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Chicken & CivilityYou know it was only a matter of time before I was moved to say something on this subject. Mostly I’ve kept out of it. Not because I’m lacking opinion or experience. But, rather because I’ve been rather mesmerised by it all. By both sides really.

But let’s start with Mr. Cathy and his company. Not agreeing with his views notwithstanding, the reason I think his statements can be characterized as lunacy have less to do with the content than why on earth, as a business man, would you want to weigh in on any topic that’s controversial and may bring harm to any group which could be a potential paying customer?

These statements weren’t directed at PETA, vegetarians and Colonel Saunders – any of which are not likely to patronize the Chik Fil A near you – but a group that otherwise might still be a supporter.  I guess that’s what initially had my scratching my head.

But all the charges and counter charges that going back and ultimately degraded into a religious back-and-forth with Christian’s feeling that they needed to camp out to get their chicken sandwich on in order to show that they are dedicated to their love of deity and poultry. I don’t mean to tongue in cheek a religious ideology in the name of attempting to bring humorism to an otherwise unfunny situation. I can see clearly that supporters of Mr. Cathy have wanted to make this freedom of speech issue. And, why not?

Truth is, otherwise well-meaning folks have made it pretty easy to do so. With charges of claiming Mr. Cathy has no right to make such exclamations. Um. Yes – as a matter of fact – he does. He is not a corporation, which might otherwise have shareholders that would have an interest in Mr. Cathy’s comments and how they affect the bottom line. It’s his company. He’s free to run it as he would wish, with in the limits of the law and even to run it into the ground of that’s his choice.

I support that right. The right to say anything you wish. No matter how bizarre or crazy another may think it is. No matter how offensive, or derisive it may be considered.

By the same token – I’m free to patronize, or not patronize a business for the same reasons. So equally as distressing are counter arguments that I have no right to boycott a business that otherwise isn’t breaking any laws. Hmm.

What many supporters of Chik Fil A have failed to understand, and quite likely because they have the equivalent of their fingers in their ears going la, la, la, la – is that as crazy as you might think some are for not recognizing Mr. Cathy’s right to say what he’s saying  is how crazy it would be to provide my money in exchange for a product and then you take the proceeds of that transaction and use it to diminish my quality of life in other areas.

That astounds me.

Really.

When I have discussions with otherwise sane people who insist because no fair employment laws are being broken, because no equivalent of a separate water fountain exist, because no one is refusing service to gays, that somehow it’s “all good”. Really? Based on that line of thinking, Mr. Cathy should be begging the Gays to come to his establishments. What more diabolical plan than to wage cultural warfare than to use their own money against them. Since Mr. Oliver North in 80’s a more evil plan hasn’t been hatched.

To summarize a commentary that could go on much, much longer. It will suffice to say that I will not line up to buy sandwiches. I’d much prefer people lined up to feed the poor and help the downtrodden. That’s something I think Jesus would have actually encouraged. I don’t know that God give’s a (chicken) shit about whether Mr. Cathy’s chain thrive at the expense of others. But, the human element of compassion requires that I not support such endeavors.

So, I’ll pass by these restaurants, which hasn’t really ever been that hard and on Sunday’s it’s been very easy. My hope is that if you ask me, it’s to actually have a dialogue about it and not to slam me with your opposing view. That, after all is not very gracious (forget “Christian” because with each passing day – who knows what that means anymore).

I think one day of record sales of chicken may end up being a drop in the bucket compared to years of erosive sales. Because as time marches on, and the recordings of these events is now everywhere for history – posterity will not be kind to Mr. Cathy and his chicken chain. There will always be supporters sure. And the existing locations may still do well. But, his expansion will always be hampered by potential franchisees who will wonder if they want to be part of this ongoing drama.

So yes. I support your right to free speech Mr. Cathy. But even free speech isn’t free when the consequences may ultimately affect your livelihood. That’s the responsibility part that comes with the freedom.

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