Last night I took my two younger kids to see a movie. Afterwards, they asked if we could eat at Chick-fil-A, which is one of their favorite restaurants. I’m more of a Raising Cane’s guy when it comes to fried chicken products, but with the example of the most recent View From Your Table in mind, I said sure. It felt like the right thing to do, given all the crap the company has had to take this week from gay activists over its Christian president’s opposition to gay marriage.
I don’t care if the guy who runs a fast-food company is for or against gay marriage. When I think of Chick-fil-A, I remember the owner of a franchise in Dallas whose kids went to the private Christian school that our son attended in first grade. That Chick-fil-A family was always going all-out to help the school and kids at the school in whatever way they could. They were thoroughly decent, community-minded folks. And their food was good. Still is, I’m sure.
And I respect the heck out of the fact that Chick-fil-A closes on the Sabbath to honor God.
Writing for The Atlantic’s website, Jonathan Merritt says whatever you think of the company’s president’s views on gay marriage, you should not boycott Chick-fil-A. For one thing, it gives millions away to charity every year. For another, it treats all its customers well. And for a third:
I’m flummoxed that so many consumers are so quick these days to call for boycotts of any company that deviates from their personal or political views. For one thing, boycotts rarely cause actual pocketbook – rather than PR — damage. Most consumers don’t care enough to drive an extra mile to get the same product from someone else. And that’s especially the case for companies as large as Chick-fil-A, which has prime locations on many college campuses where there is little head-to-head competition.
But my bigger question is this: In a nation that’s as divided as ours is, do we really want our commercial lives and our political lives to be so wholly intermeshed? And is this really the kind of culture we want to create?
I don’t for one minute begrudge anybody getting ticked off at a corporate leader for things he or she believes, says, does, or pays for. And if you want to withhold your trade from that person and their company, you certainly have that right. But good grief, does the personal always have to be political, and the political personal? Is it really necessary that one agree with all the political, religious, and cultural opinions of a merchant before doing business with him? It’s an exhausting way to live.
Though I was pleased to make my kids happy tonight and to throw some business at a good company under fire unfairly, I’m not going to let culture-war politics cause me to forsake Raising Cane’s for Chick-fil-A when the spirit moves me to chow down on fried chicken. Chick-fil-A is good, but I prefer Cane’s. If the president of Raising Cane’s throws money at a pro-gay marriage group, that’s not going to deter my business.