After much putting up with the spewing on both sides of this debate I have done a lot of soul searching. I think I should also in all fairness share with you that until I read the blog I link below, I was all set to keep eating homophobic chicken. I was planning on calling it homophobic chicken, on telling my children it was homophobic chicken, but I was going to eat it. I didn’t want to take a stand, I didn’t want to take up the cause. I’m a good person, can’t I just eat some chicken and not have it mean I’m choosing one way or another? Why did we all have to get our panties in a giant wad about something we all knew deep down was likely true. What’s that picture circulating about “Hey let’s ask the company that we know is Christian and isn’t open on Sundays about gay marriage and then act outraged and surprised when we get EXACTLY the answer we were expecting. Here is the thing, Dan Cathy decided to openly, publicly take his stand. Praise GOD we live in a country where he can be free to do just that. I’ve seen and heard lots of mentioning of bigots and homophobia and arguments about how religion and the two are not congruent, mutually inclusive. It makes my head spin, this is at its core an ethical dilemma with many branches, really it is. So I sorted through it for myself.
Bigotry is the state of mind of a bigot, defined by Merriam-Webster as “a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance”.
Homophobia is a range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Definitions refer variably to antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, irrational fear, and hatred.
My opinion is both of these things ( bigotry and homophobia) are true about Dan Cathy. Yep, he has absolutely every right to think, feel and spend as he wishes. I think that is great, because it also means that I too can think, feel and spend as I wish. His spending shows to me his feelings of bigotry and homophobia.. Explained MUCH better than I ever could here.
I have decided for me, and my karmic health, conscience, values or whatever you want to call them, that choosing to see homophobia and bigotry as evil and wrong are more important than chicken. More important than crying loudly about how everyone can think, feel and spend as they wish.
This makes me sad, because I will also have to decide how far into my life I embrace this stance. Do I now have to defriend those who feel supporting freedom of speech is more important than saying homophobia and bigotry are evil? That liberals shouldn’t or can’t malign the conservatives? Do I now have to research everything thing I eat, buy, or use to find out where its leaders stand on this issue? Can’t we all just go back to don’t ask don’t tell for hot issues like abortion, religion, insert whatever other issues divide us all here? Why can’t we all just get along with our own thoughts?
I don’t think it is a liberal vs conservative issue at all. I think it is where do you stand on loving your fellow man issue. I think it is a where do you draw the line on standing up for an entire class of people who are actively, daily, persecuted everywhere in our world by people like Dan Cathy. NO he doesn’t ban homosexuals from his chicken, that would be ridiculous and possibly (hopefully) never stand in our society today. But he does take the profits from selling that chicken to promote an agenda I don’t agree with. And thanks to the media and facebook I feel a bit forced to decide something. To put my marker on the sand, to declare where I stand. I’ll take the gamble that our world will some day move to the thought process that these acts and thoughts are wrong. Like slavery, or pure races, or whatever other issues history has shown us public opinion is sometimes VASTLY different in hind sight than while being lived.
And quite frankly I’m pissed as all hell that I can’t have the best damn spicy chicken sandwich ever or the perfect mix of Diet Dr Pepper anymore without it potentially making a statement I don’t want to be associated with. . I’m angry that a place I loved, that yes I know is Christian and very likely didn’t align with my personal view and and values had to be so publicly outed, inciting virtual rioting among the masses calling for everyone to take a side and cry fair or foul. I’m angry that this issue just serves as another divide between friends and acquaintances in an already hot button election time. I’m angry that my choice is going to create the however many dollars of harm via lost profits my no longer eating there will inflict. Because in the multitude of times I have visited my local Chick-Fil-A in the last 5 years, they have only screwed up my order maybe twice. They have been happy to see me, served me with a smile and without an ounce of attitude. The men and women that work there are kind, polite workers who will clear your table, get you a refill, mop up barf from a booth without even flinching ( thankfully not our barf). The restroom is always clean, so is the parking lot. The manager is proactive about passing out coupons or vouchers for freebies if it is too busy and the line is too long, or the order is messed up. ALL without my asking. When was the last time ANY of that happened to you at any other fast food franchise? I bet not. But after however many days of working through this in my head I have decided where I am drawing my personal line.
And it has to be for me, that standing up against bigotry and homophobia is more important than supporting freedom of speech, more important than saying, but my choice will cause harm to others in his company, more important than the awkwardness this post may cause in some of my relationships. I’m not going to judge or malign you if you choose to eat homophobic chicken, or even if you are homophobic. That’s between you and your own conscience and I’m sure you feel just as strongly as I do about your own personal choice. So there you have it. I was going to eat homophobic chicken, but then I changed my mind. I miss it already.