The Chik-fil-A fiasco reminds us all exactly how not to fight the culture wars (a topic previously touched on by Bonald). Here’s a telling example of the kind of limp-wristed apologies being coughed up in support of Chik-fil-A:
Dan Cathy, president of one of America’s largest express fast food chains, has been frying more than chicken filets this week. The Chick-fil-A executive infuriated gay and lesbian groups when he again defended his company’s anti-gay marriage position in an interview this week with a Christian news outlet.
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit,” he said. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”
Not surprisingly, his comments were met with fury by those who support same-sex marriage. The company was labeled a “hate group” by many on Twitter and in the blogosphere, and drew promises of boycotts from notables including The Office star Ed Helms. Meanwhile, Americans who patronize the chain’s 1,600 locations were left wondering what to do.
Should they swear off the legendary chicken sandwiches to support gay rights? Or could they eat one of the filets anyway, knowing their dollars would be but a drop in the bucket for a chain that has more than $4 billion in annual sales and donated a pittance to groups they may disagree with?
I’d argue the latter — and this has nothing to do with my views on gay marriage. It’s because Chick-fil-A is a laudable organization on balance, and because I refuse to contribute to the ineffective boycott culture that’s springing up across America.
Also this, from The Anchoress:
“Whether these Chick-fil-A people support gay marriage or not, are people no longer entitled to their own opinions? I mean, denying them business licenses? Really? Is this what we’ve come to:”Either fall in line or you will pay; we will destroy you…” for having a different opinion?
Whatever happened to “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”
If this is true, if this bullying is true, then this is not my father’s liberalism, that’s for sure. It’s something very, very different.
(Well, it’s different alright — because it’s more perfected — but let’s save that for another discussion).
I’m sure these lines of arguments are meant well. They just don’t work. What makes the Chik-fil-A boycott/persecution/whatever you want to call it (we’ll just use “boycott”) objectionable isn’t that it’s a boycott. It’s that it’s a boycott in defense of perversion. It’s the end, not the means. That’s what makes them our enemies and not our misguided allies.
When Catholics whine that it’s unfair to boycott Chik-fil-A over gay “marriage” because boycotts are uncool or whatever, they implicitly acknowledge that it’s OK in principle to punish Chik-fil-A for its stance on gay “marriage.” (Side note: Is it time to start putting quotation marks around “gay” as well as “marriage”?) This is a lot of ground to be ceding to our enemies.
Now, independent of whether or not anyone ought to boycott anyone else, we can’t deny it’s a useful and legitimate means of registering one’s disapproval. Chik-fil-A isn’t entitled to the business of leftists (who probably didn’t eat there, anyway), after all, nor do leftists have a duty to patronize restaurants in general, much less this one in particular. And since when are conservatives unhappy about boycotting, anyway? Don’t we do it to abortionists? Wouldn’t we all be quite happy pulling their licenses to practice business? Or is the complaint more motivated by the fact that, in general, we stink at organizing these sorts of movements?
(And yes, the left’s canard that Chik-fil-A ought to shut up and sell chicken is an annoying cop-out, too. These hacks weren’t complaining about the mixing of politics and business while J.C. Penney was normalizing “gay” parenting. But who expects better of them?)
This is another one of those “teaching moments” that could’ve been capitalized on but instead was squandered for the sake of parroting meritless platitudes to placate our implacable enemies. Here might have been a good time for Catholics, traditionalists, and catechists to step up and explain, not why boycotting is wrong (when we all know it isn’t), but why traditional marriage is right. Another pointless victory for our enemies; another strategic opportunity wasted; another needless emboldening of our enemies, and another thousand souls lost to them.