Saturday, July 21, 2012

The chicken is out of the bag now, silly cow

(UPDATE: The Jim Henson Co., creators of The Muppets that include Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog announced on Facebook it would no longer partner with Chick-fil-A because of the company's president's anti-gay remarks. In apparent response, some Chick-fil-A locations reportedly are posting signs in their doors claiming the toys were "voluntarily" being withdrawn because of safety issues, according to multiple reports on Facebook. The Henson Co. reportedly declined further comment, noting the fast food chain restaurants are on the front lines of the controversy.  Boston's mayor had already declared Chick-fil-A unwelcome in that city because of the same remarks president Dan Cathy made to the Baptist Press recently.)

When. Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy (shown in costume above, left) recently confirmed to the Baptist Press he opposed marriage equality for LGBT people it sent shock waves through the chicken-eating wing of America's liberal-minded community, but I've got to admit I really appreciated his no bullshit answer.

Cathy told the website, which offers "news with a Christian perspective," that he was guilty as charged," which I and many others interpreted to mean bigoted.

"We know," Cathy told the Baptist Press, "that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."

Before you could say cluck-cluck, gay activists began launching calls for boycotts against the fast food chain best known for posting billboards across the country featuring black and white cows that urged people to "Eat more chickin." And conservatives opposed to marriage equality quickly started vowing to do exactly what the billboards suggest. As the furor grew, Cathy probably wondered if he had stepped in a big pile of you-know-what, left not by his chickens but one of his prized mascots.

My reaction was a little less invigorated than some responding to Cathy because I've never eaten at a Chick-fil-A, and I doubt that I ever would have except in an emergency. In fact, I can't even recall ever noticing the location of a Chick-fil-A, although I've certainly seen the billboards on the highway and chuckled at them.

The bottom line for me is that I'm not losing anything because I probably wouldn't have been caught dead eating in one of the fast food chain's restaurants in the first place, regardless of management's position on LGBT rights.

I like to eat good food that is made either at home or at an eatery that takes pride in every dish that it prepares, whether it be a small, home-style cafe or an exotic, upscale restaurant. Chick-fil-A with its mindless, mass-manufacturing of chicken sandwiches just doesn't intrigue me, but I can see how it might appeal to many Baptists who appear willing to thoughtlessly swallow whatever their pastors dish out.

Still, I'm glad that Chick-fil-A's top boss let everyone know exactly how he feels about LGBT people just in case I ever find myself on the highway in one of those "I think I'm starving" situations and decide to settle for the next opportunity for nourishment. Now, I at least know that if the next spot is a Chick-fil-A to drive on a little further. I don't want to help a business guided by an executive with that mindset earn a profit.

But that's not to say I'm going to punish myself to make a point.

I admit there have been a couple of times since the Human Rights Campaign launched the boycott against Exxon that I bought a tank of gas at one of the corporation's stations because I was running on near-empty. I gladly cut up my Exxon credit card many years ago, but I'm not going to push or have my car towed to another gas station just to spite the corporation's management.

Finding a place to eat, however, is another issue. Just as when I see that I've still got a quarter-tank of gas left and plenty of time to locate a more friendly brand, such as Chevron or Shell, I can stave off hunger long enough to locate a friendlier fast food chain.

So let me say, thank you from the bottom of my heart, Mr. Cathy, for enlightening me and all of the millions of other consumers in the country who are either members of the LGBT community or friends of it. We like to be informed about the prejudices of executives of large corporations so we can avoid spending our hard-earned money helping them earn big bonuses.

I know your company has tried to backtrack on the issue, posting on Facebook that you now want to "leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena," but it's a little too late for that. Your subsequent pledge to treat LGBT people with respect if they enter your restaurants isn't good enough. I doubt your sincerity.

The chicken is out of the bag, Mr. Cathy.

If I regret anything at this point, it is my loss of innocence. I'll never be able to look at those billboards again and chuckle, now that I know how bigoted you and the rest of the cows are.

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