I love the recent Chik-fil-A debate, in which the CEO of Chick-fil-A has publicly condemned gay marriage, sparking many public figures to speak out against the restaurant chain.  Regardless of how one might feel about the issue of gay marriage, the fact that Boston Mayor, Thomas Menino wrote a letter to Dan Cathy, the owner of Chik-fil-A and asked him not to expand to his city raises so many interesting questions.  Should our politicians take personal public stands that they are unable to enforce in the body politic?  If the company is not breaking any laws, should Cathy’s personal feelings on gay marriage affect whether his company can do business in a particular locale?  I will leave these questions to more qualified individuals to answer and suggest a call to action each of us can undertake, rather than waiting for our politicians to send letters.

Clearly, when a businessperson makes a public political statement, that person runs the risk of offending potential customers.  Yes, that businessperson may be exercising his or her right to speech, but as moral and thinking individuals, we have a responsibility to respond.  As we all know, the power of the dollar can have a strong impact and where we spend our dollars is a moral decision.  If you disagree with Dan Cathy’s point of view and you support gay marriage, don’t eat at Chik-fil-A and be sure to tell all your friends the same.  Personally, I love the fact that Mayor Menino wrote that open letter to Dan Cathy, but it doesn’t really matter.  Chik-fil-A will open its stores wherever it wants, and the only thing that will ensure that they close is if nobody eats there.

Rabbi Josh Whinston is the rabbi at Temple Beth David of Cheshire, CT and a 2012-2013 Brickner Fellow.

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4 Responses to “Chick-fil-…what?”

  1. On “appreciation day” I wore a sign which read,”Live and let live. Love and let love” outside of Chick-Fil-et . I disagree with Cathy’s views and voiced mine as hundreds and hundreds of religious right customers streamed steadily into one of the stores here in Lynchburg, VA, the one right next to Jerry Falwell’s Libery University. We were all exercising our rights. What worries me is that large donations to anti-gay causes made by the company are being used so that the Christian right can lobby and fund and make their beliefs the law of this land. They have the right to free speech but they are arrogant to impose their concept of morality on others by buying votes to marginalize a minority. None of them will be forced into a gay marriage and they will always have the right to heterosexual marriage and the right to flaunt it and speek in favor of it.
    Also, is no one analyzing hiring practices and work environments in the company? Because only violations there would be legitimate reasons for any kind of legal action. Until then I will just continue not spending money there and urge others to do the same.

  2. This really feels like an “Animal Farm” moment. In “Animal Farm”, George Orwell wrote a satire about a Soviet style culture where the animals were inculcated with information that certain animals were good; the next day, they were fed propaganda that those same animals were bad.

    6 months ago it was politically correct for our President to take a position against “Gay Marriage”. He “evolved” from that prior position. Now the Reform movement is condemning Mr. Obama’s prior position as so vile as to cause ostracism of anyone who feels that way.

    Many years ago our Rabbi, of a liberal reform congregation, called for Civil Unions, and Religious blessings of same sex couples. At the time, this was considered by some to be too liberal, by others to be too conservative, but we did not vilify and advocate the ostracism of folks who disagreed with the Rabbi.

    Is that where the Reform Movement has evolved to? The Temple was destroyed by baseless hatred between Jews. Why are we in this fight condemning people whose religious views are currently “insufficiently evolved” or just too conservative?

    And if the Reform Movement is sincerely and not merely politically in this fight, why are we not condemning everyone, in addition to the Chick-fila president, who shares his opinion? Doesn’t Mr. Farrakhan share the same, plus more virulent anti-gay prejudice? How about Orthodox Jews? How about mainstream Catholics and Muslims? Where do the thought police stop? George Orwell was never more prescient.

  3. btw, you are also using chik-fil-a’s trademark illegally. But, I’m sure you will justify that too. Because you are part of the transformation of the greatest country that ever existed. Why don’t you go transform a country that really needs it, we would be last on that list.

  4. What if he wrote a letter to stop hebrew national from coming to his city because of your religious views. What a pinhead. I myself am standing strong with Isreal and freedom and liberty. While people like you support erosion of our culture. I also support the LGBT people/community but, think they are going way too far. I am always told that I do not understand what it is like to be some other person but, they do not understand what it is like to be me. One thing I do know is who built the greatest country that ever existed and supports the entire world with it’s wealth.

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