Wednesday, 01 August 2012

The Campaign Against Chick-fil-A

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Jack KerwickThe phenomenally successful restaurant franchise Chick-fil-A is once again at the center of national controversy. And, once again, it is a controversy generated by those who waste not a moment to equate opposition to so-called “same-sex marriage” with “hate.”

A couple of weeks ago, Chick-fil-A’s CEO, Dan Cathy, told Online Baptist Press that his restaurant was committed to advancing the well-being of “the family — the biblical definition of the family unit.” He continued: “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives.” For this, Cathy said that he gives “God thanks.”

He also mentioned that he prays that we are not “inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’” Such an attitude, Cathy asserts, is unduly “prideful” and “arrogant.”

In response to Cathy’s remarks, mayors from several of America’s metropolises have “disinvited” Chick-fil-A from opening any new restaurants in their cities. For example, former White House Chief of Staff to Barack Obama and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel stated: “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago’s values. They [Chick-fil-A] disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents.”

Considering that Chicago has been a killing field under his watch, Mayor Emanuel’s remarks may very well have done more than anything else could have to help make Chick-fil-A even more successful than it already is. 

In all seriousness, though, we need to really observe what is happening here.

As Dan Cathy says, Chick-fil-A is a family-owned business. More specifically, it is a Christian family-owned business. And although he is reluctant to characterize his business in terms of Christianity — only individuals can have a relationship with Christ; corporations can’t — the fact of the matter is that Chick-fil-A is designed to resolutely affirm what can only be described as Christian values. 

The most salient of such signs is its decision to do business only six days of every week: Every Sunday Chick-fil-A is closed.

But it also routinely — incessantly — sponsors all manner of family-friendly events, and donates substantial sums of money to the most deserving of charities.

In short, Chick-fil-A most definitely is a Christian organization.

This is why it continually comes under attack by those who are determined to insure that the voice of anything that can remotely be construed as a traditional form of Christianity is silenced. Cathy’s latest comments are but a pretext for what amounts to nothing more or less than a relentless campaign by radical leftist forces to relegate the Christian to the periphery of the culture.

If we think about it for more than the length of a standard sound bite, we will discover that this verdict is inescapable.

Think about what Cathy is not saying. He is not saying that Chick-Fil-A refuses to serve homosexuals. He is not even saying that his business would refuse to hire homosexuals. He hasn’t said anything even close to this.

Chick-fil-A does indeed engage in discriminatory hiring practices. Yet there is one simple criterion that it employs, and it hasn’t a thing to do with sexuality (or race, gender, etc.). Being a dutiful Chick-fil-A customer, I have gotten to know some of its managers over the last so many years, and they have all told me the same thing: All members of the Chick-fil-A staff must be able to provide excellent customer service. 

What this in turn means is that they must not only be efficient in providing customers with the goods that they purchase; they must do so with a smile.

In other words, applicants must either possess a cheery disposition at the time of being hired, or they must possess the will to acquire such a disposition during on-the-job training.   

In terms of hospitality, there is no fast food restaurant on the planet quite like Chick-fil-A. To this, everyone who has ever eaten there, regardless of their opinion regarding the quality of its food, can readily attest.

Chick-fil-A supplies people — its customers, its employees, and untold legions of human beings who have been the beneficiaries of its charitable activities — a service that is immeasurable in worth. Without exaggeration, it can be said that Chick-fil-A has gone a great distance in helping the people that it has touched achieve what, as Aristotle long ago recognized, all of us ultimately want: happiness.

Chick-fil-A is a character-molding institution insofar as it aspires to cultivate within its employees those habits that have traditionally been recognized as human excellences or virtues. The staff at the organization that the Cathy family founded promotes diligence, conscientiousness, humility, generosity, and hospitality.

And it even encourages — by way of its observance of the Christian Sabbath and the innumerable events that it sponsors on behalf of families and local communities — the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity.

This is the organization that Chick-fil-A’s enemies relentlessly smear as a promoter of “hate.” We must be clear, for clarity concerning the nature of Chick-fil-A provides us in spades with clarity concerning the nature of its nemeses.

That the campaign against Chick-fil-A is part and parcel of a much wider campaign against traditional Christianity becomes obvious once we consider that Cathy’s position on same-sex "marriage" is no different from that taken by the entire world up until yesterday, as far as history is measured. Even our “transformative” president, that “world-historical,” “multi-cultural” figure himself, Barack Obama, subscribed, or claimed to subscribe, to the same exact position as Cathy’s up until just a couple of months ago.

Here is what we must grasp: If Cathy is “homophobic” because he does not support gay "marriage" or even homosexual activity, then what his enemies are actually charging is that traditional Christianity, from biblical days up until just a few decades ago, is “homophobic.”

More simply put, the God of the Bible is a moral degenerate, for the God that is depicted from Genesis through Revelation is an unreconstructed “homophobe.”

If Cathy and most of the two billion people who constitute the Christian world are “homophobes,” it is because the God whom they aspire to honor was a “homophobe” first.

Admittedly, no text or tradition is self-interpreting. Cathy and those of his theological persuasion — i.e., most of his contemporaries and all of his predecessors of the last couple of millennia — may be mistaken in how they read Christianity. But if this is so, then it is incumbent upon his critics to point out to him the error of his ways.

This they haven’t done.

Yet even if they could prove that Cathy and the overwhelming majority of human beings who have ever lived were incorrect, this would most definitely not justify the allegations of “hatred” and “homophobia” that Chick-fil-A’s enemies insist on substituting for rational and civil argument.    

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