Why Friends should be nervous after Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy's Remarks

As some of you may be aware, recently Dan Cathy has made comments that have proven incendiary.

Dan Cathy, president of one of America's largest and most successful fast food restaurants, is a devout Christian. This should not make us nervous.

Because of this, and the fact that he tries to operate Chick-fil-A on biblical principles, this businessman is often interviewed by Christian publication. This should not make us nervous. 

In one such interview, he made the following comment: "We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that...we know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."  This should not make us nervous.

 

In another interview, he followed up with this comment: ""I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say 'we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage' and I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about." This should not make us nervous.

What should make us very, very nervous is the response of many in government to Cathy's second comment.

 


Cathy's second comment, when read in light of certain contributions he has made to conservative Christian causes, is widely believed to be a stand against gay marriage. In the aftermath, many American politicians are saying that Chick-fil-A is not welcome in their cities.

  • Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago: "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values"
  • James Kenney, Philadelphia councilman, called the comment "hate speech"
  • Boston's mayor Thomas Menino vowed to block any attempts to open a Chick-fil-A in Boston
  • Chicago Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno said that he would deny Chick-fil-A a permit if they tried to open a restaurant in his neighborhood
  • San Francisco's mayor Ed Lee said that he recommend that Chick-fil-A not try to come  closer than forty miles distant from San Francisco

Friends, we are all in trouble if government officials are threatening a man's business because he calmly and tenderly expounds a view supported by the Bible. Regardless of what we believe God's will to be on this issue, we must never acquiesce to government officials calling comments like Cathy's "hate speech" and threatening to stymie his business as a result of his beliefs. There is NO EVIDENCE that Cathy or Chick-fil-A has EVER discriminated against GLBTQ people. There is NO EVIDENCE that Chick-fil-A denies employment to people in same-sex relationships. The statements above are purely based on Cathy's Bible-supported views of marriage. 

People who find Cathy's statements offensive should be encouraged to boycott Chick-fil-A. But, Friends, let's discourage our government officials from discriminating against Cathy based on his religious beliefs.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

-Martin Niemoller

Views: 5530

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Amen.

Love is all.

Chris, I wonder if you can elaborate, in light of William's statement to Marianna:

You tell us that "love" is the ultimate standard for us, but you never tell us how you you determine what that means.  Without further specification, love is a very slippery concept.  I would hold up Jesus Christ as the ultimate embodiment of love and what it means for us.

Thanks for participating in the discussion!
Chris Nugent said:

Love is all.

Love isn't really a slippery concept at all.  Jesus is love.  Love is laying down one's life for another.  The scriptures say that sometimes a person will lay down his life for a good man but Jesus/God laid down His life for us while we were still sinners.  It's all about love.  We are here to learn how to love.  God doesn't care how often we are right.  He caresabout how often we love.  Check out Mathew 25:31 to 46.  We just want to explain why it's impractical to love.  Jesus didn't molly coddle those he disagreed with and he didn't hem and haw about what was right or wrong.  But he did it because He loved us and He proved it by His death on the cross.  Trying to figure out how to love in the instant moment might be hard but if we seek God's wisdom about how to love anyone in particular at any particular time He will give it.  Check out Proverbs.  The problem is it often involves putting our own self interest aside.
 
Adria Gulizia said:

Chris, I wonder if you can elaborate, in light of William's statement to Marianna:

You tell us that "love" is the ultimate standard for us, but you never tell us how you you determine what that means.  Without further specification, love is a very slippery concept.  I would hold up Jesus Christ as the ultimate embodiment of love and what it means for us.

Thanks for participating in the discussion!
Chris Nugent said:

Love is all.

Dear Jeff,

 

You write that Cathy and "his company via its 'charitable arm' the Winshape Organisation  is pouring millions of dollars every year into organisations with an openly gay-hostile agenda." That would be truly worrisome if it were true. I clicked on the web site you provided and found the following groups listed with dollar amounts.

  • Marriage & Family Foundation: $1,188,380
  • Fellowship Of Christian Athletes: $480,000
  • National Christian Foundation: $247,500
  • New Mexico Christian Foundation: $54,000
  • Exodus International: $1,000
  • Family Research Council: $1,000
  • Georgia Family Council: $2,500

Only one of these organizations focuses on gay issues- Exodus and it's considered fairly moderate with its leader recentlly speaking out against the notion of changing orientation.

The lion's share of the money goes to what "Equality Matters" identifies as  the Marriage and Family Foundation." I tried looking up the group on Google and found no such organization. There is a "Family Foundation" which is probably what they meant. It had the following description: "The mission of The Family Foundation is to strengthen families in Virginia by applying founding principles and faith to policy and culture. The organization seeks to establish through citizen advocacy and enactment of Virginia law a safe, prosperous and wholesome climate for families. All of its public policy decisions are based on the principles of life, marriage, parental authority, constitutional government and religious liberty." None of their recent news release even touched on gay issues. I hope, Jeff, your not suggesting that any one working to strengthen traditional marriage is anti-gay.

I find it troubling when an organization like "Equality Matters" does broad brush labeling of complex organizations with the label "anti gay" and others accept and repeat this charge widely.

I'm a history teacher, and it does remind me of a certain group that took a broad brush to the Jews and insistently labeled them as "anti-German."

Again, I think good people disagree about gay marriage and it's effect on family. I want to put in another plea for the community to test the various human witnesses to see what eventually answers "that of God within us" as a community.

blessings,

Herb

 


 
jeff said:

The remarks of Dan Cathy need to be taken in the context of the wider actions of his company. In this wider context I would be very hesitant to say this is about business man who 'calmly and tenderly expounds a view supported by the Bible' but rather a powerful wealthy company using its wealth to promote discrimination

His company via its 'charitable arm' the Winshape Organisation  is pouring millions of dollars every year into organisations with an openly gay-hostile agenda. In 201o nearly two million dollars and in 2011 over three million dollars went into these groups.

http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201207020001

 This is indeed worrying for this Friend. Whatever one's views of Biblical teachings about marriage and same sex relationships I cannot accept that spending huge sums of money on groups which campaign against the rights of LGBT people is not sanctioned by any teachings of Jesus.

Let's imagine there was a company in the US which employed Jewish people, served Jewish people politely in its stores and claimed that it in no way discriminated against Jews.  But at the same time was giving money to anti-Semitic organisations.  Then let's say that local authorities said they would not give them local licences to trade in their jurisdictions. Would we say that the civil authorities should not act because it falls outside their remit?

In Friendship

Jeff

 

When I look at web sites on both sides of the culture divide, I see pretty much the same thing. Fallible human beings ministering out of fear, woundedness, tribal certainty, etc. I recommend a book... James Davidson Hunter's "Before the Shooting Begins." He has an interesting chapter where he analyzes the web sites and fund raising letters of both extremes- mirror images of eachother.

 

The person that I seek to emulate and follow once said, "judge not lest you be judged. Why do you point out the speck in your brother's eye and miss the plank in your own..." We are called to witness  not pronounce judgmental certainty. Whittier said it well... "breathe through the heats of our desire, thy coolness and thy balm, let sense be dumb, let flesh retire, breath through the earthquake, wind and fire thy still small voice of calm." It seems that humans of all potical stripes prefers to minister from the earthquake, wind and fire of human desire, anger, passion, and tribal allegience rather than redemptive love.

I lift up your friends who have been wounded and pray for healing.  These words have helped in my healing. "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR
YOUR SOULS
. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

blessings,

Herb

 


 
jeff said:

Hi Herb

A couple of points

(1) The Family Foundation of Virigina (yes I think that is the group the article was referring too ) does have an anti gay agenda. For example on its website it lists one of its legislative victories as 

'Defeated the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation in Employment and Hate Crimes.'  How is this related to their stated aim of  a creating 'a safe, prosperous and wholesome climate for families?' 

Look at their own Blog and see how they actively campaign against gay rights such as same sex domestic partner health insurance etc...  They use expressions such as 'homosexual indoctrination' and  refer to homosexuality as 'a dangerous lifestyle'. They are a highly politicised group  not some benign defenders of healthy marriages. They are not just expressing opinions but actively campaigning against human rights!

(2)Exodus International is not in any sense of the word  'fairly moderate'  at least not in any sense that I use it. Exodus has brought misery and despair to  many thousands of LGBT people with its so called 'reparative therapy.' (It is now trying to distance itself from its past). It is changing its tack as it has come to realise that sexual orientation cannot be changed but it still characterises gay relationships as sinful and offers a 'way out'. Its website does not quite make it clear what that 'way out' is though in many cases it consists of encouraging gay men and women to enter into heterosexual marriage or complete celibacy.  Asa gay man neither of those prospects are particulalry appealing to me.

Its message however sugar coated is that a same sex loving relationship is wrong. Exodus, despite its shiny new image, continues to cause pain and confusion to many people struggling with their sexual identity. I know people who have been through the Exodus process and it is scary stuff. If you want to know what Exodus are all about then read this

http://www.truthwinsout.org/ministry-exodus-international/

I am not going to work through all the organisations listed but it is a similar story to those above. ...An often benign outer appearance with a very dark underbelly. Just look at their websites and with a little rooting around it is easy to see what they are about.

 I am pretty passionate about this because I have seen people really messed up by these folk and their kind! 

I am a UK citizen and thankfully the Ex Gay movement is virtually extinct here now. I only wish it had never come into being in the first place. I am in a Civil Partnership with my American partner and happily we are protected by law from harassment and discrimination, with equal pension, tax, housing and Social Security rights(and responsibilities). I want my American brothers and sisters to enjoy the same rights and the groups we are discussing are working to deny them.   

In Friendship

Jeff



Herb Lape said:

Dear Jeff,

 

You write that Cathy and "his company via its 'charitable arm' the Winshape Organisation  is pouring millions of dollars every year into organisations with an openly gay-hostile agenda." That would be truly worrisome if it were true. I clicked on the web site you provided and found the following groups listed with dollar amounts.

  • Marriage & Family Foundation: $1,188,380
  • Fellowship Of Christian Athletes: $480,000
  • National Christian Foundation: $247,500
  • New Mexico Christian Foundation: $54,000
  • Exodus International: $1,000
  • Family Research Council: $1,000
  • Georgia Family Council: $2,500

Only one of these organizations focuses on gay issues- Exodus and it's considered fairly moderate with its leader recentlly speaking out against the notion of changing orientation.

The lion's share of the money goes to what "Equality Matters" identifies as  the Marriage and Family Foundation." I tried looking up the group on Google and found no such organization. There is a "Family Foundation" which is probably what they meant. It had the following description: "The mission of The Family Foundation is to strengthen families in Virginia by applying founding principles and faith to policy and culture. The organization seeks to establish through citizen advocacy and enactment of Virginia law a safe, prosperous and wholesome climate for families. All of its public policy decisions are based on the principles of life, marriage, parental authority, constitutional government and religious liberty." None of their recent news release even touched on gay issues. I hope, Jeff, your not suggesting that any one working to strengthen traditional marriage is anti-gay.

I find it troubling when an organization like "Equality Matters" does broad brush labeling of complex organizations with the label "anti gay" and others accept and repeat this charge widely.

I'm a history teacher, and it does remind me of a certain group that took a broad brush to the Jews and insistently labeled them as "anti-German."

Again, I think good people disagree about gay marriage and it's effect on family. I want to put in another plea for the community to test the various human witnesses to see what eventually answers "that of God within us" as a community.

blessings,

Herb

 


 
jeff said:

The remarks of Dan Cathy need to be taken in the context of the wider actions of his company. In this wider context I would be very hesitant to say this is about business man who 'calmly and tenderly expounds a view supported by the Bible' but rather a powerful wealthy company using its wealth to promote discrimination

His company via its 'charitable arm' the Winshape Organisation  is pouring millions of dollars every year into organisations with an openly gay-hostile agenda. In 201o nearly two million dollars and in 2011 over three million dollars went into these groups.

http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201207020001

 This is indeed worrying for this Friend. Whatever one's views of Biblical teachings about marriage and same sex relationships I cannot accept that spending huge sums of money on groups which campaign against the rights of LGBT people is not sanctioned by any teachings of Jesus.

Let's imagine there was a company in the US which employed Jewish people, served Jewish people politely in its stores and claimed that it in no way discriminated against Jews.  But at the same time was giving money to anti-Semitic organisations.  Then let's say that local authorities said they would not give them local licences to trade in their jurisdictions. Would we say that the civil authorities should not act because it falls outside their remit?

In Friendship

Jeff

 

I want to thank everyone for the comments so far! The level of courtesy and conviction has been wonderful to see! I am currently traveling, so I haven't been on that often, but it seems like the conversation has been going along swimmingly without me.

A few quick comments for Jeff:

Jeff, you suggest that we should take Dan Cathy's comments in the context of his donations as we evaluate reaction to them. I have to disagree. Presumably, the donations were made well before the comments. If the reaction were based on the donations, wouldn't they have come a long time ago? Or wouldn't some of the politicians have mentioned Dan Cathy's donations in their responses? I don't have any reason to believe that they even knew about his donations when they went on Facebook or Twitter or even NPR's Tell Me More with their reactions. This leaves us with politicians who are threatening to use their governmental power to block a man's business because they don't like his views. If the politicians live in areas where there is no municipal equivalent of the Free Exercise Act, they absolutely should take a referendum to their constituents about whether to bar Chick-fil-A. But let's not have politicians unilaterally deciding whose (legal, Constitutionally protected, Scripture-based, nonviolent) views should be punished.

You ask if there would be the same reaction if Chick-fil-A were giving money to anti-Semitic organizations. I have to say, that for me it would depend. Certainly if he were promoting violence and illegal acts against Jews, I would not be as supportive (though I would hope that the ACLU would go to bat for him as they have for the KKK). However, if he were giving money to a group that, similarly to Exodus, was trying to convert Jews to Christianity, I'd be fine with it.

Recall that those who hold the view that homosexual relations are wrong (and many who don't hold that view) do NOT believe that sexual behaviors require and deserve the same protection as a religious practice. Even those who don't think that homosexuality is wrong may not think that someone should have special protections because they engage in homosexual sex, any more than straight people should have special protections because they (may) engage in heterosexual sex. Those who think it is wrong may look at it as akin to drug addiction - we can argue on how best to address it (counseling, criminal sanctions, social interventions) but it would be irresponsible to encourage it. This does not make them intolerant hate-mongers, which is the position the politicians have taken. It may make them in need of education, but that's an entirely different matter.

And it's worth noting that Exodus isn't the only group that has advocated the position that sexual orientation isn't fixed. Planned Parenthood, Band Together, and the Allsorts Youth Project, LGBTQ-affirming groups all, have argued that gender or sexual orientation are fluid, changeable and on a spectrum. And yet, we don't see much liberal ire in their direction. Why? Because their message is "explore your options,"  much more acceptable in our permissive culture. 

Thanks again!

While I was out in the yard working on my summer "honey do" list(it's where I do my best thinking and praying), the question of how do we as Quakers relate to political interest(advocacy) groups came up.

I don't think it surprises any that interest groups on all sides of a political issues operate in "worldly" unQuakerly fashion. They understand human nature and often play to our base nature- the "earthquake, wind and fire"(fear, anger, tribal allegience, anxiety, etc. not the "still small voice of calm."  We know from elections that negative ads work!!! sigh!

When I was a member of an AFSC regional peace committee I remember an discussions about what groups could we support, realizing that many had aspects of their program that we had reservations about. It was a balancing act- there were core things like advocating violence that vetoed cooperation but on many other issues we compromised our principles to be able to work with others for policitcal change.

If Cathy is like the rest of us, I doubt that he agrees completely with every position of the group that he supports. What is undeniable is that he deeply concerned about the impending collapse of the "traditional family," especially among the lower classes (see the discussion about Charles Murray's "Falling Apart." I share this concern. I think marriage is critical in mediating the male female divide and getting men committed to the project of being faithful husbands and fathers. I think all the evidence shows how important having a stable marriage is for the raising of kids. If you believe this an important issue as Quakers we are called to act and this means working with others who share your conviction. And yes, there will be times when you have to distinguish yourself from some of the positions of the groups that you support.

But we already have to do this when we vote. I never have voted for a candidate who sees the world exactly like I do. And yet I vote, anyway for the person who comes closest or is with me on the issues I think most important. Ah, we live in this world and yet seek not to be conformed to it but playing the same game that they do.

Blessings,
Herb

Herb, thank you for this.

I thank you for this post! I believe that if the Government discriminates against a religious perspective, then it's no better than having a "state instituted religion", it's still limiting another's beliefs... one way or another...

After seeing the lines outside of Chik-Fil-A restaurants a couple weeks ago, I can assure you all that I am no longer nervous.  I am angry and disappointed, and resolute.

I'm wondering if the Friends who oppose the Chik-Fil-A boycott also would've thought it wrong, say, for civil rights "activists" to sit in at North Carolina lunch counters in the early 1960s as a peaceful way of ending segregation, because that might have "damaged" Woolworth's lunch counter business. Just a question.

This is not just about Mr. Cathy's anti-gay speech.  He obviously has the right to express his views and to claim he's speaking for whatever God he believes in.  But Mr. Cathy has also given substantial financial support to the Family Research Council, an organization that has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Among other actions, the FRC aggressively lobbied against passage of a Congressional resolution condemning Uganda's notorious "kill the gays" law, which would have condemned homosexuals in that country to death and prescribed imprisonment for anyone trying to protect them.

Speech takes many forms.  In America, money equals speech.  And Mr. Cathy's speech funds hatred.

I don't remember reading any post here that was opposed to a boycott. Adria's initial post was focused on politicians threatening to use the political process to deny Cathy the right to do business in their community based on his exercise of free speech and expression of religious and  political views. This does make some of us very nervous that basic freedoms are under attack.

A second thing that makes me nervous and sad is the labeling of  Cathy as "anti gay" and groups like the Family Research Council a "hate groups."

Just because you testify to a traditional vision of sex, marriage and family as an ideal doesn't mean that you hate gay people. We are opposed to militarism and could be labeled "anti-militarists" but this doesn't mean that we "hate" military people nor treat them badly. I know and love many people in my life whom I personally think are making bad choices in certain aspects of their life. I don't know but would hope that Cathy as a good Christian is loving towards all people, including gays.

John Stewart did a piece on the Daily Show featuring a youtube video posted by an anti Cathy type blasting a sweet young woman working the drive through window for working at an anti gay establishment of hate and bigotry. Stewart, who is a strong gay marriage supporter, pointed out the intolerance, bigotry and just plain bad manners coming from someone who claimed to being fighting such things. Ah, judge not lest ye be judged.... oh how we clearly see the speck in our opponents eye and miss the beam in our own.

Like Stewart, as Friends we should oppose facile labeling and intolerance even when it happens from "our team."


 Dave Austin said:

After seeing the lines outside of Chik-Fil-A restaurants a couple weeks ago, I can assure you all that I am no longer nervous.  I am angry and disappointed, and resolute.

I'm wondering if the Friends who oppose the Chik-Fil-A boycott also would've thought it wrong, say, for civil rights "activists" to sit in at North Carolina lunch counters in the early 1960s as a peaceful way of ending segregation, because that might have "damaged" Woolworth's lunch counter business. Just a question.

This is not just about Mr. Cathy's anti-gay speech.  He obviously has the right to express his views and to claim he's speaking for whatever God he believes in.  But Mr. Cathy has also given substantial financial support to the Family Research Council, an organization that has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Among other actions, the FRC aggressively lobbied against passage of a Congressional resolution condemning Uganda's notorious "kill the gays" law, which would have condemned homosexuals in that country to death and prescribed imprisonment for anyone trying to protect them.

Speech takes many forms.  In America, money equals speech.  And Mr. Cathy's speech funds hatred.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Support Us

Did you know that QuakerQuaker is 100% reader supported? If you think this kind of outreach and conversation is important, please support it with a monthly subscription or one-time gift.


You can also make a one-time donation.

Latest Activity

Diane Kerchner liked QuakerQuaker's group Plainness & Simplicity
20 hours ago
Diane Kerchner liked William F Rushby's discussion Recapturing Initiative for Conservative Friends
20 hours ago
Rainer Möller posted a blog post

Quakers unto the Civil War

My personal impression is that Quakers, like all abolitionists, enthusiastically took part in the…See More
2nd day (Mon)
Rainer Möller replied to William F Rushby's discussion 'Two Narratives in American Society'
"Following this review Macaes' seems to say that before our times, when "Liberalism"…"
2nd day (Mon)
William F Rushby replied to Howard Brod's discussion 'Why do Liberal Friends not Record Ministers or Spiritual Gifts?' in the group Liberal Quakers
"I think there is a relatively small elite at the top of the power structure of unprogrammed…"
1st day (Sun)
Forrest Curo replied to Howard Brod's discussion 'Why do Liberal Friends not Record Ministers or Spiritual Gifts?' in the group Liberal Quakers
"The main Quaker hierarchy today are those who learn to manipulate "Quaker Process"."
1st day (Sun)
Keith Saylor commented on Keith Saylor's blog post 'In the Life itself the need for prophets and prophecies is fulfilled.'
"Your testimony to the witness of immanent power and presence of the inshining Light and Life is a…"
1st day (Sun)
Karl Malchut liked QuakerQuaker's group Liberal Quakers
1st day (Sun)

© 2020   Created by QuakerQuaker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service