You have to look pretty hard to find a reason to criticize Chick-fil-A, the extraordinary Atlanta-based fast food chain, championed by cows and bolstered by the claim: “We didn’t invent chicken, just the chicken sandwich.”
The only chain restaurant in America that is still closed on Sunday, Chick-fil-A is a company owned and managed by a Christian family and run by a predominately Christian management team. The chain has great food—more healthy than most fast food chains—and a terrific training program for employees. You get better service at a Chick-fil-A than at any other fast food chain. No contest.
They help with employees’ college education, and support many charitable causes. They give to many Christian causes and organizations. In fact, Chick-fil-A is among only a handful of large American companies with conservative religion built into its corporate ethos
Which brings us to their newsmaking dust-up.
The privately owned chain, famous for closing on Sundays in deference to its founder’s evangelical Christian values, donates to many Christian causes, scholarships, and organizations through its charitable arm. But when a Pennsylvania restaurant donated sandwiches and brownies to a Harrisburg meeting of The Pennsylvania Family Group, a group that works to outlaw gay marriage, pro-gay marriage bloggers and gay rights organizations went on the offensive.
The uproar from gay rights groups spurred Chick-fil-A’s CEO to release a videotaped statement. In it Dan Cathy said, “Let me be clear, Chick-fil-A serves all people and values all people. Providing sandwiches and brownies for a local seminar is not an endorsement or a political stance, Cathy says in the video.
But, the New York Times adds (as though it is an indictment), he adds that marriage has long been a focus of the chain, which S. Truett Cathy, his deeply religious father, began in 1967.
Regardless of your view on whether our nation should allow same-sex unions or marriages, anyone who knows Chik-fil-A well knows that the corporation is essentially a Christian business that is well-run, generous, and committed to traditional Christian values. It is not zealous in its political positions or, specifically in its work on (or against) homosexual rights.
For gay rights groups to target the company because one of its affiliates provided sandwiches and brownies to a seminar of a group that opposes gay marriage is outrageous and aggressive and should be ridiculed not praised. It demonstrates the militancy of the movement to advance gay marriage rights, a movement that has been defeated repeatedly in political and judicial forums. So now it is targeting corporations, and one that is so transparently Christian was a likely victim.
Chick-fil-A will tack away from this issue and continue undeterred, as a private corporation with deeply rooted values. They have no reason to further alienate gay patrons, also consumers of the chicken sandwich.