Chick-fil-A’s “Appreciation Day”, or, Spite is Not a Christian Virtue

Chik-fil-A supporters line up to gorge themselves patriotically. Via LA Times.

This morning, one of the first things I saw on my facebook feed was an explosion of pictures of Chick-fil-A buildings around the country mobbed by evangelical Christians. The lines wrapped around the buildings, out into the parking lot. Fat, shiny SUVs sat cooling off and reminding everybody that their owners were people of means. And I felt sick.

This was no display of Christian love. This was no humble stand for the truth. This was an act of spite. Bloated, aggressive spite, rooted in pride and void of compassion. The evangelicals who showed up waving American flags and shouting sexual slurs were not emulating Jesus. They were piling sacks of coins on the tables of the moneychangers in the temple, not casting them out.

If you stood in line to purchase chicken sandwiches yesterday, knowing the profits were directly supporting a bill legalizing homicide of homosexual people in Uganda, congratulations: you’re worse than the Westboro Baptist Church. You just paid for murder. Funny, I thought you were “pro-life.” I think state-run slaughter of individuals based on their identity is much closer to “genocide” than women aborting unwanted pregnancies.

The language I saw this morning, accompanying the pictures of evangelical gluttony, was all grounded in the concept of “defending freedom of speech.” How interesting. When I was an evangelical-fundamentalist kid, I was taught that Christians shouldn’t fight to defend their rights because God would defend them. I was taught that we were supposed to be like the martyrs, giving up our very right to life for the glory of God. Funny how, in retrospect, the mantra “a lamb gives up its rights” only referred to women who wanted to be seen as equals with men.

Shame on you, Chick-fil-A supporters. Your actions are vile, your hearts cold. Jesus would disown you.

  • Libby Anne

    This is what I’ve been thinking about too – those lines can’t really be interpreted as anything but a blatant display of bigotry.

  • jwall915

    Even though my blog is a food/recipe blog, I did include a post on the whole CFA mess. I’d written a very long post trying to explain, in the most objective terms, what was going on, why people were boycotting, why Dan Cathy wasn’t being persecuted by the boycott, and how disappointed I am in the actions of the mayor of Boston and Chicago. Then I read a blog post by someone as well as followed a FB debate between someone who was at CFA and a gay man living in a state where he cannot get married. I changed my post. I cannot tell gay people how to act/feel toward companies like CFA when the causes they support are so extreme, and go way beyond just the marriage issue. I was really appalled at some of the causes Cathy funded, and I don’t think there’s any excuse to eat at CFA, ever.

    I understand that the mayors of Boston and Chicago were unconstitutional and out of line. I don’t agree with their decisions. I feel disheartened because they fed into the persecution complex and made the whole situation that much worse. So I can understand someone feeling that CFA was treated wrongly, because in a way, they were. But the response was ridiculous overkill, and like you said, an excuse to openly express the spite they feel toward anyone who doesn’t agree with and endorse them. I’m all for free speech, but I can’t imagine supporting CFA knowing what they support and fund. I also got really sick of the whole line about how “our govt. is trying to censor people they don’t agree with.” Really?? Three mayors are “our govt?” The Obama administration was silent about this, as were governors and state supreme courts, the US Supreme Court, and US Congress. Meaning, none of those entities, all more powerful than a few mayors, did not attempt to censor CFA in any way. But “our govt” is trying to shut them down. Right.

  • Claudia Ginanni

    Dear Sierra,
    It is the Chick-fil-A controversy that led me, in a roundabout way, to discover your writing. I think you are brilliant and brave, and I plan to follow your blog closely from now on. What I have learned over the past week about the Christian Patriarchy movement (and about the abuse suffered by people who have been subjected to the kind of “reparative therapy” that Chick-fil-A funds) is frightening and heartbreaking, but also powerfully motivating. I feel as if I can no longer stand idly by while LGBT youth are victimized by people who justify their actions on spurious Biblical grounds, and I am struggling to find an effective response. But your work has made it clear to me that queers are not alone in suffering emotional and physical abuse as a result of supposedly Christian ideologies of hatred.

    I am a lesbian who was raised as a Southern Baptist in Tennessee, and a number of people in my social-media circle have trumpeted their support of Chick-fil-A. Today I posted my first comment on the situation, a Facebook “Note” titled “To People in My Facebook Circle Who Support Chick-fil-A: Are You My Friend?” I’ve posted the same text (with a shorter title) on an Open Salon blog that I started a couple of years ago and have rarely used. I’d be honored if you’d check it out:

    BTW, thank you for calling my attention to the FRC’s lobbying efforts on behalf of the Ugandan legislation. I didn’t know about that, and I plan to add a reference to my post.

  • Andi-Roo (@theworld4realz)

    Christians are funny creatures. They have zero problem re-writing the Bible, their own stances, or history itself, if it means getting their way today. I wrote an irreverent piece on the CFA issue, or as one of my friends calls it, the Tempest in the Teapot, if you’re interested: