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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why the Chick-Fil-A issue is NOT about Freedom of Speech/Religion

If you were to listen to the Media you'd assume that Hundreds of Thousands of individuals are boycotting the fast food restaurant "Chick-Fil-A" solely because of a few intolerant comments made by it's CEO. But that's NOT what's happening! Unfortunately, this mis-reporting has caused more support of the company by people who would never be supporting them, if they knew the truth. Many supporters are flooding the Anti-Chick-Fil-A facebook pages and groups with comments like "Support Freedom of Speech/Religion - Support Chick-Fil-A" rather than actually researching the issue and realizing that this issue has NOTHING to do with Religion or Speech!

While recent comments by the CEO did bring certain things to light for many people, this is NOT the basis for the boycotts. And while I'm sure there are people who have stopped eating there simply because of a few comments, that's not the majority of them. The CEO has a right to his beliefs and his views SHOULD NOT directly affect the company. I am sure we would be hard pressed to find a company anywhere that can say they don't employ at least a few people who share the beliefs of this man. And the idea of boycotting a company based solely because a single person involved with the company supports intolerance or inequality is something I personally find ridiculous - If you're gonna do that, you'd better simply lock yourself up and learn to be completely self sufficient! Frankly, no one gives to fucks about what the companies CEO beliefs or says! As I said, this issue has NOTHING to do with Freedom of Speech or Religion!

So, then, what is keeping hundreds of thousands of people away from this company? Well, for many of us it's the same thing that's kept us out for years now - The simple fact that Chick-Fil-A uses it's profits to support charities and groups such as: 

- Marriage & Family Legacy Fund
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes
- National Christian Foundation
- Focus on the Family
- Eagle Forum
- Exodus International
- Family Research Council

These groups are ALL Anti-Equality groups which actively work to prevent both marriage AND workplace equality! At least one of these groups (Exodus Intnl.) even funds "Ex-Gay Therapy" which the American Psychiatric Assoc. has completely discredited as being an "actual form of therapy" sighting treatments as "thinly veiled sexual abuse" and "a danger to mental health."

While Chick-Fil-A has yet to make their 2011 tax returns public (or at least I, personally couldn't find them) from their 2009-2010 tax returns it's clear that they are donating a large chunk of their profits to these groups/charities. In 2009, the total was aprox. $1.9M while in 2010 that number climbed to just over $2M.

But why does that matter? Their donations don't affect their chicken, right?  Well, that's partly right. Where their donations go don't poison the chicken or create phantom salmonella. BUT, when we support a company, we support them wholly. We don't get to say "I support your chicken, but you're not allowed to use MY money to support these causes!" When you spend your money through a company that supports these causes (or other causes you don't agree with) YOU are in effect supporting these causes.

I do not support bigotry, hate, intolerance or inequality and I would NEVER donate to causes which do. So therefore, I will not support companies which DO. And THIS is the stance that Hundreds of Thousands of American's are taking! THIS is the issue, not speech, not religion, but the simple fact that we will NOT sway our values simply for some cheap chicken!

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