Well, this ought to stir the Arkies up.

My hometown newspaper just ran this editorial.

 If, in 2008, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had possessed the sort of influence evident by the overwhelming national response to his “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” initiative Aug. 1, he might have become president.

Reacting to the gay marriage controversy stemming from remarks by Dan Cathy, president of the fast-food restaurant chain, Huckabee urged those who share the “traditional values” held by the company’s management to show support by eating at a Chick-fil-A restaurant.

The turnout was greater than many imagined. But then so was the original furor, which, frankly, looks a lot like an ambush.

Chick-fil-A was incubated in Atlanta by Truett Cathy, Dan Cathy’s father, who delivered the chicken sandwich to the fast-food industry. Anyone who knows anything about the elder Cathy knows he is a deeply religious man. Even those who know nothing about the origin of the restaurant or the beliefs of its founder might have noticed that Chick-fil-A restaurants — all of them — are closed on Sundays, which should be a strong hint that there’s a matter of faith involved in closing when one’s competition is open.

Recently, a writer for Baptist Press, a news service dedicated to Christian Baptist news, wrote a profile of Dan Cathy and the company’s adherence to biblical principals — and belief in the biblical definition of the family unit.

It’s not as though Dan Cathy actively declared war on homosexuality. It was a passive affirmation of a Christian value system that has guided the Cathy family and its chicken empire since long before the business was hatched.

The reaction has been an interesting study in sociology. There are those on both sides of “the issue,” although what’s at the center of the maelstrom isn’t quite clear. Is the conflict over Christian/traditional/conservative beliefs? Is it about gay marriage? Is it about free speech? Is it — forgive us — a clever campaign to get folks to “eat mor chikin?” …

No, we suspect that the criticism of Chick-fil-A struck a raw nerve in people whose embrace of conservative values mirrors that of the Cathy family, and who have gotten a bit weary with attacks on Christianity, whether real or imagined. Couple that with our stubborn resistance to the inference that one cannot freely speak one’s mind, an organized day of support and the opportunity to buy a fine fried chicken dinner, and we’ll turn up in droves.

— Dothan (Ala.) Eagle

My dad responded…

Freedom of speech. The only conceivable infringement of Mr. Cathy’s freedom of speech was the threat by an insignificant Chicago alderman to prevent Chick-fil-a from opening a store in his ward. Mr. Cathy has the freedom of speech to say exactly what he said over and over again as many times and in as many places as he chooses to say it.
The waffle fry gobblers just don’t want anyone else to have the freedom of speech to disagree with or to criticize Mr. Cathy’s opinions. If people use their freedom of speech to criticize what Mr. Cathy said and to propose others criticize it with their pocketbook, then the gobblers want to paint Mr. Cathy as a freedom of speech martyr. He isn’t.

The reaction isn’t just about what Mr.Cathy said, it is also about who he FUNDS.  Chick-fil-a has donated millions of dollars to anti-gay groups, some of whom want criminal sanctions against homosexuals and support reparative therapy which every mainstream medical and psychological professional organization has recognized as harmful. These groups also lobby for institutionalized homophobia by promoting laws that deny equal rights under the law to LGBTs. You might notice this article makes absolutely no mention of the officially designated hate group and other anti-gay groups that Chick-fil-a funds.

Anyone is naive who thinks that is an accidental omission in this article instead of an omission designed to paint an untrue picture of what this issue is about.
The article is totally wrong when it says, “It’s not as though Dan Cathy actively declared war on homosexuality.” That is exactly what Mr. Cathy has done, and trying to whitewash that by labeling it “promoting Christian/traditional/conservative beliefs” doesn’t change that ugly truth.

It is about AMERICAN values, not “traditional Christian” values. It is about “All men are created equal [under the law]“. Innocently proclaiming the Ku Klux Klan is just promoting traditional Southern values is a very lame cover for discrimination against Blacks…..exactly like innocently proclaiming Cathy is just promoting traditional values is an equally lame cover for promoting discrimination against gays.

I understand that the Bible considers homosexuality to be a sin. However, I guarantee the Bible doesn’t say homosexuals shouldn’t have the equal rights and privileges of every single other American citizen. The outcry against Chick-fil-a is an outcry against his support of legalized discrimination. Not that Chick-fil-a discriminates, but that it financially supports groups that DO support discrimination.

Let’s make a small effort to be honest. The eat-in isn’t support for traditional Christian values; it is support for keeping homosexuals as second class citizens in a country dedicated to the proposition that All Men Are Created Equal.

Believers of this stripe, who are fans of the commandment against bearing false witness, don’t seem to mind so much when it’s a convenient lie for them.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Mike Nam

    “Innocently proclaiming the Ku Klux Klan is just promoting traditional Southern values is a very lame cover for discrimination against Blacks…..exactly like innocently proclaiming Cathy is just promoting traditional values is an equally lame cover for promoting discrimination against gays.”

    I think that sums it up nicely.

  • fastlane

    I chuckled at “The waffle fry gobblers”….. Well played, Mr. E.

    And, are they, in a strict sense, cock gobblers too? ;) I dunno if the chicken they use for food sources is strictly hens or cocks, but I suspect it’s both.

  • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper of Maine (I feel safe and welcome at FTB)

    I swear they don’t want to know what the argument is really about. They’d rather be mad about something more convenient.

  • Makoto

    “The reaction isn’t just about what Mr.Cathy said, it is also about who he FUNDS. ” – This, so much this. I wouldn’t mind if Mr. Cathy disliked gay marriage – plenty of people do. But he uses profits from his company to fund groups that actively make life worse for gay people, and that I won’t stand for. I’ll make my on chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. Haven’t quite figured out the waffle fries yet, but breaded chicken is easy..

    • Nathaniel Frein

      Dunno if you’ve seen the recipe but I tried this one and it turned out pretty good.

      As for the waffle fries, it’s just a matter of finding the right cutter.

    • (e)m

      Get a mandolin with a blade attachment for doing something like ruffels potatoe chips and make a 90 degree turn with every pass. Make sure to put the cut potatoes in ice cold water, otherwise they will discolor. You can salt the water and leave them overnite if you wish, though I do not recommend it. Fry in Peanut oil at 350 degrees F but make sure to shake the water off before droping the potatoes in the fryer. Also, do not over crowd your fryer or they will come out soggy and greasy. Sprinkle with salt. That’s how this professional cook does it. You’re welcome.

      • Nathaniel Frein

        *Takes notes*

      • rjlangley

        I play the mandolin. Where do I attach the blade?

        • Rory

          Ask Captain Corelli.

      • F

        I highly recommend blanching the fries first and letting them cool before frying them to eat. They come out much better this way.

  • SpriteSuzi

    Okay, I know it’s getting repetitious, but it is true. Your dad is AWESOME!

  • smrnda

    A major deception point is that Mr Cathy is being persecuted for just expressing an opinion. He’s provided actual financial support for organizations that have sought to deny gay people rights, as well as supporting ‘reperative therapy’ or whatever that quack nonsense is getting pushed as these days.

    I mean, haven’t Christian organizations been calling for boycotts of companies that were pro gay marriage? Are they that unaware of the fact that they’ve already done or advocating what they are criticizing others for right now, or is that too much awareness?

  • brianpansky

    I’ve seen backlash memes going around. They say something to the effect that the people boycotting chick-fil-A wont do anything about the fact that buying car fuel funds countries (Saudi Arabia) that outlaw homosexuality.

    One criticism, I dunno about using the word “exactly” to compare past racial discrimination to current homophobia.

    Other than that, this stuff is great. I often hand people links to these pages, or tell them to google them. It clears up the propaganda (misouri bill is about harmless prayer! nothing wrong! Chick-fil-A is about feadomz! etc) fairly well, when the person I’m talking to is reasonable enough to explore the issue.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/Erulora Erülóra Maikalambe

      The good ol’ “if you don’t boycott everything you can’t boycott anything” response. Always ridiculous, and always used to justify not bothering to try to do anything to improve the world.

      Two questions for these types:
      How hard is it to live without gasoline?
      How hard is it to live without chicken sandwiches?

      Given the answers to those two questions, I don’t really see a compelling reason not to avoid CFA.

      • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper of Maine (I feel safe and welcome at FTB)

        How hard is it to live without gasoline?
        How hard is it to live without chicken sandwiches?

        And more to the point:

        Are you going out of your way to buy extra gasoline to support Saudi Arabia?

        Are you going out of your way to buy extra chicken sandwiches to support Chick-fil-a?

    • http://www.facebook.com/using.reason usingreason

      Actually the biggest importer of finished gasoline to the states is the UK, the biggest importer of crude oil is Canada. As a Canadian, you’re welcome; we just like to help out. :-)

  • invivoMark

    I don’t like to quibble about things your dad says, but the bible is rather explicit on the right to life of homosexuals; i.e., they shouldn’t have it (and should be immediately put to death by a horrendously painful and public method).

    Bringing this up stopped the argument when someone was trying to convince me that the Bible had done more good than harm.

    • Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven

      the bible is rather explicit on the right to life of homosexuals; i.e., they shouldn’t have it

      Given America’s position on capital punishment, healthcare, and the absolute floor-licking worship of firearms, that’s completely consistent with

      However, I guarantee the Bible doesn’t say homosexuals shouldn’t have the equal rights and privileges of every single other American citizen.

  • (e)m

    JT, give your dad a hug for me the next time you see him, will ya.

  • drdave

    people whose embrace of conservative values mirrors that of the Cathy family, and who have gotten a bit weary with attacks on Christianity…

    “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

  • hypatiasdaughter

    Ahh, too bad most of those people completely missed the rest of Dan Cathy’s comment that the company supports biblical marriage and none of their family running the company has ever been divorced.
    Do’ya think all those people lined up would have been so eager to support his “free speech” if they knew he was dissing their families – and maybe even supporting conservative “family values” groups that would be happy to take away their rights?

  • Adam

    Papa Eberhard hits it out of the park again. It’s funny how much the religious LOVE the martyr complex.

  • Kat in AZ

    On top of all the other wonderful comments here, I wanted to add that those “Christian” values that CFA supports is, in most franchise stores, there is forced prayer meetings that an employee of any other faith would find disturbing and any atheists would find downright hostile. The use of drudgework as punishment for not living up to expectations (in or outside of work) is commonplace, as is minimum wage.

    The only thing I wish was that Sonic’s popcorn chicken was as lightly breaded and that other places made coleslaw without onions. I don’t give a rat’s tail about the waffle fries, though they are unique, they are still potatoes.

    The fact that Christians have once again proven how easy it is for the bully to cry that they are the victim whenever they find any resistance to their bully tactics is amazingly tiresome… Yet they continue to get away with it time and again. When will enough people rise up to say “no more bullying” to the Christians? (Not just Atheists, but people of all other faiths, too?

  • NakedAnthropologist

    I love your dad. Thank you so very much.


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