Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism

Chick-Fil-A: A matter of convenience?


I’m sure you have read plenty on the Chick-Fil-A issue in the last few weeks. I do not want to take a stand for either side (Is it ok to base your business on such values and support them financially? Is it ok that a mayor voices his opinion on the matter? and so on). But I have a general impression on this issue that I want to share.

What struck me most about the entire debate is this tiny little fact: It’s all revolving around fast food.

Who doesn’t like fast food, who doesn’t consume it at least occasionally? Mean tongues may even whisper that fast food is among the central aspects of American food culture (not necessarily a bad thing!).

And now, with Chick-Fil-A, we have two camps: The supporters, who are now consumed more chicken sammich than usual because they support the anti-gay-marriage movement, and the ones who refuse chicken in order to support the pro-gay-marriage movements.

I never knew just how politically uninterested Americans are until I learned about it and saw the situations here in Europe. I don’t want to generalize, there are many Americans who work very hard to express their political interests. That’s a great thing. But there’s a general disinterest in politics. Only a little more than 50% of all Americans make use of their right to vote. In Germany, an average of 75% make use of that right, other European countries go up to 95% of all people with the right to vote. I think from this point of view it’s safe to say that people don’t really care about politics and how it influences their lives as well as the lives of others.

Shame on those Americans who refuse to vote on a regular basis. Don’t bother me with the argument that freedom also means the freedom not to vote. Yes, it does, but to maintain freedom you have to vote. Not voting because you have the freedom not to vote is a strawman argument for people who like to watch those partially scripted, finely acted out debates on TV but at the end of the day they’re too lazy to move their asses out of the house. Not voting is not an appreciation of freedom, it is the sheer ignorance of the freedom you enjoy and, if you ask me, a punch in the face for the millions who died and still die until this day (and will do so in the future) to obtain the right to vote. But, let’s move on.

Considering that actual engagement in politics is quite a bit of work, eating or refusing a certain type of fast food is the easy way out. People who don’t give a rat’s ass about politics (and expressing this by not voting, for example) suddenly have the option to engage in something because it’s so much easier than it usually would be – it’s so much more convenient.

Suddenly, our politically uninterested John Everyone can sit at work and loudly express their politic interest by voicing that he had a Chick-Fil-A meal to support anti-gay-marriage. And Lisa HobbyLGBTpride-supporter(but it’s actually too time-consuming) may announce that she’d rather eat her shoe that something from Chick-Fil-A.

An important aspect is the fast food environment in general. First off, fast food is not something Chick-Fil-A is the only provider of, or the most popular provider of. It is not even a large provider! Avoiding Chick-Fil-A is so very easy. Chicken fast food can be obtained at almost every other fast food chain. There are much bigger and more popular ones (think McDonalds, Wendy’s, etc). It’s not hard to avoid it geographically, there are many places where a different fast food restaurant is just round the corner. It’s literally a difference of one street that you’re driving in your car. And that seems to be, unfortunately, as far as most pseudo-politic activists are willing to go. And the reason why politicians actually have the guts to speak up against this company only have the guts because they’re not facing a giant that might just screw them into the ground so deep that they’d end up in a kangaroo’s bellybag.

Let’s think about this in a different way: What would have happened if we were actually dealing with a company that means something? One that is not so easy to avoid as just driving 100 more feet to get food? What if, highly hypothetically, Microsoft were in this situation instead? Would we avoid it? Would we refuse it? There are other options, but they’re not as convenient. Would we feel like doing the same thing? I’m sorry, but I don’t think so.

At the end of the day, the Chick-Fil-A is a pointless debate. Because sometimes, a chicken sammich is just what it is: A chicken sammich, and nothing more.

You’re not going to change the world, politics, or anybody’s opinion. You’re not going to take down an ebil company. You’re not doing anything that really matters except saving a poor, tortured chicken’s life. Well, that’s the one good thing in this.

And for the record: I am an avid supporter of gay marriage and the LGBT community. I support all people who work to change something in the world and who are involved in politics, no matter what side they’re on. I am pro active society.

But I can’t like a debate that is nothing more than an instrumentalized fast food debacle.

(One last edit: I have nothing against this form of protest and I still support all writers who have taken on this issue in the past weeks as well as honest, sincere refusers and supporters of Chick-Fil-A. It is about the dimensions, especially among the usually disinterested crowd and the general media attention it gets compared to other much more severe issue than a small fast food chain being homophobic.)

9 thoughts on “Chick-Fil-A: A matter of convenience?

  1. i am in a turmoil of angst about chick-fil-a because of their stand against gay marriage which is a good thing but also a lawsuit they are bringing against a person who has a small business where he prints a t-shirt that says- Eat More Squash” which is a bad thing.

    i called chik fil a about it and they said he was infringing on their copyright—i disagreed saying
    1- they spell theirs Eat MOR he spells his phrase Eat MORE
    2- how can you copyright a common phrase -parents for years have told their kids to eat more veggies
    3- Mc Donald’s tried to do that by copyrighting the Mc- that no one could have a business with an Mc in front of their name (tell that to all the people in Scotland!). It went nowhere.
    4- they are a big corporation and this guy is small potatoes- he will never ever put even a micro dent int chik-fil-a business-
    5- why did the milk people never go after those who copied their phrase “got milk”? because how do you copyright the use of a common word plus it was actually free advertising for the milk people because when someone said “got something?” it made people think of the original ad about milk and milk mustaches.

    so in this case I applaud the company for standing up against sin but cannot agree with them for bringing a lawsuit against a small business- which by doing so does not show christian love for their fellow man.

    Many years ago I went with Germania insurance because they were a “christian” company…then we were hit by a tornado (the 2nd one in 3 years in the same house) , i lost some items in a fire and my bike was stolen by a man who also killed my cat. I made claims to the insurance because that is what you do when you have insurance and they dropped me like a hot potato…i asked them why and they said i had too many claims too close together. I said i did not cause tornadoes, a fire and the man who killed my cat was terrorizing me by doing other things to me like stealing my stuff. I told them I thought they were a christian company but the woman’s voice on the other end expressed not one shred of sympathy and only stated in a monotone voice that Texas law said they had the right to drop anyone they were not making money on. So much for “christian companies”. I have also found that same legalism in “christian” individuals who follow rules and precepts before even thinking to help someone in need.

    SO after all these years of supporting companies or evangelists or products which claim to be christian then you find them committing a great big sin or they do not live up to their claims I have come to the conclusion that God wants me only to owe no man nothing but to love him. It is much easier that way and I can spend my thought and emotional energies on other things worth my time like helping those who cannot pay you back.

  2. I do think there are some justifications for not voting in the US: namely, for a lot of people, your vote doesn’t count.

    For most of my life I lived in a state where whoever had an “R” by their name would win by 20+ points. I grew up in a district where the Republican nominee would always win, period, and moved after college to a Congressional district where whoever had a “D” by their name would win by an even larger margin. My current district and municipal elections will always go Democrat and my Congressman has run unopposed in the last few elections, although I’m now in a state where statewide and federal elections do swing back and forth. I always voted, but I’d never hold it against someone who didn’t. I can count on one hand the elections I’ve gotten to vote in where there was anything–a candidate, a ballot issue, an amendment–I had the chance to vote for

    And that’s leaving aside the folks who believe there’s no difference between the two major parties. As my husband likes to say, “Should I vote for the people who will openly dismantle Medicare and Social Security, or the people who will do it quietly in a back room?” I disagree (I think if nothing else there’s a substantial difference in the direction they’d take the Supreme Court, and a few other major differences) but I have to say I’m sympathetic to that view. The two major parties are more similar than different. If we had a parliamentary system a lot more people would have incentives to vote.

    • Yes, I totally understand that many people feel this way. But that’s not how it’s supposed to be, and it’s what bugs me so much. I mean, just a little more than 50% vote – the other, say, 40%, that’s a large number in politics, a HUGE number, it could change so much. I do agree that the system is not as good as it should be. Just like technology and society changes, the political system should be adjusted to that. the fact that we’re working with an almost ancient and especially outdated system is stupid.

      • Agreed.

        It’s a really sticky problem. The only way out of the malaise I can see is to dismantle the two-party system, because that would force people to compromise and discuss issues in a way they really don’t have to now. But the barriers to entry for a viable third party at the national level are almost impossibly high. The only way I could see it happening would be if one of the two major parties split from within. I could kinda sorta see that happening with the Republicans — the fiscal conservative/Libertarian branch doesn’t inherently have a whole lot in common with the social conservative branch — but both factions of the party have found the coalition useful, and I think they both know that neither part of the Republican party would have enough popular support to have a powerful role in government by itself. The Democrats are kind of all over the map, but I don’t see a coherent way for them to split. If the people and companies who were primarily funding the major parties and their candidates really wanted something like a parliamentary system to happen I think it could, but there’s no benefit for them in that. So things will remain the same for the foreseeable future.

        It would be one thing if most of that 40% or so you’re discussing are not participating because they have such fundamental disagreements with both parties that they’re not willing to vote for either, and perhaps if a well-organized third party espousing a totally different platform arose they’d be able to do something. But that’s not really the case; most people don’t vote either because there are structural barriers in place (transportation, schedule, etc.), because the candidates and issues they care about are going to win (or lose) anyhow, or because they’re completely indifferent to politics. There’s nothing to suggest that the political opinions of nonvoters are vastly different than voters.

  3. “You’re not going to change … anybody’s opinion.”

    “Chick-fil-A to halt donations to groups opposing same-sex marriage”

  4. Interesting post. While I would agree that many people who don’t vote just lack an interest in politics, I don’t believe that applies to everyone. I used to vote. I still do my homework on the candidates. I still get my ballot. (I’m from the US but have lived most of my life in the UK. Still a US citizen.) The reasons I am not voting now are:
    – I don’t want any of the candidates. None of them represent me. Had high hopes for major shift in US foreign policy when Obama got in but he’s really similar on foreign policy to Bush. The differences are mainly window dressing. Also he failed to: curb the out-of-control gun laws; get rid of Guantanamo; make his party work together with the others, all of which he promised to do.
    – I am starting to think democracy is an illusion. If policies are paid for by corporations (and there is mounting evidence for this view), then what’s the point of voting?
    I just discovered your blog yesterday & loved it. This is not a criticism, just an explanation of another view.

    I had never heard of the QF/P ‘movement’ (cult?) until recently. Your insights are very illuminating. As a committed Christian it makes me sad to hear that people are suffering so horribly, thinking it is what God wants for them. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Well, I might have to add that I will not vote either, but for different reasons. First off, I’m not really informed and had no major interest to catch up simply because it doesn’t affect me. Same goes for voting. I don’t live in the US, I get neither benefits of anything that could happen nor would I suffer from the negative effects. I find that, since I’m not returning until I’m finished with school which could be well over 6 years from now on, I shouldn’t be among the ones who decide how people who actually reside in the US should live. Rights of citizenship aside, what’s the point?
      And yes, I read up on Obama’s promises and what actually went through and I can’t say I’m not disappointed. I don’t think he necessarily did a bad job – I think he promised too much – more than you could possibly do in the relatively short time. I think many people who had such high hopes are very disappointed.

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