This is where I change gears a little to tackle a few inconsistencies from a number of colleagues, as well as hundreds of people whose comments I read in places like the Huffington Post, Yahoo, AOL, and a number of other places where articles were posted in relation to Chick-Fil-A. As you’ll remember, one of my friends pointed out that there was little fuss over Oreo and their rainbow colored cookie. That’s true, there was mostly support, and maybe 15 bad comments, and a “Boycott Oreo” Facebook page didn’t live very long. But that’s just one example. So below are a list of several others.
First, there’s General Mills who stated opposition to Minnesota’s State Constitutional Amendment that would express marriage as being between one man and one woman. So, Minnesota for Marriage led “Dump General Mills” protests lasted four days. And the National Organization for Marriage Education Fund started a petition that was also in relation to General Mills accepting gay marriage, or from what I can find wanting to change the definition of marriage to genderless. 
Second, there’s the 1992 façade involving the Levi Strauss jean company. If you recall, Levi was associated with the Boy Scouts of America, and upon learning that BSA excluded gays – and atheists, they pulled their funding of the group. Levi wasn’t alone though, Wells Fargo Corporation, and United Way also pulled its funding. Interestingly enough, several Texas representatives then started urging people to burn their Levi jeans in the streets, as well as boycott them, and Dana Roharbacher apparently vowed to start a counter-boycott against Levi and Wells Fargo. But if you’ll also remember, Levi defended their actions by stated, “One of the family values of this company is treating people who are different from you the same as you’d like to be treated’. Effectively, two corporation realized that the groups they fund are an extension of their values. They further remedied this problem by defending not just their values, but their employee’s rights. And based on what the Levi’s spokesperson said, they were, in my opinion, upholding Christian values that Dan Cathy seems to forget while yet not forgetting.
Third, there’s the American Apparel store in Silver Spring, Maryland that was vandalized for selling shirts that said “Legalize Gay” on them, and similar threats were made to other stores.
Fourth would be that time that the Florida Family Association spent $12,802.37 to fly two planes the day before, and the day of Gay Day at Disney. And to their own accomplishment, they caused a drop between 50% and 60% of normal family attendance for both 2011 and 2012 – or a total of $20 million dollars based on the average cost of $500 for a four person family which is in many cases probably an underestimate. Although Disney doesn’t sanction it, they treat it as another day of business – and kudos to them for doing so. It would be pretty stupid if they actually tried to stop if considering in 2010, some 150,000 LGBT’s, their families, friends, and supporters went to Disney World over a 6 day period. That would be a total of $75 million dollars based on conservative estimates. Lastly, the Southern Baptist Convention has been boycotting Disney for some eight years for not attempting to ban Gay Day.
Fifth, there’s the case of Starbucks, who on January 24th, 2012 published a memorandum expressing support for Same Sex Marriage. What ensued was the National Organization of Marriage started the Dump Starbucks campaign which has garnered support from 46,977 people who have pledged to boycott the popular coffee joint. And as of August 20th, 2012, this is what they boasted:
“Today, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) announced that their protest of Starbucks is achieving results. “Starbucks supported same-sex marriage, saw their support from Republicans dwindle, missed sales projections, and watched the company lose $4.4 billion overnight and over $10 billion from their 2012 high,” said Brian Brown, NOM’s president. “While executives of publicly traded companies have had a wonderful time claiming that not supporting same-sex marriage hurts their employee recruitment and retention efforts, we now have a case study in how alienating millions of customers can directly affect the bottom line of a public company and damage shareholder value.”
Sixth. In 2004, Proctor & Gamble voiced its opposition to an anti-gay rights statute in Cincinnati, Ohio. Here’s the kicker, James Dodson, founder of Focus on the Family (which I discussed earlier), along with Reverend Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association – urged people to boycott the company – more specifically Crest and Tide.
Seventh involves Microsoft in 2005. It began when Microsoft expressed its support for a Washington state policy that would outlaw discrimination against LGBT’s in the workplace. Reverend Hutcherson then protested, by explaining that some 700 employees of Microsoft attend his church (which has a membership of 3,500 at the time). GLEAM, Microsoft advocacy office for LGBT’s along with Gay-Rights activists expressed complete outrage. What happened? Bill Gates retracted his stance on neutrality and went back to supporting the bill, and as the then chief executive Steven Ballmer said, “diversity in the work place is such an important issue for our business that it should be included in our legislative agenda.”   Hutcherson stated that he would organize a national boycott, but apparently those plans fell through.
Eighth. Home Depot in 2010 sponsored Gay Pride Festivals in Southern Maine and Boston. Their support brought on full outrage from the American Family Association. They called for a national boycott, which has a pledge count of 719,037 as of May 21st, 2012. But what’s even stranger is that the AFA is demanding that Home Depot remain neutral in the culture war. Not only do they express how Home Depot supports “a dangerous and unhealthy lifestyle”, but they’re also acknowledging that there’s a culture war. This is important because while they call for neutrality from a supporter of the LGBT community, they continue supporting legislation that calls for inequality, and discrimination (i.e., working against legislation that would prevent discrimination in the work place). They say that they’re calling for neutrality, but they’re not – because they’re not being neutral. I guess they forgot what was said in Luke 6:31.
Ninth. PepsiCo sponsors PFLAG, which stands for Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Apparently, in 2009 PepsiCo gave $500,000 to the Human Rights Campaign, and another $500,000 to PFLAG. So, the AFA started a petition, of course, along with the help of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays – which is a group that for all intents and purposes is aimed being against PFLAG. And here, we see again that AFA calls for neutrality without being neutral.
Tenth. Safeway in 2009 placed signs and giant posters in their stores to support Gay/Lesbian Pride Month. And of course, the AFA filed a petition of sorts, to have supporters of AFA to boycott and express their dislike for Safeway’s acceptance of gay marriage.
Eleventh. The AFA also announced a boycott against Old Navy for selling shirts to help the It Gets Better Project. For the record, IGBP (It Gets Better Project) is a group that helps to prevent suicide and bullying of LGBT youth. This occurred in 2011.
Twelfth. In 2011, the Girl Scouts of America allowed the inclusion of a 7-year-old boy on the basis of their policy, which is that they allow transgendered kids to join the girl scouts. The AFA then, of course, filed urged its members to send an email to GSA for allowing a transgendered male into their ranks of cookie sellers. AFA wasn’t alone though, Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council (funded by Chick-Fil-A) attacked the Girl Scouts of America for their ties to Planned Parenthood, said the cookies were filled with political agenda, and also called for a boycott.
Thirteenth. Macy’s. In 2011, an employee was fired for not allowing a transgendered male into the women’s fitting room. According to the reports, Macy’s has a policy of allowing transgendered people change in whatever room they see fit. Furthermore, the employee that was fired argued that her 1st Amendment rights were infringed on the basis of religion. Not only was the Liberty Council involved, but so was, unsurprisingly, the American Family Association.
Fourteenth. In May of 2012, Target stated that it was going to give 100% of T-shirt sales related to PRIDE to meet a donation pledge of $120,000 to the Family Equality Council in support of gay marriage. And, just so you know, the Family Equality Council is a group of some one million parents of LGBT’s that actively works to help LGBT’s be treated fairly, and not be bullied in society. It’s a foundation based on respect. The AFA had a problem with this.
Fifteenth. J.C. Penny has been hounded twice. First when they chose Ellen DeGeneres as its spokesperson, and again when their catalog showed two men watching their children play. The AFA and their boycott group of One Million Moms began a boycott of the company over both issues. And again, the AFA demands neutrality while on a two month long boycott.  
Sixteenth. Between late 2005 and early to middle part of 2006 many Christians became offended by the fact that Walgreens decided to sponsor the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago. They weren’t alone though in being condemned by the Illinois Family Institute, as Harris Bank and Kraft foods also donated to the Gay Games. Wallgreens also drew fire from Tom Kovach from Renew America who also called for a boycott.
Seventeenth. One rather notorious boycott led by the American Family Association was against Ford that lasted from 2005 to 2008. It no longer exists, but there used to be website dedicated to boycotting the motor company. What would cause such an outrage? Ford offered to give some $1,000 to GLAAD for every Jaguar and Land Rover that it sold to members of the group. To make matters worse (sarcasm), Ford also sponsored gay pride events, and even advertised in gay oriented publications for which, as far as I can find, at least 54,000 people pledged to boycott.
Eighteenth. The AFA targeted Google as well for promoting their “Legalize Love” campaign – which aims to empower the LGBT community – for the entire world. They’re currently trying to figure out how they’re going to boycott Google considering how intertwined it is with everything else.
Nineteenth. This one is a double-whammy, and it begins with the gay marriage of Kevin Keller. Kevin Keller is a United States military officer who married his partner Clay Walker after meeting in a military hospital. It’s a really sweet story if not for the fact that it’s not a real one. You see, Kevin Keller and Clay Walker are characters from Archie Comics (73 year old comic book franchise). Keller and Walker came into the series in 2010. Peter Sprigg of course declared that it’s unfortunate that the comic book series has, in essence, lost its innocence. In any case, this leads us to the predictable threat of a boycott, but not just towards Archie Comics, but Toys ‘R’ Us for selling the issue which shows the wedding on the front page. Jon Goldwater, the CEO of Archie Comics though only had this to say:
“We stand by Life with Archie #16. As I’ve said before, Riverdale is a safe, welcoming place that does not judge anyone. It’s an idealized version of America that will hopefully become reality someday.
We’re sorry the American Family Association and OneMillionMoms.com feels so negatively about our product, but they have every right to their opinion, just like we have the right to stand by ours. Kevin Keller will forever be a part of Riverdale, and he will live a happy, long life free of prejudice, hate and narrow-minded people.”
If only every place was like Riverdale.
Twenty. In June of 1992, Northstar came out of the closet. For those of you who don’t know, he’s a Marvel Comics’ first openly gay super hero. And DC Comics has also announced that one of their characters would also come out as being gay who was later reveled to be the original Green Lantern – Alan Scott. And this, of course, is what the American Family Association had to say about it, along with urging supporters to call both comic book companies and demand to cease all gay characters:
“Unfortunately, children are now being exposed to homosexuality at an early age. Comic books would be one of the last places a parent would expect their child to be confronted with homosexual topics that are too complicated for them to understand. Children do not know what straight, homosexual, or coming out of the closet even means, but DC Comics and Marvel are using superheroes to confuse them on this topic to raise questions and awareness of an alternative lifestyle choice. These companies are prompting a premature discussion on sexual orientation.”
First of all, if One Million Moms knew anything about comic books, especially when it comes to DC Comics and Marvel Comics – between the two, they’ve been toting to political agendas, more particularly left leaning agendas since the 1940’s. Almost all of the characters that we have grown to love, like Batman & Robin, Superman, Captain America, Fantastic Four, Spiderman and the X-Men were born out of politics. Prior to 1940 and the outbreak of World War II, comic books were much more like Archie Comics, and Calvin and Hobbes are today. They didn’t deal with political issues unless as a satirical newspaper comic, but were tailored to the comical tails of everyday life. This is my personal argument, but take X-Men for example, loosely, Stan Lee created the characters in 1963 on the plot that Professor Xavier created a haven for mutants because of an increasing anti-mutant sentiment. Professor X’s mission? Train young people into being heroes in order to benefit humanity. My argument here is that X-Men can be used as a metaphor for the anti-gay sentiments. And for the record, Stan Lee is a huge liberal, having given some $20,000 to the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, and Edward Kennedy.
Think about it, gay people are perceived as un-natural individuals who should be locked away, killed, and certainly undeserving of equality or laws that would punish discrimination – sound familiar? May as well just call them mutants, which undoubtedly has been used, I’m sure. And groups like GLAAD, PFLAG, and the corporations that support equality like General Mills, Microsoft, and Oreo, are acting to create their country – the one that made them so prosperous to begin with, a lot more like Riverdale. So, as far as I am concerned, One Million Mom’s are pretty ignorant on the ideas relating to comic books and political gestures. And again, it was to be expected. One last thing I want to point out, is that early kids were being ‘exposed’ to homosexuality regardless of comic book political satire. The American Psychological Association points to the idea (founded in science) that most people realize their sexual orientation in early adolescence – which is between the ages of about 11 and 14.   Regardless of this, the average age of comic book readers is over 35, and upon further inspection, most kids between 18 and 24 are leaving the comic book world. With that having been said, it seems kind of silly to me that they would protest these comic books.
In any case, I find it interesting that the American Family Association and their boycott groups One Million Moms, (also OMDads, and OMYouths) also partook in Mike Huckabee’s “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” – which you can check out on their facebook page showing a picture on August 3rd, 2012. So, it’s okay for them to boycott companies that they disagree with on the basis of their Gay-Rights initiatives and support and demand for neutrality, but then support Chick-Fil-A for their anti-gay stance? Where’s the neutrality? And don’t forget, the founder of AFA, and Focus on the Family are particularly close, and agree on much of the same things. And don’t forget, Chick-Fil-A funds Focus on the Family.
But one last note before I move on to other matters relating to this façade, the call for boycotts did not start with Dan Cathy’s statement in relation to his stance supporting the Christian Biblical definition of marriage. Actually, you can look to news articles published in February of this year. If you recall, Hillary Dworkoski, a freshmen from New York University launched a petition against the franchise – which had a branch on the campus – demanding that it be removed after she found out that Chick-Fil-A was financing groups with anti-gay agendas. Interestingly as well is the fact that information related to Chick-Fil-A’s funding of anti-gay groups can be found in a November 2011 article.   More to the point, about 30 people protested in front of a Chick-Fil-A in Hollywood in September of last year – a whole 9 months before Dan Cathy’s interview.  Regardless, Dworkoski wasn’t the first in these endeavors.
Students at Indiana University South Bend in January of 2011 (last year) effectively petitioned and had Chick-Fil-A banned from campus after it offered to provide free food for an event that was largely anti-gay.  Was that about Dan Cathy’s free speech rights too? Hardly. But, as I know conservatives, they’ll say that it was their right to do so. Sure, and it was the student body’s right to file a petition, and have that corporation kicked out. Florida Gulf Coast University students also started a petition to keep Chick-Fil-A from starting a joint on their campus and the petition created by Michael Jones reached 28,336.  and Austin Peay State University filed petitions to get Chick-Fil-A kicked off of their campuses. The Gay-Straight Alliance at Austin Peay State University in TN began a petition to boycott Chick-Fil-A as well as on Change.org.
The fundamental reason why the issue surrounding Chick-Fil-A is not about free speech, is that boycotts, petitions, and protests have been occurring since January of 2011. Furthermore, various sources, which I have already cited, point to the fact that Dan Cathy had already said similar statements that he and his family believe in the biblical definition of marriage. 30 universities have thus filed petitions since the July 18th interview, but several had already began much prior to this.
What we’re witnessing is not an issue of free speech considering the initial outrage stemming from January of 2011, was over Chick-Fil-A’s Winshape, and the funding of anti-gay groups! What this tells me, is that:
1) The argument that it’s about free speech most likely stems out of ignorance – ignorance of the facts that have been boiling over for the last 18 months;
2) If people indeed were aware of all that has been going on, it means that they simply don’t care – regardless of the circumstances;
3) It seems like a worthwhile tactic to change the subject from anti-gay funding, gay bashing, bullying, and the perpetuation of a stigma that’s not even based in biblical literature much less science – why?
Because once you get enough people talking about a 1st Amendment issue that was never there to begin with, things can go their marry way as people cease the discussion over the fact that Chick-Fil-A is funding groups that have gone through great lenghts to prevent equal rights for the LGBT community. People can be diverted from the fact that Chick-Fil-A’s CEO didn’t just express his personal beliefs, but actively funds those beliefs. Those beliefs happen to run contrary, apparently, to equality, empowering gays, and giving them equal protection under the law. Whether or not you agree with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s stance that the American Family Association, and the Family Research Council are actually hate groups – among 16 others – it should be noticed that something horrible is taking place – and it’s not about homosexuality. It’s about arrogance, hypocrisy, and this xenophobic conservative aversion to move forward. We all have choices. And I agree with Rick Warren in his sentiments:
“Well, some of those folks probably aren’t really Christians. 1 John 4:20 says, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” And 1 John 2:9 says “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.” I am not allowed by Jesus to hate anyone. Our culture has accepted two huge lies: The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
No, people don’t have to abandon their convictions, but it would seem that groups like AFA, and several other groups that I have mentioned are devoid of any. Except, convictions (firmly held beliefs or opinions) grounded in pseudo-science, bigotry, and hate will always be devoid of compassion of others. What is compassion? Compassion is the sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. But there’s no compassion in believing that all homosexuals are also more likely to be child molesters – that creates a false negative perception. There’s no compassion in believing that someone is mentally ill if they’re gay – that causes harm. There’s no compassion, in trying to criminalize homosexual behavior under any biblical or religious doctrines. There’s no compassion for the people who would be harmed, through funding a group that supports other country’s agendas to kill someone on the basis of something that even some conservatives acknowledge as being natural. There’s no compassion in any of that. What a compassionate person should do, is acknowledge that someone is different, that society looks down upon it, that society doesn’t understand, and further to give them comfort and acceptance. You don’t have to accept someone because they’re gay – which is about as logical as not accepting someone because they’re black, or because they have a vagina, or because they have blue eyes instead of brown – but that does not condone the absolute hatred, and bigotry that has been perpetuated on the bases of a difference.
If you can’t see that when you go to Chick-Fil-A that you’re not funding compassion, that you’re funding groups – essentially – that perpetuate social problems that lead to bullying, hate crimes, murder, rape, sexual harassment, sexual assault, among other crimes – than quite frankly you’re a lost soul and I hope that whatever God you worship takes pity on your soul.
If all you can do is resort to calling me, or the LBGT community a bunch of ‘socialists’, ‘liberals’, and ‘sodomites’, than you’re not worth talking to, and that’s that. There’s a legitimate problem in this country that’s much greater than someone’s sexual orientation.
If all you can do is call this issue trivial, as far as I am concerned, you’re opinion is invalid as it’s devoid of the facts behind the case – and if you are indeed educated on the histories of all of this and still feel it’s trivial – than I am saddened by the fact that your convictions dictate that others’ problems aren’t important to you – especially those who need the most help.
If you still believe that this is an issue of Freedom of Speech, than shame on you. It wasn’t a matter of freedom of speech when Bill Gates supported anti-discrimination policies in Washington State – where was his support from you? It wasn’t about Free Speech for any of the people who supported gay-rights agendas, where was your support for their freedom of speech then? Take notice: IT WASN’T ABOUT FREE SPEECH THEN, IT ISN’T ABOUT FREE SPEECH NOW. You don’t get to use the Free Speech ticket to avoid an issue, or defending your point, lest you wish to complete your hypocrisy quota. If your sole support for Chick-Fil-A stemmed from support for Dan Cathy’s 1st Amendment Rights, it’s unfortunate that you would place the rights of one person – over, what I can only assume, would be your own moral convictions and the rights of several million other’s for which Chick-Fil-A has prevented. It’s unfortunate that you would support Dan Cathy’s right to say what he wants, over the rights of the LGBT communities right’s to pursue happiness without the fear of being turned away, fired, beaten, or killed all because of their sexuality. There’s nothing more that I can say on this issue than the fact that it’s just unfortunate. It is unfortunate, it’s deplorable, and it’s shameful.
Yes, people have the right to support groups that they want to support, Dan Cathy can support hate groups, and anti-gay rights groups. And the LGBT community has every right to voice their opinion, and rise against that religious tyranny, hypocrisy, bigotry, and hatred that they are the victims of. But, my convictions dictate to me, that although I disagree with Dan Cathy’s choice of groups to fund, or even beliefs, if these people were ever in a social vice where they’re rights were being denied to them, or torn away from them – under any circumstances, I would fight to protect them – and that includes the hate mongers and bigots. But this issue is much more than beliefs – it’s about liberty, it’s about equality, it’s about equal protection under the law, it’s about the right to live unrestrained from the moving hand of government, it’s about pride, and it’s about freedom.
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 Chick-Fil-A Banned At Indiana University South Bend. Huffington Post. Published January 28th, 2011. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/28/chick-fil-a-banned-at-ind_n_815314.html)
 Bigelow, B. (2012). Gay-Straight Alliance petition students against Chick-Fil-A. The All State. Published February 20th, 2012. (http://www.theallstate.org/2012/02/29/gay-straight-alliance-petition-students-against-chick-fil-a/)
 LGBT Activists Respond to Chick-Fil-A’s Downtown Chicago Debut. Huffington Post. Published June 17th, 2011. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/17/lgbt-activists-respond-to_n_879226.html)
 Chick-Fil-A Protests Reach College Campuses in Conservative States. Huffington Post. Published August 3rd, 2012. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/03/chick-fil-a-protests-reach-college-campuses_n_1738514.html)
 Southern Poverty Law Center (2010). 18 Anti-Gay Groups and Their Propaganda. Intelligence Report, Winter 2010. Issue No. 140. (http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2010/winter/the-hard-liners)