I raised my eyebrow when I saw this. My hometown Baptist caterer of Jesus Chicken isn’t exactly known for its flexible attitude. See, I had known about CFA’s questionable political donations long before the huge kerfuffle earlier this year. CFA is a private entity, so all I could do was proclaim that I wouldn’t be giving my money to them for them to pass on to people who chose to lobby to deny people of their rights. I know how stubborn Baptists can be, so I fully expected the Cathy family to stand by their principles until the company folded as the world moved forward. So, yeah. I was surprised.
More surprising, though, was the lack of fervor this seemed to generate among my friends; I thought they’d be happy to see their boycotting efforts had prevailed. But alas. It’s easy to take a company’s blatant disregard for a group of people, get your righteous anger on, and spew all over the internet. It’s harder to manage that anger and consider forgiving.
Because I am an optimist, though, let’s consider the best case scenario: Chick-Fil-A decides to clean up its internal hostile practices against gay people and cease its funding to “traditional” marriage and family groups. Woot. Say they do this only because they want more money and not because they genuinely care about LGBT equality—should we go back to sucking down lemonade out of giant styrofoam cups?
Absolutely. In fact, we should be encouraged that Chick-Fil-A is so responsive to its customers. It tells us several positive things:
1.There are enough people in America who care about LGBT equality that they can put a significant dent in the CFA profit margin.
2. We have the opportunity to effect institutions in our society that we don’t have a vote in.
3. It gives CFA employees, managers, and operators the opportunity to interact with people of the LGBT community directly, and, thus, there is opportunity to change their hearts as well as their actions.
4. Most importantly, that money isn’t going to be going to these groups. Wasn’t that the point?
It doesn’t particularly matter whether the bully who has been beating me up stops because the teacher forced the issue or if it’s because the bully suddenly likes me. Action makes a bully, not thought. Do I want everyone to believe in LGBT equality? Yes. But is that realistic or fair? No. You shouldn’t regulate people’s thoughts; you can only provide them incentives to change their actions. As long as bad actions have stopped, we should be satisfied.
So, Chick-Fil-A, take some preliminary congratulations. You’ve taken your first step to a whole other level of profit margin, and, hopefully, acceptance. But know this: We’ve got our eyes on you.