Chick-Fil-A Took My Baby Away

My daughter was looking out the car window on a particularly sunny day last week.  “The sky is purple!” she announced.

The sky looked like it did on just about any other day.  Except for a few puffy white clouds, it was bright, brilliant and blue.  I vaguely remembered a few weeks earlier when I pointed out a picturesque sunset to the kids.  It was purple that day, kind of.  Why rock the boat?  “Yeah,” I said.  “The sky can be purple sometimes.  It could also be orange or gray or…”

“The sky is blue!” my son interrupted.  He shouted it, like a challenge, as if to shame me for humoring his sister.

“No!  The sky is purple!” she countered from the seat beside him.  “It’s purple!”

“It’s blue!”

“Purple!”

“Blue!”

“Purple!  DADDDDDDDDY!”

Now it was a debate.  Was the sky blue or purple?  The dad in me said that I shouldn’t take sides.  Respect both their viewpoints, claim the color of the sky is a matter of opinion or perspective.  “The sky is however you see it!”, I’d cheerfully declare, then try to change the subject.  Can’t we all just get along?  There was just one problem.

The sky is fucking blue.

Everyone knows it.  It’s not an opinion.  It’s a fact.  And not just any fact.  It’s the fact people cite when they want an example of something that’s unquestionably factual.  It’s the fact.  The sky is blue.  End of discussion.  If I said anything else, I’d feel like an idiot or a fraud.

“The sky is blue,” I announced.

“No, it’s purple!”

“You’re wrong, Honey.  It’s not purple.  It’s blue.”

She started to cry, but I refused to give in.  Whining doesn’t win you arguments in my minivan.

“It’s purple!!!!!!”

“Not true.”

“It is!”

“Nope.”

“WAAAAAAAAH!!!!!”

This little story pretty well sums up my feelings about the Chick-Fil-A controversy.

I’ve heard so many people claim they support the company as a matter of free speech.  It’s not about homophobia, they insist, as they proudly post pictures of their #2 combo to their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or wherever else they can show it off to everyone they know.

There’s a voice in my head that says to just let it go.  Maybe that’s how they see it.  Let them say what they want.  I’m sure as Hell not going to eat there, but who cares what anyone else does?

The problem is… the sky is fucking blue, and people who flaunt their support of Chick-Fil-A in the face of this controversy are bigots, plain and simple.  It’s not my opinion, it’s a fact, and I’d be a fraud if I pretended otherwise.  This falls squarely under the Judge Judy rule of “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.”

You’re not waiting in line 20 minutes for waffle fries to make a point about free speech, or you’d be just as quick to defend the speech of someone you disagree with, like me.  You’re showing your “appreciation” for Chick-Fil-A because “I hate gay people” is so unpleasant to utter aloud.  It’s much easier to say, “I’m going to eat this chicken sandwich.”  Right now, appreciating Chick-Fil-A is the safest form of homophobia there is.  No wonder so many people are flocking to their restaurants.  And if anyone gets offended, you can plead innocent.  “What?  I don’t hate gay people.  I just like fill-in-the-blank [breast tenders, religious tolerance, the First Amendment].”

If that’s your argument, then at the very best you’re kidding yourself.  Let me make it perfectly clear, though, that you’re not fooling me.

Chick-Fil-A has donated millions of dollars to anti-gay groups and has given every indication that they will continue to do so.  We’re not just talking about organizations that oppose gay marriage.  These are hate groups that claim that homosexuality can be cured, that being gay is linked to child molestation and that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to raise children.  You can imagine why this would be a particularly sensitive issue to me.

There are kooks out there — kooks with real influence and national platforms — who think my kids should be “liberated” from me and my partner.  You want to support the homophobia of people like Dan Cathy?  This is where it’s headed, so don’t expect me to sit back and make nice.

Yes, Dan Cathy is entitled to his opinions.  On that, we can agree.  He’s also entitled to make whatever donations he wants.  The one thing he isn’t entitled to is my patronage, and if he’s actively supporting and encouraging the people who are out to hurt me and my kids, he’s not going to get it.

I’m not saying that everyone who dines at Chick-Fil-A is a bigot or my mortal enemy.  It’s possible some people go there out of convenience or necessity.  Maybe it’s the only place at the mall food court their kids will eat or it’s the only drive-thru they pass on their way home every night.  It could be that they work there and rely on the employee discount.  I’m not going to judge everyone who patronizes the business.  Life’s complicated, and we all have our own reasons for doing the things we do.

But if you’re going to eat Chick-Fil-A to make some political point, at least have the courage to be honest about the point you’re making.

You don’t like gay people.

The sky is blue.

End of discussion.

 

70 comments on “Chick-Fil-A Took My Baby Away

  1. This just brought a tear to my eye. I’ve tried to explain these very same points until I was blue in the face – to friends, nonetheless – and they couldn’t see where my disappointment and anger was coming from. I learned a few things about some of my friends thanks to the wonderful world of social media. Some posts boiled my skin, including the ones who attempted to poke humor at the situation. It’s not humorous to me. I’ve even blocked some status updates now because it would just upset my day to see the ignorance that spews out of the mouths of my friends. People like Cathy and those he supports influence decision-makers who will, in turn, affect my life. Thank you for explaining this in such a matter-of-fact way that acknowledges why this is an issue and what devastation it could have on us in the long run. Love it.

  2. I ended up unfriending a person on Facebook for pretty much these exact reasons… and she never ever got it.

    Look, I don’t care what Dan Cathy personally believes. I think he’s a homophobic bigot, but that’s his own personal belief. I might still patronize tasty sammiches, even if he’s a homophobic bigot.

    But I refuse to patronize a place that sends the profits I give them to hate groups. Of any minority, not just gays. You may not take my money and give it to hate groups, or I will reserve the right to refuse to give you money anymore. Period.

    And sadly, many many people just will never get it.

    Sky is definitely blue.

    • I had to do the same (unfriend someone on Facebook). I don’t recall any of my “friends” advertising their trips to the chicken joint online before this shit went down, so I am summing it up to the fact that they are bigots, and (as you said), “I want a chicken sandwich” sounds more pleasant to the ears than “I hate gay people.” I don’t care for restaurants that murder chickens (I am a vegetarian), and I sure as hell don’t like bigots. So if people in my social media circles want to patron this shitty company then I will just cut them out of my circle. Plain and simple. I mean, the sky is blue. :)

  3. I worked at a CFA restaurant off and on throughout high school and college.. I loved my job there and learned how important “Second Mile Service” is in business because of CFA. I earned a “Leadership” Scholarship from CFA to help pay off my tuition. I loved CFA so much that I came VERY close to getting an entry level software engineering job at their corporate office in Atlanta.. I went through like 12 interviews before they decided I wasn’t the perfect, exact fit they were looking for. I was bummed for like a week when I didn’t get that position nearly 3 years ago, but now I just say God works in mysterious ways ;).

    I agree with this post completely. I think Dan Cathy needs to re-evaluate what “Second Mile Service” means.. it’s not just treating all customers with respect, but instead means to go out of your way to show the level of respect you have towards your customers… At least that’s what I was told when being ingrained to their culture mindset.

    Thanks for your thoughts :).

  4. While we don’t have this chick-fil-a thing here, but there are other companies that I’ve been told support these anti gay groups. I don’t care. Pretty well most companies will support something we don’t agree with. For me, it comes down to an ‘ each to their own’ thing. While I agree with what your saying, go for it!! I will be carrying on as usual, because it doesn’t affect me. Shallow or short sighted, maybe. But that’s my point of view. I wont ever go out of my way to shop elsewhere if I like their product. And yes, the ski is definitely blue :)

    • First they came for the communists,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

      Then they came for the trade unionists,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

      Then they came for the Jews,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

      Then they came for me,
      and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  5. This is a fantastic response. Sums up in a winning personal anecdote what I’ve been saying to all my “friends” on facebook who keep on about how CFA are being persecuted for the exercise their gosh-darned republican holy first amendment rights. Thank-you. If it comes up more, I’ll just post a link to this page.

  6. I just have to let you know – I have had many people lately tell me that the garbage going on at Chick-Fil-A is a free speech issue. At its core, I knew it wasn’t but couldn’t verbalize an argument. You gave me that verbalization. Thank you deeply for providing words where there were none. That is the mark of a truly great author.

  7. I so appreciatr someone FINALLY standing up and saying something about this besides me!!!!! And you are correct about the sky, LOL, I have had the same arguments with my kids sometimes I win & sometimes I just stop so they will stop. But in the end, my kids turned out to be great members of society who stand up for their rights!!!!!

  8. I totally agree….I say let everyone live their own life, and I disn’t ask anyone in this world to approve of my marriage to my husband so who am I to think I have the right to judge other peoples choices in life. My sister is gay, so I take these things seriously because she is an amazing person and if some idiot chose not to get to know her just for that reason then they will be missing out on a wonderful person,

  9. Nicely put, Jerry. I was especially disappointed in John Stewart’s two cents on the matter (http://www.businessinsider.com/video-jon-stewart-chick-fil-a-mayors-menino-rahm-emanuel-gay-marriage-2012-8).

    Yes, Dan Cathy has a right to free speech. So do the mayors. Saying that Chik-Fil-A is unwelcome is not passing a law or in any way legally banning them from doing business. Just an influential person using the First Amendment.

    Do you think J.S. would have had the same opinion if Dan Cathy had come out against the basic civil right of a black person? Or to hit closer to home–a Jewish person?

    - Eric N

    • Regarding Jon Stewart, I had a similar response to his interview with Robert Pattinson in which he had them eating ice cream and referring to themselves as: “”We’re just a couple of gals talkin’,” Stewart said. “The last time I had a bad breakup, Ben and Jerry got me through the tough times.” The blatant sexism of that is disgusting and no one called him out on this.

  10. Pingback: Chick-Fil-A Took My Baby Away (a shared blog post)... | inspiring | motivating | funny

  11. I commend you, Jerry (and I duck for the inevitable backlash against anything well-written and well-expressed). I was going to make a joke about how it’s easy for you since there aren’t any Chik-Fil-A’s in our general area, but then I realized that such a joke would undercut the importance of your post. Carry on.

  12. A very powerful read, amazing how a cute little story can have such a great moral to it. It gave me goosebumps. Heck yeah! Thankfully, I hate chicken, it’s cruel and I’d never eat there even if I loved it…it would just leave a bad taste in my mouth, literally and figuratively.

  13. I’ve never eaten there, never been in one…
    Mommy-man this is a great post……..and you’re right..the sky is blue..except when it’s purple….or grey….or..night, whatever color that it…

  14. This reminds me of when, in college, we boycotted Dominos Pizza because its then owner funneled profits into violent anti-choice groups that bombed abortion clinics. I think citizens should always vote with their pocketbooks and the sky is most definitely blue.

  15. Great Post! Chick Fil A lost my family as customers as well. Sadly, it was one of my kids favorite places. I just can’t allow even a penny of my own money knowingly going to hateful, discriminatory organizations. The debates go on with my friends and family and some terrible words have been bounced around. One argument that drives me the most crazy is, “I have no problem with gays. I just don’t know why they have to get married.” *sigh* No words.
    Keep on Keepin on Mommy Man!

  16. 1) The freedom of speech argument would make sense if they were simply voicing their opposition, making arguments on the media etc. But they are not limited to issuing statements, they are actually donating money to organisations that, among other things, promote pseudo-scientific research, soul-breaking conversion therapy, lobby for legally constricting civil rights etc… And that makes their patrons indirect contributors as well. There’s simply no way of overlooking the fact of where your dollars will end up.

    2) I’d like to know what these freedom-of-speechers have to say about, say, anti-semites or fundamental islamists, i.e. groups that also preach unequal treatment. Would they be flocking to support the freedom of speech of a business that donates money to some such group?

    3) Lastly, just to get off my high horse, boycotting food businesses are difficult. If I stopped supporting Coke or foreign fast food joints in my country that buy Israeli state bond – a government whose actions i find reprehensible – I’d have to give up some really tasty food. So I find some excuse or other to keep supporting them. I wouldn’t judge all the chik-fill-a fans too harshly, only those that are going there with new enthusiasm now, and/or hiding behind insincere doe-eyed ‘support for freedom of speech’ argument.

  17. Thank you so much. I will not go to a Chick Fil-A because I do not want to fund hate. I have so many other options for food that Chick Fil- A is irrelevant to me as a food option. I don’t go to WalMart and I don’t go to BP. I just don’t go to those places. It’s pretty simple.

  18. Who is the bigot here? It is his money quit trying to tell him what to do with it. Nobody tells you how to spend yours. You are just as bad as the Christians you condemn you are judging.

    • This is the part I never understand: when people try to label a response to hate and intolerance as hate or intolerance. If someone is persecuting a minority, and that minority speaks up, it’s NOT intolerance.

      I didn’t read a single word where Cathy was told how to spend his money, so either you didn’t read the post or you’re choosing to ignore what was written for the sake of preserving your own point of view.

    • You’re half right, Regina. I’m no better than the people who judge me — but no worse, either, and that’s where they (and I’m guessing, you) and I disagree.

    • When gay people judge Christians for being bigots, the Christians don’t lose a thing. But when the Christians judge gay people for being gay, the gay people are losing because those Christians see to it that GLBT people don’t have equal rights.

      That’s the difference.

  19. The colour of the sky is neither blue or purple. it only appears blue thanks to Rayleigh scattering. As you look closer to the horizon, the sky appears much paler in color. To reach you, the scattered blue light must pass through more air. Some of it gets scattered away again in other directions. Less blue light reaches your eyes. The color of the sky near the horizon appears paler or white. So in reality, the sky has no colour.

  20. Love it, so very true. So often people refuse to call a spade a spade and are upset when you point out their bigotry. I’ve always wondered why bristle at being called a bigot when clearly that’s what you are. If your point is to deny someone something based on your own bias, then that’s bigotry plain and simple. I wanted to write something up about this myself, but I didn’t have a direction other than disgust and the knowledge that I won’t eat there, but your perspective is much better.

  21. What he is really saying in that whole bunch of garbage is….If you brag about supporting CFA for what they support then you are really saying that you hate gays…which is totally a bunch of nonsense. He is also saying that if you are one of them people, he hates you along with CFA…so who is the obvious bigot? The sky isn’t blue….in the words of Bad Campany…give me silver, blue and gold. The color of the sky I’m told.

    • Um, I’m still pretty sure the guys trying to fund hate groups are the obvious bigots, Darrell. (Standing up against people trying to hurt us does not make us bigots, as stated above.) The sky really is blue.

    • A bigot hates a class of people because of who they are. That’s not what I’m doing here. I’m criticizing a diverse group of individuals based on their actions. I never said I hated anybody, either. I’ll refer you back to my piece. Labeling me an “obvious bigot” doesn’t make it so, any more than you can insist the sky is obviously purple.

  22. “Life’s complicated, and we all have our own reasons for doing the things we do.” That’s an incredible and unbelievably accurate statement. It’s often hard to determine why we do the things we do and even harder to figure out why someone else does what they do. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of them don’t support gay marriage but I suspect some of them support Chick-Fil-A for exactly the reason they say they do.

  23. Great article. I loved how you ended it with the awknowledgement that some people don’t dine there to make a point, they have to for some reason or another. It reminded me of a video I saw on the web where the guy at the drive through was ripping a strip off of an employee. I felt so bad for her, but she handled herself very well. I hope no one is actively trying to make the employees hell. You never choose to work at fast food, it’s likely your only choice.

  24. Jerry,
    Plain and simple, you rock. You voiced perfectly what’s been in my heart since the whole CFA debacle started, beautiful! What bothers and saddens me is the number of people who’ve completely missed the point of what you said. >sigh<

    Love,
    MommyWoman

  25. Well technically the sky is not blue, its actually particles reflecting light, and your daughter is right sometimes it is purple, or pink, or green…with that said I still totally agree with you. We cannot really understand peoples motives to purchasing chick-fil-a’s food but at the end of the day it really does demonstrate a reflection of who they are, maybe they support their cause, maybe they support free speech (other companies like general mills support equal rights :), or maybe that’s the only darn place to eat, but really they are still making a decisions to support a companies, if you don’t support their cause DON’T EAT THERE. In many way this whole movement to boycott chick-fil-a has inadvertently reinforced their cause. I had never heard who the heck or what a chick-fil-a was, its been kind of like free advertisement for them. I always look at companies like I look at people, if you want to reduce the likelihood of the behavior occurring again (gay bashing) then either punish it (add a stimuli that is aversive) or ignore it depending on the function of the behavior. So what would have been a more appropriate reaction to chick-fil-a? ignoring them, and reinforcing companies that support equal rights. They would have gotten zero attention and they would have rewarded companies that support equal rights for everyone. Then we would have had biggots protesting companies and we would have been able to stage appreciation days. Bottom line, lets support companies that believe and fund organizations for equal rights and stop providing these other companies free advertisement.

    • I know what you’re saying, but if people hadn’t given attention to Dan Cathy’s statements – and the company’s donations – then nobody would’ve known what Chick-Fil-A was doing with its profits. Plenty of people who support gay rights/marriage equality would’ve kept on eating there, not realizing that their money was going to hate groups. Yes, though, it’s just as important to support companies that have been proactive in supporting equality as to condemn those that do the opposite.

  26. This is only really a side-note and not a comment on the bigger issue… I am aware. I do think it’s important to note that the “National Chik-fil-a Day” wasn’t instigagted by CFA. That would be Mike Huckabee deciding to make a bigger issue out of something that was currently in the news. Also, for what it’s worth, there were a LOT of Christians who believe that Huckabee and friends (Palin included) blew this whole thing out of proportion and made Christianity look terrible. I don’t believe that Jesus would have supported CFA day either. Personally, I love CFA. I also love JCPenney. I support them both. But I didn’t go to CFA on August 1 because I hate what the zealots turned it into. I highly recommend Jen Hatmaker’s blog post about this!

    • I agree, I don’t think he would have liked it one bit, he preached about compassion, tolerance (don’t judge), and love. I really dislike when they group all Christians together with the dumb asses that forget what its really about.

      • I don’t think many people are grouping all Christians together like you say. I’m certainly not. I think it’s more a case of the CFA supporters bringing religion into this as a shield from criticism. If I or someone else says, “You’re being assholes”, then they label it religious intolerance. It’s pretty shameless.

    • I hope you noticed that I never used the word “Christians” in my post. I don’t think of this as a Christian thing at all, since I know many Christians who are nothing but supportive and loving with me and my family and who are as horrified about CFA and their donations as I am. I pointed my finger at one group only — people who insist on shoving their support of CFA in my face. Those are the bigots, in my opinion, regardless of their religious beliefs.

      I can’t claim to know a lot about Jesus. You’re probably right that he wouldn’t have supported CFA appreciation day, but I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be spreading his message by flaming strangers’ blogs. (Not referring to you, but some of the other commenters.)

  27. No, I realize that you didn’t say anything about Christians. It has been my experience however, that most of the people waiting in line for 3 hours for their “free speech chicken” <—- and yes, I saw it phrased that way (insert eye roll) were Conservative Christians. But I live in Texas… and here, unfortunately, meanness and conservativeness tend to go hand in hand.

  28. I just have to smile, thinking about all the chemicals, the grease, the carbs, the sodium, those poor idjuts are happily consuming. For whatever reason they flock to this joint, they will pay for their folly in ways they are yet to discover!

  29. I love your writing and your perspective.

    But some of the comments above confuse me – so, let me get this straight: people want Mr. Cathy to have freedom of speech, but you’re not allowed to? He’s not a bigot, you are? Public officials are jumping on the bandwagon because they see an opportunity to get free publicity and gain supporters, but you, someone standing up for their family and the rights of millions of others, is seen as the bad guy here?

    sometimes the world is a very confusing place…..

  30. Nice piece. I’m in support of traditional marriage too (I’m in one), but my definition of “traditional” means TWO PARENTS — I don’t particularly care about the combination that meets that end. I also wish people would quit making such a big deal (a/k/a/ being bigoted) about it. Nothing “gay” has ever harmed my life in any fashion.

    I truly believe that the optimum upbringing of any child in today’s world requires more than one person to earn an income, take care of a residence, prepare real and nutritional food for growing bodies (I don’t mean stuff from bags or boxes), being immersed in a child’s learning process, running and playing, and giving hugs and kisses as much as possible. I don’t know any single parent that isn’t completely exhausted by doing IT ALL. In fact, they usually lean heavily on extended family for support — emotional at the very least. Not that it can’t be done, it just isn’t optimal.

    I don’t eat at Chick-Fil-A because last I checked, the chickens they use are factory-farmed and mass-produced (not nice). Then they fry it. And the playground is crazy loud. Strike one, strike two, strike three. You’re out.

  31. Pingback: Tell the Truth, You Just Don’t Like Gay People — The Good Men Project

  32. Reblogged this on The Spirit of Dreams and commented:
    Honestly, I think the fact that America’s gay rights movement is divided between rainbow oreos and chicken sandwiches is silly. I believe everyone has the right to their own opinions and the right to make their own choices, but in this case, it doesn’t matter what excuse you give. If you go out of your way to eat at Chick-Fil-A because you support them for political reasons, then there is only one reason you eat there: anonymous homophobia. If it was because you support free speech, then you could just say “He has a right to say what he wants.” Tada, you’ve spoken up and shared your views, thus actively taking part in free speech. Religious tolerance is accepting somebody as they are, regardless of their beliefs. That doesn’t mean you go out of your way to eat at a restaurant of that belief system. So, next time you sit down at a Chick-Fil-A, think about what you’re supporting. Are you silently eating chicken in support of free speech? Are you only eating from an organization of one religion because you support all religions? What are your motives? Check out this post: it inspired mine.

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  34. I’m only 15, which at one time I thought was really old but now I’m realising isn’t so mature after all. I’ve grudging realised that I can’t have opinions set in stone about important issues simply because I don’t fully understand them. Whenever there is an argument, I find it so easy to see myself on either side, arguing for either party. Up until now, I didn’t know where I stood on the Chick-Fil-A controversy, because I didn’t understand whether the ‘political statements’ people were trying to make were wrong or not. I’ve been raised liberal and as a supporter of the LGBT community, but I just didn’t know whether this counted as homophobia or not. This post completely opened my eyes, and this analogy helped me see so clearly how bigoted people are. Thank you.

  35. I will never eat at chick fil-a EVER AGAIN!! I am outraged about the entire thing. I was raised by 2 moms (My mom and her partner Nicole) since I was 10 years old. I feel like it made me a better person. I do not judge people and I accept everyone for who they are not for their sexual orientation, race, gender blah blah blah. I had a wonderful childhood. It was hard explaining to my friends that my mother was a lesbian. Especially when we moved from cali to florida. Also I am now 30 so all this happened a long time ago before people were “tolerant” of gay couple having children. My mom and Nicole love me very much and even though they are not together anymore (my mom isn’t a lesbian anymore, she fell in love with Nicole… And Nicole just happened to be a woman, I still talk to Nicole all the time. She, along with my mom, raised me… And I can tell you that I turned out just fine. I really appreciate this blog. I am married and my husband shares the same views. We will not eat a chick fil-a because we do not believe in what they stand for.

  36. I was raised to think that being gay is wrong and I’m just starting to look at LGBTQ rights as “hey, maybe those should…exist.” I love chik-fil-a, but if I eat there, it’s gonna be because I like the doggone food regardless of what the owner thinks.

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