Chick-Fil-A controversy raises questions of food and politics

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Posted: Monday, September 10, 2012 8:57 pm | Updated: 9:20 pm, Mon Sep 24, 2012.

In recent years, there was little question as to my whereabouts between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thursday nights. My love for fried chicken and my college student budget led me to Chick-Fil-A on Ben White every week for College Night. This glorious event provided me free or discounted menu items in exchange for a glance at my valid St. Edward’s I.D.

However, I was disheartened when I discovered that CEO of Chick-Fil-A, Dan Cathy, openly spoke against gay marriage earlier this year.

When asked in a CNN interview on July 19 if Chick-Fil-A supported the “traditional family unit” as opposed to gay marriage, Cathy said, “Guilty as charged… We are very much supportive of . . . the biblical definition of the family unit.”

Now, this shouldn’t have been a surprise. This was the first time anti-gay sentiment was publicly stated by the CEO of Chick-Fil-A,  but the company has been giving money anti-gay groups for years. The restaurant is closed on Sundays. They’ve been known to play Christian music inside all locations. There were signs.

Regardless, Cathy’s comments led to a swarm of posts on my Facebook feed.  Most were either calling for boycott or applauding Chick-Fil-A for sticking to its beliefs. 

But things aren’t always black and white— sometimes they’re a shade of deep-fried golden brown.  

By attending St. Edward’s University, students are financially supporting the Catholic Church, an institution which openly condemns gay marriage. If one boycotts Chick-Fil-A for this reason, shouldn’t our student enrollment dwindle?

The Salvation Army is a large, iconic American charity. In 2011, they provided more than $2.6 million in social services to more than 30 million people according to their end of year financial report. Should one completely ignore the positive contributions to society made by the Salvation Army because they have a history of promoting and funding anti-gay legislation?

Should people stop shopping at Urban Outfitters because CEO Richard Hayne supported Rick Santorum’s conservative Republican presidential campaign?

Each purchase we make comes with a set of politics surrounding it and things are too interconnected for there to be one right answer.

So to those who believe civil rights are more delicious than waffle fries– good for you. To those who want a separation of politics and chicken– good for you as well.   

While I may no longer be dining at Chick-Fil-A on Thursday nights, I encourage you to make an informed decision for yourself. Just please, keep it off my Facebook news feed.

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