Is God Punishing Chick-Fil-A?

Poor Chick-fil-A.  With Gawker and Gizmodo, Chicago, Boston, and half the blog-o-sphere tearing them to pieces, I almost feel bad getting on the bandwagon, but the company is digging themselves an unnecessary hole that serves as a lesson to all corporations who purport to stand for values beyond profit.

In case you haven’t heard, a fracas has erupted following statements made by Chick-fil-A’s founder Dan Cathy against the legality of gay marriage (yes, there are still people who can’t deal with the idea of gays getting married).  Additionally, the company has donated large sums of money to various groups trying to maintain a legal ban on same-sex marriage, pushing for constitutional changes in state government, among other things.

I’ve never actually eaten at a Chick-fil-A.  I’m told it’s quite tasty, for a chain.  Like California’s beloved In-n-Out Burger, the company makes no secret of it’s Christian faith, and I don’t have a problem with that at all. As Eddie Izzard so eloquently points out, Jesus was probably a pretty groovy kind of guy with some positive, peaceful ideas until he was murdered by Roman fascists.

For example, on the positive idea side, Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays.  Whether you’re religious or not, taking a break from a 24/7 workaholic life is a very good thing, and it’s bold and commendable for a company to voluntarily shut down for a day.   One would assume a day of closure would lead to lost revenue, but I’m willing to bet it’s quite the opposite – it might earn the company respect from employees and the community at large who are likely to return another day.    More companies could benefit by giving everyone a break.  Beyond that, there are plenty of other Christian values that are well worth practicing in life and business – forgiveness, love, humility… the majority of what Jesus preached are good lessons for a civilized society.   But Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, and certainly nothing about denying anyone’s right to get married.

Yes, for reasons that are very hard to understand, some people are so terrified of the idea of being gay, that they have twisted their own Christian values (with a sprinkling of bizarre Old Testament rants) to reinforce their own fear of something that is in no way whatsoever an actual threat to them, or Christianity, or marriage.

Chick-fil-A’s management wants to use their fortunate position as a successful company to espouse Christian values.  This is all well and good, and in keeping with a sound CSR policy, until the “values” start to become, in fact, un-Christian, unrealistic, and based on paranoid nonsense.

Sorry, but it really is that simple.  Dan Cathy, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and others are just plain wrong and frankly un-Christian in their understanding of homosexuality.  It’s perplexing and I’d need to invite a psychologist in to explain it, but these folks’ otherwise well-intentioned values are being twisted to manifest precisely the opposite of real Christian love.


Uh oh, things just got political…

Anyway, most likely nothing illegal is happening here.    Therefore the moves by Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno and Boston’s Mayor to block Chick-fil-A from opening in their cities are somewhat dubious and probably wouldn’t hold up in court (it may actually be counter-productive).   But the outrage being leveled at the company is justified, and will likely take a bite out of their reputation and profits – maybe a lot more than they realize.

As the company and its defenders double-down on their position they only dig themselves deeper into a hole they have no chance of getting out of without doing a real self-examination of what their values really mean – and opening a real dialogue with a community that is more diverse than they seem to understand.  Doing so would likely change their minds and save them a lot of money and grief.

It’s almost as if God is punishing the company.   Pity they don’t seem to notice.

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of and head distribution for 3BL Media. has grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place. It was acquired in 2017 by 3BLMedia, the leading news distribution and content marketing company focused on niche topics including sustainability, health, energy, education, philanthropy, community and other social and environmental topics.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.

28 responses

  1. I don’t like processed foods, but i’ll have to make an exception now.  I’ll find something on their menu to buy on a regular basis. 

    Thanks for having the courage to support traditional family values. 

    1. Chick-fil-A expresses its support for traditional families values by financing legal efforts that hurt same-gender couples and their families.  It’s too bad that Chick-fil-A … and you … feel it is necessary to hurt others in order to get your point across.  It’s kind of like a dog lover expressing his love by going out and kicking a cat.

  2. Nick, you made some great points. As someone who studied the Old Testament at an evangelical seminary, I’ve become really disgusted with people who claim to be Christian while using what amounts to legals codes in the Old Testament to justify discrimination. As you pointed out, Jesus preached and practiced love. In one account of his arrest, he restored the ear of the servant of the high priest after one of his disciples cut it off. On the cross he is quoted as saying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Clearly, he believed in compassion, understanding, and unconditional love. And clearly, that is something that some people who claim to be his followers often forget about.

    Chick-fil-A has an opportunity to spread REAL Christian values, but instead chooses to be a mouthpiece for Christian fundamentalism. It’s been years since I ate at one while living in New Orleans, and as a vegetarian, I have no desire to ever eat there again. If I did eat meat, and liked eating at fast foods, you can be sure I would never step foot in a Chick-fil-A. As a Christian, I just can’t support a company that supports discrimination.

  3. Take a bite out of their profits?  Hardly. Their restaurants have done booming business the past few days.  Having your free speech attacked by government tends to draw people to your side.

    1. How has Chick-fil-A’s free speech been attacked by the government? Yes,
      their restaurants have done booming business, but until recently, their
      anti-gay marriage stance was implicit and not explicit. Now that it is
      explicit, the company has drawn the ire of not only the LGBT community
      but heterosexuals like me.

    2. The past few days are going to be their best profits of all time. It will die down, but the large LGBT community now knows the truth of where their money goes if buying Chick-fil-A.

  4. Jesus never said that rape was wrong, or incest, or embezzlement, or polluting the environment, or beating your child.  So I guess those things are OK, too?

        1. Vicki, you might want to think about this — the American Psychiatric Association (APA) lists BIGOTRY (excessive prejudice carried to an extreme) as a mental disorder!  Think about yourself.

  5. The BIGOTED vice president of corporate public relations, the man behind much of Chick-Fil-A’s bigotry croaked from a heart attack Friday morning.  Guess God decided “enough” and punished him.  

    1.  No, bullying killed the vice president, whose heart couldn’t stand the stress of unwarranted attacks who have no idea what Dan Cathey actually said or in what context. The critics who misquoted Dan Cathey, planned hate campaigns against Chick-Fil-A, or agreed that the government should ignore First Amendment freedoms and shut businesses down because of the business owner’s free speech, killed him. 

    2. I think you have the wrong guy.   PR guy is not the same guy as Dan Cathy.   It is quite interesting that the “tolerant” people are the least tolerant if someone else dares to have an differing opinion.  I guess “tolerance” is the new intolerance.

      1.  You people are ridiculous when you bring up tolerance in this context.  Bigotry and hate shouldn’t be tolerated.  I won’t tolerate racism, sexism, anti-semitism, or homophobia.  

        You’re certainly allowed to believe whatever you like, but if your beliefs are that a minority group don’t deserve the same rights as you, you’re a bigot and don’t deserve tolerance.

  6. Most Christians who stand for traditional marriage are not against gay people living together in committed relationship.  I am among these.  Tell me what gays/alternatives want.  Hospital visitation?  Healthcare?  Tax benefits?  I have no issue with these and other legal claims.  In my personal life I do not care what others do in their private lives or in their sexual “bedrooms.”  What I am against is redefining “marriage.”

    Gays/Alternatives are welcome to live together, have a civil union, and get whatever legal benefits married couples have – but to redefine “marriage” is something many are opposed to.  Yet Mckinneyhunter2 calls people like Vicki and me BIGOTS.  This is absurd.

    Part of my irritation is that to call someone “bigot,” or “racist,” and now “intolerant” is very poor debate/discussion.  This, of course, is what has happened in Washington DC – rather than using good argument both sides resort to name-calling.  Ad hominem (“to” or “against the man”) is the easy, lazy way to argue.  When teaching Ethics in the university I would instruct my students that using ad hominem reveals that you do not have a good argument.

    Does it ever occur to you, Mr. Mckinneyhunter2, that you are spewing hate when you call someone who disagrees with you a bigot?  For the Christian it is a matter of sacred texts.  I agree that the Old Testament does not take priority in such issues, but the ban on same-sex sexuality is a New Testament concept.  It flowed from the Old Testament and the Jewish roots of Christianity, but early Christianity continued to affirm this ban.  Interestingly I never hear people like Mckinneyhunter2 call Muslims bigots, yet their conservative religious views do not allow for same-sex relationships – you might get killed for this in some nations.

    Let the marketplace decide.  All Mr. Cathy said was that he was FOR traditional marriage.  He probably should have kept his opinion to himself.  You have the right to refuse to patronize Chick-Fil-A.  Millions of others have decided to eat there MORE due to the unfair ad hominem attacks.   ~ Al Baker, Ph.D. Ecclesiastical History 

    1.  You get called a bigot because you are, in fact, a bigot.

      If you say you are against interracial marriage, I will call you racist,
      no matter how much you claim to love and respect people of all races.

      If you say you think women should not work outside the home, I will
      call you sexist, no matter how much you say you love and respect women.

      If you say that gays shouldn’t have the same rights as straights to marry the person they love, I will call you a homophobe, no matter how much you profess to have no problem with gays.

      Haters seldom admit to their actions/beliefs being hateful. 

      YOUR sacred texts have no place in defining other people’s rights.  We have freedom of religion and freedom FROM religion in this country.  You cannot rely on a “sacred” book to justify having rights yourself that you deny to other people.

      And there is no such thing as a “civil union” at the federal level.

      1. Adam, I think you fail to use the term “bigot” properly. Bigotry is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a person who regards or treats the members of a group with hatred and intolerance.” I could just as easily call you a bigot against religious people with whom you disagree. I am not calling gay people by degrading names; I do not mistreat them if/when I encounter them; I would not deny them employment opportunities. As I said in my original post, I am fully supportive of using a “civil union” that would enable them to have certain civic rights. However, you must resort to name calling. I think you are acting more like a bigot. You are acting hateful…against religious people.

        The alternative community is trying to redefine “marriage.” Historically “marriage” has always been considered a union between a man and a woman. MOST cultures have held this view from the beginning of recorded history. There have been some cultures that also believed a man could have more than one wife, but I am not familiar with ANY culture that recognized “marriage” between a woman with multiple men nor a union between two people of the same sex.

        Marriage is not a civil right, otherwise we would all be required to marry. Having sex is not a civil right – if nobody wants to have sex with you it is not denying you a civil right, otherwise a man could use that argument to rape someone who is unwilling.

        Historically “marriage” has been seen not as a “right,” but as a sacred “rite,” a religious rite where a religious leader performs a sacred ceremony. This is the crux of why religious people cannot bend on the issue. You glibly say that I cannot rely on my sacred text, but what right do you have to demand that I not follow my sacred text?

        You are illustrating my point, however. Without a good argument you must resort to attacking those who disagree with you by calling them names. It is hate speech. It is bigotry.

  7. There is a huge difference between not supporting gay marriage and actively supporting discrimination groups!  I am a Christian and disgusted by all these pretentious snobby hatteeful individuals who discriminate.  Its just enough to make me vomit.  In the year 2012 lets stop picking on minority groups!  This is not what Jesus wanted or taught! Shame on you!

  8. Jesus never said anything about homosexuals getting married? Please! Have you ever read the new testament?

    Here is what Jesus said.  “But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:6-9People rewrite the bible to justify their homosexual lifestyle. Same sex marriage is a counterfeit of marriage.

  9. Not Chik-fil-A who  “can’t deal with” a differing opinion, or who is showing actual animosity here.  They simply stated their belief and THEY are the one’s who find themselves before the firing squad!

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