Why I Went

I would like to say a few words about why my family and I went to eat at Chick-fil-A yesterday. It was not because of the statements that CEO Dan Cathy made concerning same-sex marriage. I am opposed to same-sex marriage, but that was not the reason we went. This wasn’t about same-sex marriage, or being anti-gay, or anything of the sort. Nor was it about the controversy or threats of boycotts that some activists were threatening. If they do not wish to patronize a certain business because of the beliefs of the CEO, that’s their business. I would have to say though, that if I started boycotting shows by actors who make idiotic statements, I could never watch television or see a movie at all.

What upset me is the way which Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and Boston mayor Thomas Menino announced that Chick-fil-A would not be welcome to do business in their cities. This sort of bullying is wrong and simply un-American. A public official threatening  a person’s business simply because they don’t conform to a certain political ideology is a huge step on the road to tyranny. That was why we were there. Also, I am getting very tired of the Left deciding what opinions are correct and what are not, and then vilifying people who hold the wrong ideas as racists or homophobes, etc.

I think that this was true of most of the other person who stood in line to eat at Chick-fil-A yesterday. I think that a lot of people are tired of having a political and social elite that despises them and their values and insists on shoving their ideology down people’s throats. It might be tolerable if this elite were actually capable of running the country, but as anyone who has paid any attention to what’s going on in Washington knows that they are not.

I imagine that the mainstream media will depict these people as hateful bigots, if they bother to report on it at all. But these people were not hateful or bigoted. They were simply tired and frustrated. This is the same mood that gave rise to the TEA Party and I would not be surprised if there were considerable overlap between tea partiers and Chick-fil-A customers. This is also why the TEA party is now about to fade away.



Matthew Shaffer over at National Review Online has written a column defending Chick-Fil-A founder Samuel Truett Cathy from the charge of vicious homophobia that the Left has tried to pin on him for allegedly supporting anti-gay groups. Shaffer makes a convincing case, but I don’t think he really gets it.

It is true that Mr. Cathy is a noted philanthropist who has been more than generous with the money he has earned from his business.

And he’s devoted his considerable wealth to a life of philanthropy. He has distributed more than $35 million in scholarships to help Chick-fil-A employees go to college, another $26 million to scholarships for students at Berry College, and another $18 million for foster homes throughout the United States. He’s been honored by the Children’s Hunger Fund, and won the Horatio Alger award and the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership, for his charity.

Incidentally, Cathy is also an enthusiastic Baptist, and one domain of his charitable giving reflects that fact. Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays, includes religious language in its mission statement, and donates some money to causes like the Campus Crusade for Christ. Consequently, a meme has developed on left-leaning and pro-gay-rights websites in the past year that Chick-fil-A is virulently anti-gay. Since then, the nonagenarian Samuel Truett Cathy has gone from a noted philanthropist to a hate-figure — in two senses of the phrase — for many liberals, and has gotten a string of very negative press.

Of course, the Campus Crusade for Christ isn’t exactly a cause dear to the Left. No doubt they’d rather Cathy spend his money on global warming or keeping the red spotted eel from going extinct. But, anyway, as Shaffer argues, the causes he does support have only a peripheral link to anything gay.

But the dirt that activists have dug up on Cathy isn’t really that incriminating, even from a pro-gay-rights perspective. His top sin, according to the agitprop flyers produced by getequal.org, is financial support for the National Christian Foundation and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Also among Cathy’s anathema affiliations is Campus Crusade for Christ. (When you think Campus Crusade for Christ, you think homophobia, right? Me neither.) There is no evidence that Chik-fil-A has funded groups that are primarily devoted to opposing same-sex marriage, such as the National Organization for Marriage (which is not to imply that such a donation would demonstrate anti-gay animus).

Judging by the arguments put forth on lefty blogs, there are three additional justifications for singling out Chick-fil-A for protests: The first is a local Chick-fil-A catering for a Pennsylvania Family Institute marriage retreat at which, PFI president Michael Geer says, “At no time . . . was the subject of same-sex marriage discussed or presented” (despite what was erroneously reported elsewhere). The second is relatively small donations to the group Focus on the Family (which, despite its reputation among bien pensants, actually devotes most of its funds to charitable efforts outside of the culture war, as David French has pointed out). And the third is Chick-fil-A’s ties to WinShape, a charity with dozens of projects, one of which is a marriage retreat limited to legally married, opposite-sex couples.

But, the truth is, that none of this matters. Samuel Truett Cathy has committed thought crime by stating

While my family and I believe in the Biblical definition of marriage, we love and respect anyone who disagrees.

To the Left, it is not enough to love and respect anyone who disagrees. You must support their entire agenda or you are a racist, sexist, homophobe and hater. Someone as prominent as Cathy is not allowed to have a private opinion. Nothing that Shaffer has to say changes this.