I’ve been watching a phenomenon on my Facebook wall for several days now. I find it amazing how people behave when there is controversy, such as the “Chick-Fil-A” issue that has recently come to light. I’ve seen people very close to me… family, even, take one side or the other; it’s been an interesting scene.
About nine months ago, mom called me up and told me that there was a protest outside of a new Chick-Fil-A because of their stance on gay marriage. I noted the discussion and decided not to eat there, although I really didn’t have any opportunities either because there were no Chick-Fil-A’s near temptation-distance. I noticed, recently, that they’re building one nearby and told Helena that I don’t support Chick-Fil-A. That was a few weeks ago. And then, just the other day, during an interview with Baptist Press, Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-Fil-A, confirmed that his views and the views of his company are “guilty as charged” and that they support the “biblical definition of marriage.” Here’s his comment:
We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.
This has set off a lot of controversial blogs, newspaper stories, and personal comments. People are taking sides left and right and they are all fired up.
There’s a few things I find interesting about the whole debate:
- The claim on one side is that CEO of Chick-Fil-A Dan Cathy’s freedom of speech is at risk.
- The claim on the other side we have a right to choose what our money is supporting; if a company is supporting a cause that we don’t believe in, we have the right to say “no thank you” .
Personally I don’t see the main camp who “opposes” Chick-Fil-A saying that Dan Cathy, or anyone else, shouldn’t or can’t speak as they choose. I am grateful that Dan Cathy came forward with his beliefs and his company’s stances. I think this transparency was the best thing that could happen because now, it gives everyone the opportunity to decide how to vote with their dollars.
You might ask what I mean by “vote with our dollars”.
Many years ago, I got wind that the Salvation Army allegedly discriminated against homosexual employees and has allegedly refused service to gay people. I did some research and found, at the time, a statement put out by the Salvation Army themselves regarding their stance on homosexuality. It didn’t surprise me. But, I decided from that point forward, I would refrain from shopping with the Salvation Army. I would not spend my dollars on a company that actively works against my own mission. If I gave money to that company, I would be saying “Yes, it’s okay, treat homosexual employees differently because you don’t like their ‘sin’.” I wasn’t the only one who withheld my support from them and in the recent years, the Salvation Army has been required to provide equal benefits in some areas, but they still hold a “heterosexual is better than homosexual” stance, while claiming to be diverse and accepting. Here’s a link to a timeline someone wrote up on the history of the Salvation Army and discrimination, in case you’re interested.
And that’s an organization that does an immense amount of good for our world. Does doing an immense amount of good make up for this type of injustice? And, is putting a chicken sandwich in my tummy casting a vote that will change the world?
I know that the money doesn’t stop at the chicken sandwich. When I choose to purchase any product, I am making a statement of support for that business. Once my dollars have been transferred to the business owner, that owner can use those dollars as he sees fit, and support what s/he wants to support. If I have data, such as the data that was provided by Dan Cathy, I have an idea that a particular company may not be supporting things which I want to uphold. It is important to me to spend my efforts on companies that I believe are moving man-kind forward and creating a safe and loving atmosphere.
Of course, I cannot know, just from a few statements in a publication, what a company is doing with the money it takes it from its customer base; I can only make an informed guess to the various routes those dollars may follow.
But what if I COULD trace every dollar… what kind of decisions would I make then? If I knew that ultimately the dollar bill that I am about to trade this product for will end up in the hands of a child sex slave trader, would I do it? Would I trade it? Would you trade it?
To some degree, we can trace our dollars with companies like Chick-Fil-A. In this case, we have detected that a portion of our dollars are being donated to organizations that are notoriously anti-gay and against gay marriage. In fact, it is only a two-step hop with these particular dollars.
I read on “Equality Matters” that Chick-Fil-A has funded a company created and founded by S. Truett, Chick-Fil-A’s owner. The company is called “WinShape.” In 2009, alone, WinShape recieved $7,814,788 from Chick-Fil-A. Where did that money go?
- Marriage & Family Legacy Fund: $994,199
- Fellowship Of Christian Athletes: $480,000
- National Christian Foundation: $240,000
- National Institution of Marriage: $24,100
- Focus On The Family: $12,500
- Eagle Forum: $5,000
- Exodus International: $1,000
- Family Research Council: $1,000
They’ve also made additional donations to other charities and groups such as:
- Hideaway Foundation: $8,000
- Lifeshape, Inc: $19,166
- Helping Hands Ministries, Inc: $30,000
- Blue Sky Global (Brackenhurst Ministries): $31,500
- Battlefield Ministries: $1,600
- Atlanta Fest Foundation: $60,000
That’s a lot of data. And a lot of money. Half of the donations are going towards companies that directly oppose my own views on marriage. So, my question is… what would you suggest I do? Continue to support this company, knowing that my dollars are going towards something I believe is an injustice? Or, do I support them? How would that impact my own goals and my own ethics? How would that impact the world as a whole?
Lots to think about. Feel free to share your thoughts… no matter what “side” you’re on. I’m not interested in making this about taking away free speech. Speak all you want. It’s enlightening for me to see people’s stances.