A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich

Like an Old Testament miracle, Chick-fil-A founders last week reversed themselves and decided to stop contributing chicken sandwich money to organizations spearheading the right-wing conservative movement to dismantle same-sex marriage nationwide.

Like an Old Testament miracle, Chick-fil-A founders last week reversed themselves and decided to stop contributing chicken sandwich money to organizations spearheading the right-wing conservative movement to dismantle same-sex marriage nationwide.

Further, CfA owners decided to tamp down their public, evangelical and pious pronouncements about God-sanctioned marriage and promised that its WinShape Foundations, its non-profit arm, won’t be contributing money to groups opposing same-sex marriage.

It gets better: The company also released a memo, “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are,” to all operators and corporate employees outlining the company’s first-ever stance on fair and equal hiring practices, treatment of employees and service standards of customers promising to  “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”


That’s a relief. Fried chicken for the rest of us.

As a heaven-bound lesbian I wish I could say CfA executives did all this because of an apparition from God, moral contrition or even a splash of cold water to the face.

However, they did it because in business the Benjamins speak louder than God.

I am not buying the sudden kindheartedness for kindness’ sake because I fully understand: 1) the economic and lobbying power wielded by 21st century gays and lesbians and 2) what a nasty precedent Chick-fil-A would’ve set for themselves had they continued publicly lambasting something as benign but politically charged as same-sex marriage with the arrogant expectation that someone somewhere wouldn’t rise up in a tactical boycott against them.

Joe Moreno, a Chicago alderman, along with growing support from notable gay and lesbian rights groups like the Civil Rights Agenda, was successfully blocking the construction of a proposed Chick-fil-A on Chicago’s north side. Moreno and his gay and lesbian lieutenants spent 10 months chiding and negotiating with — and probably bullying — chicken executives to change their (un)Godly ways.

And it looks like they’ve won.

Between 2008 and 2010, according to ABC News, the chicken peddlers have proudly donated $3.2 million to conservative groups like the Pennsylvania Family Institute, the Marriage and Family Legacy Fund, Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage, groups that advocate the protection and sanctity of marriages between one man and one woman and also believe that same-sex marriages hurt families and threaten children. They’ve even thrown a few bucks at Exodus International, a group that “cures” homosexuality like it’s bacon or a mental defect.

And in America, there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of that. I love and respect it all, regardless of how insidious and dangerous it is because it’s information. And I love regarding all things with information; it informs my future decision-making.

I support the Cathy family’s right to do what they think is right (wing) with their money and influence, even when it comes to trying to stop human progress.

Because impeding human progress is the American way and I have been socialized to live and let live, even when mofos do not want me living as freely as they.


Because I have the freedom of written expression, also an American birthright.

And being a loudmouth — whichever form it takes — is a birthright given to us all.

Owner and founder S. Truett Cathy made his millions the old-fashioned way: He worked an original idea of pressure-cooking chicken, added a pickle and sold his sandwiches by the truckloads, eventually opening the first Chick-fil-A outpost in the basement of an Atlanta shopping mall. He trained his boys in the business, held his morals close, stayed true to his Christian faith and made it the company’s business to close on the Sabbath, a day of church, family and rest.
I would have so much more respect for the Cathy family if they’d stood their collective ground and even moved their intended construction plans some place else.

There are plenteous places in America that would roll out the welcome mat for a sparkling new Chick-fil-A joint. Judging by the hordes of morbidly obese chicken smashers who showed up at their restaurants a few months ago in support of the Cathy family when all the same-sex brouhaha first hit the grease, there is no shortage of Evangelical Christians who feel the same.

The Cathy family reversal is a whirlwind.

It must come as a shock to their loyal customers.

Why, earlier this year, President and CEO Dan Cathy said publicly and vehemently that we are “inviting God’s judgment” when we “shake our fist” and act like we know better than Him what constitutes marriage.

What must the corporate meetings have been like around that big, mahogany, chicken-stained table when the Cathy family decided to quiet themselves down around lifelong beliefs espoused so passionately and openly?

What does it feel like to now eat crow for money at the table where you once prayed God’s mercy on the sin-sick?

“I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about,” Cathy said months ago in a reported interview, wherein he stood firm on his beliefs against same-sex marriage.

“Guilty as charged,” he said. “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.”

I used to give God thanks for those crispy, greasy, salty, hot chicken sandwiches and those cross-hatched cottage fries and a root beer, my combo meal drink of choice.

Then I realized the Cathy family and I may be serving two vastly different definitions of God and the Jesus my mother taught me to love espoused patience, kindness, washed the feet of whores and hung out with miscreants.

It was real easy for me to quietly stop giving the Cathys my hard-earned money three years ago.

And unlike them, I’ve stuck to my convictions.

CONTACT KATHY Y. WILSON: [email protected]

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