How to Ignore the Pied Piper


This post is not going to earn me many friends. Luckily, I’m eight months pregnant, have had a migraine for four days, and am about as cranky as you can imagine a beached whale with a drill going through her head would be, so I’m going to post it anyway, secure in the knowledge that making new friends is not going to happen in my immediate future.

I’ve loved Chick-fil-a since I was a kid. Their food is yummy. Their shakes are divine. Their chicken biscuits are just so trashy…and delicious. (Come on, y’all, admit it. Fried chicken on a biscuit is like something out of Paula Deen’s fantasies.) My dad even operated a Chick-fil-a for several years while I was in high school, and knowing the inner workings of the fast-food chain made me even more loyal. They are committed to cleanliness, fresh ingredients, and good customer service. They’re good people.

That being said, yesterday’s Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day really disturbed me. And when I voiced my annoyance with both sides of the Chicken-gate debacle on facebook, the response I got disturbed me even more.

I expressed annoyance that the whole issue had become overblown, and was told that I was not standing up for Biblical values. I asked that everyone just let it go, and was told that my attitude made others “sad” because I wasn’t supporting traditional values.

Guess what I didn’t say? I didn’t say, “I support gay marriage and hate Chick-fil-a.” Kind of like Dan Cathy didn’t say, “I hate gay people and won’t serve them my delicious chicken sandwiches.”

What I saw yesterday, in the hordes of people swarming into Chick-fil-a and gleefully posting pictures of the crowds on facebook, was an overreaction to an overreaction to a complete and utter non-event. As far as I’ve been able to tell, the inciting incident was an interview by the Baptist Press (and I’m amazed that anyone could even feign outrage over this) in which Dan Cathy reaffirmed his company’s commitment to traditional marriage. This is quite literally the equivalent of an interview with Jezebel in which a well-known gay-rights activist, let’s say, Lady Gaga, said, “yup, I still support same-sex marriage.” Cue the outrageous outrage. Left-wing media outlets began digging up old interviews and company donations and slapping them into histrionic stories, and the LGTB community lost their ever-loving minds over it. Mayors began hysterically talking about banning Chick-fil-a, an absolutely unconstitutional and insane thing to propose, celebrities freaked, the Jim Henson Company threw a hissy fit, and the whole world ended.

Then, of course, the other side had to overreact as well. Mike Huckabee organized yesterday’s “Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day”, Rick Santorum got in on the action, naturally, millions of people waited in line for hours for chicken, my facebook feed was completely clogged with pictures of crowded Chick-fil-a restaurants, and I threw up in my mouth a little.

Why, you ask? Because the whole thing was just. so. ridiculous. From both sides. It was ridiculous that anyone could be surprised and outraged by an interview like the one Dan Cathy gave. It was ridiculous that mayors in America could so completely ignore everything our country was founded on to appease ruffled feathers (lame pun intended). It was ridiculous that Christians could talk about being “persecuted” with the mind-blowing turnout yesterday that supported Christian values.

Now, to give the right to assemble it’s due, yesterday was definitely a victory for the people. It showed Rahm Emanuel and his ilk that the people of America are not going to bow to heavy-handed political attempts to squelch the voice of any and all who disagree with them. That was one good thing…and probably the only good thing. Because guess what was happening yesterday on stage left? Oh yeah, that pesky HHS mandate went into effect.

In case you’re unaware, the HHS mandate is actual persecution of actual Christians. (And if anyone starts the “Catholics aren’t Christians” thread in my combox, I’m going to cyber-punch you.) Let me make this very, very clear: calling someone a homophobe is not persecution. Telling them they cannot follow their conscience and the laws of their religion because birth control is more important is persecution. Empty threats to close a business which could never be legally carried out is not persecution. Actually closing businesses by forcing them to pay huge fines if they insist on not violating their consciences is persecution.

Yesterday’s Chicken-gate was a smokescreen. It was an occasion of mass hysteria incited by the Prospero-like media, who gleefully watched as all the little people danced on their marionette strings, predictably topping each others’ outrage with even more outrageous outrage. And if you refused to dance, guess what? You don’t care about discrimination and basic human rights or, inversely, you don’t care about traditional values or the Bible.

Fine. Color me apathetic if you will, but I’m tired of dancing to someone else’s manufactured tune. There are real issues at stake in this country, and what the CEO of Chick-fil-a believes about gay marriage is not one of them.

(For more coherent thoughts about what was missing from yesterday’s non-debate, go see Brandon Vogt. He pretty much hit the nail on the head as far as what was lacking on both sides.)


  • Rhinestone Suderman

    We get it, anonymous; Christians shouldn’t protest. Unless, you know, they’re not doing it because of Christianity, but to support those principles you approve of.

    Next time, there’s a protest like this, we’ll make sure to run it past you, and get your approval, ‘kay? Cuz, ya know, otherwise we might cherry pick something. Or inadvertantly commit hypocrisy. Or support something else you don’t approve of. Next time, there won’t be a peep out of us, ’till you put your stamp of approval on how we do things! You’ll tell us what to protest, and how, and why, and where, and what for!
    :) /Sarc.

    Because Christians should never focus on Christianity. /Sarc.

  • Anonymous

    Your intellectual and rhetorical ability is astounding, and your solidarity with all of us who share in your faith is tenacious. I salute you for it.

    In the face of such conviction, I feel I must retract all my previous statements. But in my overwhelming pride I cannot help but offer one final thought–don’t worry, not my words, as I’ve retracted my statements in the face of your brilliant intellectual onslaught–from someone who learned the hard way that allowing political stands to be dictated according to a belief shared by a community rather than according to a principle that transcends the borders of all such communities:

    First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
    Then they came for the Catholics,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.
    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.
    (Martin Niemoller: Lutheran Pastor and resident of Nazi Concentration Camps, 1937-1945)

    (You’ll understand, with your intellectual virtuosity, why of all the many forms of the quote available, I chose this one.)

    So you go ahead and cling to that lowest form of wit, Rhinestone. It’s your funeral. Oh, wait, it’s not. It’s all of ours.

    • Josh

      Anonymous – I wish I was your friend sitting next to you as you wrote that. As you went to click “post,” I would have touched your elbow and said, “Dude, hey. I’m your friend and you know I love you, but don’t post that. You’re being a dick.”

  • Jack

    Okay, I get your argument. You are saying that this whole thing is a distraction and silly in some ways and to see what real persecution looks like than look no further than the HHS mandate. More focus should be there (nb, the appreciation day “coincidentally” fell on the day the mandate went into effect). Thus, since that is your argument, I in no way would view you as in support of gay marriage or anything of the sort. However, I think you are observations reveal a large blind spot in your thinking. The hype was manufactured by the politicians and the LGBT community. Politicians actually stated that they stand for the proposition that a business can and will be harassed under color of law simply for the beliefs held by the business owner (I know that the left is really into regulations on businesses, but that one takes the cake). So right there, the reaction to the politicians (buying a chicken sandwich) can hardly be called an over reaction by the christian community. The reaction was not enough in my opinion. The voters of Chicago and Boston should have called for the resignation of those mayors who actually are going to misuse their political power to shut down businesses. If people did not support chik filet, then the only news story would have been the snide, sneering and smearing of the left in the form of bombardment through the media and more politicians saying the same thing. It would have been a disaster had Huckabee not called for the support. Can you imagine cowardly silence on this issue. Its not as if we own the media. We would have had very little voice. So, I am incredibly thankful that people went out there and reminded the elite that we are not going to just get gestapoed out of existence for our beliefs. Also, be careful to not equate both sides reaction as equal. Two dudes kissing in front a family of kids on purpose to make a political point is not exactly the same as the family by chicken in support of the company’s right to have its owner believe whatever he wants to believe. As to persecution, the HHS mandate says that under x criteria you must have insurance that offers contraception, on the other hand, the political trial balloon (which thankfully was shot down, for now) by those mayors and other politicians is to say that if you believe x, then we will run you out of business period, no ifs ands or buts. Now which one is more of a persecution, I ask you. (and just because one is so blatantly illegal, don’t think it could not happen. Did you ever think that you would be sharing a public restroom with a transvestite because it is mandated under law, its already here and will be coming to your neighborhood soon….) Shoot down the trial balloons. These people know they can steamroll us if we meekly go away in silence. We always think their protests and issues are silly. You know what, they keep plugging along and they keep making headway into the culture with abortion, gay rights etc. Fighting the good fight now means fighting at every turn.

  • Tara

    Amen sister! My sentiments exactly. Have you read Jen Hatmaker’s post about it? It was very good. Good luck with that baby.

  • Karen

    I respectfully disagree, Calah, and here’s why. We are trying to raise our children with Catholic values, in a world which has become intolerant of Catholic and Christian values. My oldest son heard about the hullabaloo (and yes, he knows what gay marriage is and why it is wrong in God’s eyes). We decided to go to Chik Fil A before August 1–I think we went the Thursday before. It was full, but not packed, and everybody seemed happy with the service and the food (both of which were excellent). After we left, the kids all said they loved eating there (we had never been before) and my oldest said, “I wonder how many of those people also feel that the guy who runs the place should be able to believe what he believes.” I said, probably quite a few or they wouldn’t have been eating there, they would have boycotted, probably. He said, “Isn’t it great to know that we’re not alone in the world?”

    Sometimes our kids (and us parents) can feel like we’re paddling forward in a backwards flowing stream. And we’re doing it alone. But when we “follow the crowd” we show our kids that no, we’re not misfits. We’re not weirdos. There are other people out there who feel the same. That goes a long way towards encouraging our kids to stay the course.

  • Barbara C.

    We didn’t go to Chick-fil-a on August 1st. I was actually in labor all day, giving birth to baby girl #5 at 5:04 pm. To be honest we probably wouldn’t have gone even if I wasn’t in labor. You couldn’t have paid me to navigate that madhouse with four kids. And I don’t know when we’ll go to Chick-fil-a again. The closest one is a good 40 minute drive one way…I’d have to nurse the baby twice, once when we got there and again before we left to hold her ’til we got home.

    But, when they finally finish building the new one in our town (they’re in the hiring stage) we are going to be eating there like CRAZY. We love Chick-fil-a. We used to plan our trips back home to Kentucky in order to eat at what was then the nearest Chick-fil-a (in Indiana). Our kids love eating and playing at Chick-fil-a. The fact that it is a Christian company just makes it that much more appealing.

    I can understand, though, while Calah feels that the whole thing is ridiculous. My best friend from high school just de-friended me on Facebook over this; he decided that I was a hateful bigot for not only standing up for free speech (and accurate media reporting) but upholding how all people defined marriage until about 10 years ago. I understand the underlying principles at stake, but at the same time I can’t help thinking “All this over tasty chicken….”

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