Chick-fil-A, finds itself in hot water, making national news headlines once again; and it’s over something completely non-food related.
Wait – come again?
How has the “Eat More Chicken” American restaurant become the disdain of so many protest and boycotts?
It must have been compromised nutrition? No.
How about poor customer service? No.
For sure, unsanitary conditions, right? No.
It’s none of the above. In fact, the national fast-food favorite is known for its outstanding product, experience, and service. So, how did they land in the seat of controversy?
In the last few years, Chick-fil-A has headlined articles with the likes of:
- Chick-Fil-A Charity Still Donating to Alleged Anti-LGBTQ Groups – Fortune
- Left Calls for Boycott of Chick-fil-A over Marriage Stance – PJ
- MediaTrendy Chick-fil-A boycotts don’t go far enough [Opinion]- Houston Chronicle
- Chick-fil-A Is Falling Out of Favor With US Airports – Skift Table
At the center of American news, the LGBTQ community has called for media-wide, in-depth scrutiny of the fast-food favorite, calling into question the designation of their donations, mainly to Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Their findings: that these Christian faith-based organizations hold the view of traditional marriage as defined between a man and a woman, indicating to the liberal group that by the omission of LGBTQ support, Chick-fil-A, therefore, donates to anti-LGBTQ hate groups.
In response, Chick-fil-A spokesperson told Vox that the “sole focus of our donations was to support causes focused on youth and education. We are proud of the positive impact we are making in communities across America and have been transparent about our giving on our website. To suggest our giving was done to support a political or non-inclusive agenda is inaccurate and misleading.”
Let’s break this down.
First, what is this all about?
Humanity was designed with an innate capacity to create. That is how we build culture. That is how we find a true sense of belonging in the world. Free-will is wired in our DNA. It fills most of us with the will to live, survive, and connect. It is inherently human. This is humanity’s greatest power.
Without the freedom to create, we revolt. That is why areas burdened by suppression burst at the seams for freedom of rights and expression.
Advocacy alone is not enough for liberty. The wars of old ring in like a broken record, having repeated one too many times, only to remind us that we don’t yet live in utopia. Human rights must be guarded to be guaranteed; fought for to be protected; and advocated to be upheld.
That is why, though imperfect, the forefathers of America established a government by the people for the people, where the hierarchy could no longer rule over its citizens.
In this pursuit, the Constitution came into play. Its purpose- to protect the rights and liberties of all citizens, such as freedom of religion and freedom of speech, to name two. These freedoms embody the soul of America and provide the protection for pioneers who dream of a brighter tomorrow to speak out on its behalf.
No matter what side of the aisle you stand on, protection for all citizens is one thing we should all agree upon.
We see it. We feel it. It is here.
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage, legalized it in all fifty states, and required states to honor out-of-state same-sex marriage licenses in the case Obergefell v. Hodges. This began the LGBTQ movement rippling through the United States and across the world — a social movement that has impacted television, appeared in films and books, dominated news, and changed our educational systems with the intention of unhinging the boundaries of “normal” gender-identification and sexual orientation.
As culture norms shift, the status quo needs to follow suit. Acceptance of change and the pursuit of unity, although not always immediate or possible, is the most desirable response to close the gap between people and groups. It is simple, yet profound, how an organic or intentional shift of perspective to value those alike and those different can restore areas of society that were once oppressed.
Restoring honor for the neglected should not be a left or right or middle of the lane agenda. It should be our communal responsibility as people of a united nation. Together, we should continually strive to uplift one another and advocate for everyone’s freedom whenever possible.
It’s important to note, despite headlines leading narratives with Love vs. Hate, we want to dig into definitions to make educated distinctions and informed decisions about cultural shifts.
Once someone said, not everyone is going to like you. Oh, the grief to not be friends with everyone! But it’s just how it goes. We should choose to love and respect one another, but that doesn’t mean we have to like one another or agree with someone’s behavior, quirks or beliefs. That would be preposterous. For instance, there are those we jive with immediately and those that no matter how much you try it’s just awkward? Have you ever experienced this?
Guess what? – It’s okay. Acceptance and agreement are distinctly different; love required, or love demanded –is not love at all – and if the “love wins” movement requires forced allegiance, then no one wins. Love only triumphs when love is given and received free of charge, control, guilt or blame. In a world, rich with diversity, we can choose to value one another as part of the human race — uniquely-designed and altogether different (which is good and healthy) — without agreeing politically. For one reason, we are not politicians, we are humans.
For a serious history lesson, check out our #HistoryMatters video series on the Uncreative Blog, or click on any of the photos below.
Let’s get back to the news.
Chick-fil-A responds to allegations, “We have never donated with the purpose of supporting a social or political agenda. There are 140,000 people — black, white; gay, straight; Christian, non-Christian — who represent Chick-fil-A. We are the sum of many experiences, but what we all have in common is a commitment to providing great food, genuine hospitality, and a welcoming environment to all of our guests.”
More than words, Chick-fil-A puts their faith into action.
Not too long ago, when Orlando’s famous gay nightclub was battered by the tragic shooting that left the city and nation mourning in the wake of a heinous hate crime, local Chick-fil-A employees rose to the occasion to lend a helping hand. Breaking a longstanding restaurant policy of remaining closed on Sundays, the nearby location opened its doors to provide food to those donating blood and to law enforcement officers who were part of the response effort. AL.com reported.
The need to protect freedom of speech and freedom of religion as these areas of expression intimately shape our lives and communities is a serious, deep and personal matter that requires on-going conversation. So, as media throws Chick-fil-A to the wolves for donating to faith-based groups that provide education and youth sponsorship and that stand for traditional marriage while omitting LGBTQ (not even inciting words of attack, mind you) should be a wake-up call.
In other words, what is diversity if it doesn’t welcome diverse beliefs, perspectives, or political views?
Just flip a page in 1984 to learn why.
Even openly gay South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg says he doesn’t support boycotts of companies over political donations. “I mean, what about all the other places we get our chicken from? Do we know, have we scrutinized the political contributions of the executives of other places that we get all of our food from? … I just want to make sure that we’re not too sanctimonious about this. Because sometimes we put ourselves in this position of judgment that doesn’t really hold up under scrutiny.” For more on Pete Buttigieg, check out our portfolio.
How do we move away from conformity and toward diversity?
Acknowledge there are differences and it’s okay. No wait, it’s actually good! Sameness is boring. Conformity is controlling. Differences create discussions. And when we talk, we learn. As we learn, we can grow. How can we measure if we are growing and if our love is winning? Take inventory. How do we care with words and actions for the ones we disagree with. Do we feed them? Now that is diversity!
What do you think?
How can you embrace diversity and accept people with different beliefs that you may disagree with while respecting their freedom to represent their chosen lifestyle?