The Widdershins

SO WHEN IS A CHICKEN SANDWICH *NOT* JUST A CHICKEN SANDWICH?

Posted on: July 30, 2012

Why when it gets involved in a political controversy involving a couple of mayors most likely seeking to create their own little bit of publicity of course, and when the owner of a chicken joint is a hard-nosed, Bible-Belt “Christian”.

First of all, let me say that Chick Fil A makes a damned good chicken sandwich and other chicken products.  I”m particularly fond of their nuggets.  They beat Mickey D’s hands down in my opinion.  Also, I can say I have always been treated courteously when I have patronized their stores and the stores I have been in have been spotlessly clean. However, the company’s president has created some hubbub over recent comments that he made and later affirmed. It seems that his company supports the idea of the “traditional” family and Mr. Cathy, the president of the company believes that by trying to push for marriage equality we are gonna be invoking the Almighty’s wrath and bring it down up the country.

“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 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.”

[snip]

I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’ and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about,” Cathy said in that interview, which can be heard here.

Well alrighty then and let me whip a bless your heart on you Mr. Cathy.  I know your company closes your stores on Sundays because it says so on the Chick Fil A website.  It also says it’s so “their Restaurant employees should have an opportunity to rest, spend time with family and friends, and worship if they choose to do so.”  (bolding mine)  You have a private company and don’t answer to stockholders.  If you want to run your company this way and you believe the way you do, then I shall exercise my God-given right to not patronize your establishments as I feel differently about marriage equality.

That being said, I think we can all agree that boycotting Chick Fil A restaurants is a good thing if you happen to not follow ole Dan’s ideas on marriage equality.  Therefore, we can put “done” on this.  Except that a couple of big-city mayors have decided that a boycott or whatever is just not good enough to punish Chick Fil A.  Instead, Chick Fil A must be punished by not allowing them to expand or open businesses in their communities based upon the hateful words of Mr. Cathy.  The mayors of Boston and Chicago decided that Chick Fil A is just not welcomed in their cities because the owner is an asshole and hateful and they will use their powers to block the company from either adding additional stores in their cities or banning them outright from entering their cities.  Except, they can’t do that.  And the reason they can’t do that is because of the First Amendment to the Constitution.   It’s the one that gives us free speech, whether that free speech is full of assholery or whatever.

Glenn Greenwald had it right.  Rahm Emanuel’s statements about Chick Fil A were:

The anti-gay views openly espoused by the president of a fast food chain specializing in chicken sandwiches have run afoul of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a local alderman, who are determined to block Chick-fil-A from expanding in Chicago.

“Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values. They’re not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members. And if you’re gonna be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values,” Emanuel said Wednesday.

“What the CEO has said as it relates to gay marriage and gay couples is not what I believe, but more importantly, it’s not what the people of Chicago believe. We just passed legislation as it relates to civil union and my goal and my hope … is that we now move on recognizing gay marriage. I do not believe that the CEO’s comments … reflects who we are as a city.”

Glenn goes on to say:

Obviously, it’s perfectly legitimate for private citizens to decide not to patronize a business with executives who have such views (I’d likely refrain from doing so in this case). Beyond that, if a business is engaging in discriminatory hiring or service practices in violation of the law — refusing to hire gay employees or serve gay patrons in cities which have made sexual orientation discrimination illegal — then it is perfectly legitimate to take action against them.

But that is not the case here; the actions are purely in retribution against the views of the business’ top executive on the desirability of same-sex marriage…

Greenwald also notes the comments by a colleague at Salon who wrote on the Boston issue:

As my Salon colleague Mary Elizabeth Williams noted when writing about the controversy in Boston: “Aside from the fact that Chick-fil-A is always closed on Sunday, there’s no evidence those beliefs have been institutionalized in any way. There’s no record of refusing service to gay patrons, or unfair hiring practices, or a hostile work environment.” Indeed, Joe Moreno, the Chicago alderman who represents a “hipster ward” and who initially blocked the business’ expansion, made clear that he was motivated not by any alleged discriminatory business practices but solely by “bigoted, homophobic comments”: namely, the Chick-fil-A President’s view that the Bible mandates marriages be between men and women only. And as Williams noted, the company oversees a “foundation that’s contributed financially to” numerous right-wing groups: Eagle Forum, Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, among others.

[snip]

More Greenwald here:

It’s always easy to get people to condemn threats to free speech when the speech being threatened is speech that they like. It’s much more difficult to induce support for free speech rights when the speech being punished is speech they find repellent. But having Mayors and other officials punish businesses for the political and social views of their executives — regardless of what those views are — is as pure a violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech as it gets, and beyond that, is genuinely dangerous.

And Greenwald is, obviously, correct.  Mr. Cathy’s words and beliefs may be completely egregious and offensive to all of us here but you cannot use that as a basis to deny permits and such to a business.  And too, as he says, it’s always easy to get people to condemn threats to speech when people like it (particular speeches) but more difficult when the speech/words may be offensive.  Think ACLU and Skokie Illinois.

If you really want to stand on your principles, but you also really love Chick Fil A Sandwiches, here’s a link that will show you how to make your own.  Just remember the pickle juice.  Also, Hilah Johnson is absolutely precious in the video.

Finally, here’s a point to consider:  Maybe God has already laid a can of whoop-ass on Chick Fil A.  Is it a sign?  Who knows?  Just sayin’…

This is an open thread.

23 Responses to "SO WHEN IS A CHICKEN SANDWICH *NOT* JUST A CHICKEN SANDWICH?"

I think the outrage is based more on the “sanctimony” of the owner who also prides himself on funding organizations that are openly discriminatory.

The worst is when they cloak themselves in their “Christian values” suggesting they are better than those who do not that brings out the sharp knives.

No problem boycotting. The only time I have ever tasted the chicken was way back when they were first expanding and someone was passing out samples in a mall. I’ve never eaten there and do not intend to start.

Emanuel is way out of line with his handling of this matter. If they haven’t violated any laws yet, then let the people of Chicago decide. Pretty funny that he’s touting “Chicago Values”. ;-)

Pat@1: Bring out all the long knives that we want. However, you cannot use the power of the mayor’s office or the municipality to try to stop a business just because you don’t like what the owner says. It’s his free speech as nasty as it seems to us. Let the company find out the hard way by a boycott or other protests.

janicen@2: I know what you mean about Rahm; I had to chuckle at that myself.

Great analysis Fredster.

In terms of intolerance, wasn’t this, “Mr. Pot, I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Kettle.” The Mayors were exhibiting intolerance just as Cathy was. One can’t preach tolerance and then practice intolerance — it voids all sorts of warranties.

Prolix, you are exactly right. It’s worth it to note that they mayors have backed off from their positions and apparently so has Chick Fil A:

“Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena,” the company said in a statement posted on its Facebook fan page early Thursday.

Actually the statement is more like “Look we want your money and we will continue to support any damn right wing organization we choose. We will continue to support these good “Christian” organizations that preform reparative therapy or conversion therapy as we see fit. Oh but we do want you to spend your money here. In Fact we consider it a violation of our !st Amendment rights for you to boycott us.”

Exactly, Fredster. I’m for boycotting them, if you’re so inclined, where possible, but I am not for censoring them. Yes, really. While I don’t agree with what they said, I defend their right to say it.

What got on my nerves were the opportunistic politicians taking advantage of a two-fer, whether it was the ones who patronized the place, theoretically in support of Chick-fil-A’s first amendment rights, but as a bonus, could highlight their family-values creds. Just as bad on the other side of the aisle, where it’s: let’s get more of that gay campaign financing by censoring these “haterz.”

I personally won’t be boycotting them because there’s nothing for me to boycott. I have never eaten at a Chick-fil-A and likely won’t since they seem to be entirely absent in the librul northeast!

I do think it’s kind of silly for the CEO of a chicken company to make a public statement that’s way outside of their business domain and get surprised when it stirs up a storm and then say they’re leaving it to the politicians. Why’d they make a statement like that to begin with? They must have thought it would get them something.

I know that when I’m seeking an expert opinion on human sexuality or theology, I would ask the CEO of a fast food restaurant. /s

Excellent analysis, Fredster, and synopsis of the law- you understand it a heck of a lot better than those law enforcers (what a schnook Rambo is). I saw the CEO on the TeeVee the other day and he looked around 99 years old. I hate to genearalize, but I bet his attitude is pretty par for the course for a very elderly southern man. It is a shame that he said anything and that this is happening, though, because I just recently went to my first chick-fil-a (I don’t eat beef and thought it might be a good alternative.) They make great salads and they are very friendly. Also, they are one of a handful of non-franchised family owned fast foods. Now I will need to soul search before returning and probably won’t return. I agree that their statement is self-serving, but what do you expect?

fuzzy@6: It’s not off topic to talk about the Big Dawg and besides it’s an open thread. How are you feeling after your tire/rim and dental issues?

lililam and sophie, the problem for me is that I have eaten there and I really like those nuggets. :-(

And look, if I were an extremely religious person I’d say as I did in the post that the Lord has already popped on Chick Fil A when the veep for p.r. dropped dead of a heart attack.

lililam, here’s the deal: If we slip and indulge, we can confess our sins and seek absolution here. :lol:

Sophie, you’ll have to see how close the nearest one is just so you can go boycott them.

It’s a deal, Fredster! I like the fact that you can get stuff like carrot raisin salad instead of fries there, too! Oh, well! Can’t we all just get along? (Tip of the hat to the late,great Rodney King)

lililam: My mom loved that carrot and raisin salad from there. I could pick up a chicken sandwich and the salad for her and nuggets and fries for me.

Oh hell, I’m getting hungry now since I haven’t fixed anything for dinner yet. Guess I need to scrounge around. On the bright side, it’s 9:50 here so Chick Fil A is closed, can’t slide just yet. :lol:

Fredster, the closest one to me is in NJ. I’m not going to NJ to get fast food. I don’t eat fast food in real life. Except pizza.

I’d be glad to share my chicken casserole, except I think I’m around 2500 miles away.

Sophie: sometimes you just have to take a stand, know what I mean? (arching eyebrow here)

lililam: Don’t tempt me.

I guess it will be a Wendy’s homestyle chicken sandwich.

@17: Fredster, Chuck saw an Arby’s ad for a pecan chicken salad sandwich that looked pretty good. You might give that a try.

Well, I will be boycotting Chick-fil-A! It’ll be really easy for me since I haven’t been able to swallow solid food for over a decade because of damage to my cranial nerves. :lol: I used to take my mother to Chick-fil-A. She loved their chicken. They had some kind of dessert thing too that she enjoyed. I can’t even remember what it was. But we didn’t know anything about their same-sex marriage views back then. Do we still need absolution?

Beata@19: No need for an absolution for events prior to Mr. Cathy’s latest statements. We did not know about his thoughts and feelings so we can’t be held responsible. However, if we have a slip after this, what should we have to do for penance?

@20: How about being forced to listen to this musical equivalent of ipecac? Keep that carry-out bag handy.

@21 Beata, I think that would qualify as cruel and unusual punishment!

Beata@21: Oh I agree with HT, that is too much penance! And you’re right about the bag.. LOL!!

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