Posted by: Genny Colby | August 1, 2012

Boycott…or not?

So today is Chick-fil-A Day.  What is this you may ask?  What is all the hoopla about Chick-fil-A right now?  Quick recap in case you missed it…the CEO of Chick-fil-A recently gave an interview where he expressed that his company is supportive of families, as long as they meet the biblical definition of family. So Mike Huckabee has called out for all those in support of Chick-fil-A’s stance on family to visit their local Chick-fil-A today in support.  And I suspect, in response to everyone who has expressed the need to boycott Chick-fil-A for this position on family.

As you can imagine, this has set off quite the debate on news programs, in print, and in the blogosphere.  I have been struggling with how to write my thoughts on this topic, though you can probably get a pretty good idea of where I stand by reading my previous post on marriage .

Not unexpectedly, there are passionate people on both sides of the argument.    Once this story broke the hubby and I had a discussion about our future patronage of Chick-fil-A.  One the one hand, we do like the food at Chick-fil-A better than most fast food places, our daughter likes Chick-fil-A and adores their mascot, Cow.  They tend to be better staffed, cleaner, friendlier, and in general if we have to eat fast food, a more pleasant experience.  BUT we believe a family is made up of people who care for one another, who want to be there to love, support, and encourage one another, regardless of race, gender, political, socio-economic, or sexual identity.  In other words, we support any and all families be they “traditional” or not.  (We can debate the concept of “traditional” families another day).  In the end, we have decided that for the most part, Chick-fil-A will not get much of our business.  Just like Wal-mart, Domino’s Pizza, and Copps Food Stores get very little (if any) of our business.

But what I really want to address is the statement I keep hearing that this is NOT discrimination, but rather a matter of free speech.  That the CEO was just exercising his 1st Amendment right.  Okay, I will agree that he has every right to express his thoughts, ideas, and beliefs.    We all have that right.  And no, we don’t all have to agree with one another (though we should be respectful in our discussions and debates).  The difference here is that not only did he express HIS beliefs, he expressed that these are the beliefs of his whole company.  Now he is not just speaking for himself, but for his business, and admitting that they make their business choices based on this belief.  Okay, so far it is still mostly free speech, especially since it is not a secret that Chick-fil-A has a strong religious presence in their business practices.

To me where this crosses from just a free speech issue is that Chick-fil-A has given millions to organizations that are anti-gay and promote hate and discrimination.  Now the company has taken not only a moral stand, but a political one as well by giving money.  Yes, they have every right to give money to organizations of their choosing, but by these choices, they are supporting hate and discrimination.  So no, this is not just a free speech issue.

It would be different, in my opinion, if it were just the CEO’s money that was donated.  If he wants to donate his own money to these groups, he is obviously free to do so and his latest statements would stay mostly a free speech issue.  But it is not just his money, it is done in the name of the corporation.  So now it does become about discrimination and hate at a corporate level too.

And how is the call to boycott Chick-fil-A after these statements any different from say the call to boycott JC Penny after they named Ellen DeGeneres as their spokesperson, or featured same-sex couples in their ads?  How is this different from the recent call to boycott Amazon because their CEO gave millions to the effort of marriage equality?

No matter what side of the debate you are on, lets call a spade a spade and admit that this is more than just free speech.  This is about discriminating against a group just because they may look a little different, or they have a different definition of family, or because who they have chosen to spend their lives with is not the choice you would make for yourself.

 

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Responses

  1. Yup. But hold on, tell me more about Copps?

    • Copps bought out Kohls Food Stores. Kohls Food employees had been a part of a union. When Copps bought them out, they laid off all the employees, thus dissolving union. They then said all those employees could reapply for their jobs, but they were all at lower wages, higher benefit rates, and they made it so that union could not really get re-form. I did not like how they treated the employees so we decided not to shop there. Whether you are pro union or not, firing them all then inviting them to reapply for their jobs at lower rates just sucks. Not to mention that only a very small percentage of those who applied for said jobs actually got them.


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