Eat Mor Crow
The blogosphere and commentariat has been all agog over statements by Chick-fil-A President and COO Dan Cathy, who gave his frank opinion on same-sex marriage. On the Ken Coleman radio show, he offered this wisdom:
We’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage. And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude that thinks we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about.
Chick-fil-A is a privately held company that has made no secret of their corporate culture, which is built on an evangelical Christian foundation. Chick-fil-A stores are closed on Sundays. Hymns are piped into the PA system on the corporate campus.
Long ago, I learned that it’s unwise to (for example) put a political lawn sign out in front of a house for sale. The theory is that buyers would be just as likely to be turned off by my naked political posturing as they would be likely to be supportive of my views.
Chick-fil-A is no stranger to controversy. For example, their aggressive enforcement of a very broadly defined trademark on their tagline “Eat Mor Chikin” opened them up for ridicule when they went full-bore to stop Bo Muller-Moore, a Vermont t-shirt maker who innocently tried to popularize the slogan “Eat More Kale”. The “Eat Mor Chikin” campaign began in 1995 but Muller-Moore began making the shirts in 2000. There are no Chick-fil-A stores in Vermont. Still, the company’s lawyer sent a cease-and-desist letter saying the “Eat More Kale” slogan “is likely to cause confusion of the public and dilutes the distinctiveness of Chick-fil-A’s intellectual property.”
Muller-Moore’s attorney calls this patently ridiculous. He was quoted by The New York Times, saying, “There’s no one out there that’s going to come forward and say, ‘I thought I was buying a Chick-fil-A product but I got this T-shirt.’”
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Chicago (Chick-ago?) Mayor Rahm Emanuel both fil-Aed Cathy, indicating that the Chick-fil-A president’s comments will be used as a political football. For example, Menino’s letter said:
We are indeed full of pride, for our support of same sex marriage and our work to expand freedom to all people. We are proud that our state and our city have led the way for the country on equal marriage rights. When Massachusetts became the first state in the country to recognize equal marriage rights, I personally stood on City Hall Plaza to greet same sex couples coming her to be married. It would be an insult to them and to our city’s long history of expanding freedom to have a Chick-fil-A across the street from that spot.
Chicago First Ward Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno has vowed to block the siting of a Chick-fil-A location in his neighborhood, and Emanuel has announced that he supports the alderman’s position. Emanuel said:
Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values. They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.
Certainly Cathy has a First Amendment right to offer any opinion he wishes on the news of the day. And, in accordance with this, nobody has suggested that his comments should be illegal. But should his business concerns lead him to chikin out of expressing those opinions? Are the responses good politics? What about the (predictable) response from politicians and the LGBT community?
- Chicago Alderman Says Chick-fil-A Is Not Welcome In His Ward (patheos.com)
- Supporters Rally as Cities Ban Chick-fil-A (radio.foxnews.com)
- Read Mayor Tom Menino’s Full Letter to Chick-Fil-A About Not Coming to Boston [Image] (bostinno.com)
- Emanuel goes after Chick-fil-A for boss’ anti-gay views (suntimes.com)
- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Backs Alderman’s Plan to Block Anti-Gay Chick-Fil-A from Opening Restaurant (towleroad.com)
- Chick-Fil-A No Longer Welcome in Chicago Neighborhood (theatlanticwire.com)
- Chicago Alderman: No Building Permits For Chick-Fil-A (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Chick-fil-A exec takes stance against same-sex marriage — USA TODAY (usatoday.com)
- Chick-fil-A’s PR crisis: Chicago, Boston block restaurant chain (prdaily.com)