Chick-fil-a, Dan Cathy, and… hate?

Have you actually read what Dan Cathy said? The man is being fried like one of Chick-fil-a’s glorious nuggets for allegedly being a hate filled bigot so he must have said something like, they all deserve to get cancer and die. Nope, that was Roseanne Barr talking about anyone who eats at Chick-fil-a.

Here’s what he said,

“We don’t claim to be a Christian business,” Cathy told the Biblical Recorder in a recent visit to North Carolina. He attended a business leadership conference many years ago where he heard Christian businessman Fred Roach say, “There is no such thing as a Christian business.”

“That got my attention,” Cathy said. Roach went on to say, “Christ never died for a corporation. He died for you and me.”

“In that spirit … [Christianity] is about a personal relationship. Companies are not lost or saved, but certainly individuals are,” Cathy added.

“But as an organization we can operate on biblical principles. So that is what we claim to be. [We are] based on biblical principles, asking God and pleading with God to give us wisdom on decisions we make about people and the programs and partnerships we have. And He has blessed us.”

Does this surprise anyone? They’ve operated this way since the day the Dwarf House first opened in south Atlanta. As soon as you walk through their glass doors you’ll see signs explaining why they’re closed on Sundays and every one I’ve been into has the Ten Commandments posted in the lobby. They strive to operate on Biblical principles which is why you experience the best service in the fast food industry when you eat there. Nobody’s mad about getting a “My Pleasure” or the $1.65 million in scholarships they gave to employees in 2012. It’s the next part of the article that has everyone boycotting and grandstanding.

Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position.

“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.

“We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized.

“We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.” [SOURCE]

Accusers claim Mr. Cathy is hateful for putting his money where his mouth is — money he could claim as profit he instead donates to various charities that support the family, including his own WinShape Foundation. This whole firestorm erupted this month, in 2012. Winshape began in 1984. Their marriage program has been in operation since at least 2003. Where were the protests in ’03? Why didn’t the mayors of Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston claim supreme moral authority for their citizens back then?

Chick-fil-a has done well and those who seek to aggressively push their morals on the world are tearing at the organization like a band of greedy pirates. Mr. Cathy didn’t tell anyone how to live, he honestly answered a reporter’s question. The man believes in the family. He thinks a man should honor his wife and stay married to her. He thinks adultery and abuse are wrong and that children are to be taught to respect others and live with integrity. In response, his company is being boycotted. There’s also a morally flamboyant demonstration scheduled to occur within their restaurants; not on the street mind you, but on private property in a direct affront to what the company and many of its patrons believe.

A simple google search will show you crime is lower, teen pregnancy lower, poverty lower, violence lower, prisons with more vacancy, grades higher, suicide reduced, and drug and alcohol abuse lowered when a husband and wife stay married.

So Mr. Cathy is a hateful bigot for supporting a charity, his company started, which strives to help couples stay married and provide scholarships to kids who want to go to college. He runs a company and funds programs that benefit our society in all the aforementioned ways and he’s called a bigot.

This is insane.

Have you or anyone you know ever seen any human being treated with anything other than dignity and respect at a Chick-fil-a? Does anyone have any actual claim to make against the organization for discrimination? Have they ever denied a professing homosexual a spicy chicken sandwich? I saw protesters make a scene, albeit a very small one, in front of the Chick-fil-a stores in Tallahassee. And then I watched them walk inside and order a meal. What did they hear when they walked away, “My pleasure.” And it was said with a smile. Hate? Far from it. But my blood began to boil when I watched this. Who’s imposing their belief on who?

Continuing to display their class in light of all this ridiculousness, Chick-fil-a released the following statement,

“The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”

If only this were how hate looked all around the world.


    1. I am a christian and I am VERY PROUD AND HONORED to have a
      christian base place to go to. When you enter you are treated so nice and the staff makes sure that when you leave you are happy.

  1. This is all a bit too rediculous. Chickfila is a great company and I know for a fact they do not hate or show signs of discrimination toward gay people. i was in a Chickfila back in the spring when it was prom night for our local highschools. In walked 2 men dressed in tuxes. They brought with them a white tablecloth, real plates and drinking glasses and a vase full of flowers to decorate their romantic table. They both were smiling from ear to ear as if they were achieving what they came to do which was turn a lot of heads (and the very large crowd did stare). On the other hand Chickfila handled it very nicely and professionly. They appointed one of their employees to assist them @ their table as a waiter. They got special service because it was their prom night. Now how can a company be called haters when I saw with my own eyes the service they were giving and treated very well? I would however question the intentions of the 2 men. Why would you pick a christian business that is loaded down on a Friday night with families with small children to do this? I’m a bit skepticle that they love the chicken sandwich that much and if they do, I stand corrected! Don’t tear down this company for having an opinion because we all would not have been here if it wasn’t for that man and woman that created us. God loves us all but its the sin he hates.

  2. I don’t believe the public is reacting to those statements as much as what Dan Cathy said on The Ken Coleman Show, “I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about.” This was after referring to supporting the “biblical definition of the family unit.” I am a supporter of freedom of speech, and this was his conscious decision to make strong statements regarding sensitive social issues on behalf of his company. I think this backlash is justified by those who disagree. Once again, freedom of speech.

    1. I don’t disagree with the freedom of speech concepts. He’s free to speak his mind and people are free to buy their chicken from McDonald’s, although that might be going way too far. However, I still don’t see any hatred in his comment. What did you perceive was hateful, not what you disagree with but truly hateful. in what he said?

    1. I read Mr. Gaughan’s article and it makes me sad to hear about the violence committed against the people referenced. That may come off as patronizing in the context of my comment but I do regret the way people treat one another. Unfortunately, violence happens daily across all demographic qualifiers. We can cherry pick examples to make any point we want. For example, I could reference this point from the book “Men Who Beat the Men Who Love Them: Battered Gay Men and Domestic Violence” by D. Island and P. Letellier that shows how domestic violence is more than double in homosexual homes than heterosexual homes, and how the Journal of Interpersonal Violence’s researchers found “that 90 percent of the lesbians surveyed had been recipients of one or more acts of verbal aggression from their intimate partners during the year prior to this study, with 31 percent reporting one or more incidents of physical abuse.” Before we discredit the verbal aggression please recall the suicide numbers cited by Mr. Gaughan; I certainly think the relational abuse they receive could contribute to their decision to take their own life. The bottom line is violence against another human being is almost always unjustified, regardless of who the choose to have sex with. It’s also poor logic to say the evidence of violence justifies the offended person’s position. We wouldn’t say my violence against a person committing a rape justified his right to rape would we? So while it’s sad those people were harmed it doesn’t make their behavior any more or less morally justified. If you are interested in the report from the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Lettie L. Lockhart et al., “Letting out the Secret: Violence in Lesbian Relationships,” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 9 (December 1994): 469-492.

      1. I find it sad that you turned this article about hate crimes into an opportunity to plug some gay domestic abuse stats. To say the high suicide rate is due to domestic abuse (brought on by their own domestic situation) is a slap in the face to those really struggling with acceptance. And I also can’t help but feel that when you say that violence doesn’t justify the offended person’s position and then use rape as the example, that you are a comparing being gay to being a rapist. Ouch! You must not have many gay friends. I just want to point out that from where I’m sitting (with the gays), it’s hard not to be offended by a company’s overt decision to help deny marriage (and all the rights that come with it) to those in same-sex relationships. How is that not discrimination?

      2. Babs, I wasn’t “plugging” stats. I was simply showing how we can use anecdotal examples to prove our point, whatever our point may be. Like I alluded to in my comment, those offenses are terrible and inexcusable, there’s really no debate about that. However, there are violent crimes committed against all kinds of people every day, every hour probably.

        Neither did I say “the high suicide rate is due to domestic abuse.” The author made the attempt to place culpability on Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-a’s support of traditional marriage for the high suicide rate among those who prefer homosexual behavior. I simply offered an accurate statistic that any psychologist you would like to ask would say contributes to suicidal tendencies. I didn’t say it was THE reason, as you suggested; I said it was a contributing factor.

        I did not compare rape to “gay.” I used an example of something most people would think a violent intervention was acceptable. Regardless of the emotion you feel, the point is still valid. Violence against another human being does not make the offended party’s position correct. Maybe this example would be better: If a professing homosexual battered a man holding an offensive sign, would it mean the man holding the sign was correct? It’s just an illogical conclusion.

        The efforts of the author to equate Dan Cathy’s funding of various organizations to murdering someone in hate is an asinine comparison. To say that’s his support of programs like WinShape is in some way enabling violence is absurd.

        Finally, it isn’t discrimination because it isn’t discrimination. Mr. Cathy’s company has not discriminated against anyone. He gave money to groups that do work he believes in. Many people give money to many things; you might give money to support issue A or B. That doesn’t mean you’ve discriminated. 1 + 1 does not equal 7.

  3. Good article, Ryan. I respect and have always appreciated their public statement on their faith and being closed on Sunday. The big problem is Mike Huckabee turning this into a political attack from the “religious right” and therefore causing a giant stir.

    This Atlanta author sums it up well:

    I hope that you all are well!

    1. It’s difficult to know where to start with this lady’s video. First and foremost, she has no idea what she’s talking about when it comes to the biblical prescription for marriage. She references individual stories and attempts to say they are God’s design because they are a part of scripture. Just because something’s in the narrative doesn’t make it normative. There’s murder, rape, homosexual acts, sorcery, etc; none of these examples mean God wants it done. It simply reveals how God used broken, sinful people in spite of their imperfection. To use another man’s sin to justify your behavior is unhealthy to say the least.

      She references things like Levirite marriage, again showing her profound ignorance of Biblical teaching. The law was in effect to care for widows and preserve a family’s estate (Deuteronomy 25:5-10). I would encourage you to read the book of Ruth to see this in practice. It’s far from the oppressive idea the vlogger makes it out to be. The rule also was only in affect if the widow was without offspring, again because the law was designed to guard the welfare of widows. Also, in Deut 25:7-9 you’ll read how the widow and the brother-in-law can be loosed from the law as well.

      I love how she added her little disclaimer about the New Covenant, revealing her error but wanting to find a way to let her point stand. It cannot. To say the Bible requires X, when it has been fulfilled in the work of Christ, is a baseless position and the point is no point at all.

      Her rant is fueled by emotion and self absorbed moralism. Apparently she is the single American who determines truth for our society. After all, her exposition on marriage and family begins with, “to me…” She claims a family is any group of people who love and support one another. Yes, that is a use for the word family. But that is not what we’re talking about and not what Dan Cathy or the LGBT voices are debating. We are talking about the foundational unit of a society, parents and their offspring. One of these produced this vlogger, by the way.

      She referenced the insanity of someone who would quote the bible to justify denying someone their legal rights. Ummm… what about someone claiming their right to kill, rape, steal, etc? And gay marriage is not a legal right in almost every state in the union. Again, she’s using emotion to perpetuate misinformation.

      “Stop wearing polyester…” A sentence that might get a laugh, but is profoundly ignorant of Christian teaching.

      She’s a little bit witty and I get why her speech might resonate with some, but her diatribe fails to carry any of the proverbial water.

      Thanks for sharing her thoughts and yours, hopefully a factual discussion can continue, free from emotionalism.

  4. I realize this is a little off-topic so don’t feel obligated to respond. As a humanist, I find this discussion (with an educated/intellectual religious person) very interesting. If I can state it simply, Why do you feel gay people should not be allowed to marry? Is it because God said so? Is it because gays don’t procreate? Do they detract from our society? As someone who has had zero religious indoctrination, its hard for me to understand. People are people and come in all sorts of flavors.

    1. Hi Roxanne, thanks for reading and joining the conversation. You asked a good series of questions and I do want to respond (feeling no obligation). But let me do this, my next blog post will be direct answers to each of your questions so I can give them proper attention. I’ll be sure to tag you somehow so you can see it. You could subscribe to the blog via email as well; there’s a link at the bottom of the post or at the top right of the home page.

      Thanks again for chiming in!

  5. Mr. Cathy seems like a good honest man that has lived consistently to his views. With that said…I don’t agree with all of them. There are two types of people that will eat at chick-fil-a; Those that support his beliefs and those people that just love their chicken.

    There are three types of people that will not eat at chick-fil-a; Those that don’t have one in their area, those that refuse to eat fast food because it isn’t good for you and those that don’t agree with his beliefs.

    I keep hearing the word “tolerance” on both sides of this argument then I hear name calling. I guess to some of these aggressive people they are intolerant to anyone that disagrees with them…Very sad.

    I am not a Christian but I have a sister that is. I am not gay but I have a brother that is. I am tired of people saying things so negatively about my siblings, victoriously attacking their characters, rights and beliefs.

    That is all,
    Good Day

  6. The reason Mr. Cathy’s statements are hateful is because of the implications, not necessarily the explicit words he rendered. By saying that Chick-fil-a supports “traditional marriage” to the exclusion of same sex marriage, he implies that homosexual men and women are less worthy individuals in our society. What we are talking about here is the LEGAL (ie. not moral, religious, etc) designation of marriage, and what that means. We have stated ideals of equal protection under the law (and separation of church and state). If we, through our government, do not grant same sex couples the legal rights and privileges that we do to heterosexual couples, then we are not living up to our ideal of equal protection. What we are saying to same sex couples is that you are less than, in the eyes of the law. I think we can all understand that this would be a hurtful and hateful thing to be told! “Your government doesn’t think you deserve equal treatment under the law.” Again, here, the implication is that you are less than. Lesser in value to society, and nothing short of a lesser being in the eyes of the law. The LAW, not the church, the law, the government, the state.

    So, for Mr. Cathy to say this is the view of his company, and materially support political efforts to continue this insulting policy, yes, it is hurtful. It is hateful. He implies that a whole class of people should continue being treated as less than full citizens by our government.

    I find it insane that there are those of us in this country that have the reaction you did. YOU are NOT the one being told that you are less than a full citizen. Why do YOU feel somehow victimized in this situation? By supporting this policy, you are, at the very least, complicit in denying others rights under the law.

    To be clear, you can believe whatever you want. Your church can believe whatever it wants. But, to codify this prejudice in to law, is simply unfounded.

    BTW, there have been protests against Chick-fil-a for about a year now. The reason it became an issue is b/c Mr. Cathy, uncharacteristically, affirmed the company’s stance publicly and explicitly. As you pointed out, the Cathy’s and the company have held deeply conservative “Christian” ideals. But, they’ve always shied away from taking public stands. I’ve known the Cathy’s for years, and they had always stayed away from political subjects. I’m not sure why, after the fervor of last year had died down, he feel compelled to make this statement.

    I find the whole thing tragic. I love Chick-fil-a food. But, my long standing issues with their corporate stances and behavior, make it hard to support. I believe in free speech, for Mr. Cathy, his company, and for those who exercise the freedom in some form of protest/boycott/flash mob/etc. And, I guess that’s what really sucks. I know that the protests, boycotts, and other actions have no real chance of changing anything. I also know that most of the companies I buy things from are endorsing, condoning, advocating, or otherwise engaged in activities or policies that I find deeply problematic, disturbing, or flat out wrong.

    So there we are. Maybe we should simply donate to a countervailing cause when we knowingly support these businesses. And, continue struggling to pull our country into the 21st century where we don’t take the moral musings of Iron Age people as [literally] true.

    Here’s hoping!

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