By: Steve Fair, Stephens County GOP Chairman, OKGOP National Committeeman-elect
The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees free speech. That means Chick Fil-A President Dan Cathy has a right to his opinion on marriage just the same as any other American. Cathy has been called a ‘hater’ by the gay rights crowd because he said he believed in traditional marriage. Actually all Cathy did was express his opinion. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee put the word out that Americans should support Chick Fil-A and their values by buying some chicken last Wednesday. The result was a record sales day for Chick Fil-A.
I have five observations about the Chick Fil-A Wednesday event:
First, we need more chickens in sandwiches and less chickens filling pulpits in America. One of the reasons America has declined morally is due to compromising preachers. Many worship services have been reduced to nothing short of entertainment. That’s why thousands of Americans felt comfortable doing their ‘God thing’ by buying some nuggets at Chick Fil-A Wednesday. The exercise wasn't much different than a typical service at their church.
America’s preachers should be preaching the pure, unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ. That is what is missing in America. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the hope of America, not a #5 combo.
Second, government officials like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel who said the fast food chain’s values “are not Chicago values.” Since when does a business or product have to conform to the ‘values’ of their area in which they market? The only values a chicken sandwich has is nutritional value. Emanuel’s comments are inappropriate and a blatant abuse of his office.
Third, patronizing a business or buying a product because you agree with the values of the people who produce or sell the item is exercising your right as a consumer. However, that is usually not the overriding factor in the consumer’s buying decision. Most seek a quality product for a value. That is why a consumer driven boycott of a product or business seldom works as effectively as the threat of a boycott.
Chick Fil-A products are no more or less virtuous as their competitor’s products. The chain purchases most of their products, supplies and equipment from the same vendor community as their competitors. Their products have basically the same nutritional value and are prepared the same way as their competitors. Chick Fil-A has been successful in selling a consistently good quality product at a value, not by selling the moral values of their chicken.
Fourth, some conservatives are exploiting the controversy over Cathy’s comments for political points- pure and simple. Many of these so-called conservatives stood in line because they believe it will further the Republican cause, not because they are strong traditional marriage proponents. It’s a safe bet that many of those standing in line for a Chick Fil-A shake on Wednesday were people who have never really been committed to anything except waffle fries.
Fifth, corporations in and of themselves do not have opinions or values. People have values and corporations are made up of people. Publicly traded companies must abide by a more strict set of rules and guidelines than a privately held corporation like Chick Fil-A, which is family owned.
Oklahoma based Hobby Lobby, Tyson Foods, ServiceMaster, and Interstate Batteries are others that espouse Christian principles in the marketplace. Cathy is not the first corporate executive to express an opinion on marriage. Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, which is now owned by British corporation Unilever, created quite a stir a few years back with a flavor called Hubby Hubby, a take-off of their Chubby Hubby, to support gay marriage. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, two liberal social activists who started the company, are no longer involved in the company, but they used social activism as a marketing tool for years. Yet most of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream products are purchased by consumers based on the product’s merits, not Ben & Jerry’s values.
2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and PRAY- not Chick Fil-A. If all those who stood in line on Wednesday would invest the same amount of time on their knees in prayer for our country, then perhaps God would forgive our sin and heal our land.
The Stephens County Republican Party will hold our regular monthly meeting at 7pm on Thursday evening in our new HQ facility, located in the old IBC bank building on North Highway 81 in Duncan. Hope to see you there.
Steve Fair is Chairman of the Stephens County Republican Party. He can be reached by phone at 580.252.6284 or by email at email@example.com. His blog is stevefair.blogspot.com.