The controversy is continuing over statements made by Chick-fil-A’s president, Dan Cathy, opposing same-sex marriage. He is also said to be a contributor to organizations which lobby against gay marriage.
Some who support gay marriage called for a boycott of Chick-fil-A, but on August 1, in response to conservative commentator Mike Huckabee’s call to support the fast food chain, it had record setting sales. Those in support of gay marriage retaliated on August 7 with what was originally a Starbucks Appreciation Day, but was later expanded to include other companies that support LGBT rights.
The controversy raises a number of questions for religious people. The call to boycott Chick-fil-A resulted from a public declaration of the views of the president of the company. Cathy has the right to express his opinions and consumers have the right to boycott his products.
But if boycotting a company because they take a stance which we consider immoral is an appropriate response, this leads us to ask whether we need to look more closely into the policies of other companies and boycott some of these as well. The Sweatshop Hall of Shame website cites companies such as Hanes, Ikea, LL Bean, and Wal-Mart as companies that use sweatshops in their global production. Should people of faith be purchasing products from companies which contribute to deplorable conditions for people in third world countries?
The response to this topic on Facebook has been interesting. One post by someone who is gay said that they will continue to eat at their local Chick-fil-A because they support everyone’s right to have their own opinion. Another person posted that, since part of the profits will go towards the organizations that Dan Cathy supports, they won’t financially support the company. They said that “no chicken sandwich is worth the injustice of treating a group of citizens as second class…I just don’t get that hungry.”
A more moderate view was presented in a Facebook post by Jane Ives. She said: “I have real respect for the way this business has been run, even though I disagree with their stance opposing gay marriage. I respect their commitment to marriage and family, the way they treat their employees, and their financial support of marriage and family-strengthening initiatives. I once thought about homosexuality as they do; after all, that is how many of us were raised. I guess they have not yet had the kinds of experiences that have changed my mind. So I just politely disagree with them on this issue and pray for them to be open to God’s continuing revelation.”