Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chicken Sandwiches Hate Gays

"The Chick-fil-A sandwich — a hand-breaded chicken breast and a couple of pickles squished into a steamy, white buttered bun — is a staple of some Southern diets and a must-have for people who collect regional food experiences the way some people collect baseball cards...
Nicknamed 'Jesus chicken' by jaded secular fans and embraced by Evangelical Christians, Chick-fil-A is among only a handful of large American companies with conservative religion built into its corporate ethos. But recently its ethos has run smack into the gay rights movement. A Pennsylvania outlet’s sponsorship of a February marriage seminar by one of that state’s most outspoken groups against homosexuality lit up gay blogs around the country. Students at some universities have also begun trying to get the chain removed from campuses.

'If you’re eating Chick-fil-A, you’re eating anti-gay,' one headline read. The issue spread into Christian media circles, too...

Chick-fil-A runs 1,530 restaurants in 39 states, but it still feels like a hometown restaurant to fans in Georgia, which has 189 outlets. Sales figures for 2010 will most likely be over $3.5 billion, a spokesman said.

S. Truett Cathy, the founder, is an 89-year-old, Harley-riding Southern Baptist who opened a small diner near the Atlanta airport 1946. He closed the business on Sundays because he was a churchgoer who wanted a day to rest and be with his family.

Because the company remains privately held — his two sons run it — it can easily keep its faith-based principles intact. The company’s corporate purpose is, in part, 'to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.'

With its near-national reach and its transparent conservative Christian underpinnings, Chick-fil-A is a trailblazer of sorts...

The company’s Christian culture and its strict hiring practices, which require potential operators to discuss their marital status and civic and church involvement, have attracted controversy before, including a 2002 lawsuit brought by a Muslim restaurant owner in Houston who said he was fired because he did not pray to Jesus with other employees at a training session. The suit was settled...

On a petition posted on the Web site, it asks the company to stop supporting groups perceived as anti-gay, including Focus on the Family, an international nonprofit organization that teamed up with Chick-fil-A a few years ago to give away CDs of its Bible-based 'Adventures in Odyssey' radio show with every kid’s meal.

As of early Saturday, it had 25,000 signatures...

Douglas Quint, a concert bassoonist who operates The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck in New York during the summer, said he believed that people should make informed decisions about their food.

'It literally leaves a bad taste because I know the people who are putting this food in my mouth actively loathe me,' he said. 'I’m all for freedom of religion, it’s just that I know where I want my money to go and I don’t want my money to go...'"

A Chicken Chain’s Corporate Ethos Is Questioned by Gay Rights Advocates
January 29, 2011

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