I have seen many ejaculations of opinion on the internets of late that go something like this regarding the weirdly current offender in our culture known as “Chick-Fil-A”: “And besides, you know what else, too? THEIR FOOD SUCKS.”
No. It doesn’t.
No, that particular fast food chain makes one mean chicken sammich, crispy, juicy, piping hot out of the little foil bag, and every one has that little pickle in the center. And do not get me started on the waffle fries. No, sir, that argument regarding our latest icon in a hot seat does not fly.
Now I think it’s important in considering in all of this odd debate exactly what was said and done and what’s actually of concern here. About a month ago, The Biblical Recorder, a weekly newspaper published by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, interviewed Dan T. Cathy, President and COO, and asked about opposition to his company’s “support of the traditional family.” He replied: “Well, guilty as charged.”
“We are very much supportive of the family—the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. … We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that. We 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.”
Mainly, what Cathy is defending is Chick-Fil-A’s financial support of outfits like Marriage & Family Foundation and the Family Research Council, and also that his company had sponsored marriage retreats that excluded gay couples. And I’m not about to defend any of all of that. But I think there are some things that it’s important to understand about this issue.
First, understand that Chick-Fil-A is a widely Southern phenomenon, and that the chain is widely beloved among Southerners. Among the things believed by South-dwellers about Chick-Fil-A is that it makes the most delicious sweet tea in all the land. And if you don’t understand the significance of that, then you have clearly never spent any time in the former confederacy. If you have, then you know I have amply supported the significance of Chick-Fil-A to Southern culinary life and let’s move on. Suffice it to say: It’s a Southern thing.
Also understand this about Chick-Fil-A: If you manage to get hold of a franchise, you must understand that you yourself do not own the restaurant, is is the case with many other chain operations. Chick-Fil-A retains ownership of the restaurant itself and pays all the bills. You just kicked in that $5K for the licensing, that’s all. Nope, no pyramid scheme here. Everyone answers to Mr. Cathy.
And understand, too, that all this Jesus stuff isn’t just what this guy thinks off the top of his head. It’s in Chick-Fil-A’s corporate charter. Here, from the Wiki:
The company’s official statement of corporate purpose says that the business exists “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”
So. You’ve got a corporation, which in these Untied States of America is now officially recognized as a person, and so that person is a redneck, revered by other rednecks, who has staggering control issues and runs around town waving a Bible, and you really think the problem is whether or not you stop your little hiney into the food court for a bite to eat?
This Dan Cathy has been allowed to inject opinions and mores into his little corporation being, and I think that’s the real problem; not some smirky quote he gave to a softball interviewer in the Jesus press trade, not even his corporation’s support for those hideous groups.
The problem is that the system abides it. I say, so long as that continues, you might as well just park yourself down and enjoy your waffle fries.
They are really scrumptious.