Monday, August 06, 2012

Waffle Fries, Same Sex Marriage, Jesus, and the All Mighty Dollar (Yes, I know. Strange bedfollows.)

If you haven't been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks, I'm sure you've already heard about the Chick-Fil-A controversy regarding same sex marriage, spawned by the comments made by the fast-food chain's CEO, Dan Cathy.

Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and ex-GOP presidential candidate proposed a Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day to demonstrate support for the Christian company. Chick-Fil-A was said to have racked in the doh that day.

My first thought was that the infamous appreciation day was just as ridiculous as the proposed boycott of the sanctified poultry proposed by gay rights activists around the country. I honestly was thinking that it is absolutely coo coo to gobble up some waffle fries to prove your support of Jesus, and the same level of coo coo for those that deny themselves a chicken wrap in the name of gay love.

But as I sat down and thought about it, I wondered how would I feel about the CEO of any major company if they said that they do not believe that black people should marry white people, or disabled people should not get a chance to have and parent children, or women shouldn't make the same amount of money as men for the same job. I would be outraged, to say the least. There is no doubt that I would refuse to patronize that business until that CEO was removed.

So, finally, when I brought it down to my level, I was able to better understand why the gay community is so up in arms.

Now, here's the interesting thing for me and Chick-Fil-A... I don't really like their food that much. I don't dislike it. I just don't really prefer it. So, if I never eat at Chick-Fil-A again, I will be just fine. So, me stating that I'm never going to eat their again because of the statements made by their CEO would actually be as phony as a chicken nugget being passed off as holy communion. The likelihood is that I probably will not eat there, but it has very little to do with homosexuals, marriage equality, or religious convictions. And if by chance I do patronize Chick-Fil-A and order their awesome Lemonade-tea or fantastic cubed ice, I'm not going to be making a personal political and/or religious statement either. The only statement I'll be making is a choice made by pure convenience.

What's the lesson in all of this?
Business owners and CEO's: Do yourself and your business a favor. Keep your mouth shut regarding social issues, especially if the issue expresses prejudice, discrimination, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, or ethnocentricism. Yes, you may indeed stay in business and continue to make lots of money. However, you go down in the history books on the wrong side of the issue. Plus, you open yourself to scrutiny you may not be prepared to publically discuss. Ask Bishop Eddie Long about that.

Do I think that Dan Cathy has a right to feel the way he does? Yep. However, I think it is important for Cathy and any other business executive to recognize how their personal views may impact the organizations they work for and represent if they decide to go public with what they think.

Postscript: While researching this story, I learned of the passing of Don Perry, the founder of Chick-FilA. He passed away in the middle of all this controversy. While I think that his company's current CEO made a bad move from a PR perspective, I do respect and appreciate the work that Don Perry did with his restaurant. It is my prayer that he rest in peace.

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