Chick-fil-A: Very Southern Fried Chicken

Until a few months ago, I had never heard of Chick-fil-A, a fast-food restaurant chain based in Atlanta and relatively new to Los Angeles.  I’ve never tried one of their little chicken sandwiches, and now I never will.

It turns out that the company’s president, Dan Cathy, plows his profits into reactionary political causes, including an estimated $5 million to anti-gay organizations and hate groups between 2003 and 2010.  And he drew the connection between his family chain of restaurants and the spread of his brand of Christian faith — namely that support of same-sex marriage is the equivalent of inviting “God’s Judgment,” which I’m guessing isn’t pretty.

In response to a nascent boycott threat, former Republican presidential candidate and current Fox News host Mike Huckabee called for those who support traditional, one-man, one-woman style marriage to show up their local “Chick-fil-A” today to show their “Appreciation.”   Huckabee’s site on Facebook titled “Chick -Fil-A Appreciation” shows over 3.2 million Facebook users were invited to the auspicious event, with over 650,000 committing to attend.

Today’s Twitter showed just how many intolerant folks will show up to eat greasy chicken for a bad cause.

In Prattville, Alabama, the local Chick-fil-A ran out of chicken.

They showed up in the malls of Houston:

And they even showed up in Chicago:

One tweeter, named Jesus died for you, explained the experience:

My friend said he went to #chickfila today and could feel the presence of God!

I’m guessing that her friend, Pat Boone, agreed:

Some, like Christopher Rice, tweeted their displeasure with the Appreciation of Chick-fil-A:

Working to ensure that I am denied equal rights does not constitute an “opinion”.  It constitutes an assault.  Working to deny me equal rights is not an exercise of free speech. It is an exercise in discrimination. #ChickFilA

Christopher got it half-right.

In giving major amounts of money to regressive causes, it is true that the president of Chick-fil-A is supporting discrimination against gays.  But he has a constitutional right to spend his money to support those dubious causes, and Governor Huckabee has a right to support him.

Coterminous with the right to speak in this country is the right NOT to speak — or not to spend money, which in Romney World is the equivalent of speech.  So the mayor of Boston crosses the line when he threatens government action to ban the opening of a new Chick-fil-A restaurant because of Mr. Cathy’s expressed views.  But like-minded citizens are perfectly in their right to boycott Chick-fil-A, and urge others to do so, as an act of free speech.  Once the evangelical and Tea Party crowds that showed up at Chick-fil-A die down in the coming days, one has to wonder how many future potential customers Chick-fil-A lost today.

I know at least one.