a point about civil rights.
I actually ate at Chick-fil-A the other day just because I started craving it after seeing discussion about it on the internet for three or four days straight, (no pun intended). It’s pretty good. The staff seems very upbeat and positive.
I don’t go to Starbucks anyway, I’m more of a marriage is about making babies, (matrimony) kind of person. I know a gay guy who blogs from one. Nice enough guy.
Boycotts are just personal purchasing decisions to me. I might mention my reasons to someone I’m close to, but for the most part I just go about my business. It doesn’t seem like a lot of effort to me.
LOL. Are you sure you’re a lawyer? Your reading comprehension seems…sub-par.
Doug, in an effort to make your tiny ideological mind understand, Dan Cathy started this fight. He is the one who made the poor business decision to advertise his gay-hatred and own brand of Christianity. There are some of us who disagree with his preferences, and refuse to do business with Chik-Fil-A for the foreseeable future. And you are taking this business decision, based on her proud flaunting of hate-mongering, as a personal attack on you and your childhood and way of life. It is not.
So please, eat at Chik-Fil-A. Eat there every day until you get diabetes if it makes you happy. The rest of us will not be joining you, and that is our own market based decision, based as a REACTION against Dan Cathy’s gleeful advertisement of his gay-hatred. Usually, we don’t make decisions like this based on political preferences in the market, and you and your conservative defenders are right in that. But Dan Cathy had to advertise the fact he hates the idea of gay marriage, and is willing to spend millions to stop it. Well, millions of us, and other people around the country, can refuse to do business with Chik-Fil-A, until he changes his beliefs, which are not market-based in any way, shape, or form. He is the one injecting religion into his business practices. He is the one responsible for the subsequent backlash.
But as you bite in your Chik-Fil-A sandwich this evening, remember Cleek’s definition of Modern Conservativism:
“Conservatives want the opposite of what liberals want; updated daily.”
Boy, you sure showed us!
But really, you’re going to buy Chik-Fil-A specifically to make a political point? Doesn’t that seem like, oh, a dumb way to move through life? Why not just leave the politics out of it and frequent the businesses that provide things that you enjoy at a reasonable price?
If I find a restaurant that I really like, but then find out the owner is a communist or an atheist or a democrat. Do I stop eating there? How biased are these gay rights people who can’t stand the rights of others? What a bunch of hypocrites! The U.S.A. was founded on Christian principles. The forefathers would be rolling over in their graves if they knew how Christians are being treated for standing up for their values. God bless Mr. Cathy & Chick-Fil-A!!!
Late to this party, but here via a link in a brand new Popehat post.
“Buying Solidarity Chikin to prove a point about boycotts is just as vacuous as not buying Homophobe Chikin to prove a point about civil rights.”
There should be a way to thumbzup some comments more’n’once. Doug’s wrong in my opinion, but I was kinda feeling sorry for him up until he said that thing about makin’ a point to “eat moar chik’n” because so many folks here see it differently than he does. That comment above wins the comment section, least as far as I’m concerned.
I think we individuals have far too few ways to influence our political and social surroundings as it is… Folks say money is speech, and if that’s so, I want as many of my measly dollars as possible speaking up for my values.
Besides, I’ve always believed that not taking a stand on an issue is really just taking a stand for the status quo. The Chick-fil-A issue is out there, and “buying it just for the chicken” is no more or less a political an act then boycotting or buycotting the place based on the opinions they voiced.
Those awful, awful bullies, not buying any chicken sandwiches! Have they at last no decency?
“Why not leave your values out of it and frequent the businesses that provide things that you enjoy at a reasonable price?”
This is how I see your comment, and this overall discussion, whether or not you’d agree with my editing of your words. I don’t know how you define politics, but for me politics should be defined by our personal values lest they become mere opinion, and baseless at that.
Personally I value human rights so elect not to consume the products produced by those who stand against my value in them. Just like I refuse to buy items manufactured by sweatshop and/or child labor, so to would I not patronize a place that doesn’t believe in equality for all people. If it was the mid 60’s and Chick-fil-A was arguing against desegregation would boycotting them still be as ridiculous to you?
To me this is all about values; the owners have every right to support the values they have while the rest of us have an equal right to support ours and criticize them. Though this is about more than exercising one’s rights for I think we have an obligation to our values to support them in all we do. Seriously, if we don’t put our values first, sheepishly turning away as others violate them, then can we really say we have any values at all?
What I see you arguing in favor of is living a purposeless and callous life; where we consume without conscience, where we don’t question what type of world we create with that consumption and activity, and where we look for nothing deeper in our associations then to provide us a meaningless distraction from our toils. To quote you again “I don’t know about you, but that seems like a dumb way to move through life.”
@Vast Variety: I truly hope that all this hoo-haa brings a boycott to my local Chick-Fil-A store. The only reason I don’t go in there more is because it’s always so full of people and you have to wait 45 minutes for a sandwich. I love their food and the fact that they believe or don’t believe in something means nothing to me. I really don’t understand, I now have to believe that being gay is a good thing now, I’m not allowed to just put up with it, I now have to embrace a lifestyle that I believe is wrong? That’s a little too PC for me and I refuse to take part. I’m going to have Chick Fil A for lunch now!!
So, your argument is that nobody should try to make the world better because working for reform is inconvenient.