Wednesday, August 1, was declared “Chick fil-A Appreciation Day” by former Arkansas governor and one-time Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Gov. Huckabee is asking proponents of traditional marriage to eat at the restaurant chain today. Dan Cathy, the company’s president and chief operating officer, recently unleashed a fire storm for publicly opposing same-sex unions and acknowledging the financing of campaigns to defeat marriage equality initiatives.
Mr. Cathy said during an interview he is “very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit.” If true, he certainly hasn’t done anything to repeal no-fault divorce laws, make infidelity a criminal offense, or restrict the cohabitation of unmarried persons of the opposite sex.
In failing to do so there is an intellectual disconnect. Once again discussion of traditional marriage or marriage equality has become an “us against them” battle of religion and civil law rather than a discussion grounded in logic, reason, and fairness. The common sense Thomas Paine believed all citizens of the republic possessed, especially to govern themselves, seems in want regarding this issue.
It would be better to invite Mr. Cathy to a public forum where his views can be discussed with those who have equally strong faith, but understand God and scripture differently. Opponents to marriage equality must realize that the momentum is not in their favor. And proponents of marriage equality should keep in mind because a state law is passed or if in the unlikely chance the U.S. Supreme Court shows some support for it, hearts and minds still must be changed.
Common ground and greater understanding with one another is needed. Rather than Chick fil-A Appreciation Day let’s extend a hand in friendship to one another and celebrate “Appreciate Americans Day.” Americans come in all types of stars and stripes.
Paul Jesep is Founder of Corporate Chaplaincy, a firm committed to the spiritual wellness of professionals. He is also Founder of Entrepreneur Spirit, a firm dedicated to furthering an ethical culture in organizations.
© Paul Jesep 2012