Chick-fil-A; It’s Not About Free Speech, Its About the Bigotry!

First, they complained about the StopRush movement, which seeks to inform advertisers as to what their advertising money is actually going to when it supported the Rush Limbaugh Daily Crap-athon. There’s never been an overt attempt to get Limbaugh off the air; all anyone seeks to do is to allow advertisers and their customers to have all information necessary to make an informed

That’s not a free speech issue. To claim that Rush Limbaugh has the right to free speech is accurate. He does have the right to say what he wants on his radio program. If anyone were actually trying to take that away, I would be first in line to defend him. But his right to free speech does not entitle him or anyone connected to him to make money, and there is especially no right to make money from those who object to the content of his free speech.

Now, we are hearing the same arguments regarding the Chick-fil-A situation. A boycott of Chick-fil-A in no way infringes on the company's free speech issue. Therefore, you geniuses who sat in line at the drive-thru for “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” are suckers, pure and simple. Someone persuaded you to spend money you didn't intend to spend. That's going to have no effect on what I do. Do you really think that, by showing up to prove your personal bigotry today, you will somehow persuade the rest of us to give up and start eating their mediocre, overpriced food? 

And give up the free speech garbage, please? Obviously, your free speech is in no danger, because you were allowed to waste your money at Chick-fil-A all you want, and you’re allowed to express your bigoted opinion all you want. Of course, I’m allowed to continue not buying food at Chick-fil-A, and I'm allowed to call them and you bigots.

Like I said, all of our free speech is intact.

And Chick-fil-A’s religion doesn’t enter into it, either. Given that more than 90% of Americans have some sort of religious belief, one can assume that pretty much all business owners belong to a religious faith. There’s a pizza shop around here that features a cross behind the counter, tracts in front of the cash register, and several Bible verses on their menu. I eat there because their food is tasty. I might feel differently if I was preached to while I eat, but that hasn’t happened. I literally don’t care about anyone’s religion.

The only real issue is bigotry, and whether or not I wish to support it with my money. Chick-fil-A does not have a right to operate in any community they choose to, without that community’s blessing, they are not entitled to my business, and they are not entitled to free speech without comment from anyone else. The people who own that company are bigoted against  gay people. That’s it. That’s the issue.  (As you'll see, their bigotry isn't limited to gays.)

The only element of surprise in all of this is that so many people seem to be unaware of Chick-fil-A’s background.. I’ve been boycotting Chick-fil-A for about 8 years now, for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with religion or speech, or the overpriced mediocrity of their food, but due to their behavior.

Here are a few things you should have known about Chick-fil-A before their company president confirmed his desire to deny people their civil rights based on his baseless claims regarding his supposed “religion”:

  • Though the company technically “franchises” its stores, it does so in a way that gives it a lot more influence over the franchise’s hiring practices. As such, they screen their employees stringently, to make sure they “fit.” They ask everyone who applies to disclose their marital status, number of dependents and their involvement with “community, civic, social, church and/or professional organizations." They get away with this because their franchisees are technically contract employees, which exempts them from many of the same laws as everyone else.
  • Once hired, they exert a tremendous amount of influence over their employees’ personal lives, to the point of monitoring their habits outside of work, to make sure they follow “good Christian principles.”
  • In a 2007 Forbes article (that all of you think this is “just religion” should read, it is notable that Chick-fil-A had been sued more than a dozen times for employment discrimination, including at least one case in which a Muslim employee was fired for not participating in the “group prayer,” with the other employees.
  • The company was sued for gender discrimination recently. In the complaint, a female former  employee said she was fired so that she could be a stay-at-home mother, and she was replaced with a man. She says it was part of a “pattern” of gender discrimination at her Duluth Georgia store. Keep in mind; the company exerts a significant amount of control over its employees, so this isn't about the franchise owner, it's about the company.
  • According to a number of documents obtained by Equality Matters, between 2003 and 2009, they donated more than $3 million to a number of known anti-gay groups such as the Family Research Council and Exodus International. These folks aren’t just run-of-the-mill bigots who just don’t like gays; many of these groups are certified hate groups who equate gays with pedophiles and who think they should al be rounded up and kept in a camp somewhere.
  • In 2010 alone, Chick-fil-A’s contributions to anti-gay groups ballooned to $1.9 million. To make matters worse,  the supposedly religious Dan Cathy denied that his company had an anti-gay agenda just 17 months ago in a press release. Either you are or you aren’t.

This isn’t about free speech or religion. It’s about bigotry. Chick-fil-A is allowed to be bigoted and the rest of us are allowed to object.

That’s life in the land of the free.