CFA Appreciation Day – The Triumph of the Ordinary

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The Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day yesterday was historic. It  was historic because it marks a new method of mass protest. I even hesitate to use the word ‘protest’ because it wasn’t a protest. There wasn’t any anger. There wasn’t any hate. There wasn’t any bullying. There were no unwashed crowds of unhappy people holding a sit in and causing other people stress, inconvenience and expense. There were no protest signs, no marches, no noise makers and attention grabbers. There were no revolutionary slogans, no clenched fists, no class warfare, no sullen adolescents in a stroppy mood.

The classic signs of a protest movement were absent. If they were not actually violent revolutions, the great protest movements in history have often had violent undertones. Subtle threats were made. Bullying tactics, financial and political pressure was exerted. Guns were wielded. Behind the scenes in smoke filled rooms men did deals and crossed swords to determine the future of millions. In the great revolutions hoardes of unhappy people filled the streets, rioting and on the rampage they took what they wanted, killed who they wanted and in misplaced zeal for justice overturned an established order.

Even the non-violent protests pioneered by Gandhi and the American civil rights movement had an undercurrent of threat. Nevertheless, they avoided violence and they opened the way to other peaceful revolutions in which ordinary people stood up against injustice and tyranny without resorting to violence themselves. In his great biography of Pope John Paul II, George Weigel shows how the Catholic Church, during John Paul’s papacy, inspired this sort of non violent revolution across the globe. The Solidarity movement in Poland lit the fuse which brought down the Communist Empire with little or no violence. The revolution of Cory Aquino in the Phillipines, and numerous other smaller scale non-violent revolutions in Africa and Central and South America were all inspired by the people and for the people–and most of them were also inspired by people of faith–working from the grass roots upward to change their society for the better.

Yesterday’s Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day was the sort of ‘revolt’ this country needs, but it was even better than the non violent revolutions and peaceful protests which have changed the world because it was so ordinary. It was just plain, ordinary Americans getting in their cars and doing a plain, ordinary American thing: going out for lunch to a fast food joint. It was just plain, ordinary Americans doing something plain and ordinary, but positive and joyful and good. In buying an ordinary tasty chicken sandwich at their corner fast food emporium ordinary Americans were expressing the wish to be left alone to be ordinary Americans.

There were no protest signs (except from a few glum pro-gays who said we were eating ‘hate’ sandwiches) There were no noisy, angry scenes. Folks in the drive through lines did not honk their horns or proclaim their Christianity with bullhorns. There were no statements against homosexuals or homosexuality. (Indeed, the only statement put out by Chick-Fil-A affirmed their commitment to serve and employ all people equally without notice of race, gender, age or sexual orientation.) The brilliance of the event that it used the network of a nationwide fast food chain as the foundation for a visible, peaceful, creative nationwide statement.

There was no bullying, no hateful anti-homosexual loud mouthed preachers. This grace, patience gentleness and community good humor contrasted with the ugly and spiteful comments from the ‘other side’. Nobody wished their enemies to get cancer the way ‘comedian’ Roseanne Barr proclaimed. Nobody was using back room political and financial pressure to bully the majority of Americans the way mayors of Boston, DC and Chicago were doing. For all the talk of the traditional marriage supporters being full of hate, there was not hatred apparent. It was just ordinary suburban Americans sticking up for their way of life by buying a chicken sandwich with their friends and neighbors. These were not scary people like the folks from Westboro Baptist who tote guns and hate homos. They were the folks next door.

Yesterday’s demonstration was a truly American form of revolution. Where else could it happen but the USA? Read More.


The Anchoress has a Chick-Fil-A day bloggers round up here.

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  • Alessandra

    It’s what we need to see this November.

    Conservatives need to support CFA and to boycott:

    Oreos (Nabisco, earlier this summer, put them in a bag featuring a cookie with a multicolored gay-pride stuffing) Cheerios, Pillsbury pastries and Green Giant vegetables (owner General Mills is opposing a Minnesota constitutional amendment that would outlaw gay marriage).
    JC Penney, which has put pictures of gay dads in its catalogs and uses Ellen Degeneres as its spokeswoman Apple hates Christians and conservatives – they censored the Manhattan declaration while allowing all kinds of perverse apps on their store – are our faith and your values worth less than a glossy gadget?
    Amazon’s CEO hates conservative values, so does facebook – they shut down Mike Huckabee’s Chick-fil-A appreciation site for 12 hours right before CFA D-day.

    Is it sensible to give our money to powerful corporations who are working to smear our views and to destroy our 1st Amendment rights?

    • Jarnor23

      I’m sorry, I’m not going to boycott Apple – they refuse to put pornography on the App Store while it abounds on Android devices. They are by far the better smartphone/tablet choice, Jobs was against pornography on his devices despite other flaws he may have had.

    • richard40

      instead of taking your mutual assured destruction approach, with both sides boycotting precticsally everybody, I would prefer to do what is done here, any company that is hit with a leftist boycot, and refuses to cave in should get extra cstomers from us to make for whatever they might lost to the leftist boycotters. The perhaps, each company may finally be free to just do what they personaly think is right, without fear of loss to boycotters, from either side.

  • John

    Yesterday really was extraordinary. The CFA I patronized was packed with a drive-thru line out into the street. Reports from my friends indicated the same all around ATL. Then I start to see news reports of the exact same thing *across the country.* Everywhere.

    Amazing. Just amazing.

  • John Scott Tynes

    It’s effectively a positive boycott, which I can understand. But it does seem odd to me to celebrate a protest that consists of buying things. All of those protests involving signs and bullhorns aren’t about speaking up with your wallet; they’re about speaking up with your voice and your spirit. If you think flipping the tables of the moneychangers is noisy, messy, and disruptive, well: you’re right.

  • Tracy

    I’d be glad to participate, though I’ll have to bring my own chicken since there aren’t any Chick-Fil-A’s in North Dakota!

    I have to say, however, that although Alessandra makes a good point about boycotting other brands due to their support, this idea leads us to very few corporations or even local businesses from which we can buy. That might be an inconvenience in a city, here in rural America there aren’t other options. So far I’ve been told to boycott Wal-Mart (unfair wages, etc.), Target (gay marriage issue), K-Mart (don’t remember what that one was for). I already drive 110 miles to get to those. If I can’t shop there, where, exactly, am I supposed to shop? Boycott Apple? So I should support Microsoft instead and their radical agenda? Although I disapprove of what Apple has done, Melinda Gates is doing a whole lot more harm in the world than Steve Jobs did. Sometimes you have to pick the lesser of two evils.

    I think that’s what I like so much about this who CFA-Day—it’s a positive action rather than a negative. It’s catching more bees with honey than vinegar. It really is turning the culture upside-down.

    • richard40

      I agree. I think the best response that the right can make to these constant leftist boycotts is to support the companies that say no to the boycotters demands, and tell the company that is the reason you go there. Once companies realize that they get get just as much new business from saying no to leftist boycotters, as they lose from the leftist boycot, these boycotts may finally stop, or at least business owners will decide based on their own views of the issue, rather than a fear of losing business.

  • Jill K

    It was awesome! I think it’s a sign that ordinary American folks just want to live ordinary lives in our ordinary ways. We’re tired of the crazy screaming about things we really would rather not have stuck in our faces. We want to work, raise our children, worship, and help out each other. I’m so sick of crazy homosexual stuff all over the place that I just want to scream. My children don’t need to see all of that and neither do I!

    Since when are people completely defined by an act of sodomy?…and why do they want to be defined that way to the point of making it their whole life? These people are crying out for help.

    The chicken sandwich and waffle fries were great!

    • MJ

      Wow! Jill K – that is rahter narrow minded and ignorant.
      Well, I guess that it works both ways ’cause I am sure that there are plenty of people who are more than tired of the crazy screaming (and more) from the intolerant, holier-than-thou, and homophobic people!
      Grow up – the world is a big place wiht plenty of room for everyone!

      • John C

        Jill K was commenting on people who define themselves wholly by their sexual preferences, which is foolish. There is far more to the human person than sexuality.

      • submandave

        Maybe I’m strange, but I can agree with Jill that I don’t want militant-gay leather-chap wearing butch boys parading their junk in front of my face and trying to shock me and my kids by their PDA while simultaneously agreeing with you that I’d rather not have the “You’re goin’ to Hell” giant sign waving fools harassing me if I go get a drink on Beale St. or in the French Quarter. I think that’s what Jill means by “ordinary American folks.”

        MJ, here’s a free clue: it is entirely possible for one to self identify as “Christian” without being “holier-than-thou, and homophobic,” just as it is possible for one to self identify as “gay” without having to frequent bath houses and glory holes.

        • richard40

          Agree completely. I completely dsagree with the anti gay views of the chick fila owner, but I support this protest, as a pro free speech and anti leftist intimidation protest.

  • Jessica Hoff

    The silent majority – an army marches on its stomach – an appetite for victory in November. Just remember, make Jimmy Carter happy. He will no longer then be the worst ex- president in living memory. God bless the USA.

  • Ryan Haber

    Great article, Father. Am I chicken? Nope. But can I go for the chicken?! Lol. I’m headed there tonight to get me a peach milkshake.

  • Gail Finke

    I am in Florida this week and the Sarasota news station we watched last night covered the story as a protest against gay marriage. The reporter actually said something like, “It’s been burning up the internet –the message to got to Chick fil A today if you are against gay marriage.” They found one guy missing teeth to interview who said he was happy to come out for “heterosexual day.” If that’s how other media covered it, we’re in trouble PR-wise.

    • Whiz

      Gail, remember the source. The main stream media will do anything, say anything, show anything if it will help the Kenyan and the Dems get reelected.

    • richard40

      The media will lie and try to cover it that way. Some misguided social conservatives may even beleive that is the case as well. But from many of the protestors I heard about, this was not an anti gay protest, but a pro free speech and anti leftist intimidation protest.

  • Seraphic Queen

    Imagine this: All the people who showed up at Chick-Fil-A yesterday to buy a sandwich to support traditional marriage fasted and prayed, or lobbied the legislatures of the states that were hijacked by homosexual mock marriage, or ran for office, or showed up at the polls to oust pro-homosexual “marriage” legislators. or filed suits to oust activist judges. We may not even have had occasion for a Chick-Fil-A day if the majority that believe marriage is for a man and a woman had come forward years ago prepared to fight, as we must in this kind of battle. Let’s remember all the unsung heroes who have fought in the trenches to keep marriage between one man and one woman. They have persevered in the face of losing battles, they have fasted, they have prayed, spent money the could have used for entertainment. They have been mocked, threatened and hated. Showing up for a sandwich because the company’s CEO stated publicly that he is for traditional marriage is not going to bring back traditional marriage.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      It’s one battle in a big war.

    • Mike Ste

      Years ago I lived in DC – when the Holocaust Museum opened. If you’ve been there, you know that the first part of the exhibit deals with Nazi victims other than Jews – disabled, Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals. If you’ve been there you also know how powerful the experience is – a visitor certainly leaves there appreciating how limitless is the harm to be caused by intolerance.
      Anyway, I remember seeing a letter to the editor in the Post not long after the opening, from a Jehovah’s Witness. They complained that the homosexual part of the exhibit was near the JW exhibit, and since the latter are opposed to the former, that was a problem.
      Talk about missing the Big Picture, eh?
      Same with your post, Seraphic Queen. This was NOT a protest about gay marriage, but about freedom of speech. Your rant is misplaced, therefore. By the way, I’m pro-gay marriage, but archly conservative in every other respect, and I understand why some people are opposed to gay marriage. As a conservative, I find your blatherings here inappropriate.

    • richard40

      To ?Seraphic Queen. Dont read too much into this for your point of view. To many, including me, this was not an anti gay or pro traditional marriage protest, since on that point I disagree with chick fillas owner, and you. To many of us it was a pro free speech and anti leftist intimidation protest.

  • jvon

    Hordes. Not hoards. ;) But I would have been there yesterday if the nearest one wasn’t about an 8 hour drive from me.

  • Nolanimrod

    This is a wonderful event. fyi: next time something really cool happens just say it. Don’t spend the first three paragraphs talking about what it wasn’t.

  • punditius

    If this buycott was about being against gay marriage, it will have no sustaining power. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person there who isn’t against gay marriage. It’s my hope that this was about affirming the right of the each person to make his or her own decisions about religion and politics, free from the pressure of the people we elect to positions in our government. Even when I agree with the positions that leftists take, I oppose their attempts to force those positions on everyone by extra-political means. And illegitimate use of power is what Rahm Emmanuel and Barrack Obama and the Democratic party stand for.

    • richard40

      Agree completly. To me this was not an anti gay protest, but a pro free speech one.

  • Houston Daniel

    Thank you Fr. Longenecker for the emphasis on the peaceful aspect of this event. Maybe more people can realize violent and hateful actions aren’t the way to convince others

  • Darren

    The Sacramento C-f-A franchise, at which I dined today and which still had quite the crowd, is owned by a member of the Sacramento RAINBOW Chamber of Commerce. So by the logic of the left, anyone who doesn’t eat there is guilty of homophobic bigotry!

  • el polacko

    so this is what piety and politics has devolved to : what fast-food joint you choose to patronize.

    • richard40

      That is what some leftist extremists tried to make it, yes. The people going to chick filla now are merely pushing back against leftist extremism.

  • Jane H

    Just want to say I agree completely with Mike Ste. Some of the comments posted here is why the left labels Christians as haters. Since I am a Christian, I really don’t appreciate the hate from either side.

  • Rob Crawford

    I remember a lefty in some blog comments dismissing the Tea Party because he saw them at their rallies sitting on lawn chairs, listening to speeches. Apparently it didn’t look ACTIVE enough for him, so where could it go? How could these “passive” people hope to do anything when the furious energy of leftist protests accomplishes nothing?

    The same way trees tear down walls — slow, patient effort. An inch at a time. Not with violence and shattering, but with leverage and suasion.

  • werewife

    Would Ihave the courage to take part in such a demonstration, you ask? Heck, to do so I would eat non-kosher meat for the first time in twenty-seven years.

  • Jeff Jefferson

    Yep, Regular people are getting tired of waking up each day and being told they are Hitler.

  • Marty

    Before there were “protests” there were “demonstrations.” That’s what this was, support for the First Amendment demonstrated by supporting a business that was being attacked by those who would violate the First Amendment.

  • Mike C

    In the early 19th century, British commoners chose to adopt high moral standards as a way of separating themselves from what they perceived as a debauched, profligate aristocracy.

    If we play our cards right, we may be on our way to a postmodern redux of the Victorian era – which, if you’ll remember, was a golden age of human progress in every way from the abolition of slavery, to the birth of modern medicine, to the growth of railroads.

    I’m hopeful. Everywhere you look, in good ways and bad, the wheels are coming off of the statist wagon – from (for example) Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day and the Restore Love meeting on the positive side, to “Gunwalker” and the recent string of horribly botched DEA raids on the negative side.

    We’re tired out here. We’re tired of being told what’s good for us by people who clearly have no clue what’s good for anybody. We’re tired of government grandees who burden our children with obscene amounts of public debt.

    Now, so long as I’m not (to paraphrase Jefferson) ‘picking pockets or breaking legs’, leave me alone and let me enjoy my sandwich.

    Cheers, Padre – I raise my glass of 7-Up to you and your blog!

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  • richard40

    A further irony to this is many libertarians who supported this protest do not actually agree with the anti gay views of the chick filla owner. They just resent the extreme leftist bullying of him and his company.

  • sestamibi

    The media might be surprised to find that there might be a sizeable group of SSM supporters among participants in CFA Appreciation Day who simply draw the line at political bullying.