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In Defense of Chick-Fil-A

I have been boycotting Chick-Fil-A since the early 2000s. Back then, I did a radio show on WCUR 91.7FM and I not only devoted a whole show on Chick-Fil-A, but I also talked about it every week for quite a while. I should also add that I love fast food and would probably be one of their customers if they didn’t wear their fundamentalist Christianity on their sleeves. With that said however, today I am going to defend them a little bit.

I hinted on this when I wrote my article on the current controversy with Chick-Fil-A. But today I want to be more straight forward. I 100% support all boycotts of Chick-Fil-A and I 100% endorse same-gender kissing at Chick-Fil-A. That’s great. But I cannot support cities banning Chick-Fil-A from opening their doors to the public. First it was Boston, then Chicago, and now Philadelphia. Sure, it sounds great at first. Chick-Fil-A is a hateful company with a hateful CEO. But they do have a right to be hateful. I would also support the right of a KKK owned fast food establishment to open and do business.

I don’t agree with Chick-Fil-A, but I will fight for their right to be assholes. I would love for them to go out of business, but for me it is all about the means. I want them to go out of business because people stop eating their chicken and they start losing tons of money. I don’t want them to go out of business because the government doesn’t like them.

Religious politicians try to ban stores they don’t like from opening all the time and when they do, I speak out because I don’t believe government has that right. This usually happens in relation to stores that sell sex toys or pornography. It is wrong when the Religious Right does it and it is still wrong when my fellow liberals and progressive do it.

Sure, elected officials can play games with zoning and such, but that doesn’t make it right either. There are important reasons for zoning laws and preventing a company you don’t like from operating is just not one of them. Elected officials can use their bully pulpit to support a boycott, but they can’t and they shouldn’t try to use the law to prevent a business from opening or operating.

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  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    I’m thinking that Mayor Menino in Boston may be getting paid off by the McDonalds/Bk cartel.

  • MaryL

    I agree – they have the right to be assholes and stay in business, if they can, while any consumer can chose to go elsewhere.

  • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

    Sure, they have the right to be assholes and stay in business. But if there is a zoning regulation that can be put in force, that has a real benefit other than keeping out Chick-fil-A, but it also has the side effect of deterring Chick-fil-A, then I’m all for it. Something like a requirement that all restaurants be open on Sundays. Or a crackdown on religious discrimination in hiring practices.

    • dangeroustalk

      It’s already illegal to discriminate based on religion in hiring. But gaming the system to discriminate against a business you don’t like is no different than what the religious do. I don’t approve.

      • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

        I don’t think we should specifically “game the system” against them, or anybody. Laws that target only Chick-fil-A and nobody else would not be fair. But if they’re flaunting employment rules, we should be enforcing them. For everybody, across the board. And if it happens that Chick-fil-A is in violation, we should be able to come down on them for that, as long as we come down equally on anybody else found in violation. If a shopping mall has rules about what hours their stores must be open (and my husband used to run a store in a mall, so I know that at least some malls do) then Chick-fil-A should not get any special exemption on that. If a town thinks a similar rule is to the benefit of their citizens they should be able to enact it, and if that also stops a Chick-fil-A from moving in, bonus.

        Religion has been claiming special privileges for too long. We don’t have to “game the system”. But no special privileges for them or looking the other way because they are “christian” either.

        • dangeroustalk

          Again, I don’t know if there has been a case in which CFA specifically discriminated against someone because of their religion. If there was such a case, then yes CFA should be held accountable. But we can’t pretend such a case exists just because it fits our narrative. We shouldn’t enact laws specifically with CFA in mind. If there are laws already in existence, that is another story. Then CFA should be forced to comply with those laws. Boycotts are a better angle to go in my opinion. They are less morally questionable. Governments shouldn’t force a business out of business nor should they prevent a business because the hold an unpopular opinion or fund legal groups we don’t like.

          • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

            I’ve been boycotting them for years too. I agree that’s the best angle to go on.

            A quick google search turned up that there have been 12 actual discrimination suits filed against them, but also that they are very picky about who they hire in the first place. I’m guessing that there may be a lot of illegal discrimination in their hiring practices, but it’s a lot harder to establish that the discrimination is actually happening than it is with employees. (They don’t have to say why someone didn’t get the job, they just say they hired someone else.) But that’s just a guess. I’d love if if was a way to really investigate their hiring practices, a way we could have some hard data and not just suspicions. But that sounds like a project better for an investigative journalist to tackle. Hope someone does someday.