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August 1, 2012

Celebrate Eat More Chicken ‘Buy-cott’ Day

Kevin E. Dayhoff

Hopefully you and your family will join former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee today and be sure to patronize your local Chick fil-A restaurant in honor of ‘Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.’


Governor Huckabee organized the event in the wake of the un-American, intolerant, hate campaign being waged against the Atlanta-based restaurant chain after its president, Dan Cathy, told the author of the “Biblical Recorder,” a journal of the Baptist Press, his personal views on gay marriage.


In an article, “‘Guilty as charged,’ Mr. Cathy says of Chick-fil-A's stand on biblical & family values,” writer K. Allan Blume, explains, “Dan Cathy oversees one of the country's most successful businesses.


“As president and chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A, Cathy leads a business with 1,608 restaurants that had sales of more than $4 billion dollars last year…


“His father, S. Truett Cathy started the business in 1946… In 1967, his father opened the first Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta…


In an excellent article on the matter by Jamie Smith Hopkins, “Chick-fil-A president's words on gay marriage spark tempest,” penned for The Baltimore Sun, Ms. Hopkins reports that Mr. Cathy said that Chick-fil-A is “very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit.”


Star Parker noted in her column, “Is Christianity now un-American,” “When Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy made his now famous incendiary admission … he was not pontificating. He was responding to a question in an interview done in a paper I expect not read by many homosexuals – the Baptist Press…”


Ms. Parker makes a fair point. Nevertheless, I do not agree with Mr. Cathy. In my view, as long as you do not want to marry a family pet or an underage member of the family; whom you sleep with – or marry – is none of my business and I do not care.


Moreover, I cannot overlook that Chick-fil-A has excellent food; runs a great restaurant, has excellent customer service, and is very supportive of local firefighters and law enforcement, non-profits and the community.


By all measures, Chick-fil-A is reportedly a good employer and is a valuable contributor to the local community.


Furthermore, Chick-fil-A has subsequently said that its restaurants do not discriminate against gays and vows to serve everyone.


For those who disagree, “National Same-Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A,” is scheduled for Friday according to Ryan Watkins in The GA Voice. “But some gay rights activists say the effort is wasted on a company whose owners are entitled to their own personal opinions and religious beliefs.”


According to the Daily Mail, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee joined Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino in threatening government retaliation against the private business because the owner exercised his right to free speech.


One of the fundamental foundations of our right to free speech is the protection from government action to suppress our right to express our opinions, or government actions meant to punish someone for saying something of which the government or a government official disagrees.


To be certain, the mayors want us to tolerate their intolerant point of view. However, free speech does not protect someone from the public’s negative reaction to an expressed opinion.


I share the same right to free speech with the mayors and Mr. Cathy. I retain the right to criticize Mr. Cathy for his opinions on gay marriage and for not staying away from hot-button social issues that are not a core component to running his business. Not unlike my criticism of Hollywood stars who want to use their status to expound upon their political opinions – of which I not only have no interest, but also more often than not – totally disagree. They should shut-up and act.


Mr. Cathy needs to shut-up and make me a sandwich. Fortunately, according to Ms. Hopkins, “Chick-fil-A might be thinking along those lines.


In a statement saying the company's culture seeks to treat every person with respect, Chick-fil-A said: ‘Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.’”


Here’s the thing, the issue of gay marriage is territory where big business, big-government – and political parties have no business.


Before I retired in 1999, I supplemented my farming income by working for 25-years as a landscape designer and property management consultant. Many of my clients were gay – and most were very conservative…


However, please take a memo: I really don’t give a flying fudge cookie about the blue and red – left and right thing; and I certainly do not care a rat’s behind about the issue of gay marriage. Especially as the country finds itself mired for the fifth year in a row with high unemployment, an unsustainable national debt, and record budget deficits under the guidance of an administration proud of its populist anti-business public policies, mind-numbing emphasis on bureaucracy and over-regulation and confiscatory income-redistribution taxing schemes.


In the face of economic-Armageddon, I can only imagine that the high-ranking and imaginative Democrat strategists in charge of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign are overwhelmed with joy that Republicans want to argue a social policy that President Obama was against before he realized it was politically expedient to be “for it.”


What I care about is free speech – the right to say something that some people or the government does not like. I care about supporting businesses that understand that they have a social contract to provide good employment; good products at reasonable prices, good customer service and support the local community.


At a time like this, I am reminded of the wisdom of Martin Luther King, Jr., who said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”


. . . . .I’m just saying.


Now pass me one of those chicken sandwiches.


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