Thoughts on Chick-Fil-A

1. When it comes to deciding where to eat, I am a capitalist first and foremost.  I will go to the business that leads its competitors in providing me the best food and dining experience.  That, and not a culture war, is my number one concern.

2. If a news report comes out tomorrow saying that Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy tortures puppies in his spare time, I would still eat there.  See number 1 above.

3. Nevertheless, I didn’t go to Chick-Fil-A on Wednesday.  I went Tuesday evening.  I am more concerned about finding a good parking spot and not having to wait in a line that snakes its way out of the building and into the West Tennessee August heat than I am about making a clear political statement.  Again, see number 1 above.

4. The most delicious thing (pun intended) about Chick-Fil-A’s record sales Wednesday, in my opinion, has little to do with gay marriage.  If you take note of what Dan Cathy actually said, instead of relying on skewed media reports, you would notice that his words were remarkably subdued on that issue.  From all appearances, he did not intend to throw down the gauntlet, although now that it has been mistakenly perceived to have been thrown down, he has discovered a new winning business strategy.

5. So then, what is the most delicious thing about Wednesday?  It is the fact that Tom Menino, mayor of Boston, and Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago (and former chief of staff for President Obama), have been utterly repudiated by the mainstream of the American public.  The cultural issue itself (gay marriage), I think, is of little consequence in this case.  What matters more is that two mayors of major American cities attempted to use the power of their offices to hinder the advance of a business, not because that business had violated any law whatsoever, but merely because the mayors disagreed with the personal opinion of the president of the business.  No matter where you stand on gay marriage, every American should repudiate that kind of statism.  To their credit, the left-wing ACLU agrees with me on that one.

6. Now there is talk of a same-sex “kiss in” to be held at Chick-Fil-A restaurants today.  If any readers out there are planning to participate in that event, let me remind you that, if your ultimate goal is for society to recognize your sexual behavior as normal, then you should start acting in a more normal way about it by keeping it private, especially in a setting that attracts large numbers of families with children.  Our society has (at least the remnants of) some standards of decency.  Even heterosexual couples who do that sort of thing in public are frowned upon.  What is motivating you here?  A desire to advance what you perceive to be the cause of justice or sheer outrage that Chick-Fil-A is laughing all the way to the bank?

7. But if I know Chick-Fil-A owners (and I do know one), I can imagine that many of them have prepared their employees for this “kiss in” with the utmost concern that they address all of their customers today with the same kind of courtesy that has earned Chick-Fil-A its well-deserved reputation as the friendliest fast food business around.  And that is a major reason why I will be back there again, and probably sooner rather than later.  See number 1 above.

About Aaron O'Kelley

Aaron O'Kelley (Ph.D., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is a pastor and theological educator who lives in Jackson, Tennessee, with his wife and their three children.
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