While I knew there was a contingent in our society that have contempt for traditional values, I did not think we were at that day when simply expressing those values would be vilified and construed as undermining our country, but that is exactly what is happening to a brand that I love — Chick-fil-A.
It started with Dan Cathy, current company president and son of the founder of Chick-fil-A, doing an innocuous interview with The Baptist Press in mid-July, after which opponents have accused the food chain of being discriminatory, bigoted and unconstitutional.
As a result, a cyber firestorm with socio-political groups came out against the chain and Boston and Chicago mayors declared that Chick-fil-A would not be welcome to open a new store in their cities.
So, what exactly did Cathy say that would cause such ire? It did not take me long to find the “offensive quote” in context:
Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position. ”We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”
“We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized. “We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.” (K. Allan Blume/Biblical Recorder, Baptist Press, July 16, 2012)
Wow, that’s it?! That’s the quote that has people in such an uproar?
Notice that Cathy does not speak critically, or even mention other forms of relationships. He merely expresses support of traditional marriage and biblical values which are consistent with the founding of our country, and are held today by an overwhelming majority of our citizens, and politicians — at least during an election year.
But I think that it is not so much the quote that socio-political groups are finding offensive. I think it is the fact that Chick-fil-A chooses to operate according to biblical values and demonstrates that a company can be wildly successful living up to its corporate purpose which is, “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”
Rather than lashing out at these groups, Chick-fil-A has stated that they will simply continue to focus on delivering great food and service to their customers.
But for those of us who love Chick-fil-A, we know they do so much more. I love Chick-fil-A because of the heart they have for their employees and customers.
I saw how special they made my son feel on his sixth birthday at Chick-fil-A where he received a surprise visit from “Mr. Moo-Cow,” and a mini-cow gift. My son was so happy and slept with that cow for months.
In a day and age when food chains seem to focus on keeping labor and food costs low, what company brings in more labor just to make a little boy feel special? Chick-fil-A, that’s who!
I am hoping that fans (and fanatics) will visit Chick-fil-A today, August 1st, Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, and let them know how much we love Chick-fil-A.
Hopefully, this will communicate to the world that we are a nation that appreciates when companies — and individuals — uphold biblical values.
[Bonnie B. Willis is co-founder of The Willis Group, LLC, a Learning, Development, and Life Coaching company here in Fayette County and lives in Fayetteville along with her husband and their five children.]