It’s Chick-Fil-A Day! Family Values! …Wait

A friend of mine has recently gotten herself into a bit of an internet kerfuffle by stating that when you eat Chick-Fil-A, not because of their delicious fried goodness, but because they hate the gays and you support that and then subsequently post on your favorite social networking site that you feel this way, you are being hurtful to those who do not adhere to Chick-Fil-A’s vision of proper family values.  She asked not that people stop eating their chicken.  She didn’t even ask them to stop spewing bigoted shit on their page.  She just asked that she be blocked from seeing such messages because it makes her want to puke and cleaning that up several times a day is just too much of a burden (paraphrase).

Because it’s the internet and people love to miss the point and subsequently get pissed off and (unfortunately) vocal about their misplaced pissed-offedness, a bunch of people read her statements as “You are an asshole for eating Chick-Fil-A, you bigoted sons of beetches.”

She’s being pretty nice about it, repeating over and over again that this is not what she’s saying.  She has repeated over and over that these people can feel free to go gorge themselves on  all the chicken they want, but that if you support their politics and blab about it online where she can see it (and you KNOW she can see it), that’s hurtful.  The response has generally been, “So what if I like chicken?  You can’t tell me what to eat! What am I supposed to do, not eat Chick-Fil-A just because they’re a bunch of douchebags?”  Her response has been to repeat herself and likely bang her head against a wall.

I have a different answer to all of this though.  Look, people, you are being assholes if you say that you support gay marriage and equal rights for the LGBTQ community but don’t support it enough to stop giving money to a company that is openly working against these things.  Sure, you can eat whatever you want.  No one is saying that you’re not allowed to eat Chick-Fil-A.  But, as with all controversial decisions and actions, you don’t get to eat it guilt-free.  I mean, you can not feel guilty about it, but if you DO feel guilt about it because someone points out what giving money to a particular company means, that’s not really the pointer-outer’s fault.  It is because you have a conscience and it is at odds with the deliciousness of the fried chicken.

This is a central theme to life on Planet Earth.

No, not being at odds with fried chicken.  Having to negotiate between getting what you want and the effects on everything else when you get it.

I am an omnivore.  I eat meat.  I eat meat because I really like it.  Chicken and beef are delicious to me.  I am also too cheap/often too broke to buy cage-free chicken or grass-fed beef.  Do I feel superior because I eat animals?  No, not particularly.  I just acknowledge that I am prioritizing my love of meat over the politics/moral realities of eating it.  Yes, by purchasing and consuming standard animal products, I am supporting factory farming. I am part of the demand.  It all comes down to how important this is to me.  Like I said, priorities.  At present the guilt over the plight that these animals have does not outweigh my desire to eat them.  And yeah, that pushes me a little more towards the asshole side of the spectrum.

Every day we prioritize our “wants” and “shoulds”.  When we reward ourselves with the food we want, with saving money, with taking part in all the conveniences of modern American life, you make choices.  Some people deny themselves these things to take the “moral high ground”.  They are also often full of shit, so just because they do something that appears to be “good” doesn’t necessarily mean that their motivations are “good” or “well informed”.  Other people don’t deny themselves any of these things because the issues connected to these choices don’t really matter to them.  Not every cause is important to every person.  The rest of us are somewhere in between.  A lot of people, I think, are aware of the social/political/moral effect that their choices may have and they weigh their desires against those implications and decide which is more important to them.

What strikes me as kind of hilarious about this entire Chick-Fil-A debacle is that it’s a bunch of people screaming that they will NOT BE DETERRED FROM THEIR CHICKEN, DAGNABBIT!  I guess we should add “Denial of Delicious Chicken to the General Public” to the “Gay Agenda”, right?  I just don’t understand why it has to be Chick-Fil-A.  There are lots of places to get fried chicken that have not (yet) made their anti-gay stance plain.  Then again, none of them are paragons of Moral Awesomeness either.  I mean, look at KFC.  The rumors about that place alone are hilarious.  “They changed their name to KFC because it would be a lie to have ‘Chicken’ in the name…because they’re not selling chicken ZOMG!” or “They genetically engineer chickens to be beakless”.  But their advertising campaigns often seem a little racist to me (that might be white guilt saying that, I don’t know…but the advertisements always seemed off to me).  As for Crown, who knows.  Maybe they have a sordid origin story where the first things fried at Crown were a pair of royal testicles or something. (Note: There is no evidence to support this outlandish claim, though as an American I am forced to assume its founders are terrorists).  Clearly the answer is that we should all invest in our own deep fryers.  That’s American independence right there.

*Shudder* This just reminds me of how I used to visit friends at their apartment and one of the housemates was frying something every time I went over there.  The kitchen seemed to be bathed in a thin film of grease and the dude was always shirtless, standing in front of the fryer.  “Do you want some wings?” “No, thanks…”

In the end, this is all fast food.  None of it is good for you and it would probably make the most sense to cut it all out of your diet for health reasons before political ones, but again, these are choices we make.  This is how vices work.  Indulging one here and there isn’t inherently terrible, but recall that we are not isolated.  Our actions have consequences, both positive and negative.  When you eat a Chick-Fil-A sandwich you are satisfying a vice (fatty, bad for you food) and it also has political batshittery attached to it too.  You’re consuming something that’s not only bad for your body but something that helps support a company with ideas that are bad for society as a whole.

So, yes, eat it if you really want to, but don’t be surprised if someone thinks that this pushes you more to the asshole side of the spectrum, especially if your response is something like, “I just want to eat my chicken in peace.  I don’t want to care about what it MEANS!”  No one is telling you that you MUST CARE, but if you care enough to get mad about being called out on it, then that’s on you.

As for the reading comprehension failure here and on the internet in general, well, that’s a whole other post. Oy.

8 thoughts on “It’s Chick-Fil-A Day! Family Values! …Wait

  1. I was writing this post on my own blog and planning to cross-post it here, but I’ll link instead:

    Now, I do have to differ with you on one point: in my opinion, Chick-Fil-A is by far the most delicious of the fried chicken purveyors on the market (except for Zaxby’s… are there even any of those still around?) But I love the gays more than I love a delicious and filling chicken breakfast burrito.

  2. I had no particular love for Chick-Fil-A until they introduced their spicy chicken sandwich. That thing is delicious. I probably would have gotten one today if CFA weren’t such assholes. Instead, I ate at Starbucks. They are probably warriors for the gay agenda, right?

  3. Here’s my problem with the whole Chick-Fil-A thing:

    They don’t hide it. They don’t pretend that they’re LGBT friendly. It’s RIGHT on their job applications that certain lifestyles, appearances, and behavior will not be tolerated, as per their Christian values. And while I don’t necessarily agree with those values, it’s not like they’re firing people all cloak-and-dagger behind the scenes, or pretending like they wouldn’t fire you for being at the local Gay Pride parade. I see this less as an affront to LGBT rights and more as an affront to First Amendment rights.

    Which isn’t to say I haven’t contemplating finding a girl to go with me on Friday to the Chick-Fil-A same-sex kiss-in protest. But I think the thing that’s going to stop me is, I believe in the freedom of religion (to practice, or not, any of the faiths you like), and I’m not sure that saying “you need to agree with our religious values” is much different than saying “you need to be bilingual for this job.” These are their requirements for hiring….and I’m just not sure that the way they’re doing it is “Wrong”, per se, so much as deeply disappointing in today’s world, and extremely gauche.

    But if you don’t like their politics, nobody’s forcing you at gunpoint to pop their tasty chicken treats into your face-hole. It’s still a choice. If Chick-Fil-A had a monopoly and they were the ONLY place in the WHOLE country to get a job in fast food, or buy a tasty chicken sandwich and some heroine-laced sweet tea (I swear, that’s the secret ingredient that makes it so god damn delicious!!), then there would be a problem. But they’re not. They’re just the only franchise with enough balls in today’s society to stick to archaic belief systems, and do it publicly…and really, I find that sort of stubborn, backwards way of thinking oddly admirable, if not somewhat sad. Kinda like the Amish (whom I DO protest with all my little heart, on account of them running puppy mills).

  4. @Anti – Yeah, I agree with you. It’s the very fact that they’re out and proud of their bigotry that makes it so easy to see why giving them money means supporting a less than desirable set of ideas (to me, anyway. I don’t subscribe to “Christian Values”). I’m not getting on Chick-Fil-A’s case for saying their values out loud…I just don’t like their values, so I don’t eat their sandwiches. It’s just that people get angry when you point out to them that the money they paid for their sandwich is going toward funding anti-gay organizations. Guess what? It is. But you can eat it…just don’t act like this isn’t happening. They said it was happening.

  5. @Anti – I also find their honest admirable in a sort of twisted way. I’m sure there are lots of other business that I patronize that support terrible causes unbeknownst to me. However, I’m not sure that I agree with you that it’s an affront to free speech.

    I think that if the politicians threatening to keep CFA out of their cities actually follow through, that would go into violation of speech territory. However, when a business is punished by the citizenry and/or advocacy groups for their abhorrent moral stances, that’s how free speech is supposed to work. Freedom of speech is only protected from government interference. It’s the right (and I would argue, duty) of the public to punish undesirable speech.

  6. It IS the duty of the public to punish these things, but I was talking more about the 1st amendment rights of the people who founded CFA. They did so with the intention of it being a Christian company, as is their right. They don’t force you to convert, or take part in prayer, but they do say “these are our values, as laid forth by our religion, and we believe that people who can’t adhere to these values will be bad employees, so we don’t want to hire them.” Again, I don’t agree with it, but at least they’re upfront about it, and not trying to pretend to be politically correct about an issue with which they, as a collective, genuinely disagree.

    I’m just not sure that boycotting CFA is as…shall we say “important”(?) as say, a company that employs child workers over seas because it’s cheaper (*coughcoughNIkecoughcough*), and I sorta wonder what the hell is wrong with people when I see them protesting a company that is at least honest about its prejudices, over ones that pretend to be All-American (which is supposedly synonymous with fairness and equality, if I’m understanding pop culture correctly).

  7. Yeah, point taken. But I try not to get on people’s case for getting involved with their pet cause. In my book, nobody has any moral obligation to be any kind of activist, so as long as people are doing something, even if it’s not the most important thing, I count it as a win.

    I think what you’re saying is that, if CFA is punished for being up-front about it’s views, that will just incentivize other companies to keep quiet about their controversial practices (i.e. a “chilling effect”)? I think that’s a good point. It’s just a pet peeve of mine when people use “free speech” to talk about things other than government censorship. I blame Sarah Palin.

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