The Chik-fil-A Flustercluck: What’s Next?

For all the buzz about “boycotting” Chik-fil-A, we haven’t really seen anything that formally organized yet.

Basically, thus far, what we’ve seen is a big corporation telling part of the public that “We don’t want your money here,” and that part of the public unsurprisingly responding “OK, then, you can’t have it.”

This latest corporate flustercluck is mostly following the standard script for what happens when a business decides to fire off a volley in the culture wars on a matter wholly unrelated to its actual business.

Smart businesses don’t do this. When you politicize and polarize your non-political product, you reduce the overall pool of potential customers.

Think of the Ronald McDonald House. Even if you view McDonald’s support for its flagship charity as nothing more than a cynical PR ploy to purchase good will with the public, you have to acknowledge that it works. Named after the World’s Least-Funny Clown, this charity aids and comforts the families of sick children. Who could possibly object to that? The philanthropy boosts good will toward the company without alienating any potential customers.

Or think of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the philanthropic focus of rival fast-food chain Wendy’s. It promotes adoption for foster children. Who’s against foster children? No one. (Well, actually, pretty much everyone. The deck is mightily stacked against these poor kids from the get-go and they’re always first in line for budget cuts. But what I mean is that no one harbors a visceral antipathy to foster kids. In the abstract, at least, everyone is in favor of them.)

Shrewd businesses that rely on a broad consumer base tend to support innocuous, utterly unobjectionable charities. If you’re starting a new fast-food chain, I’d suggest making a big show of your philanthropic support for, say, Alex’s Lemonade Stand. If you come out in favor of research to fight childhood cancer then you’ll appear more favorable to everyone else who favors that. And you know who favors research to fight childhood cancer? Everybody. You won’t have to worry about losing the business of people who are pro-childhood leukemia because no one is pro-childhood leukemia.

(Yet. Eventually it will occur to the tea partiers that “Obamacare” is anti-childhood cancer, and that means they’ll have to be for it and we’ll start seeing pro-leukemia rallies across the country. I’m not joking. We’ve already seen rallies vehemently opposing medical care for poor children, and elected officials “proudly” prohibiting medical aid for families who can’t afford it. So we should expect the right wing eventually to be as explicitly pro-leukemia as it already implicitly is.)

Chik-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy seems to subscribe to a marketing plan modeled on the sort of political campaign that thinks it’s more important to “fire up the base” than to try to win over swing-voters and independents. He’s banking on the idea that by telling LGBT customers to take a hike, he’ll see an increase in the enthusiasm of the anti-gay teavangelical Chik-fil-A fans who currently provide a big chunk of his company’s revenue.

That’s possible, in the short run. But in the long run it seems self-destructive. Enthusiasm wanes, but customers can carry a grudge forever — particularly when it’s a deeply felt and completely legitimate grudge.

So again, this seems to be following the standard script. Chik-fil-A will take a short-term PR hit which will eventually fade somewhat, but millions of customers will be reluctant to eat there ever again as Chik-fil-A comes to occupy in their minds the same space as Domino’s pizza or Brawny paper towels — a right-wing company that has declared itself an enemy of their interests, their families and their freedoms.

Chik-fil-A has also secured for itself an enduring status as a punchline, a joke. That ensures that its brand will, for a long time to come, be associated with prudery and bigotry. Like all big companies, Chik-fil-A has spent millions over the years trying to make its brand “cool.” The “eat more chicken” billboards with the cows were an effective campaign to make the brand seem friendly, funny and likable. The company seems determined to undo all of that, cementing a reputation as unfriendly, unfunny, unlikable and the epitome of uncool.

That will likely prove expensive in the long run. Which means the company may soon realize that it needs to find a way of undoing its own undoing of its reputation.

And that means that an actual boycott could be particularly effective here. A boycott demanding a specific, focused change from the company would have a good chance of achieving that change because it would also, in a sense, be throwing Chik-fil-A a lifeline — a way to clean up the PR mess it has made for itself.

Now, this isn’t up to me and no one has any reason to seek or to heed my advice. But I’m a blogger, after all — tossing out unbidden and unwarranted advice is my job. So below the jump is a hasty sketch of what I would do if I were organizing a boycott against Chik-fil-A.

1. Set aside the comments made by executives and focus on the financial support the corporation is providing to anti-gay political efforts. Two reasons for that. First, comments made by executives don’t really work as the focus of a boycott. “The CEO must stop saying stupid things!” isn’t the kind of specific, measurable demand that a boycott can effectively address. A boycott could demand that a CEO resign, but that’s unlikely to inspire broad public support unless the CEO in question is guilty of something seriously criminal. (Plus, keeping a chastened CEO in his post is sometimes more effective than scalp-collecting.) And second, it’s Chik-fil-A’s financial support for anti-gay lobbying groups that is the real, tangible harm here. So I would focus the boycott on stopping that tangible harm.

2. Some of the groups Chik-fil-A supports hold anti-gay beliefs. Others are dedicated to an anti-gay agenda. This distinction matters quite a bit. It undermines the argument against Chik-fil-A to confuse the two groups. The Family Research Council is a hateful, pervasively political group dedicated to denying civil rights and legal protections for LGBT people.

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is not like that. FCA is not a political organization or a lobbying group. It’s something more like Campus Crusade for Christ. It’s run by conservative evangelicals who all seem to believe the weird set of urban legends about sexuality that most conservative evangelicals believe, but that’s not the group’s focus. It’s focus is on proselytizing and on putting a Tebow in every huddle, not on using power politics to do others harm.

Don’t misunderstand me. If the question were “Is FCA anti-gay?” then then answer would be a clear yes. And God have mercy on any LGBT young person who gets caught up in that “ministry.” But that’s not the primary or secondary focus of either the group itself or of its supporters. Donors to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes — including Chik-fil-A — contribute to the group in order to support its “muscular Christianity” and its proselytizing. If you want to promote an anti-gay legal agenda you don’t give money to the FCA, you give it to the Family Research Council. Which leads us to my next point.

3. The Family Research Council hates LGBT people. It hates them and it works hard to hurt them at every turn. The Family Research Council is a far, far bigger threat to the LGBT community than Chik-fil-A will ever be.

FRC’s crimes against its neighbors include telling hateful lies about LGBT people every day, 24/7, in every media outlet and every media platform it can find. It tells those lies to promote hate — to stir up anti-gay sentiment and spread it as widely as possible so that they can solicit funds from anti-gay donors and so that they can use those funds, in turn, to influence legislation. The legislation FRC supports denies civil rights and legal protections to LGBT people. It hurts them. It changes the law so that the law will hurt them. That makes the Family Research Council a much worse enemy of LGBT people than Chik-fil-A. So let’s put the focus on them. Let’s go upstream and use this boycott opportunity to make the corner boys roll over on the bosses.

4. Given all the above, the specific goals I would set for this boycott would be: 1) A public apology for supporting the Family Research Council and its affiliates, because financial support for a hate group is unacceptable; and 2) A corporate policy restricting charitable contributions from going to political lobby groups.

The apology is necessary because an apology is called for, but it’s also an effective reminder that the Family Research Council is shameful and that even associating with the FRC is shameful. Decent people do not give money to the Liar Tony Perkins.

The change in policy would prevent Chik-fil-A from using its foundation to funnel money to political groups and to political action against its neighbors. It’s a post-Citizens United world, of course, so Dan Cathy could simply turn around and create a “super pac” that he could use to secretly pour company profits into whatever anti-gay political efforts he saw fit to support. But the change in policy would deal a blow to the idea that anti-gay politics somehow counts as “charity.” And it would deal another blow to the FRC by setting a precedent against their claim to be philanthropic.

5. I think Chik-fil-A could be persuaded to take that deal as one of the few options they have for damage control at this point. They don’t seem to be interested in such options right now, but a few more weeks of doubling-down and seeing how much worse that makes things for them will likely persuade them otherwise.

It may seem that this bargain let’s Chik-fil-A off too easy. Frankly, I’d accept letting Chik-fil-A off easy if that also meant shifting the pressure onto the Family Research Council. But here’s the thing about boycotts — they linger. Back in the 1990s, one activist nun told me that her congregation still avoided California table-grapes. If a boycott is based on a legitimate grievance, then the negative associations with the product will endure long after the organizers’ demands are met.

In exchange for the policy change and the apology, organizers would call an official end to the official boycott. But those millions of people reluctant to patronize right-wing, anti-gay businesses would remain reluctant to eat at Chik-fil-A. And comedians looking for the epitome of bigoted prudery will still be using the chain’s brand as a punchline. So I’m not really sure this bargain would let them off that easy.

  • Nequam

    Eventually it will occur to the tea partiers that “Obamacare” is anti-childhood cancer, and that means they’ll have to be for it and we’ll start seeing pro-leukemia rallies across the country.

    I swear, some days I think we need to let them know that “Obamacare” AND environmentalists cry when you mix bleach and ammonia together to clean things.

  • aunursa

    Given all the above, the specific goals I would set for this boycott would be: 1) A public apology for supporting the Family Research Council and its affiliates, because financial support for a hate group is unacceptable

    From strictly a strategic point of view, that might be a bad move.  I question whether past customers who are now boycotting Chick-fil-A* would return to the restaurant based on an apology for supporting the FRC.  However I expect that such an apology would anger Evangelical Christians and, ironically, cause them to retaliate by boycotting Chick-fil-A.  Rather than damage control, such a move would alienate their current supporters and thus cause both sides to avoid them.

    Reminds me of the Susan G Komen Foundation controversy regarding the funding of Planned Parenthood.  After SGKF apologized and changed its stance, I don’t think that its funding has recovered, as both sides of the abortion issue now hate the Foundation.

    * That’s the spelling according to the CFA website

  • Jennyjames53

    Good thinkin’, Lincoln.
    And well presented.

  • aunursa

    WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS COMMENT WHILE EATING

    Enthusiasm wanes, but customers can carry a grudge forever — particularly when it’s a deeply felt and completely legitimate grudge.
     
    Reminds me of the exact opposite reaction I have to a controversy involving Wendy’s restaurants.  Remember the finger-in-the-chili hoax?  Wendy’s and their employees suffered unjustly because of the greed and deceit of a husband and wife who planned the fraud.  She inserted a portion of a human finger into the chili, then pretended that she bit into it.  The ensuing publicity cost Wendy’s millions of dollars in lost revenue as customers avoided the franchise, leading to the layoff of many Wendy’s employees.  The hoax was exposed and the couple were sentenced to jail time.

    Ever since, I make it a point to regularly visit Wendy’s to support them.  I joke with my wife: “Say, let’s go over to Wendy’s for some chili fingers.”

  • Tonio

    And comedians looking for the epitome of bigoted prudery will still be using the chain’s brand as a punchline.

    Such jokes might be the ultimate punishment, like this image. Can anyone suggest variants to CfA’s slogans that would imply a Ted Haggard or George Rekers type of externalized self-loathing?

    http://instinctmagazine.com/images/stories/thumbs/L2hvbWUvaW5zdGluY3RtYWdhemluZS9wdWJsaWNfaHRtbC9pbWFnZXMvc3Rvcmllcy9ibG9ncy9qaGlnYmVlL2p1bHkyMDEyL1NjcmVlbiBTaG90IDIwMTItMDctMTcgYXQgMS4zMC4wMyBQTS5wbmc=.png

  • http://twitter.com/pooserville Dave Pooser

    I’ve said a few times that Obama can win this thing going away by declaring October 31st National Do Not Drink Drain Cleaner Day. The cry would go up from around the 27%: “Obama is sayin’ that people shouldn’t drink drain cleaner! HE’S NOT THE BOSS OF ME!” And when the survivors vote, Obama wins even Mississippi and Alabama on his way to a 50-state sweep.

  • walden

    So, Mr. Slacktivist, perhaps instead of designing a more effective boycott/campaign for free, you could as an experienced media professional who understands the evangelical communities in all their complexity, you could send a proposal to Chik-Fil-A to help them solve their problem.  Then get paid to help them figure out they should dump FRC but not FCA, and how to talk respectfully to the people on each side of the current dispute.  Result: You get paid, objectionable conduct gets amended, you get paid, the world is a slightly better place, and also you get paid.

  • PurpleAardvaark

    I don’t care what they say about gay marriage, there’s no way I’m going to ingest a chicken sandwich with 1400 mg of sodium in it.  That’s more than I want in an entire day. 

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     Reminds me of the Susan G Komen Foundation controversy regarding the
    funding of Planned Parenthood.  After SGKF apologized and changed its
    stance, I don’t think that its funding has recovered, as both sides of
    the abortion issue now hate the Foundation.

    Quite frankly, I would love to see that.  I’ve had a long-standing personal boycott against Chick-fil-A.  And by “long-standing,” I mean, “Since 2010 when I moved to Texas,” since they didn’t open any CFA’s in Chicago until after I was in Texas.[1]  I didn’t like them because they’re extremely cult-like and I knew that I found the personal views of their leadership abhorrent.  That said, I have been in a couple times just to see what the big deal is.  First, the food isn’t that great.  Second, I actually feel uneasy being in one of their buildings.  It’s very odd.

    But that’s neither here nor there.

    In the past year or so we’ve had three big PR fights on the standard Evangelical issues: JCPenney’s hiring Ellen, SGK/PP, and the gay pride Oreo.  Evangelicals lost all three fights in a big way.  I was reading the other day that Chick-fil-A has already taken a massive hit in PR standing, going from being well above average in public esteem to being slightly below the mean.

    For a long time Evangelical Christians have exerted an outsized level of control on public behavior.  They call for boycotts.  They write letters.  They’ve been active and loud and companies have been scared of pissing them off.  Now that we’re in a world where news travels really fast and slacktivism takes all of five seconds on Facebook, we’re learning that there really are more strongly opinionated people out there than just Evangelicals.  If popular companies can take a massive, overnight PR hit for pandering to Evangelicals, then it’s going to quickly become clear that pandering to Evangelicals is a bad idea.

    I don’t see a single problem with that.  We’ll see the culture warriors screaming about the Gay Agenda and whatnot, but we get that all the time, anyway.  So I don’t see any net loss.

    [1]For the record, I know this was the discussion the other day, but I think Rahm Emanuel’s stance and the dude in Boston’s stance on this are flat wrong.  As individuals they can say, “I don’t like that company,” but as government representatives they should not be banning any company unless the company is breaking a law or regulation.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    It’s focus is on proselytizing and on putting a Tebow in every huddle, not on using power politics to do others harm.

    Quite frankly, I fail to see this as the lesser of two evils.  Athletics have such an outsized influence on culture that trying to make sure that there are Christian culture warriors in every huddle — and, by extension, locker room — just means that there will be plenty of bigotry in sports.

    Also, I hate the fact that we have one Tim Tebow, let alone one Tim Tebow per huddle.  Guh.

  • Emcee, cubed

     This so reminds me of one of my favorite bits in a series I read. Cops are called to where a man has died. The wife very calmly tells the police that she made a pie with a very large concentration of poison. She then very distinctly told her husband not to eat the pie she just made while she went out to the store. She made it very clear to her husband that he shouldn’t eat the pie, she was saving it, and she didn’t want him to eat the pie. She even told him that very bad things would happen to him if he ate the pie. Of course, he ate the pie as soon as she left, and died from the poison. The cops arrest her, and while we don’t actually see the outcome, the opinion of the officer in charge is that a good lawyer could probably argue it and get the woman off.

  • Tonio

    Exactly. Although Tebow’s showboating type of prayer is inappropriate in a workplace setting (they really should be charging him air time), I have no animosity toward him personally. From what I’ve read of him, he’s been raised and molded from a relatively young age for the role he’s playing. Instead of trying to place recruiters on teams like a pyramid scheme, groups like FCA should really serve as support for the athletes who want it. 

  • Loki100

    You would think after Target’s problems a few years ago, business would be smart enough to know better…

  • Jared Bascomb

    A few years ago my mother was accosted by a total stranger while grocery shopping. He recommended that she not purchase a jar of Newman’s Own spaghetti sauce because Paul Newman is/was a liberal. To Mom’s credit, she put the jar in her basket and told him that all of Newman’s profits went to charity.

    So, this man was willing to boycott a line of products because the profits would go to something undeniably *good*, like the charities that Fred mentions in the post.

    Sheesh.

  • Jessica

    Fred, I think I’m going to organize a chick-fil-a boycott.  You’ve inspired me. =)
     

  • aunursa

    I’m not understanding your point.  You would love to see what?  Chick-fil-A get clobbered by both sides?

    Or are you arguing that if CFA apologizes, and then Evangelicals revolt, the result would demonstrate that Evangelical boycotts are all bark and little bite?

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    I’m not understanding your point.  You would love to see what?  Chick-fil-A get clobbered by both sides?

    Yes.  On a visceral level I would enjoy that.

    Or are you arguing that if CFA apologizes, and then Evangelicals
    revolt, the result would demonstrate that Evangelical boycotts are all
    bark and little bite?

    Also yes.  But it’s not about the effectiveness of Evanglical boycotts in a vacuum.  The power of Evangelical boycotts in the past was based on the fact that there didn’t tend to be a strong counter-move, so it was easy for Evangelicals to say, “We’re going to stop buying your stuff and you’ll be out of business by the end of the month!”

    I don’t see how these are mutually exclusive outcomes.  If CfA reverses itself and takes a big hit from the Evangelicals also has the benefit of forcing companies to think twice about getting in bed with Evangelical culture warriors.  It might get you a loyal fanbase, but that fanbase will turn on you really fast if you step out of line with their demands.  So the option is to limit your growth potential, stay neutral, or side with the folks who the Evangelicals can’t stand.

    My overall preference is for companies to stay neutral.  But in a situation where allowing partner benefits for same-sex partners and things like that are considered an impressive move by a corporation, I’m okay with the corporation taking a “controversial” stance.  Specifically because it’s only controversial because Evangelicals say it is.

  • caryjamesbond

    See, Fred touches on one of the problems with boycotts.

    My grandfather always said “Society is built on the twin pillars of reward and retribution.”  So the boycott is the retribution.   Ok.  Lets say CFA completely changes its stance. Fires  the CEO, donates a cool million to pro-LGBT groups, the works. Where’s the reward?

     See, that nun he mentions? Forgot that the Delano grape strike WORKED.   The workers got what they wanted. That was the point where she should’ve switched to all Delano grown grapes, to reward the growers for their actions.  If CFA changes their mind at this point, all they’ll do is alienate more customers. Pro-LGBT rights people still won’t eat there because, fuck ‘em.  And anti-LGBT rights people won’t eat  there because they gave in to the gays.  But if you say  ”Here’s a million of us.  We won’t eat your food until you change, but if you change, we all  pledge to buy one sandwich a month for the next year….”

    THAT will get some attention. That’s a  direct cost-benefit analysis that the suits can make a chart out of.

    The world is a negotiation. You want to get, you got to give. You want CFA to change their ways? Give them a reason too.  Yeah, it’d be a great world if moral arguments were enough, but it ain’t.

  • Vermic

    But those millions of people reluctant to patronize right-wing, anti-gay businesses would remain reluctant to eat at Chik-fil-A.

    So, kind of a Procter & Gamble outcome, except truth-based.

  • ReverendRef

    but customers can carry a grudge forever

    Yes.  When I was all of 8, our family had a Ford Fairlane (I believe that was the model, but it was certainly a Ford) and it had a really cool feature:  you could open up a locked door by using the handle (iow, the door unlocked “automatically” when you pulled the door handle).  I thought this was incredibly cool because it saved a step when getting out of the car.  That is, until I was messing with the handle on the road one day and almost fell out of the car at 40 mph.  To this day I will not buy a Ford.

    Something a bit more substantive about the post, I’m wondering what the likelihood of of the ACC and SEC agreeing to pull their association with the Chick-fil-A Bowl would be.  Realistically I’m sure it’s next to nothing.  But that would be a HUGE statement if two conferences were willing to back away from a bowl sponsor because of what they do and how they harm people. 

    I know, it ranks right up their with my dream of Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski resigning from UNC and Duke after the people of North Carolina passed that abominable Amendment One.

  • Aberm

    I will be buying a sandwich for every post I read against Chick-Fil-A or Dan Cathy and give them away to those that are hungry making sure the people who receive them know it comes from Chick-Fil-A. (Its adding up but between myself and my friends we can afford it all.)

    Keep up the great work Dan and Chick-Fil-A!

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     I will be buying a sandwich for every post I read against Chick-Fil-A or
    Dan Cathy and give them away to those that are hungry making sure
    the people who receive them know it comes from Chick-Fil-A.

    Go on, you crazy kid, you.

    And be sure to ask for an extra side of santorum sauce.  It’s frothy and delicious!

  • Vermic

    Can’t wait until you run into a hungry gay person and your brain crashes from paradox.

  • aunursa

    If CfA reverses itself and takes a big hit from the Evangelicals also has the benefit of forcing companies to think twice about getting in bed with Evangelical culture warriors.

    If CFA reserses itself, apologizes for supporting the FRC, and takes a big hit from the Evangelicals without that hit being offset by a recovery of some of the goodwill that it lost when Cathy opened his big mouth, then in the future companies that find themselves in the middle of a controversy will think twice about changing sides or apologizing.

    The executives will think: “Oops! We made a big mistake in choosing Side A over Side B.  Should we apologize for choosing Side A?  No, that would only antagonize our customers who support Side A … and there’s no evidence that our former customers who support Side B will be satisfied.  After all, look at what happened to Chick-fil-A — their apology for supporting FRC lost them thousands of Evangelical customers … and yet the apology did not cause pro-LGBT customers who had left them to return.  Better we should just wait and let the controversy die down.”

    My overall preference is for companies to stay neutral.

    My overall preference is for companies to keep quiet about their political leanings.  I don’t make my shopping decisions based on which companies support liberal causes and which support conservative causes.  Just as I don’t choose my friends based on political identifications.  Hopefully companies will learn not to trumpet their political activities so as not to risk the wrath of half or more of their customer base.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     The executives will think: “Oops! We made a big mistake in choosing Side
    A over Side B.  Should we apologize for choosing Side A?  No, that
    would only antagonize our customers who support Side A … and it’s
    unlikely that our former customers who support Side B will be
    satisfied.  After all, look at what happened to Chick-fil-A — their
    apology for supporting FRC lost them thousands of Evangelical customers
    … and yet the apology did not cause pro-LGBT customers who had left to
    return.  Better we should just wait and let the controversy die down.”

    That’s always possible, too.

    I like to believe that CfA taking a huge hit from both sides would convince other companies to think twice before doing something stupid.  But I’ve also been known to fly on United, talk on an AT&T phone, watch Comcast cable, and bank with JPMorgan Chase.  What do all those businesses have in common?  Most people hate them.  I’m not a fan.  But here we are.

    Of course, fast food choice is somewhat more fungible.  It’s a lot easier to stop going to Chik-fil-A than it is to switch banks.

  • Tonio

    Calling this a political issue demeans the people affected by it, as if there were valid and reasonable good-faith arguments on both sides. This is fundamentally about the dignity and worth of every individual, something that for any individual shoudn’t even be up for debate. Same-sex marriage shouldn’t even be controversial, just as interracial marriage shouldn’t have been controversial 45 years ago. Strip everything else away from Cathy’s stance and activism and it’s discrimination against a group of people based on a personal characteristic. No matter how he tries to justify it, it’s still hate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Honestly, if an anti-gay person really did buy and distribute Chik Fil A food to the hungry, I would probably respect them. Not their opinion, but them as people. It’s rare that people like this take their beliefs and translate them into positive, constructive action.

    (Look at how many people are patting themselves on the back for eating waffle fries at a fast food restaurant; I don’t have any problem with them eating CFA but the fact that some want to compare it to a  kind of “Greensboro sit-in” is absolutely nauseating. You have a right to your opinion but having an opinion doesn’t make you some kind of hero.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You know, this is why I keep talking about institutional and countervailing power…

  • Lunch Meat

    How many sandwiches will you be buying if you actually make the effort to understand the positions and reasoning of the people writing those posts?

    (Not that feeding the hungry isn’t a good thing)

  • michael mcshea

    Good analysis of a good name brand that will shortly sell out to a big conglomerate that is willing to mix mediocre chicken in with a cluster food court selling 31 kinds of ice creme with beef burgers, soft pretzels, and nostalgia Chick-Fil-A buns and stuff.  Pride made Cathy brag about “I built it myself” and pride precedes Cathy’s fall.

  • Amber

    I am pretty sure I understand where the people writing these posts are coming from I just do not agree with them So… none.

  • VMink

    If you actually give that food to hungry people, I’ll be extremely surprised.

    Thanks for the laugh. =)

  • Ursula L

    If the question were “Is FCA anti-gay?” then then answer would be a clear yes. And God have mercy on any LGBT young person who gets caught up in that “ministry.”  

    It seems to me that any mercy involved in considering that question is not needed by QUILTBAG folks targeted by the group.  Because “mercy” is for people who have done wrong, tempering the judgment against them and their punishment.  

    Saying “God have mercy on young LGBT people” implies that the LGBT people have done something wrong, and you are charitably advocating for mercy when judging and punishing their wrongdoing. 

    A QUILTBAG person who has to deal with the harm done by groups like FCA needs not mercy, but justice.  The justice of seeing every right-thinking person supporting them and opposing FCA.  The justice of seeing the FCA get the treatment it deserves – at the very least, the group and everyone involved in it gets ostracized and shunned because they’re being obnoxious and damaging society and no one wants to support that.

    The people in FCA may need mercy, because the consequence of choosing to support a group that discriminates and harms should be pretty bad, and not something we’d wish on anyone, even if they deserve it. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/fader2011 Alex Harman

    What series is that?  It sounds a bit like some of the secondary plots in the Lucas Davenport novels (times when other detectives ask Lucas for advice on their own cases, which aren’t otherwise relevent to the main story), but I think I’d remember it if it were in one of those books.

  • Mark Z.

    “Calling this a political issue demeans the people affected by it, as if there were valid and reasonable good-faith arguments on both sides.”

    It IS a political issue. It’s being contended by politicians, in the arena of politics.

    As I understand aunursa’s argument, it’s that business leaders should avoid making noise about political issues that don’t directly impact their business. That’s not entirely unreasonable, even when one side is overwhelmingly right on those issues.

    Chick-fil-A employs several thousand people. A boycott, or any other action that impacts their business success (like denying permits), mainly threatens those people, because they’re minimum-wage unskilled workers, and the way American corporate culture works, their jobs are the first to be sacrificed. It also threatens their suppliers, who probably also employ a lot of people who don’t have many career options. When executives at a company like that use the company as a vehicle for their political activities, they’re effectively using all of those people as hostages. There’s a good argument that it’s immoral to impose that risk on them, independent of whether those activities are good or bad.

  • Emcee, cubed

     It was a very short bit in one of JD Robb’s In Death novels. I’m not sure of which specific one, as she is up to something like 32 in that series, so while I have a good handle on the major plots of each, the smaller scenes aren’t as easy to pinpoint. (I think it may be one of the earliest ones, since I seem to remember that it was one of the neighbors in Eve Dallas’ apartment building. And being that Eve moved in with Roarke in something like Book 3, it would have had to have been before that. But I could be misremembering, so…)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     I agree with what you’re saying. I think what Fred meant was “mercy” in the sense of “compassionate treatment of someone you have power over”; it could be in a situation where the mercy receiver has done something wrong or simply a situation where one person has power and could get away with wielding that power against another (or, in the opposite, could get away with not using that power to help the other) but chooses to do the right thing out of an innate sense of mercy.

    I do agree though, justice seems a lot better.

  • Joshua


    Because “mercy” is for people who have done wrong 

    I’ve often seen the saying “God have mercy” used in bad situations, with no implication that the person behaved badly to create the situation. I’ve also seen it used specifically because the person is a sinner.

    I think the word mercy just has more than one meaning, so your implication doesn’t actually follow.

    I do not think that Fred is claiming LGBT people who work at this place have done anything wrong.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    My overall preference is for companies to stay neutral.  But in a situation where allowing partner benefits for same-sex partners and things like that are considered an impressive move by a corporation, I’m okay with the corporation taking a “controversial” stance.  Specifically because it’s only controversial because Evangelicals say it is.

    Thing is, there’s no such thing as “neutral” on civil rights. If they mean to treat gay people the same way they treat straight people, then that is taking the “pro-gay” side. If they mean not to, that is taking the anti-gay side.  Between the two of them, you’ve covered all the options.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     I am pretty sure I understand where the people writing these posts are coming from I just do not agree with them So… none.

    Then I, for one, am sad for you due to your insistence on being without mercy and closed-minded, especially since I’m guessing that you’re being closed-minded in the name of someone who called for understanding and mercy.

  • Joshua

    Content note: Corpses, and of course clowns. My sense of humour may not be for everyone, may not be safe for your workplace, and may make you ill.

    the World’s Least-Funny Clown

    In contrast, I think the world’s funniest clown is 
    http://www.redmeat.com/redmeat/meatlocker/deadclown.html.

  • Tonio

    It IS a political issue. It’s being contended by politicians, in the arena of politics.

    While that’s technically true, my point is that this isn’t like a school board deciding where to site a new facility. Categorizing the issue as simple politics gives one side credence that it doesn’t deserve. That’s the side that is essentially arguing that how a minority should be treated under the law should be decided by the majority. That’s why the upcoming SSM referendum in my state is so outrageous – the question shouldn’t even be on the ballot at all. It’s like saying that, say, the right of a Catholic minority to vote is subject to the approval of the Protestant majority.

  • AnonymousSam

    Do you agree with this?

    One of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order.

    Source: A pamphlet being distributed by the FRC, one of the organizations that Chick-Fil-A supports.

    If you do agree with this, then I’m not sure you have any business being here. You would clearly be too hateful and stupid a person to believe anything actual human beings would tell you.

    If you don’t agree with this, then perhaps you ought to be asking why you’re praising a company for supporting this kind of blatant, horrible untruths.

  • Ursula L

    I do not think that Fred is claiming LGBT people who work at this place have done anything wrong. 

    I quite agree.

    The problem is, anyone who shares the mindset of the FCA actually believes that LGBT people are doing wrong and need mercy.  Which means that, when reading things like this, if they see Fred saying “God have mercy on LGBT people” they’ll nod and agree that LGBT people are doing wrong and needing mercy.  

    So it is a situation where the mild ambiguity, easily sorted by people who know Fred, is something that is not just ambiguous, but ambiguous in a way that makes Fred’s message seem less in disagreement with them than it is. 

  • Tonio

     I agree that there’s no neutrality when it comes to civil rights. But I disagree with the homophobes that there is such a thing as pro-homosexuality or anti-heterosexuality. Because you put “pro-gay” in quotes, I suspect you share my view. They’re trying to delude us into believing that SSM imperils opposite-sex marriage.

    Until DOMA, I had no idea that SSM would have even been illegal. Twenty years ago, SSM might have struck me as strange, but I wouldn’t have conceived of it being illegal. Dumb question – if a court clerk defies a state law and officiates for a gay couple, are either the clerk or the couple vulnerable to criminal prosecution?

  • Joshua

    Fair enough

  • aunursa

    As I understand aunursa’s argument, it’s that business leaders should avoid making noise about political issues that don’t directly impact their business. That’s not entirely unreasonable, even when one side is overwhelmingly right on those issues.

    That’s the lesson.  Last month very few people were aware of Chick-fil-A’s political activity. 

    Attempts by conservative activists (especially religious conservative activists) to boycott companies that support socially liberal causes fail because few religious conservatives care about the socially liberal activities of companies unless they are in-your-face.  It’s widely known that the owners of Ben & Jerry’s support the Democratic Party and other causes associated with the left side of the political spectrum.  Nevertheless, B&J’s doesn’t need to worry about a conservative boycott because B&J’s political activities are largely kept under the radar.  (Also they make a delicious and innovative product.)

    Likewise, attempts by liberal activists to boycott companies that quietly support conservative causes typically are not effective in changing behavior or punishing the company.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     Thing is, there’s no such thing as “neutral” on civil rights. If they
    mean to treat gay people the same way they treat straight people, then that is taking the “pro-gay” side. If they mean not to, that is taking the anti-gay side.  Between the two of them, you’ve covered all the options.

    Yeah.  That’s the problem.  I don’t want companies putting money into political elections.  I’m strongly anti-Citizens United.

    I do want companies to treat people like people.  I don’t think civil rights should be a political issue, since I don’t think we should be electing officials to vote on whether or not gay people should be treated the same as straight, black the same as white, etc.  But so long as someone is making it “controversial,” I’m in favor of anyone who takes that “controversial” stance.  In that case it takes someone with deep pockets and national prestige saying, “Nope, this is normal.  Deal with it.”

  • marie

    Your first sentence was witty and made it’s point.  The second one was just gross.

  • Matri

    Dumb question – if a court clerk defies a state law and officiates for a
    gay couple, are either the clerk or the couple vulnerable to criminal
    prosecution?

    Unfortunately, yes. If it has been made into state law, then they have legal rights to bring criminal charges for breaking it. Why do you think the religious right have been pushing for it?

    Remind me again, why are they still tax exempt?


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