My take on the whole Chick-fil-A thing.
I need to start this post by saying 1) I believe every word the Bible says. While I may not like everything, it’s there and said for a reason. 2) I am a former Chick-fil-A employee. I worked there for over 7 years and was actually turned down twice for owning a franchise. I know many of the people who work for Chick-fil-A all over the country and have even personally met Truett and Dan Cathy. 3) I was at Chick-fil-A on “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day”. But not to make a statement, I value my sanity too much. I was there to win free chicken for a year at their First 100 event. Read about my experience here.
So, my biggest peeve about the whole controversy is that it should have totally been a non-issue. A Christian business owner who runs a business on Biblical principles and is closed on Sunday was asked on his views on marriage. He answered honestly, that he holds a traditional view of marriage and is married to his first wife. In that context, those who are divorced should have issues too…where’s their outrage?!?
Then, when the controversy grew, Chick-fil-A made the statement that they value all people. They don’t discriminate. Yes, they’re human, and people need to remember that their 1600+ restaurants are run by individual franchise owners so there will be some issues at the restaurant level. But this company has to run by our country’s anti-discrimination laws and I think they not only uphold the letter of the law, but they take it a step further and because of their biblical beliefs and follow it at the spirit of the law as well.
And there are many groups losing during in this whole debate/debacle.
One group is the church. Instead of showing love for all people, they are looking hateful. What does wrapping around a Chick-fil-A on appreciation day say to those who are gay? It’s not support for a good business and free speech they see, it’s perceived as hate against them. Not saying that even half of the people who went feel that way, but there are always the vocal few like the people in news stories I’ve been reading who are spewing hate speech against gay people. Not even intentionally, not even realizing it. Just saying things like “I’m so glad Chick-fil-A supports traditional marriage” to a random employee…this has happened to several gay employees who just have to smile and scream on the inside.
Another group are those who’ve never experienced eating at Chick-fil-A. Who wants to go to a place filled with such controversy? Lost is the appeal of eating real food in a fast food environment (yes they have fries, but let me tell you, most of the food is made with real ingredients). And, Chick-fil-A’s service is amazing. Even on bad days it’s better than anywhere else. Their food prices seem expensive, but that’s because there’s no $1 menu. With the quality and preparation level of their chicken, the prices should be more comparable to a sit-down place, not fast food, and yet their average meal price is $6.
But who’s really losing in this whole debate are the employees. The people who just want to go to work, enjoy the environment, earn competitive wages and have a guaranteed day off. The people who are valued employees and not just clock-punchers. The people who don’t share the values of Chick-fil-A and have never had to care about it before because it was just another place to work.
And the gay people who work there. Yes, the gay people who work there! At every Chick-fil-A restaurant I’ve worked at, there have been gay employees and managers. There are gay people who work at the headquarters. Now they feel afraid about being open about who they are. They also are hearing hate speech by the wackos who are visiting the restaurants and feel that it’s okay to say things like: ‘I’m so glad you don’t support the queers, I can eat in peace,’. WHAT?!? Or from other people calling them “gay-haters” because they work for a Christian company.
This whole thing is hard for me, because I do boycott some companies and support others for their beliefs. And I will share my beliefs on these issues with others, but I try to limit that to people who have similar beliefs to mine. But I should never spread lies and hate about these companies or yell and use vulgarities at the people who work there.
Some people need these jobs, and I’m sure most of the 8+% of people unemployed right now would like any job. Some people like these jobs. I can tell you truthfully that even the worst Chick-fil-A I worked at with a lousy boss was still better than all but one other job I’ve had (other than staying home with my kids of course!).
Both extremes of the debate are hurting these people. Blocking a Chick-fil-A from opening is hurting the people who would be gaining those jobs and also hurting the local economy from the money that would be generated in profit, wages and taxes. Spewing hate is hurting the morale and consciences of the people who work there by causing polarity. Spreading lies is hurting the character of the man whose words were taken out of context. Going to appreciation day is hurting the feelings of people who are gay and are only seeing hate for them, not support for free speech. To those going to kiss-ins, how is this making those who don’t agree with you come to your side? It is only validating their beliefs and making others uncomfortable (this is why I also don’t agree with nurse-ins).
Addition 8/7: What has really maddened me is all the vandalism that is happening. My local Chick-fil-A where several friends and former co-workers are employed, was recently spray painted with “don’t hate” and “tastes like hate”. Isn’t vandalism pretty much the definition of hate? Thankfully everyone there is working hard to keep it “business as usual”.
And to those using this as a springboard for anti-gay speech, it is NEVER okay to use hateful words against a fellow human being. How is this sharing God’s love and a desire for them to come to know Him and His saving grace and mercy? No matter what our sins are, they are abominable in God’s sight. I struggle with overeating, laziness and anger, does this give you the right to yell at me or call me names? No. Does this mean we should legislate and tax junk food, mandate activity levels, or penalize those with a temper? NO! Or does this give you are right to think it’s okay to overeat, be lazy or be angry? An even bigger NO!
But you should share with me that God wants me to change who I am through the power of the Holy Spirit and that every failure on my part can be cleansed by Jesus’ sacrifice. I shouldn’t be afraid to walk into a church because people will look at me differently than the skinny supermom who is always patient with her kids. I shouldn’t be told that I have to be cured from my sin nature, that will only happen when Jesus returns or I’m brought home.
I should be told that God desires a change in me. That I should be striving to live the way God tells me to in His Word. That I will fail, but Jesus’ sacrifice covers it all. That I should do all I can through Jesus’ power that He’s given me through His Holy Spirit to turn away from my sin and live more like Jesus every day.
This Chick-fil-A debate does nothing to further God’s Word and his desire for people to come to His saving grace and forgiveness. It only drives a wedge between those of opposing sides, making it even more difficult to share the Gospel and healing.
(Most of these opinions have been shaped over the past 24 hours of reading all different sides of this. Sadly, I probably did more to further some of the dissension a few days ago. It’s really hard for me as an opinionated individual, especially as a Chick-fil-A lover, to not share my opinion. I probably didn’t think out my responses very well, and hope that this shares more clearly my thoughts on the whole debacle.)