“Dude. Chick Fil-a. What do you think?”
“Awww, man! You were the first person I thought of when this whole thing went down. I know how you like to get down on some Chick Fil-a!”
“Dude; you know it! I’m down for Chick Fil-a 24/7/365 and 366 on a leap year!”
“It’s all bull sh*t. They need to stop politicizin’ and religiousizin’ my chicken and gimme my damned sandwich.”
With that final statement my brother my brother looked at the screen on his phone and said he had to get back to work. Our Skype conversation ended as abruptly as it began. Succinct as it was – and probably completely nonsensical to you – it made more sense than all the punditry and commentary I’ve seen and heard in the media to date. Here’s why: When I walk into a Chick Fil-a and ask for a number one with a Coke and no ice and four 4-count kids meals at the counter, I have never had the following conversation:
“Hey, nigger? Are you a nigger?”
“Why, yes ma’am. Yes I am.”
“Well, niggers need to stand in this line over here,” the cashier informs me. “Also, we only serve niggers ‘nigger chicken’. You know, feet, beaks n’ such.”
“Err…okay. But I’d really much just have a regular number one…” I begin to protest before the cashier cuts me off.
“Don’t take too much offense, hun,” the cashier states somberly. “We only feed the gays ‘gay chicken’. You know, queer ones that only mate with the same kind. ‘Course, ain’t too many of them. I mean, how’s a girl chick gonna impregnate another girl chick?”
The buck-toothed cashier slides me my tray with a laugh, tickled by the idea of two hens trying to mate with one another.
“Thank you,” I mumble, taking my tray to the front of the restaurant.
“No, no!” the cashier gasps. “You’re a nigger. You have to sit in the back, with all the rest of the niggers and socially unacceptable types. There you go. Straight back. Yep. Right there on that rotting crate is good.”
That. DOESN’T. Happen. Let me tell you something about Chick Fil-a (CFA). I started eating CFA 12 years ago when I moved to Atlanta in 2000. Chick Fil-a got me through some tough times. If ever I want great service and professionalism in the fast food industry, I go to Chick Fil-a. If I want quality food and REAL meat, I go to Chick Fil-a. If I want a relaxing atmosphere while I grab a quick bite to eat, where do I go: you already know it. They have never discriminated at the counter and have never asked me about my race, background or sexual orientation.
When I got pregnant out of wedlock and didn’t have a thing to eat in my refrigerator, I ate Chick Fil-a virtually every day. The portions were large enough to divvy over the course of the day into 2 meals if I needed to. Wendy’s made me ill, McDonald’s meat is disgusting from feed lot to fryer, and Burger Kig is well…ugh… Flame Burnt almost every time.
A funny thing happened while I was the CFA counter and drive-thru week after week. Though the company is founded on Christian principles, no one behind the counter ever took a look at my swelling belly and ringless finger and offered me rebuke. No one ever called me a “whore” or a “trollop” or attempted to pin a scarlet letter “A” to my chest for bearing a child outside of the bonds of holy matrimony. Every time I have visited a Chick Fil-a, countless in the last 12 years, I have always been greeted with a smile and been told it was a pleasure to have been served today. More often than a manager will see me struggling with my tray and 4 pairs of hands and will offer to take my tray and drinks to my table for me. I love Chick Fil-a. My kids’ love for Chick Fil-a has developed since they were in utero. And that’s just the way it is.
I just mentioned the term “holy matrimony”, and it is for this reason that my most cherished CFA has come under fire in recent days. Every company that was ever built in the history of the world has been built on a frame of principles. From pyramid and Ponzi schemes intended to defraud an unsuspecting populace to for-profit enterprises, there is a foundation which these companies stand. Truth, fairness, wickedness or deceit, the substance of that company will be made known in the end. Truett Cathy built his company of his faith, which happens to be Christian principles. All franchises are closed on Sundays. CFA gives money to organizations that support at-risk youth. They also sponsor groups that work toward strengthening marriages in this country, where marriage is defined as between a man and woman…or as the God of the Christian faith defines it.
Now comes this preposterous brouhaha in the wake of Dan Cathy’s (current COO) confirmation that Chick Fil-a is “guilty as charged” on the question of if they define marriage as between a man and a woman. Suddenly he’s a bigot and a homophobe. Suddenly churches and Christian organizations are preaching hate. Man please.
Allow me to explain something: If I, and most serious Christians, have to make a choice on what’s true and fact and just, we’re going to choose what the Bible and Jesus say. Not what the government says, and certainly not what a group of people on the fringe and their band of merry supporters say. That doesn’t mean we “hate” you, it means we have a difference of opinion, based on a difference set of standards. Our standard is Christ, and yours is the whims of your desires, whatever they may be today.
When you drill it all the down, the fact is that Biblephobes and Christ-haters (see how I can call names too?) have always had a problem with Chick Fil-a. They’ve never been able to abide the notion that they would shutter their doors on Sundays to honor the Lord and guarantee a day of rest for their workers. They can’t stand their business model which is based on law and success. And now they are baying for blood and expect the nation to join in because a man spoke honestly about his beliefs. So what now? Are we going to gather all the Hindus together and force them to eat beef even though it is contrary to their beliefs? I thought this was AMERICA. We have freedom of religion, not freedom from it.
Back off Chick Fil-a and end your futile attempts to have me and others of like mind condemn the company. It’s just that – a futile attempt. Dan Cathy has a right to his faith, and to express that faith, and you have a right to eat there or not. I choose to dine with Jesus, thank you very much. If you have a problem with it, ask God about it in the Great Day, and if there is no Great Day, you have nothing to worry about. Either way, I’m straight.