Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chicken Sandwiches and Morality

According to recent news, it is now apparent that one’s choice in fast food restaurants is a declaration of one’s political, moral and/or religious views.  As has been widely covered in the news lately, Chick-fil-a has made a public stance against same sex marriage, basing their view on their interpretation of the Bible.  One should not be shocked that Chick-fil-a is expressing a viewpoint based on religious viewpoints, as Chick-fil-a has never hidden the fact that the company believed in and observed Christian teachings.  What is more surprising is that this fast food chain has recently been declared as the line for whether or not one supports same sex rights.

Yesterday in furtherance of this opinion, many Chick-fil-a’s were packed with a large contingent of “conservative Christians” in celebration of Chick-fil-a appreciation day.  Those that chose to patronize the restaurant yesterday were met with full parking lots and longer than usual waits for food.  The outpouring was said by many to be sign of support for Chick-fil-a’s values and stance against gay marriage.  Some were quoted as saying that they were merely supporting Chick-fil-a’s right to freedom of speech.

Still, many are now boycotting Chick-fil-a based entirely on their stance on same sex marriage.  Some restaurants are beginning to sell “Chick-fil-a alternatives” and there is a kiss-in planned for tomorrow at Chick-fil-a’s in many states.  One blogger has gone as far as reverse-engineering the Chick-fil-a sandwich in order to allow people to “get [their] fried chicken sandwich fix and keep [their] moral principles intact.”

In the end, Chick-fil-a is a fast food restaurant that many visit for their chicken sandwiches.  They are a privately owned business that has the same right to freedom of speech as the individuals who are complaining about the restaurant’s religious viewpoint.  Chick-fil-a’s religious beliefs have never been questioned as seriously as this, nor has any other fast food restaurant’s beliefs been questioned to this extent (at least to this author’s understanding).  

It is understandable that same sex marriage is a hot topic, especially in this day and age (and as such has been written about here on a number of occasions).  But, doing a simple Google news search for “Chick-fil-a” results in a surprising number of news items.  After all, this is a fast food restaurant, not a politician, court or religious entity.  To this author’s knowledge, one does not go to Chick-fil-a for a chicken sandwich and side of religious/moral teaching.  Many businesses in many industries surely have viewpoints that conflict with those of their customers; would these customers be so willing to boycott those businesses should they express their opinion?  The real issue here is not that Chick-fil-a has a conflicting opinion; it is that they had the conviction to express that viewpoint as was their right under the First Amendment.  Individuals certainly have the right to choose which businesses they patronize based on any criteria they see fit, but to place such high standards upon and affect the business of a simple fast food restaurant in such ways seems to be an overreaction.

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