I like Chick fil A. Every time I go, I am greeted warmly. I am told it’s a pleasure to serve me. Even in the drive through. At other places, I am barely acknowledged as my food is thrust at me before I have had a chance to put my debit card back in my wallet. When I’m dining in, I usually have two children with me, one of whom is in a high chair. My food is brought to my table, which keeps me from having to balance a tray of food one-handed while maneuvering the high chair with the other or leaving the kids unattended as I go back to the counter to retrieve my order. (I have had to do both in other venues.) As I enjoy my meal, someone approaches me to ask if I need a drink refill. If someone is nearby when I am finished with my food, that person offers to take my trash for me. As a mother of young children, I appreciate this kind of service. It makes the job of feeding the kids easier and my day more pleasant.
But the recent controversy regarding comments made by the owner of the chain has left a bad taste in my mouth. And it really has nothing to do with what he said. It’s more about the very public response that leaves me wanting to eat elsewhere.
The media picked up on the story, and from there, it exploded. The Jim Henson company announced that it would no longer affiliate itself with Chick fil A. The mayor of Boston declared that the restaurant was not welcome because of its intolerance toward the gay community. Then, Mike Huckabee started a Facebook movement that called people to show their support for Chick fil A by going to eat there on August 1. People turned out in droves. I was not among them.
Going to Chick fil A yesterday would have been A mistake. I am certain that if I had gone I would probably not have had a pleasant experience. There likely would not have been enough workers there to accommodate me and my family in the way we are accustomed. I became convinced of that when I started seeing the Facebook updates from friends saying that the place was packed. That would probably have left me with a toddler, a tray of food, no high chair, and no place to sit. And if I had chosen to go via the drive through, my wait would have been significantly longer than normal. If I could even get to the drive through.
So I had practical reasons for not showing up at “Support Chick fil A Day,” but more importantly, I chose not to go for ideological reasons. And these reasons are not related to my stance on “the family unit.” (On a side note, my own family does not fit with what many would consider traditional or biblical.) My reasons have nothing to do with the right to free speech either. (Wouldn’t my decision not to go assert my own rights?)
I decided not to go to Chick fil A simply because I find the whole thing absurd. One man made one comment that did not explicitly state that he is against same-sex marriage. Rather, he said that he supports “the biblical definition of the family unit.” And all hell broke loose.
Now think for a moment about what he said. Did he condemn those who do not fit what he sees as “the biblical definition?” No. He didn’t even provide this definition, so I’m not sure what all the ruckus is about. Instead, people decided to insert their own definition to suit their purpose. And why did they do this? Because the media told them to.
For me, the real question is why Cathy’s statements even made the news. He is a Christian man who believes his sacred text outlines what a family should and should not consist of. So what? I’m a girl who grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition and has developed into a religious skeptic. Oh, and I’m divorced. You won’t find my remarks on the news. (Yeah, yeah, I don’t own a company, but still, does one man’s unsurprising view matter that much?)
Going to Chick fil A yesterday would have given this whole situation more attention than it deserved. And it would have given the media a thumbs up for making such a big deal out of what would have otherwise gone unnoticed. When all of this dies down, I will go back to Chick fil A because I like what it has to offer me and my family. But I won’t be making some kind of statement when I go. I’ll simply be saying, “May I have a #1 with a Diet Dr. Pepper, please?”