Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pickin' on Chicken

For not the first time, Chick-fil-A has been a topic of some rather fierce internet debate lately. Predictably, the discussion centers around the positions of the company's leaders regarding marriage equality (they ain't for it) and their publicly stated pro-Christian stances. I care deeply about equal rights for all, and I am a strong proponent of marriage equality. Also relevantly, I love chicken more than most people I know. That last sentence is true either way it could be interpreted. So I'm going to talk a little bit about my own personal decisions regarding Chick-fil-A below. Stay tuned if you're curious.

I have made the decision to no longer visit Chick-fil-A restaurants. I made this decision prior to the most recent round of controversy. In some ways, this is very easy for me. The restaurant chain is not particularly saturated in New England, with only a few locations. I have to go out of my way to find one, so avoiding it is a simple task. In other ways, it's less easy. As stated above, I love chicken WAY more than is average. I also have only recently developed even the most rudimentary care for my diet as it pertains to my health; more simply put, I eat a lot of unhealthy food, although a bit less than I used to. Chick-fil-A is delicious. I LOVE to eat Chick-fil-A. I used to quite willingly drive 30-45 minutes out of my way to eat there. Not only is the food unreasonably tasty, I've also consistently found the level of customer service at Chick-fil-A to be quite good by any standard, and superb by fast food standards. I do not hate Chick-fil-A. I really like Chick-fil-A.

So why did I decide to stop going there? Surely there's many, many businesses that have high ranking leaders with whom I disagree politically that I still frequent. I won't pretend that I'm a good enough person to have done my due diligence on literally every transaction with every business I have taken part in. Maybe some people are up to that task, and good on them. I'm not. But the views espoused by Chick-fil-A not only have become highly visible public information, they also amount to something more than just individual views.

As I understand it, Chick-fil-A makes corporate donations (that is, as the business entity itself, not only on the individual level) to a number of causes. Some of these causes are entirely laudable. For example, ending childhood hunger. Great, keep it up! But they also donate to pro-traditional-family (aka anti-gay) causes. It's well documented, and the President of the chain, Dan Cathy has stated "guilty as charged" when asked about his and his company's support for the biblical notion of marriage meaning one man, one woman.

Now you might be saying, "but it's THEIR business how they spend their money, not yours!" Fair enough. I have a moral disagreement with them. They can believe as they believe as long as they don't act in a discriminatory way. And once my money passes from my hands to theirs, it is their money. No matter how much I disagree with how they want to use my money, if I give it to them, it's theirs. And there's the crux. I don't have to give them my money. And because I know where that money's going, I don't want to give it to them. No matter how delicious their chicken is. No matter how friendly and responsive their staff is. No matter how good some of their other causes are.

I don't even particularly care to encourage others to follow in my footsteps on this. This was my decision, based on my values, on how to spend my money. I will not presume to dictate to you what your values should be, how your money should be spent, or what decision you should make. I would encourage you, however, to try to learn about where your money goes and try to make sure that however you spend it IS in line with your own values. If this means you double down on Chick-fil-A, that's your choice. I've made mine.

I don't hate Chick-fil-A. I miss going there. It is my sincere hope that in the future they (and Christianity in general) will change their minds on the sexuality stuff. I don't believe they are motivated by hate, I just don't think they realize the harm being done to people. I hope they find a path to work to undo some of the harm they've funded. Because let me tell you, if they change their ways and stop spending money towards building a society that excludes, on average, 10% of its members, I will be the first to get in line for some sandwiches and nuggets (yes both, gotta stock up and bring enough home for a 2nd meal, duh!).

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Voting with your wallet is way more effetive than voting at the ballot box.

I was sad to find out recetly that Marriott hotels makes a lot of right-wing donations. It is a bummer because they have the nicest hotels!