So, we don’t have any hard numbers on how many Americans actually showed up at Chick-fil-A on Wednesday to demonstrate in support of the company, but we do know that over 500,000 registered on Facebook to go. That’s massive. There may be no reliable way to compare figures, but what do you want to bet that there were far, far more “demonstrators” at Chick-fil-A on Wednesday than there were at all the Occupy Wall Street protests last fall in the US, combined?
Going by the Facebook numbers, there were far more people at Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day than were at Woodstock. See that crowd pic above? Between 300,000 and 400,000 people showed up for Woodstock. The National Park Service estimated that the massive and historic gay rights march on Washington in 1993 involved 300,000. Way more people than that came out to Chick-fil-A on Wednesday. It’s roughly like the entire city of Omaha went out for a chicken sandwich, and brought along half of Baton Rouge with it.
Granted, it was a lot easier to drive to your local CFA than to get to Washington or to Yasgur’s farm, or to commit to living temporarily in a downtown park. Still, whatever you think of Chick-fil-A and same-sex marriage, that is a remarkable social phenomenon. By way of contrast, ABC News reports that 11,000 gay folks have signed up for the big same-sex kiss-in protest at Chick-fil-As around the country today — a number 55 times smaller than the pro-CFA Facebook brigade. Wonder if the media coverage will reflect the disparity? I’m not holding my breath.
UPDATE: Because I’d really prefer to avoid doing more than one Chick-fil-A post today, I will append to this one some excellent remarks sent to me by a Catholic theologian friend, in response to his parents having passed along the illustration below. First, the illustration, then my theologian pal’s comments. For the record, my friend is a Democrat, a Yankee, an Ivy League graduate, and thinks his friend Rod is wrong, wrong, wrong about the merits of the Carter presidency. In other words, not a Southern right-wing caricature:
Well, this cartoon succeed in making me think. And here’s what I thought:
Matthew 7:3 should be appended to any email that forwards this cartoon, since the aim of the cartoon is mock the values of other people while congratulating one’s self for having insight into Jesus.
Why do I say that?
The premise of the cartoon relies on simultaneously taking scripture seriously (by exhorting us to care more for the poor) but also mocking scripture (by making fun of people who care about family, chastity and children).
As I reflect on various Yalies, mainline Protestant leaders, and media elites of my acquaintance (not only specific real people, but also a memory of my former self) my sense is that most of them would look at this cartoon and have a chuckle. There is humor in it. But also, that part of the liberal self which prides itself on having compassion for the poor, unlike those atavistic conservatives, will be mildly flattered.
We can also note – as many liberals will agree, and as I agree also – that fast food joints like Chick-fil-A rely on factory industrial farms which pollute the earth, are cruel to animals, and bad for our bodies. So that’s another reason for a Christian to be wary of Chick-fil-A.
But what few liberals will reflect upon when they see this cartoon – and why they might need to reflect on logs in their own eye, and specks in their neighbors eye – is that not only did Jesus say to care about the poor, he also said to be chaste, and never to cause children scandal. And yet the sexual revolution, a great celebration of unchastity with devastating consequences for families and children, is pretty sacrosanct to most of these liberals whom I’m imagining enjoying the cartoon.
The people filling Chick-fil-A are not saints, but they sense something terribly wrong has occurred in our country’s elite culture over sexuality, and they are going to Chick-fil-A because they are sick of being bullied towards sexual liberalism by elites in the name of tolerance. This is a fair point.
Criticize the plebeians in Chick-fil-A if you like for not caring sufficiently about the poor and not seeing the ironies of fast food – that’s a fair point too – but consider they are doing what they can to support somebody who publicly rejected the sexual revolution. Consider the fruits of the sexual revolution (abortion, quickie casual divorce, pornography, sexual pleasure as an entitlement, the decline of family as a call to duty, among other things) and the cost of this revolution to children born to all the broken families and wayward adults of the last 40 years. The sexual revolution deserves Christian resistance.
Thus on reflection, while the cartoon scores a quick smile on first glance, on second thought, I do not think it honors Jesus as it purports.