In a recent 1,400 word rant, the New Yorker magazine lambasted the Georgia-based Chick-fil-A corporation as a “creepy infiltration of New Your City.” What did the restaurant chain do to get the hackles of author Dan Piepenring up?
Well, first of all, the owner of Chick-fil-A is a Christian. Apparently that doesn’t sit well with the author who must lie awake at night and fear that, somehow, one of the most dangerous cities in the civilized world, is going to fall into ruin because of the presence of a Christian-owned chicken sandwich business.
Additionally, the restaurant, whose headquarters is in the apparently backwards state of Georgia in the despised Southern part of the nation, instead of in the elite and self-important Imperial City of the World, displays Bible verses and a statue of Jesus in its headquarters. Not in the restaurants — in the HQ.
Oh, and they dare to be closed on Sundays so that its employees can be with their families and, perhaps, attend church services. For this, they arouse the ire of Mr. Piepenring.
“When a location opened in a Queens mall, in 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed a boycott. No such controversy greeted the opening of this newest outpost. Chick-fil-A’s success here is a marketing coup. Its expansion raises questions about what we expect from our fast food, and to what extent a corporation can join a community,” Piepenring rants.
And insultingly, Chick-fil-A seeks to build community, using the word in its marketing, he complains. “This emphasis on community, especially in the misguided nod to 9/11, suggests an ulterior motive. The restaurant’s corporate purpose still begins with the words ‘to glorify God,’ and that proselytism thrums below the surface of the Fulton Street restaurant, which has the ersatz homespun ambiance of a megachurch.”
Anyone who has ever eaten at a Chick-fil-A knows that people go there because the food is good and the service is excellent. And, when one thanks the staff, they reply, with a smile, “My pleasure,” instead of the surly, common response of, “No problem.”
Not once have I ever beaten over the head with a Bible nor have I been subjected to a personal evangelism attempt. There are no crosses, no icons, no statues of Mary or Jesus, and the employees don’t pray the rosary or sing hymns while cooking or serving. I don’t even know if those who are employed there are Christians or not.
The problem is not Chick-fil-A. The problem is a vile and bigoted discrimination espoused by the author of the article.
Here’s my question: “Dan, have you written articles decrying the presence of Jewish restaurants that serve the people of New York City? Have you blasted the Muslim owners of establishments that seek to serve the community? No, of course you haven’t. That would not pass muster with your editorial board and the Jewish and Islamic citizenry wouldn’t stand for it.
The truth, Dan, is that you don’t really hate Chick-fil-A. It’s the Christians you despise and all that they stand for. Why is that? Why are you so ticked off at a fast food restaurant? Why do you hate Christians?
Your own governor, Dan, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, told conservative Republicans – specifically anyone who is pro-traditional marriage, pro-life or pro-guns – they “have no place in the state of New York.” So, it’s clear what your leftist governor thinks about traditional Christians. Apparently, it’s your belief that chicken-eating Christians and the establishments they frequent also are unwelcome in your fair city.
But, this is America and everyone has the right to express opinions, however stupid and bigoted they may be. Hey, here in our area, the National Socialists (a neo-Nazi, white supremacist group) and Antifa (a radical leftist collection of socialists and anarchists) faced off in our quiet city of Newnan, Ga. And, although most people wished either outside group would just stay away, they were allowed to assemble and to rant.
Why? Because it’s America, Dan! People have the right to speak, assemble, practice religion (or not) … and the right to pursue happiness — even chicken-eating Christian capitalists.
Fortunately, not all New Yorkers are as hateful as the author of the article. New York is a beautiful and vibrant city which I get to visit about once a year. And I like New York even though people like me have been told by Gov. Cuomo we are unwelcome and there’s no place for us. In fact, my denomination’s international headquarters is in New York (Shhh! Don’t tell Dan or the governor).
Oh, and Dan, if you ever get past your prejudice towards things Southern and Christian, come on down to the Atlanta area. I promise that you will be shown more respect and tolerance that you are willing to give. And, give me a call; I’ll buy you a chicken sandwich. It would be my pleasure.
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA between Newnan and Peachtree City (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Diocese of the Mid-South which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]