Thursday, October 18, 2012

Homophobic Chicken

So, how about Chick-fil-A's stand on the gay marriage issue?

At first, the company's president said he was against it, then the company seemed to back off a little when the media got hold of his statement and it built into a PR brouhaha. Chick-fil-A responded by issuing an official statement wording the company's position in terms of support for programs that educate youth and support families in keeping with being stewards of God's trust. But I must admit I prefer the company president's firmly stated position in opposition to gay marriage to the company's wishy-washy, watered down propaganda that basically says the same thing but in a way they hope isn't as directly offensive.

I'm a big believer in freedom of speech. If the president of Chick-fil-A opposes gay marriage then he should be free to say so when asked about it. You don't like his answer? Too bad. No one ever said you had to like, or agree with, everything you hear in life. And if the entire company chooses to stand behind its president, which isn't surprising since Chick-fil-A has always promoted conservative Christian values -- you can't even get waffle fries on the sabbath, for God's sake -- then that's awesome. Solidarity! It's a free market. Let 'em do and say whatever they want, so long as they aren't breaking any laws in the process.

At the same time, no one's pointing a gun at the heads of others and demanding they eat at Chick-fil-A. Once again, it's a free market. You don't like the way a company does business, or the causes that company chooses to champion or oppose, then don't give it your money.

I'm all for equality and gay rights. I've known many gay people in my time -- and if you think you haven't, then you simply haven't been paying enough attention to the people around you -- and have never felt threatened by their presence. One of my college roommates was gay. He asked me once if his being gay bothered me. I asked if he planned to rape me in my sleep, to which he answered no. Then there was no reason for me to have any problem with it, I explained.

I say let gay people wed, let them adopt children, let them have access to all the rights afforded to traditional married couples. I highly doubt it will rot the moral fiber of our country. Our's is the same culture that slaughtered Native Americans and stole their land, captured and enslaved Africans then denied them basic rights for another hundred years after they were freed, and forced Asian Americans from their homes and into prison camps during World War II. If those atrocities toward our fellow humans didn't send our country straight to the seventh ring of hell, then I can't imagine granting a gay couple that has lived together for forty years the right to call themselves "legally married" will bring down a plague of locusts upon the land.

The activist in me says "Don't eat Chick-fil-A's homophobic chicken!" But the activist in me has a very weak backbone, particularly when he's hungry. The truth is I enjoy their homophobic chicken. It's yummy. Who knows? Maybe it takes a special kind of religious zealot to make really tasty fast food. Maybe, somewhere in the midst of closed-minded condemnation and religious rhetoric, someone got good and hungry and came up with the idea of putting pickles on a fried chicken sandwich.

Plus, if you are the parent of a young child, you understand the Law of Diminished Culinary Options. Put simply, kids can be fussy eaters, and once you find a place they like to eat it wouldn't matter if Jeffrey Dahmer worked the drive-thru and Jerry Sandusky supervised the play area, you're going to bring your family there because you know your kids will eat the food.

When it all comes down to it, whether or not I choose to eat at Chick-fil-A has nothing to do with political activism. It has everything to do with being hungry and having a craving for their homophobic chicken. But, if it makes any of my activist-minded friends feel any better, I promise to feel conflicted the next time I eat there.

© 2012 Mark Feggeler

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