The president of Chick-Fil-A did not condemn gay marriage as alleged by the media. Dan Cathy was expressing his personal support for traditional family values and marital fidelity. Cathy was never asked specifically about gay marriage nor did he say anything about it.
In his answer to a question from the Biblical Recorder, Dan Cathy said “We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unity. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”
In reporting the above conviction, CNN said, “…But the comments of company President Dan Cathy about gay marriage…have ignited a social media wildfire.” A Time magazine headline read: “Boston Mayor Blocks Chick-Fil-A Franchise from City Over Homophobic Attitude.” Both quotations ably describe the vicious media scurrilous attack in reporting Dan Cathy’s personal convictions about traditional family values.
Time was reporting on Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s statement, “Chick-Fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston.” The Mayor went on to say “…we’re not going to have a company, Chick-Fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in supporting his Boston colleague said, “Chick-Fil-A values are not Chicago values.” These mayors along with Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno have vowed to use their offices to block any permits for Chick-Fil-A restaurants. It was Boston Mayor who specifically said, “If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult – unless they open up their policies.”
In other words, unless you share my worldview, I will use my government office to punish you.
To suggest that from the interview with Baptist Recorder, Dan Cathy was condemning gay marriage, is downright dishonest. In the interview, Cathy condemned infidelity in marriage. He was affirming a biblical understanding of marriage and family life.
Cathy’s convictions reignited activists who have been waging campaigns against Chick-Fil-A for the past year. Carlos Maza of Equality Matters, believes Chick-Fil-A is aligned with “some of the most vicious anti-gay voices in the country.” I imagine Maza is referring to the many conservative organizations, like Family Research Council, that benefit from the generosity of Chick-Fil-A.
The company invests in Christian growth and ministry through its WinShape Foundation (WinShape.com). 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 in Mount Berry, Georgia.
Chick-Fil-A employs some 50,000 workers in 1,600 outlets in 40 states across America. The company generates more than four billion dollars in annual revenues and serves millions of customers looking for affordable food in a family friendly setting.
This is the company against which gay rights groups have called for a boycott. Jim Henson Company has pulled its Muppet toys from kids’ meals at Chick-Fil-A. Henson’s company has since directed its revenue to GLADD, a leading gay rights organization.
In response to this acrimonious behavior, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, is leading a campaign and declared Wednesday, August 1, 2012, “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day”. A number of prominent evangelical leaders have endorsed the campaign. Like Dr. Billy Graham, I plan to join in the celebration, if I can find space in the Chick-Fil-A restaurants in my area. I just checked and business seems to booming for the company around the country.
For me, this anti Chick-Fil-A campaign by elected government officials is tantamount to institutional bullying. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, although a supporter of gay marriage, said “a fast food chain’s opposition to gay marriage is none of the government’s business. That is what I call bigotry and intolerance. According to columnist Michelle Malkin, “this is ugly repressive civility enforced with government brass knuckles.”
The US Constitution gives me a right to exercise my free speech and exercise the power of my wallet to support something honorable. Never forget the words of former President Alexander Hamilton, “if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.”
Amidst this furor, Don Perry, a public relations executive at Chick-Fil-A, an African-American and a well-respected member of the business community in Atlanta passed away. I have every reason to believe that the faith and strong family underpinnings at the company and Don Perry’s home will assist in bringing comfort to everyone who is grieving.