What Does The New Christian Chick-Fil-A Controversy Say About America?

RAY KREWBS is licensed under CC BY 2.0

How Cultural, Religion, and Geography Intersect

The internet is again flooded with cries of mistreatment and bias. Actually, the internet always seems inundated with outcries. The current subject is over an article in the New Yorker about a Chick-fil-A opening up in Manhatten.

The article has primarily two attacks on the restaurant chain. First, it is not what is “acceptable” for New York City, the same, tired arguments about the elimination of local diners and damaging the cultural reputation of the Big Apple. The second is the Christian roots of the organization.

Chick-fil-A was started in 1967 by Dan Cathy. The organization has always been deeply rooted in Christianity. The organization’s headquarters has a giant Jesus statue in the entrance. There are bible quotes on cups, and the entire store is closed on Sundays. This was mostly ignored until it was discovered that the company had given money to help defeat gay marriage bills in several states. This caused public outcry with protests and counter-protests.

While Chick-fil-A has substantially decreased the amount of money, they give to influence policy the damage has already been done. People will always associate the chain as a representation of conservative Christianity. Even though the organization has stated that they are promoting tolerance now and gave away free food to people donating blood to survivors of the gay nightclub shooting at Pulse in Florida, it did not change viewpoints.

Which may represent the problem. Instead of moving forward on issues, people on both sides of the issue are more likely to look at only symbols or be stuck on single topics. It hurts the ability for reconciliation and forming coalitions on points of agreement.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter