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Unless you have been living under a rock you have heard in the news of Chick-Fil-A’s latest scandal and their support to anti-gay groups. For the record I do not agree with this because if anything else it is a poor business decision. There is however nothing wrong with sticking to your moral guns in most scenarios. I remember this every time in the past that I have attempted to get Chick-Fil-A on a Sunday.
The reason I bring this up is that a friend of mine just commented on a Facebook post about this very issue. The author of the original post was complaining about the media’s attack on Chick-Fil-A’s anti-gay stance. He went into the fact that people and businesses should be able to support whoever they want in whatever fashion. That we are a Christian nation that believes in pro-family and thinks more people should support that.
Of course I am assuming by pro-family he means the traditional nuclear family of one husband, one wife, four kids, and a white picket fence. You know the kind that existed solely in sappy fifties television that didn’t accurately portray the real world. Yet, all of us born after that era seem to think that was real life. It isn’t.
He states that America is a Christian nation. In deems that because it is the majority religion in America. In 2008 seventy-six percent of American’s in the census identified as Christian. That is also a ten percent drop from 1990. So I’m assuming by the end of this century America may actually move away from that moniker (please please please). I say that as someone who identifies Christian by the way. I believe heavily in a separation of church and state, down so far that I don’t want the nation identified by any religion.
He seems to ignore the fact that our country was founded on being a melting pot. That we were meant to embrace and integrate other cultures and beliefs into our own. It was designed to make us a stronger nation. One that could exist outside of any religion. That, however, doesn’t mean we skew anti-gay. Whatever your religion you can be pro-equality amongst human beings.
The real problem is that I don’t think we would have had an issue if the president of Chick-Fil-A had donated money to anti-gay groups. He is an individual. We live in a world where money is considered speech. Donating is his freedom of speech. The problem lies where the company donates its money.
By current legal standards a company has the same rights as an individual. This means when it donates money it is also practicing freedom of speech. This is easier for a small company. The problem lies in the fact that Chick-Fil-A is not a small company. They gave up some of their freedom of privacy by going public. Because they went public earnings and expenditures are given to shareholders. This is done to make sure there is due diligence that the company is performing their ethical duty to increase profits. Items like where the company is donating money are noticed.
We go back to the fact that by donating money the company is only practicing freedom of speech. This company is held accountable by their speech in the form of stock sales and public perception. If the president blows all the profit on donating to the Creation Museum, he would get sued to high heaven by shareholders. He has that right, but he will suffer the consequences for it.
The problem at the core of the back and forth is the speech being used. Yes they have the right to practice it. That doesn’t mean there isn’t consequences to what you say. Everyone is held accountable for their speech. It doesn’t mean we legally can suppress it (if the stock falls far enough the share holder lawsuits will handle that from a financial perspective). Speech has consequences. Chick-Fil-A might be learning that for the first time. Welcome to the real adult world.
By the way – didn’t have this outrage in the other direction just a few weeks over an Oreo’s ad? Oreo knew there would be backlash and were willing to suffer for it. Why can’t we just allow Chick-Fil-A to suffer the same fate and business backlash?
Words have consequences, if you can’t stand by them – you never should have said them.