Thursday, August 2, 2012

Playing Chickn

Condescending Swine


When I see photographs depicting lines outside of Chick-fil-A joints all across this land of ours I feel good. Not because I support Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A or their fellow haters, but because that is their side of the boycott coin. People who embrace equal rights for all people boycott Chick-fil-A and people who are filled with hate eat Chick-fil-A. When you vote with your dollars, everyone gets a vote.

And if haters gonna hate, it's nice to have them out in the light rather than hiding behind the Internet.

There has been a lot said about Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A and their views lately. Some have tried to separate the two, but how can you? Chick-fil-A is a privately owned company run by Cathy and his family. When Chick-fil-A president Cathy speaks, Chick-fil-A speaks too. Now perhaps too much has been said about Cathy's views as his defenders and detractors drag every available reporter, editor, pundit and blogger into the fray, but I'd like to take a moment to address some things.

First up: The War On Christmas, er, Christianity.


Yes, they do. Yes, they have. Yes, they should and yes, they are being applied in this case. This isn't censorship. No one is denying anyone free speech. Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A are are still as free to express their views and opinions as they ever were whenever they choose to do so. It's a boycott, Star. It's the same tactic your Evangelical Christian brothers and sisters have been employing for years against companies like Disney, Ben and Jerry's and on. No one is telling Dan Cathy what to say or what to believe.

However, some of us feel that our dollars are better spent with companies that don't take those dollars and put them into organizations not aligned with our own beliefs. We'd rather not help Dan Cathy support groups who have publicly stated their opinion that pedophilia is a "gay problem", that gays are an abomination and that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. We do not believe these things, and have every right and reason to believe so. Those who believe as Cathy believes can buy his chicken and help him support whatever groups they see fit. The lines in those photographs speak for themselves. Haters have the right to hate nonviolently with their dollars.

As for the politicians you cry about who have said no to Chick-fil-A stores in their cities or districts, I'm not the first to point out that politicians have also banned things Christians don't approve of for decades.You would survive a few less chickn stands in your life, trust me, just like people in some states have survived no-liquor Sundays.

Let's put it this way: If a shop owner in your town put a "No Christians" sign on his shop would you keep trying to shop there? If such a thing as an anti-Christian group existed and he was discovered to be a donor to that group would you continue to patronize his store? Of course not.

That is what "voting with your dollars" means. What it doesn't mean is "we can boycott but no one else can". Do you oppose boycotts by People for the American Family? Of course you don't. That's your Constitution, Star. That's your First Amendment. That's religious liberty, which includes those who follow a different religion from your own or even no religion at all.

How petty and hypocritical of you all to start acting put upon because the same tactics are being applied to Dan Cathy that conservative Christians have tried to use against Oreo for posting a picture of a rainbow cookie in the name of love and diversity. The system is working. No one is stopping Chick-fil-A from selling Dan Cathy's chickn. No one is stopping you from buying it. Enjoy the processed taste of freedom. Wash it down with some Hater-Ade why don't you?

Stop crying crocodile tears for freedom of speech because you're on the losing side this time. At least I hope that your side is losing. I hope that the line would be a hundred times as long at Chick-fil-A if they had chosen to embrace diversity instead of donating money to help defeat it. I hope in my heart that love is winning out over hate.

Which leads me to: "You're a good man, Mr. Cathy. I will eat your sandwiches."

I've been seeing a lot statements of this sort in posts to Chick-fil-A's Facebook page and elsewhere. While I salute you for standing up for your misguided belief that Dan Cathy is a good man being harassed by "the gay agenda", I have to ask: Hateful views aside, is Dan Cathy a good man? Really?

Dan Cathy's/Chick-fil-A's trademark dispute with a small town Vermont artist over who owns the rights to the words "Eat More" says a lot about both the man and his corporate entity. The artist, who applied for a trademark to protect his small output of "Eat More Kale" t-shirts from copycat "Eat More Kale" t-shirts being sold on the Internet, received a cease and desist letter from Chick-fil-A's attorneys demanding that the artist shut down his operation and send the fruits of his labor to their Atlanta offices to be destroyed. When the artist did neither Chick-fil-A sent him a second letter and tried to quietly block his trademark request. The attempt was shot down. Chick-fil-A then filed an "anonymous" protest against the decision.

 Why the sneaky tactics? If they truly feel that somehow they own the rights to "Eat More [ANYTHING]", why not say so? Why not stand up proudly for their rights as trademark holders?

Why? Because the artist didn't back down. Because "Eat More Kale" and "Eat Mor Chickn" are not the same thing, obviously, and support for the artist's David against the Goliath of Chick-fil-A grew all the way to the Vermont Governor's office and The New York Times.

The small town artist didn't back down from the big corporation and its lawyers, so instead of a stand-up fight Chick-fil-A and Dan Cathy tried the back door. Scratch a bully and you find a coward.

The gay community didn't back down from Dan Cathy either, and support for them is growing too. Just as with the Vermont artist, Chick-fil-A tried to sneak its agenda in by donating money instead of coming out as anti-gay.

Chick-fil-A has had every opportunity to defend its anti-gay philosophy. The company could have stood behind Dan Cathy and his "guilty as charged" quip at any point, but they haven't.  And why is that? Chick-fil-a IS Dan Cathy as much as he is Chick-fil-A, and yet neither Cathy or the company's press releases have put their mouths where their money is except for remarks Cathy made that he wrongly believed would only be heard by like-thinkers.

If Cathy hadn't forgotten for a moment the social media world he lives in he never would have said "guilty as charged" or talked publicly about his beliefs regarding gay marriage. If he hadn't been outed for donating to anti-gay groups he never would have had a need to and instead he would have just kept quietly funneling millions of chickn dollars into those groups.

And Cathy and company haven't spoken publicly about their agenda against gay marriage. They instead deny any agenda behind their donations to anti-gay groups even as they state that "going forward" they'll leave politics to decide such matters. Which is it? And are we supposed to take that to mean that they're out of the anti-gay business or that they are just going to find some way of funding anti-gay politicians? If you're going to walk the walk, Mr. Cathy, why not talk the talk?

Because it's corporate suicide. Because he thought that he could get away with it. Because he played chickn and lost. Because he knows how many people know that what he did is wrong and what it will cost his family's business both in dollars and good will. Because unlike an E. Coli outbreak his act was willful and malicious. And so he hides behind smiles and statements about just wanting fans of his chickn, which is something he should have considered before he started using money against some of those fans and their beliefs.

Cathy and company had another opportunity to stand behind their philosophy when the Henson Company pulled its toys from their stores. Instead, Chick-fil-A put up signs telling a lie that the toys were recalled as defective. Big, brave bully Dan Cathy: picking on little artists in small towns, telling half-truths and outright lies, funding an agenda and not 'fessing up when caught. This is your "good man", Chickn fans? This is your put upon Christian?

Dan Cathy, and the company he and his family own, are chickn. Stick that sound bite in your FOX hole, haters. And feel free to keep on eating Mr. Cathy's sandwiches because he believes what you believe: Gay people are abominations without rights. Me? I'll continue to believe that people are people and that no one group, even cowardly, hate-filled bullies, should be denied the same rights granted to others. And I won't spend a dime to let some chickn shit sandwich touch my lips. It's the American Way, Chick-fil-A. Fry in it.

Mad Cow