Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Chick-fil-A Hates Gay People: But It's okay because they sometimes give you free chicken sandwiches!


Where do I even begin?

Although I've taken early retirement from blogging here on the Advocatus Atheist and I'm doing my best to avoid talking about religion and politics, every once in a while I see something pop up in my social media feed that boggles my mind.

There are times when it's impossible to bite my tongue and I may, from time to time, open my big mouth. This, in turn, sometimes drags me into a larger debate than I initially cared to get into.

Except, sometimes the apathetic stance of not caring is the more damaging stance to take.

Sometimes, you have to speak out and say something against the bigotry and prejudice that people fling about with reckless abandon. 

Sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet and get your intellectual hands dirty with the dialectic.

Chick-fil-A Hates Gay People: My Internet Debate (Part 1)

So, there I was, minding my own business.

Then an article about Chick-fil-A pops up in my feed. Then another. And another.

Several of my Christian friends and acquaintances got up in arms about it. A couple of them even went into full-on persecution complex mode.

I tried to ignore it.

I really did.

But alas, sometimes something so trivial ends up being a bigger deal then it ought to.

This is one of those times.

Let me explain at the outset that I'm not trying to personally attack anyone. But sometimes a stupid belief must be challenged because that belief is also damaging.

And also this discussion happened in private on Facebook, the person doesn't use their real name so the screen-caps are no way in danger of exposing their true identity.

But before we get into it, please understand that the criticism I'll be giving isn't meant as a personal attack against this person. It's meant as an honest critique of a pernicious ideology they hold that promotes a bigoted and prejudiced worldview.

So, an online acquaintance shared this news about Chick-fil-A being denied a commercial permit to open a restaurant in the San Antonio Airport. The San Antonio city council voted on banning Chick-fil-A.

Her initial post looked something like this:

At first, I was confused as to why she'd argue that San Antonio is discriminating against Christian beliefs. They're clearly not. They're discriminating against discriminatory anti-LGBTQ beliefs.

That's a big distinction.

Because not all Christians hate gays. So, clearly, San Antonio isn't discriminating against all Christians. Only the hateful gay-bashing ones.

I see nothing wrong with wanting to ban that type of prejudice from your city or airport, or wherever.

But she was adamant about it being an attack against Christians and therefore was an attack on her Christian faith.

That's a pretty big leap right there.

The only reason for a person to make this kind of leap is because they want to defend their sexist and homophobic ideology by placing it under the banner of their faith. If it's part of their sacred faith, then how dare you criticize it!

Otherwise, she wouldn't have likely said anything.

The San Antonio city council's reasoning makes sense.

If there are a certain amount of gay customers coming through the airport, having a company that actively funds dangerous and harmful charities which in turn direct dangerous and harmful programs that directly affect LGTBQ people, then they might not feel a sense of equality or acceptance by a place that allows such hurtful ideologies.

The article by the San Antonio News 4 states as much when it reads:

"San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior."

It's very simply stated. And I couldn't agree more with the San Antonio city council and I commend them on sticking to upright values and non-discriminatory practices by banning a corporation known for spreading and propagating discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

Now, it's no secret. Chick-fil-A has been accused of an anti-LGBTQ stance more than once. Something that has gotten them into hot water before.

As VOX reports:

So, you have these corporate business owners using their companies as a shield to give to charities and groups that share blatantly hurtful and spread undeniably harmful beliefs and which, as a direct consequence, push unfair and unethical values on the groups they discriminate against.

It's worse than this even. Chick-fil-A has donated to groups that preach that gays "deserve death" and that practice conversion therapy because same-sex marriage is a "rage against Jesus..."

Meanwhile, all the top medical organizations agree. Conversion therapy is harmful and there are no known benefits to its practice. The American Psychological Association, the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Counseling Association have all issued statements against the practice.

But Chick-fil-A financially backs a callous and barbaric practice that is shunned by the consensus of medical institutions as harmful. The fact that gays are the intended target of this practice, a practice of harming gays, should not be lost on us.
Not only this, but when Chick-fil-A's CEO Dan Cathy initially made a slew of homophobic remarks, it sparked enough controversy to prompt him to make the promise that Chick-fil-A would no longer donate to anti-LGBTQ causes, as detailed by the .

But as recently revealed by a ThinkProgress report, this doesn't seem to be the case. 

Chick-fil-A, it appears, has continued to donate to anti-LGBTQ groups despite its claim that it would stop doing so. And so it has continued to actively fund this brand of intolerant homophobia and sexism via the 1.8 million in donations given to anti-LGBTQ groups.

Chick-fil-A Hates Gay People: My Internet Debate (Part 2)

Obviously, knowing what anyone can know through the powers of the Internet and the ability to Google, I was a little dumbstruck by R's comments.

It's quite clear that Chick-fil-A has a long history of bigoted, anti-LGBTQ, anti-gay agendas and remarks and continues to actively fund groups that promote these unethical values.

In fact, the conclusion of the VOX article states it best:

I think the San Antonio city council saw that these unethical values sponsored and funded by Chick-fil-A and its numerous charities did not fit with the inclusive and unhateful views of the majority of the fine people of San Antonio. 

Nowhere in any of this does anti-Christian prejudice entire the equation. This isn't about Christianity. It's about treating your fellow human beings with love and acceptance. And it's about not promoting corporations that actively seek to spread bigotry, harm, homophobia, and anti-LGBTQ agendas.

It's about promoting loving values and demoting hateful ones.

Simple as that.

My friend didn't seem to think so.

But if you know me, you know that I hate bigoted and prejudice views that promote active harm and hate against any group, whether it be gay or Christian.

So, baffled by my friends defense of Chick-fil-A's obviously anti-gay rights agenda, I had to comment.

Of course, I was taking into account the Vox article which popped up when you Google anything Chick-fil-A related, which is why I assumed it to be public knowledge.

I'm not sure if -R was aware of this. But how could one not be? It pops up because it covers all the details of the so-called Chick-fil-A controversy. Unless you're living with your head in the sand, it's hard not to be aware of it. So, I gave her the benefit of the doubt and assumed she had at least a cursory understanding of the events that lead up to San Antonio's decision.

But she seemed offended by my disagreement.

I don't know what a better excuse could be than to tell a well known anti-LGBTQ company that you don't want their brand of bigotry and hate-filled prejudice darkening your doorstep.

That so many Christians should defend these anti-LGBTQ, anti-gay and anti-trans views is troubling. But, again, it's not all Christians.

Loving Christians have no trouble with LGBTQ communities because they know that nowhere in the Bible does Jesus ever say anything against such people. They desire to share God's love by loving their fellow neighbors as themselves. This is the Christian way.

But the question becomes, can you be a good, loving Christian yet support an organization that spreads hate-filled and bigoted views of people you profess to love?

Not if you're truly loving.

But if you're a bigot, then sure.

Chick-fil-A Hates Gay People: My Internet Debate (Part 3)

I thought that since -R seemed to be missing the point -- that you can't support promoters of hate and then claim you had no part in the hate that has been spread -- I thought I'd try to paint an analogy. After all, analogies often help to highlight a point or some nuance or another that you couldn't see otherwise.

So I continued with this statement:

Obviously, my analogy uses race, as religion an race are so often tied together (ask any Jew or Muslim and they'll likely tell you the same) with the hope of showing how by my actively supporting a hateful group I actively seek to promote the spread of this hateful group's hateful and harmful ideologies.

It came as a big surprise, as you may have guessed, when -R not only took offense by this, but admonished me for daring to make such an analogy in the first place.

Respectable disagreement is part of any mature and meaningful dialectical. 

But, the fact remains, disagreeing with someone doesn't automatically mean that you're right and they're wrong. And when it comes to ethical concerns, right and wrong do matter.

So, I had to cringe when -R grew defensive. It seemed to me she wanted the echo-chamber, not cordial disagreement. Therefore, before I could explain my reasons, she shut down the conversation.

And since it was her Facebook wall, I didn't feel I had the right to push the matter any further.

But this isn't my Facebook wall. This is my blog. One in which I carefully examine cultural and political ideas and then share my thoughts on such subjects.

I find it troubling that -R virtue signals here. She doesn't treat her LGBTQ friends any differently than her non-LGBTQ friends. Well, that's great. I mean, if that's all she was doing.

But she uses this dodge to (maybe) convince herself she's a good person even though she pays money to fund an establishment that actively seeks to fund the hate and bigotry of LGBTQ people.

But to criticize the promotion of these anti-LGBTQ values is to be anti-Christian?

How's this?

I personally don't see how the two are connected unless you're going as far to say that anti-LGBTQ stance is inherently Christian.

I don't think it is. And I was a Christian for over 30 years; so I ought to know. (Coincidentally enough, I was a Christian longer than -R has been alive, but that's anecdotal and neither here nor there).

Before ducking out, however, I wanted to clarify that I wasn't trying to ruffle any feathers, but I just wanted to point out the illogic, not to mention hypocrisy, of saying your love your fellow LGBTQ people and then turn around and support overtly anti-LGBTQ groups.

But -R, already defensive for my pointing out you can't pretend to love the LGBTQ community and, at the same time, anti-LGTBQ establishments, had a few more words to say.

Actually, she's right and wrong. It wasn't the only thing I was doing. But, it doesn't take a moral philosopher to see that supporting your fellow LGBTQ community and supporting a company that promotes and sponsors anti-LGBTQ ideologies and rhetoric isn't logically consistent, that wasn't my only point. 

I wanted to turn the discussion to how her criticism of San Antonio's handling of the situation was a blatant misrepresentation of the situation and that playing the persecution card doesn't automatically give you an out in this case. I was setting up my argument by starting with the analogy. 

From there, I was going to explain how it would be illogical to say I love people of color while actively funding a group that promotes hate, bigotry, and harmful ideologies regarding people of color. 

The analogy is sound, even though -R told me not to "compare her religious beliefs to racial ideologies." Both are like-minded prejudices. Both come from a place of ignorance and fear. And if your religion teaches that being gay is bad, then your religion teaches bigotry. 

It's as simple as that.

However, seeing that -R was growing upset, I decided to graciously bow out. And we parted ways.

I don't know if -R was just being cheeky by trying to get the last word in, but I couldn't help but feel it was a little condescending. Especially since she shut down the dialectic before the reasons for the objection could be clearly stated. And, since I'm much older than -R, and I'm not from Texas, the use of hon just rubbed me the wrong way.

Hey, I was doing my best to be polite and present my disagreement as cordially as possible. But -R wasn't having it and didn't want to let it go. Naturally, I could have been the proverbial atheist-smart-ass and drug out the conversation and antagonized her, but that would have been bad form. It wasn't about me embarrassing her on her own page. It was about me pointing out the inconsistency in professing you love your fellow LGBTQ folks but endorsing companies that promote hate and harm on that very same group of people. That's the opposite of loving.

And I found it shocking that -R couldn't make that connection, because in the back of her mind, to have that point made was to voice prejudice against her personal faith.

And, she's not entirely wrong. Any righteous and ethical person would be prejudice against archaic religious beliefs that promote bigotry and hate.

That's precisely why we MUST criticize such harmful beliefs and ideologies.

You don't get a free pass just because you believe in God.

I'm sorry, it simply doesn't work that way.


You may be wondering why I wanted to give my commentary on this little drama. 

Well, my reasons are two-fold.

First, I've seen a resurgence of racism, xenophobia, and intolerance across the board. 

I thought I had said all I needed to say on such small-mindedness, but it rears its ugly head again and again. And every once in a while I just get fed up. It's kind of like playing Whack-a-Mole. You can pound down those degenerate ideologies again and again, but they seem to have a way of popping back up again.

Secondly, I just couldn't abide seeing a friendly acquaintance of mine endorsing a company that actively promotes hate and bigotry and then incorrectly assert it's everyone else who is being intolerant of her views.

She has it completely bass-ass-backward, and I sincerely feel this is one of those times that apathy would only let such narrow-minded views spread without so much as a proper response. That's why I responded as I have.

Before I go, though, I just want to share one last point.

I had all but forgotten about this conversation until a person, who we'll simply refer to as Amy, decided to leave a doozy of a comment. Her comments are pure comedic gold, so I just had to share them.

And then there's dear, sweet Amy. She's the *other* kind of Christian. 

The Planned Parenthood analogy would have been a good one if what Christian propagandists say about Planned Parenthood is at all true. But since we know it's not, it misses the mark.

To be fair to poor Amy, though, I do get her point. Many Christians don't believe in abortion. So, you wouldn't want to support companies that fund things like... hospitals... where abortions frequently take place.

But there's a reason abortions take place at hospitals. Because abortion is a necessary medical procedure in nearly every instance where it is practiced.

It's not, for example, women going into unmarked vans in some darkened alleyway and having her baby ripped out and then thrown into a dumpster. That's pure propaganda.

Abortion is a medical procedure that happens mainly at clinics and hospitals and is carried out by medical professionals, e.g. doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals.

Other than that small difference, I can see what she means.

She's referencing her personal values and how taking a babies life is, in her mind, a wrong much like spreading hate for gays is also wrong. I get it. I do.

But...and you knew it was coming...I would, however, like to point out that deliberately spreading hate for the LGBTQ community is not entirely the same as supporting a necessary and valid medical procedure that is intended to save women's lives. Those things aren't entirely the same in terms of moral equivalence.

The confusion often arises because many Christians buy into the baby murdering rhetoric of radical right-wing groups that want to dictate a woman's reproductive rights. But that's a discussion for another time.

What I really found enjoyable was Amy's chicken sandwich story.

Not only does lovable Amy have gay friends who love Chick-fil-A (for real!) she also once got a free sandwich from them. And that's why it's fine to support Chick-fil-A and their anti-LGBTQ bigotry!

Okay, she didn't exactly put it that way. But when she couches it in terms of the analogy she's responding to, her point comes off as rather comical. Abortion is bad, but free sandwiches are good, so Chick-fil-A is good, even though they're actually really, really BAD.

We love you Amy. Never change.


NEWS 4 coverage:

VOX article:

BUZZFEED on Civil Right Agenda report

ThinkProgress report:

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