Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Does Chik-fil-A's Dan Cathy care about your boycott threats?

Are there any men out there who will boycott Chik-fil-A because Dan Cathy also downed men who divorce and remarry? He said, ". . . and we are all married to our first wives." (I guess he voted for Obama in 2008, not McCain.)

More than likely he disapproves old-school Mormonism, drinking and smoking, and probably scientists who believe in evolution, too. Seriously, it is not news that Cathy is an Evangelical Christian. I don't know why some in the media and gay activists are tripping anew over his statements to the Baptist Press.
Read the quote behind the uproar here

Christina Pesoli at the Huffington Post calls Cathy's decision to state that he believes in "traditional marriage" (and so does not support gay marriage) "a bird-brained business decision." I disagree. Cathy made a shrewd business decision considering to whom he was speaking, and it's the same decision he's been making for years.

She asks, "But what does marriage equality have to do with fried chicken sandwiches?" Nothing, Miss Pesoli, nothing at all, but Cathy was not being interviewed by a business magazine; he was being interviewed by the Baptist press. The Baptist Press is interested in how people live out their Christian faith and who's on the same page with them, not the business of business. The interviewer asked Cathy a question, and he answered it honestly.

I don't mean to pick on Pesoli; her blog post just happened to catch my eye. Nonetheless, she notes that the number of people supporting gay marriage is increasing as though Cathy should be concerned about that. In terms of his business, probably, that growing constituency is the farthest thing from Cathy's mind.

Cathy made what Christians call a "faith-based" decision. He attributes his success in the food industry to God blessing him because he is a "faithful" Christian according to what he believes a faithful Christian to be. Cathy has shown America for years that he will stand by what his religious beliefs tell him to stand by—which is why (in case someone didn't notice) his restaurant is closed on Sundays. There are Christian ministries devoted entirely to financial management according to Christian values. Pundits who discuss Chik-fil-A without considering this context are ill-prepared.

Chik-fil-A is not a publicly-traded company, so its stock will not drop over Cathy's frankness, but consumers who don't like what Cathy said and thinks their dollars matter to him probably should not eat at his restaurant for the peace of their own consciences. If you're one of these consumers,  know, however, that your dollars do not matter to Cathy; your soul does.

You may call his beliefs hateful, but he thinks he speaks from love. I mean, there's much of which he disapproves based on his Evangelical beliefs, and part of those beliefs preach that guiding others by his life example toward fundamentalist Christian principles is an act of love for which God will reward him.

Furthermore, the New Testament speaks of Christian's suffering for their beliefs. His pastor will undoubtedly tell him to wear this public censure as a badge of honor, and some fundamentalist Christians who never eat at Chik-fil-A will make sure to do so this month.

Would Cathy join a group that burns crosses on gay people's lawns or send money to a group that supports the so-called "corrective" raping of lesbians? That's highly unlikely. Would he donate money to a Christian counseling service that treats homosexuality as a mental disorder? Probably. So, do what you've got to do, but you'll have trouble convincing Cathy and those like him that their beliefs flow from hate.

And no one can call Cathy a hypocrite, either, in terms of acting on what he thinks the Bible teaches. Unlike some Christian schools here in Louisiana, Dan Cathy will not compromise for the sake of getting more cash. Fundamentalist Christian schools are often on one hand anti-government social programs, believing that the more public money the masses receive from the government, the less they will depend on God, but on the other hand there the schools are—willing to take government money in the form of school vouchers. They've got a rationale for it, but it smacks of compromise.

"Now, what can we do to make Dan Cathy and Chik-fil-A pay?" murmurs the echo chamber. (Folks are so "eye for an eye" on this matter that they can't fathom the reality that eyes don't matter to Cathy: he'll gladly be blind for God.) Some Cathy slammers are going for that predictable standby strategy of the Civil Rights movement: the boycott.

Gay Rights = Civil Rights?

More and more people like to compare the Gay Rights movement to the Civil Rights movement. Although I agree that Gay Rights are also Civil Rights in this American republic, I think Gay Rights activists show that they are still operating with the mentality of activism infants when they get sucked into the organized boycotting of a business because its owner thinks homosexuals are morally inferior, or will not accept homosexuality as the natural biological state of some humans, or refuses to support the gay marriage agenda.

Therein lies the difference between the 60s Civil Rights boycott strategy to topple Jim Crow and the calls of some current Gay Rights supporters and activists to boyc . . . Continued at WritingJunkie.net, where you will also find Cathy's full quote and a .pdf of his interview with the Baptist Press.


Gena said...

I think if you are really a patron of the chain and you decide to not eat there any more that is okay.

The Henson company made a decision based on their beliefs of equality. That decision has a monetary affect on Mr. Cathy's store.

Those would be civil actions and I support that but we still don't have a handle on civility.

Collectively we do not know how to have this type of disagreement without the attack. And because we can't factually or respectfully disagree we can't communicate.

It might take a national trauma to get us to try. I have my doubts about it.

Vérité Parlant is Nordette Adams said...

Hi, Gena. Thanks for dropping by.

Yes, of course, it's appropriate for individuals to follow their consciences and stop eating at Chik-fil-A. But the organized boycott strategy for this particular situation seems unwise to me (organized vs. organic and individually-grown).

There's also that sticky issue of Freedom of Religion. It's the elephant in the room that never comes up with objections to Cathy's position. You're right about the civility issue. In fact in this case, due to the religious factor, a more soft-spoken approach will work better. The in-your-face approach will push more people to Cathy's side. By soft-spoken I mean making appeals online to the Christian community in a language that they understand and in ways that create "consubstantiation" as well as stating their case to secular straight community to stand with them here and elsewhere.

But this kind of thing --> http://boycottchickfila.com/ <-- and this kind of thing --> http://www.causes.com/causes/788416-boycott-chick-fil-a/actions/1668137 <-- I question. Despite the slickness, I think it's off-track.

All I get from it is the message "we will kill any company that disagrees with us." So, where does their freedom end and Cathy's begin? Is the goal to kill freedom off religion and religious speech? If so, that's a losing battle. There's a reason black activists didn't try to shut down Bob Jones University. Criticized it, yes; tried to shut its doors, no.