My friend James Barry often says about the addictive southern chicken chain Chick-Fil-A, “It’s just chicken and a pickle on a biscuit, people.” This is a quote often accompanied by a link to a story about how sickeningly anti-gay the wildly successful restaurant is. His link is often commented on by chicken lovers who instruct him to kindly “leave Chick-Fil-A alone” or “never insult their chicken in front of me” or “give it a rest, already, I’m a fucking nut for that chicken.”
Okay, that last one I made up. But Chick-Fil-A’s supporters are quite unforgiving.
Take The New York Times‘ food writer Kim Severson, who wrote today on the swirling anti-gay controversy about “Chick-Fil-A.” It’s frankly, an embarrassing article for gays, as well as for her journalistic integrity, and The New York Times. To be honest, Chick-Fil-A comes out of this article car wash shinier than ever. The article isn’t bad. It just left a bad taste in my mouth.
Long story short, Chick-Fil-A is a privately owned, heavily Christian restaurant, and they aren’t hiding that fact. There’s lots of stories about they don’t hire people unless they believe in Jesus. There was an even a lawsuit brought against them by a Muslim man. Ms. Severson gives voice to a lot of folks who feel that this has all gotten out of control, and this is infringing on their religious freedom. According to Ms. Severson, “Jaded secular fans” call it “Jesus Chicken.” Hmm. Not really sure what place “jaded” has in this article, but so far we seem to be off to a very slanted start.
Oh, and she also couldn’t shut the fuck up about how great the chicken is. Some excerpts from the Chick-Fil-A ad/investigative piece:
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.
That’s how it begins, and I’m already salivating. I do give Ms. Severson props for refraining from words like “marinating,” “slow-roasted,” and “finger-licking good.”
What a fucking great sandwich!
Michael Geer, the president of the Pennsylvania Family Instituteand a fan of the Chick-fil-A southwest salad with spicy dressing, says the whole thing has been blown out of proportion. He simply asked a local, independent operator to provide lunch.
Maybe, Ms. Severson feels the article was getting a little fluffy or drab and needed the bigoted Mr. Geer’s personal Chick-Fil-A order to give it a personal flair. Still, I give her kudos for staying objective and not popping in her own preference for the Chicken Minis.
My mouth is fucking watering you guys. Does anybody have a towel?
Ms. Thomas grew up as a Southern Baptist in a small town in north Georgia. Her daily high school lunch was a Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit and sweet tea.
Okay, now it’s a humanist piece on a young woman who wants so badly to return to her good old days when a Chick-fil-A sandwich waited in her lunch pail, and the company’s hatred for gays was blissfully private. Ms. Thomas’s waxing brings the whole damned toothless article in for a landing:
Still, she said she had empathy for people who struggle to choose between their beliefs and a sandwich.
“It’s a hard call, a personal call,” she said. “You have to decide which soul you want to feed.”
Are we really asking ourselves this inane question? A social injustice over a fucking sandwich?
I just creamed in my pants looking at this sandwich. You’ve got to be kidding me!
So, Ms. Severson succeeded in making her readers hungry, belittling the opinions of the people who are actually angry about this, and fulfilling her obligation to the newspaper to at least mention gays in the article.
And she also made it look like us gays are out to destroy religion. We aren’t. But busting into our homes and limiting the kind of lives we can have is a good way to make that happen.
I don’t care about their prayer circles, or their not hiring Muslims or Jews, or their disallowing gay couples from attending their events. Don’t care about it, not gonna use it.
I’m not anti-religion on principle. I’m anti-religion when they bust into my life like so much street punks into Charles Bronson’s apartment. Then, they deserve everything coming to them. Chick-Fil-A gives copious amounts of money and lunches to events and organizations that use that money to fund anti-gay initiatives like Prop 8, which took rights away from me.
But the sandwich! I grew up on this shit!
It’s very simple math, math Ms. Severson seems completely unable to grasp. And it’s graspable without resorting to subjectivity.
1) You give money to Chick-Fil-A in exchange for sandwiches.
2) Chick-Fil-A takes that money and puts it into the big Chick-Fil-A bank account.
3) Money is taken from the big Chick-Fil-A bank account and used for things like paying employees, keeping the lights on, and sometimes, yes, as donations to the Pennsylvania Family Institute and the National Organization for Marriage.
4) The National Organization for Marriage uses their bank account, which contains Chick-Fil-A dollars (AKA your dollars), to pay for radio ads, video ads and street signs for initiatives like Prop 8 and Question 1.
5) Prop 8 of California and Question 1 of Maine had campaigns that had significantly more donation money to work with than the No on Prop 8 and No on Question 1 campaigns did.
6) Prop 8 and Question 1 were successfully passed, due in no small part to their visibility.
7) Prop 8 and Question 1 stripped gay citizens of California, like me, and gay citizens of Maine of their right to marry.
8) Your Chick-Fil-A sandwich took away rights.
There. Not a lick of subjectivity. So, in a way, CNN and New York Times are not subjective because they cloud this math. Intentionally or not, the lines between anti-gay businesses and stripped-away rights are never drawn.
C’mon you guys, it is NOT just chicken on a bun with a pickle, okay? It’s not. Have you tried the chicken? I mean, have you tried it? No, shut up, have you tried it?
I am now going to leave the land of subjectivity.
Phew. That was a scary couple of seconds. Gotta get a joke out there. Okay, wait. I can come up with one. Okay, maybe the Chick-Fil-A/Rights Taken Away math problem is flawed because we never get to step 8. Because by Step 5, Maggie Gallagher of NOM has used the Chick-Fil-A money not for Yes on Question 1 stickers, but for more Chick-Fil-A sandwiches.
Wow, subjectivity makes you rusty. No wonder no newsperson does it anymore.
It’s a Southern thing. You just don’t understand.
In the wake of the revelation of these donations, Chick-Fil-A owner Dan Cathy has issued a statement saying the organization will no longer fund anti-gay organizations.
“Jesus!” I thought. ”I can’t believe such a staunchly religious person gave in to our demands like that. They usually aren’t able to keep their fucking mouths shut or stay out of my affairs for two seconds, so–”
Wait, the article continued after I stopped reading:
“At the same time, we will continue to offer resources to strengthen marriages and families. To do anything different would be inconsistent with our purpose and belief in Biblical principles.”
Ah-so. Basically, what he’s saying he’s still going to support these initiatives. He’s just going to be a little more clever about how he does it next time.
Dan Cathy. Or is it Charles Widmore?