The Chick-Fil-A Boycott: Solidarity or Stupidity?

Maybe we’re going about this the wrong way.

If you’re feeling a little lost, let me catch you up: Just last week, Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy said his company was “guilty as charged” for standing against same-sex marriage and later added, “I think we are 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.'” Pretty offensive. Needless to say, this was really no surprise–Chick-Fil-A has openly donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT groups in the past, all of which has prompted continual boycotts of eating “mor chiken.”

But perhaps this is a step in the wrong direction.

Personally, I’ve always loved Chick-Fil-A. The prices are too steep to eat there often, but their lightly-breaded chicken wraps are mouth-watering, their commercials are always entertaining, and their new line of sundaes? Some of the best fast food ice cream I have ever had. They also treat their employees well, unless you’re gay and get fired, but overall, they’re a good company–but sadly with poor values about what’s good in the world.

I was thinking this morning, though, that a company only cares about its customers–the people making it money. That is that bottom line, after all. If we–the LGBT community and our allies–stop eating at Chick-Fil-A, we suddenly become amazingly invisible and they stop caring about us. Why would a company change its policies if the only people patronizing them are the people who agree with their bigoted ideologies?

To take it a step further, many conservatives have openly called for “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” this coming Wednesday–August 1, if you’re not near a calendar–for people to gather in support of a company standing up for its “good Christian family values” (last time I checked, hatred was neither a Christian value nor a family one). All around the internet are pictures advertising the event with images of same-sex parented families and a ticket pointing toward them with the caption “You’re not welcome.” At least the cows didn’t spell it.

Instead of staying away, though, why don’t we plunge right in? If all the LGBT people and their allies swarmed Chick-Fil-A on Wednesday holding hands, decked out in our best pride wear, that would make a statement. Even if it doesn’t change the company’s position, it’ll at least impact all of these avid supporters of pure hatred who eat there that day. (Yes, the drive-though, though admiral, would just not suffice for this to work.)

If we then continued to frequent Chick-Fil-A’s in our best inclusive clothing, with our rainbow bracelets and pink triangle pins, we would continue to keep a presence on the issue while installing ourselves as part of the customer base the company needs to answer to.

It seems I’m not the only one thinking this way: GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) has already called for a National Same-Sex Kiss Day at Chick-Fil-A’s across the US on Friday, August 3.

What do you think? Is the boycott a show of solidarity or stupidity? Is it better to stay away or bring the fight to them? What would you do?

If you think we can show our solidarity and take a stand eating at Chick-Fil-A’s on Wednesday, please like this post and pass it along to your friends. Let’s make it viral.

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6 thoughts on “The Chick-Fil-A Boycott: Solidarity or Stupidity?

  1. Although I would like to change their minds and have them open on Sundays, I am not in the majority and they are content to not be in business that day. I had the biggest craving for a chicken wrap on Sunday. There is a small minority that I think would agree with me, but I think the company does not care.

    Given their policies non-hetero normative people should not frequent the place to begin with. Do they make up a large percentage of business at Chick-Fil-A? I have only been there once and was not impressed. Nobody is forcing any one to go. A boycott suggests there are enough allies to make the company want to change to be more inline with modern thought while a demonstration just says “we are vocal”. By demonstrating, the interruption to business will be short term. The hope is others will take up the cause and ally themselves with the LGBT group.

    The bottom line is important, but in an environment in which Sunday is not a day of business, they most likely will not care. If LGBT does not account for a significant amount of business. Why would they care at all if non-traditional Christian people decided to patronize them? Companies do have the privilege to market to people and to target their products.

    A big and tall store or one with plus size clothing is one that welcomes people of larger sizes. Shiseido sells makeup to older women and ignores the younger set. Some gyms openly exclude fit people and kick those out who become so. And Lululemon has its own sizing category. All of these companies are making their targets based on intrinsic qualities.

    While I realize in contrast to other intrinsic qualities like sexuality identity, religion, and preference for makeup, my height is visible. Does going to Chick-Fil-A mean I am trying to pass as a Christian? Am I trying to be like a hetero for enjoying a chicken sandwich? The company has a proscribed view on same sex marriage, but will take the money just the same.

    Marriage is not something inherent at birth. It may become part of an identity, but it is semi-permanent at best. I do not think hate is qualified when one acts upon their morals. I am tolerant of their desire to keep their tradition. It will not stop me from making my own. I disagree with us patronizing Chicken-fil-a until we account for a large part of their consumer base. It is stupid because Chick-fil-a is not so ingrained in our culture that we are suffering greatly for its view. It is equally ridiculous that people who do not agree with its policies continue to patronize it.

    • You raise a lot of interesting points, Jaime, and definitely make a good point when you say that unless the LGBT community became a significant part of their customer base, patronage would not likely create much of a stir–other than the occasional statement of visibility.

      However, I think patronizing a business–especially a business such as a restaurant or a store–serves a second purpose: Not only we are making a statement to the company, we’re also making a statement to its other customers. Yes, I don’t always agree with being “in your face” about sexuality (I still regard it as a generally private matter), but being visible in regards to non-sexual, but loving same-sex couples can help open the eyes of people who anchor their hatred in the Bible. If they can see us and see how much like them we are (the only difference, after all, is who we love), perhaps they will have a change of heart, too–or at least a change of mind.

      Then, over time (perhaps a lot of time), the “traditional Christian” customer base may itself evolve into a group that’s more inclusive and welcoming. Perhaps they still wouldn’t agree with same-sex marriage, but if they were at least more sensitive and compassionate, more understanding and open, that would be enough for a lot of us and certainly stop a large amount of the hatred and outright bigotry that is being flung around here.

      • Are we not all bigots? I am completely against marriage or whatever one wants to call it remaining strictly a guy/girl thing. It is such a silly word. All it means is that one is centered on their view alone and is not open to changing it. I am a bigot because I would like to be able to marry whatever gender or sex I want.

        I too like the idea of being visible for the customers’ sake. It is a dimension I neglected because being LGBT is not only an identity, but an invisible quality. Certainly people will think how they want to think. It is much more experiential and cannot be readily displayed. Is a kiss the way to do that? I do not know.

        It would certainly be nice to do away with bigotry and have everyone become adaptable. A change of heart/mind would certainly do this. I would prefer that tolerance be skipped in favor of understanding. A person that understands can more easily become an ally.

        I want people to change too, but I am not going to use a word like evolve because it has a negative connotation. One should focus on the compassion and sensitivity instead. A person that truly follows the bible should lack hatred and be compassionate for LGBT people. If they would go back to their traditional values It might be more easy to accept same-sex marriage.

      • If you take “bigot” in its strictest sense, then any time someone disagrees with another person on a matter of opinion, they’re being bigoted–but this goes past denotative meanings. I have no problems with opinions. It’s actions based upon those opinions that I don’t always support.

        I also see no problem with the word “evolve”–it simply means to change gradually, and isn’t gradual change how we achieve mutual understanding? Yes, certain mathematical concepts I understood in a flash of insight, but as a whole, I got where I am by culturing my interest in mathematics until it came easily, even though when I first started, I couldn’t look at a math book for more than ten minutes without getting a headache. My relationship with math evolved into a stronger bond over time practicing it. There is nothing negative about the word.

        However, I agree completely that understanding is more valuable than tolerance. It’s easy to make other people tolerate one another, but making them understand should be our greatest goals–and not just between the LGBT community and certain Christian groups, but among all people across all boundaries. But how can we ever achieve this level of understanding if we ignore each other all the time?

  2. “Hate” is a strong word, it is not even the corect word to use. “Christians” do not “hate” LGBT people. They only view them as sinners. However, they believe everyone is a sinner, that there is not perfect person. It is true that if they believe in the Bible they should have compassion on and love everyone, but that does not mean that they have to love and support the sin.
    Yes, there are people who call themselves Christians however they mistake hating the sinner for hating the sin. They are looked upon as judgemental and hateful. They forget that they are sinners as well they just struggle with a different sin. There are also people who call themselvas Christians that do not practice as one, which gives true Christians a bad name. However, there are people like this in every religion.

    It really shouldn’t be a shock that he was against homosexual marriage with being an open Christian. However, he didn’t say that he hated the people who are for it, he just stated that he doesn’t agree it is right. He doesn’t withold service from them, there is not question on an application to withold a job position from them. He does not hate the people.

    Ultimately what will this do? Show that you support LGBT? Great, there are other ways that show your support. Chick-fil-a is not the only business that disagrees with this modern controversy. You said sexuallity is a private matter, if you show it openly would that not change? It is what drives this argument, it is no longer a private matter.

    Stay away or bring the fight to them? What is the point? It will not change what they believe is truth, rooted in their religion. What they believe to be true has remained the same for thousands of years, this will not change that, nothing can. If your goal is to change their perspective on the matter, this will not do it. The only way to do that is to change what they believe is truth, and that is impossible.

    But do remember that just because they hate the sin doesn’t mean they hate who practices it. They do love the person, how could they not? They believe that everyone is a sinner, if they hated the sinner there would be no one to love.

    • Ms. Doe, please forgive my use of the word “hate,” although I believe it is the correct word to use in regards to these people–those same people who “mistake hating the sinner for hating the sin,” as you have described it. These people are being hateful. I know plenty of Christians who are the nicest, kindest, most compassionate people I know–and I have to believe they are the ones that Christ would praise for their good values. These are not the people I’m referring to. I’m referring exclusively to those people who justify personal bigotry and close-mindedness with the Bible. Yes, there are people like this in most faiths, but in regards to this issue, the Christian voice yells the loudest.

      Sexuality can only be as private as situations demand it to be. We are being discriminated against for something that shouldn’t matter to anybody else. Being gay doesn’t show in the color of my skin or the shape of my face or my accent or anything else–it’s a totally internal identity. How else can we make a stand unless we take what should be private and make it public? I’m not advocating for people to have sex in public, and I’m certainly not encouraging anything more than would be acceptable of heterosexual couples (whose sexuality is sometimes much more flagrant than any gay person I know), but what I am saying is that if we do not actively make ourselves visible, we will forever remain invisible. And last time I checked, no one changes for people they don’t see. I sincerely believe, once equality has been obtained and people stop caring if you’re gay or lesbian, sexuality will once more become an issue that can remain private because there will no longer be any need to make it public. However, does shopping with my boyfriend make my sexuality any more “public” than does a woman and her boyfriend shopping together? If not, why is there a double standard when it comes to this?

      In regards to your comments about their perspective–by which I assume you mean the idea of marriage existing as one man and one woman–existing for thousands of years and not changing, I encourage you to look up the case of Loving vs. Virginia–a case from 1967 that finally struck down anti-miscegenation laws. I do believe, around that same time, the very same arguments against same-sex marriage were used to defend the notion that people of different races should not be allowed to legally marry. If that is the world you would still like to live in, be my guest, but don’t expect to see me waving to you at a street corner, because in the world I want to live in, love is love and equal really does mean equal.

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