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
choice.

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.

4 comments

  1. Milt, you are almost right.
    The outrage is the law – and I mean actual, enforced law – does not guarantee employees against such shocking interference in their personal lives by their employers, whether bigoted or not.
    Mandatory prayer sessions?
    Firing women because God wants them to stay home with the kids?
    This is completely nuts.
    This is what freedom of contract leads to.
    Not only do the dickwads exploit the hell out of you to make themselves rich while smugly claiming to be Galtian value creators who deserve everything they can legally squeeze out of your desperation, they insist it’s their natural right to demand total control of your life in return for the crumbs you need to stay alive.
    But I want to insist on a point many liberals won’t agree on.
    I say freedom of speech on one’s own time, outside the work environment, is a right that needs to be guaranteed to all of us against our employers.
    Far too many liberals behave just as badly as conservatives when it’s a question of trying to get people fired for saying things they disapprove.
    That, too, is an outrage against democracy, liberty, and employee rights.
    But if it comes to that you could probably expect the Catholic bishops to start screaming persecution and violation of their freedom of religion if the government started to limit their control over employees’ outside behavior.

  2. Jimmy, you seem younger and less “experienced” than me.
    1. The screening came before they were hired. And yes, it’s technically illegal for a *prospective* employer to ask you if you’re married, whether you are married and/or have children, or a number of other personal questions that could lead to discrimination. Chick-fil-A got away with this because of a loophole in the law designed to protect “contractors.”
    2. Forget illegal. SHOULD an employer have the power to tell you what you are allowed to do for your second job, as long as it doesn’t raise issues of professional ethics? Should your employer be allowed to tell you what church you may attend, or that you must drive an American car and send your kids to a Christian school? Better yet, what if your employer of 25 years was sold to a Muslim, and the Muslim fired you for not being Muslim. Are you telling me you’d have no objection?
    3. You obviously can’t read. They fired her because, allegedly, the manager thought she SHOULD be a stay at home mom. He approved of those, not moms who worked outside the home.
    4. No one said anything was illegal. Is that your dividing line between right and wrong? What’s legal? That’s funny, because you’re apparently trying to claim a moral high ground, and you’re the one with no morals.
    See, Chick-fil-A is allowed to give to any bigoted group there is. Likewise, I can speak out against them, call them bigoted, refuse to give them my money and ask other to do the same.
    Welcome to America, where everyone has free speech, not just Chick-fil-A.

  3. • 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.
    IS THIS ILLEGAL? THEY NEED THE MARITAL STATUS AND NUMBER OF DEPENDENTS TO PAY THE EMPLOYEE AND KNOW THE NUMBER OF EXEMPTIONS TO ALLOW IN DEDUCTING TAXES. IS IT ILLEGAL TO ASK ABOUT THEIR INVOLVEMENT WITH “COMMUNITY, CIVIC, SOCIAL, CHURCH AND/OR PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS.
    IS THIS ILLEGAL?
    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.”
    IS THIS ILLEGAL?
    • 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.
    WAS THAT STATED IN THE CONTRACT?
    • 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.
    YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING. HOW CAN YOU BE A “STAY AT HOME MOM”, MAKE AND SELL CHICKEN IN THE RESTAURANT ? WAS SHE A BOOKKEEPER? SHE SIGNED A CONTRACT. WHAT DID THAT CONTRACT SAY?
    • 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 all be rounded up and kept in a camp somewhere.
    IS DONATING TO A CHURCH, THE NAACP, THE ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE OR A CANDIDATE’S CAMPAIGN ILLEGAL?
    • 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.
    IS THIS ILLEGAL?
    You seem young and inexperienced. I could not find much on you in a bio anywhere. Don’t quit your day job. I like Salisbury, MD. Nice town. We pass through there on the way to the beach

  4. I recently found your blog and it’s become a “must read”. Thanks for the further info about Chik-Fil-A. I try not to give bigots my money.

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