Chip-on-the-shoulder-fil-A

I have to admit, I'm rather surprised at how passionate some people are getting in their attacks against Chick-fil-A.  This story has been circulating around.  And for a while now, I've seen people accuse CFA of being "anti-gay".  But, personally, I think this is just one more example of an overreaction.

To be fair to gay rights activists and those others who say things like this, I have to point out that gay people take this issue personally for good reason.  Being told that you're not allowed to marry, or that your relationship is not based on real love, or many of the other hurtful, thoughtless things that people say is certainly offensive and depressing.  And it's very personal because it's about one's personal life--there's no way to make it not be personal.  So, all of the emotion that gets poured into the activism is quite understandable.  However, like any other emotion, I think there comes a time when it needs to be reined in.

So, Chick-fil-A has donated money to some Christian organizations--some of which actually do have anti-gay agendas, and some of which are at least perceived as such.  This much cannot be denied.  But to take the next step of calling CFA themselves "anti-gay", and even calling for a boycott against them I think is more than mildly myopic.  For one thing, it makes a mockery of our own cause.  It sends the message that we take every little thing and blow it way out of proportion--that we can't even stand other people disagreeing with us.

Let's examine the donations a bit further.  One of the two million was given to a fund entitled the "Marriage & Family Legacy Fund".  I searched that phrase and found only this document about it.  So, it would appear that this is part of the Marriage CoMission.  From the tiny bit of information they have on their website, it really looks like they're just a group of people trying to push for actual strength of marriages, which I don't think is bad at all--in fact, I think it's quite good.  It would not surprise me if this group only wanted to strengthen straight marriages, or even that it openly opposed gay marriage.  But, it really does seem like their main purpose is to strengthen families, which I believe is a noble cause.

25% of the $2 million donated to "anti-gay groups" was given to an organization called "Fellowship of Christian Athletes". This is merely a group that wants to promote Jesus in sports.  Seriously, that's their goal.  Obviously not a goal I agree with, and it's just as obvious that they'd likely be anti-gay, but still not enough reason to call CFA "anti-gay" simply for donating to them.

So, that leaves less than half a million for all the other donations criticized in the Huffington Post article I linked to above.  Focus on the Family and Exodus are admittedly anti-gay.  I don't know anything about the others, but that's only $6,000 together, so I don't think it matters.  Okay, so yes, CFA did actually donate money to groups that are actively campaigning against gay rights.  But, honestly, $12,500?  Considering that CFA makes $4 billion in annual revenue?  Even if the entire $2 million that the article discusses all went to anti-gay groups, that would still be less than one tenth of a percent of their revenue.  I hardly consider that to be a significant amount of money.

But, honestly, let's examine the actions of CFA themselves.  Have they ever campaigned against gay rights?  Have they ever instituted an anti-gay company policy?  Do they fire gay employees?  Do they do anything that could be interpreted as actually being anti-gay?  If so, I am wholly unaware of it.  And if they want to donate some of their money to causes that they think are worthy causes, then why should anyone judge them for that?  Honestly, leave them alone.

The main problem with calling CFA anti-gay when they really aren't is that it detracts from organizations that truly are anti-gay, such as the LDS church, the Catholic church, NOM, and many other organizations.  If you're going to call any group "anti-gay" simply because there are some members in it that personally feel that gays shouldn't be allowed to marry, or because they give some of their money to groups that have an anti-gay belief, then the phrase starts to lose its meaning.

Think how many transactions you would actually do in your day-to-day life if you took the trouble to look up how every organization spends all of its money.  You wouldn't ever buy anything.  You wouldn't ever spend any money at all.  I'm sure Wal-Mart donates money to groups that have views that I don't personally agree with, but if I used that as a reason not to shop there, people would probably think I was being rather ridiculous (also, Wal-Mart wouldn't care because the other 300 million Americans would still shop there).  I mean, really, if you take the time to pick apart a company or organization and see where they spend each dollar that they have, you'll probably be disappointed in every one of them.  So, this seems rather futile to me.

If CFA did actually campaign against gay rights, I would definitely join in a boycott against them (I don't eat there anyway, since they don't put anything other than chicken on their sandwiches--no lettuce, no tomato, nothing that tastes good--but I would join with others in spreading the news and calling for a boycott).  But, the truth is that they haven't.  And I see no reason for a boycott.  I don't see a need to burn any more bridges than I need to.  Boycotting CFA seems like it has as its fruit only making CFA dislike gay people more, and making the general public maintain the idea that we're all just a bunch of angry people who will cry whenever anyone doesn't agree with us.  I certainly don't want that image for myself.

So, what I will call for is more research.  Before you start attacking someone or some organization, look deeper into what the claims are.  And certainly, before you jump on the boycott bandwagon, find out exactly why the boycott is valid.  I mean, do you really want the guilt of putting a company out of business (not that that would happen with CFA) simply because some information was blown out of proportion--that the company you just bankrupted was innocent of any charges you put against them?  I know I would feel bad if I had done that.  There's far too much sensationalism in the media, and I really don't want to contribute to it any.