I haven't eaten at Chick-fil-A in years. Don't get me wrong, I think adding pickle juice to the batter is genius, and the stuff does taste pretty good. Really, I'm weary of the Chick-fil-A story. This seems another slacktivist moment, and I'm weary of those, too. Click this. Like that. Repost if you have vaginal warts. Sick of all the faux activism from all sides. Sick of the posturing. Think it's ridiculous we have to actually talk about whether or not LGBT folks should have the same rights and privileges as every other citizen in the U.S. Why is that even a question? I'm not surprised that Christians are getting behind Dan Cathy (there's a gay joke there. see it?), and I'm not surprised they have the story wrong. My facebook wall is currently full of well-meaning Christians and political conservatives opining about the Chik-fil-A story.
Brief recap. Dan Cathy said this to Baptist Press:
"We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that."
No surprise there. The man is the 60-year old son of a 90-year old conservative Christian. People in their 90s are opposed to many things, including divorce, marriage equality, interracial marriages, lesbian adoptions, pole dancing meth heads, and 2 for 1 Wednesday at the Whore House. They're 90 for fuck's sake. Conservative Christians are opposed to many things as well, and many of those things are on the 'What Scares 90 Year Olds' list. Dan Cathy is 60 and a conservative Christian. Guess what? His list is very similar. This much we can all agree on: there is no surprise here.
However, when I saw one of those someecards pinned to a friend's pinterest account, I learned that social media was going to start fucking this story up badly. (That sentence would have made no sense a few years ago; it still makes no sense to most 90 year olds.) The card said something to the effect of asking the Christian CEO about his views on gay marriage and then getting upset about his answer. See, the difference? It's the liberal media's fault for asking. Only the liberals or liberal media didn't ask the question. Cathy said what he said in an article for Baptist Press, hardly the liberal media. No liberal I know of solicited his opinion. That's a minor quibble, though, but I would appreciate conservative friends getting it right.
What the liberal media or mainstream media or lamestream media (whatever Michelle "McCarthy" Bachmann is calling them these days) did ask Chick-fil-A was how much money they gave to defeat marriage equality in 2010. The answer was about $2 million. See, that's more of a story. It's not that a nonagenarian, Christian billionaire said he's opposed to gay marriage. That is no story. That is almost so pedestrian as to warrant a shoulder shrug, and having it printed on Baptist Press where only conservative Baptists give a shit what is printed there should have relegated the story to a double shoulder shrug. That a company gives $2 million to defeat marriage equality is a story. Make of that what you will.
The ecard was the first thing I saw. Next was the Gene Wilder meme with him asking when boycotters were going to stop purchasing gasoline since it comes from Middle Eastern oil where there are no human rights. This is a false analogy for many reasons, but more than anything else, it's wildly hypocritical. The boycotters typically don't support unrestricted trade with nations that violate human rights. Congressmen, senators, energy companies, and billionaires do. The boycotters would love to stop purchasing gasoline period, I think, and that could have been a very real possibility had conservative politicians not spent the past four decades getting paid off by energy companies so as to torpedo all attempts to change the energy industry away from oil. To now say that liberals or gay folk or boycotters are being hypocrites is to pretend the past 40 years didn't happen and that plaintiffs and defendants are fungible. Such is the logic of conservatism.
Then, I saw this:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Let's take out some words so it will make more sense: Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech... That's it. It's illegal for Congress to make laws against free speech. Simple, right? Apparently not. My conservative friends now believe that this Chick-fil-A debacle is a free speech story. It's not. Congress isn't involved. I've heard no plans for Congress to tell Dan Cathy he has to shut the hell up. No officer has arrested him. What he's experiencing is the consequence of letting the public know your private views when you are a public figure who happens to own a big-ass chain of fried chicken stores. Sometimes the public thinks you're a bigoted, senile git, and they stop eating your chicken. The public hasn't said Cathy shouldn't be allowed to voice that opinion. If they had, it still wouldn't be a First Amendment issue because the public is not Congress. See how simple that is?
Now, Christians and political conservatives are going to have a big-ass "Let's Buy Chicken from the Gay-Hating Fried Chicken Chain" Day on August 1. Baptist Press even has a story about how a large seminary in Texas is going to participate. Fantastic. This is America at its best and worst. People exercising their right to purchase the food they want where they want, speak their minds, and support the ongoing denial of basic rights to the LGBT community. God bless America. By eating a chicken sandwich you will make clear that you stand for the right of Dan Cathy to speak his mind—even though no one ever tried to deny him that right. By eating a chicken sandwich you will say to liberals and gay people everywhere that you too oppose the rights of men and women to marry any adult they choose. Be sure to get extra pickles. By eating that chicken sandwich you will make a bold statement that $4 can buy you peace of mind about the moral decay that is America. Leave off the mayo—it looks like...you know, and you don't want people thinking you're gay. Eat that chicken sandwich knowing God is well-pleased with you for conflating human rights and religious preferences. You are absolutely His favorite children, because you understand that you should be able to eat a goddamned chicken sandwich in a wonderful country where you have more rights than other people because you put your dick where the Bible intended it to go.