Chicago is getting its very first Chick-fil-A in April and people are pretty close to losing their minds as the fast food giant expands across the Midwest. Chicago has enough problems with its collective weight (thanks, pizza), and Chick-fil-A’s staunch stance against gay marriage makes me queasy. The company also has this creepy statement of purpose: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”
That’s a heavy sandwich.
With apologies to my transplanted, salivating southern friends, I know we’ve done you wrong with the weather and we sort of owe you one but we don’t need another fast food restaurant and we definitely don’t need to welcome a business that hides behind Christian values to fuel bigotry.
While I am a vegetarian, I’m not made of stone. The company’s Eat More Chikin campaign is super cute. And I get that people have fond, buttery childhood memories that include the popular sandwiches. But we’re not six, and fast food chicken sandwiches are terrible for both your body and the planet.
I’m not saying you have to shell out for Karyn’s Cooked every day, but there’s a Subway across the street from the new location, so if animal rights and environmentally conscious eating aren’t your things, please, think of your ass! We’re all smart enough to know that 920 calories for lunch (original sandwich, medium fries and medium sweet tea) is too many. Sure, you can order a salad, but you’re at Chick-fil-A. Who orders the salad?
Eating your politics isn’t for everyone and it’s easy to go overboard with the food thing (see the Portlandia episode featuring Colin, the chicken), but there are some companies with politics so against everything I believe in that I simply can’t give them my money. Remember back in the day when Domino’s founder Tom Monaghan started donating to Operation Rescue and a bunch of doctors who provided abortions were killed? Chick-fil-A is one of these companies for me.
The company is very open about their Christian roots, and I like religious freedom. It’s a private company with every right to be closed on Sundays and give people discounts for going to church or whatever. But Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm, the WinShape Foundation, loves to hate on gay marriage and has close ties to the National Organization for Marriage’s Ruth Institute and “ex-gay” activists Alan Chambers and David Blankenhorn.
The Ruth Institute and the National Organization for Marriage’s line is that same-sex marriage destroys the fabric of society, and they’ve worked hard to pass legislation banning gay marriage or taking existing marriage equality rights away from same-sex couples. Chambers, of Exodus International, is a proponent of ex-gay therapy, which perpetuates the idea that there is something wrong with being gay – and after a year of highly-publicized teen suicides linked to bullying and homophobia, can’t we all agree that telling people there’s something wrong with them is a bad idea?
But will denying yourself the joy of Chick-fil-A make the world better for gay people? Across the country, college kids say it will and in Florida, Indiana and New York, students have rallied to get the franchises kicked off campus. Change.org has a series of stories worth taking a look at but it’s too soon to say what will happen in Chicago. The Windy City Times is the best local source for news about the issue and has raised some good points. If there are gay and lesbian Chick-fil-A employees, none have complained of discrimination but that could be because there aren’t any. As the paper points out, the corporation openly favors married people and most of its locations are in states that do not recognize gay marriage, so potential gay and lesbian employees would appear to be automatically out of the running. Because Chicago’s human rights ordinance includes sexual orientation and gender identity, that could also be a key factor as the community decides whether to organize a boycott.
I know many of my butter-bun loving pals can’t wait for April and the chance for a little southern comfort, but organized or not, I’ll personally be boycotting Chick-fil-A.