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.)


  • Jojosmom

    Wow, this was an amazing post . You hit the nail on the head.

  • Anonymous

    Rhinestone-to be clear, I never mentioned any obligation to be nice, nor did I mention extremism. I spoke to the the fact that many people who participated 1) were either unwilling or unable to distinguish between their particular religious beliefs and our country’s foundational and universal political principles; and 2) were consequently unwilling or unable to articulate what was actually at stake: this was not an attack on Christians or Catholics, it was an attack on free speech.

    In any case, I do appreciate your being willing to offer a demonstration of what I’m talking about (and no, the last was not me being sarcastic).

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    So, Anonymous, you interviwed all these people, and were able to ascertain that their protest really wasn’t any good, because they didn’t know what was ACTUALLY at stake? Everybody participated was inarticulate and confused? You talked to every last one of them, and you know that all of them didn’t care about freedom of speech, therefore, their protest is therefore rendered null?

    That’s quite a feat! :)

    (And, even if some of them were actuated by particular principles, rather than devotion to freedom of speech—still, doesn’t freedom of speech apply to them as well, even if you don’t agree with their principles? Or do people only get to protest when they’re doing it the RIGHT way?)

    • Corita

      I agree with anonymous about tyranny. I happen to think that liberal tyranny is much more dangerous than “conservative” or traditional tyranny, esp. at this period in history.

      And, Anonymous also makes a good point in that, odds are that *many* of the people who went to ChikFilA were not making a particular distinction between personal philosophy/religion and secular law…because so few people seem to be making that distinction at all in politics today.

  • LisaB

    Visiting from Anchoress’ blog… I agree with you that in began with a ridiculous interview and a ridiculous response from the gay agenda:
    “It was ridiculous that anyone could be surprised and outraged by an interview like the one Dan Cathy gave.”
    However, the bullying by elected government officials demanded a response. A spontaneous buycott was a great idea, uplifting, unifying and positive. Besides attacking free speech AND religious freedom those elected officials were abusing their power by threatening a business man’s civil rights . Chilling!

    Nitpicking that people *don’t get* exactly right is silly. MK was spot on with his assessment! And I hope the Chick-fil-A incident is a wake up call for even more people to get active.

    The Anchoress wrote a story a few years ago about how H.S. students rallied around a young man who was being bullied and the bullies backed off. She called it a “Palate Cleansing Feel-Good Story” – I think it fits in with what happened to Dan Cathy. Here’s the story:

  • ahem

    You entirely missed the point. The demonstration had nothing to do with gays and everything to do with this:

  • Anonymous

    Your continued protestations (pun intended) continue to make my point.

    I didn’t say I talked with everyone, I didn’t mention all of the protesters, I didn’t even say most. My original point, and Calah’s too, was based entirely on the “intelligentsia” (that would be you!) on Facebook and the social media in general.

    The substance of my criticism has to do with those who entirely miss the point, like Patricia, when she claims, above, that “this is the reaction by the gay community to everything and anything said or done that doesn’t support their position… They need to know, we aren’t going to take this lying down anymore.” I don’t know about anyone else around here, but I was told back in elementary school that “he did it first!” was not a legitimate reason for pretty much anything. What happened on Wednesday was according to the responses as gauged by social media (read my actual comments before you get your panties in a twist), an emotional reaction that failed to acknowledge the actual principles at stake.

    No one who is part of the whole “Chicken-gate” (as Calah calls it) debacle has done anything “respecting an establishment of religion,” Christian, Catholic or otherwise. What someone has done–a number of someones–is attempt to use government power to curtail a businessman’s right to speak freely regarding what he happens to believe, that is, they are actively “abridging the freedom of speech.” Keeping in mind that the Bill of Rights is a negative charter, that is, it doesn’t enumerate what we can do but rather explicitly enumerates what the government (or any legitimate government) cannot do, this is an attack on Dan Cathy’s freedom of speech not Christianity of Catholicism at large. The constitutional issue here is speech not religion.

    Now no one, me included, is denying you or anyone the right to go out and protest (*cough, cough, some of you more self-righteously than others). But to act as though being clear on the principles at stake is irrelevant is either a naivete of the worst sort. Protesting as a tactic (whether a boycott or a buycott or what have you) is not an argument, it seeks to provoke an emotional response, logically it’s an ad populum argument, a fallacy, and so entirely dismisses reasoned debate. When the protesters are then also vague about what is actually at stake (spend half an hour looking through youtube at all the tapes of protesters who either don’t know why their protesting or else are there for the wrong reasons–they are absurd bordering on idiotic), the whole thing becomes comical.

    So be angry if you want (I often am), but when it comes time to act, take the time to be clear about why you are acting as well as why you should be acting. Respond to the actual argument at hand, not the one you want to be at hand or the one that is most close to your own heart. Make no mistake, we are at war for both the soul of America and for the soul of every American, and every soldier is required to assess the situation and respond to the actual threat (diversion and misdirection are basic tools of strategy, ones which the left are masterful in the use of). Any soldier knows that if they are taking fire from the south and they shoot back to the east, they’re first comically absurd… and then they’re dead.

    You’re either in this to win or not. You pick. From now on untwist your panties before you respond.

  • LisaB

    What someone has done–a number of someones–is attempt to use government power to curtail a businessman’s right to speak freely regarding what he happens to believe, that is, they are actively “abridging the freedom of speech.”

    Perhaps Mr. Cathy should have said like Muslims he is against homosexuality and that gays should be put to death. Then perhaps he would have been invited to a photo shoot with Chicago Rahm Emanuel along with Louis Farrakhan, of course. Oh, and let’s not forget a ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Menino invite the Muslim community and thrown in a little taxpayer money (including homosexual tax money, apparently that’s ok with them for some reason I can’t wrap my head around), too. Naw… this has nothing to do with Mr. Cathy being a Christian. Nope, nothing to see here folks, move along.

    Anonymous, you can believe whatever you want, but *they* attacked Mr. Cathy’s free speech because he’s a Christian. Kudos to all the righteous protestors!!

  • LisaB

    The first paragraph in my post should be in quotes – quoted from Anonymous @ 12:17 pm.

  • Anonymous

    Leaving aside the implied ‘woe is me, life is unfair because others get to do things that I’m not allowed to’ (how very high-school-angst-ridden-teen of you), you continue to miss the point.

    Your claims make it clear that you, and a great many others, are supporting D. Cathy not because he was attacked for exercising his right to free speech but rather because he was attacked and you happen to agree with him. If you can explain how that makes you any different from those on the left who love to cherry-pick what speech is or isn’t allowed–a trait that you, and a great many others, so love to complain about–then I’ll retract my statements.

    Latching on to the particularities of the speech rather than the freedom of speech itself is an inexcusable hypocrisy on the part of anyone who was there protesting against actions which claim that the particularities of a speech are more important than the freedom to speak. Do you not see that by focusing on the Christianity of D. Cathy rather than the principle of free speech, you are engaged in exactly the activity you are fighting against? You are tacitly supporting a mindset that says cherry-picking acceptable speech is legitimate.

    I expect that hypocrisy from the left: they live in a world closed off to the greater truths open to us through our faith. For the very reason that we are open to that greater truth, failing to see more than them is so much less acceptable for us.

  • Cheryl

    Calah, I’m sorry that you’ve been so miserable. Migraines suck.

    I can understand your point of view on the Chick-fil-A circus. Sometimes, people get so caught up in their causes, beliefs, and indignation, they forget that other human beings are involved, they forget to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, and they may even forget why they got fired up in the first place. I didn’t go to Chick-fil-A for a number of reasons (including the fact that there are none within a hundred-mile radius), but I support those who did. Christian haters will hate Christians whether they make fools of themselves, stand up for their rights, sit quietly and turn the other cheek, buy food at Chick-fil-A, or don’t buy food at Chick-fil-A. It’s not about Christianity; it’s not about gay marriage. It’s simply about freedom. Conversely, Obama’s stance on the HHS mandate is not about healthcare or religion or contraception, but is, quite simply, despotism. For those of us who don’t believe what politicians, celebrities and journalists tell us we should believe, Wednesday’s consumption of Chick-fil-A products was heartening. And that, as Leila pointed out, is important in and of itself.