We Won’t Be Dining at Chick-Fil-A

chick fil aI’m a 62-year-old flaming heterosexual. I’ve been married only once, to the same woman, for going on 34 years.

We’re monogamous and still in love with each other. My wife is a pillar in our town’s Presbyterian Church. We are the proud parents of a teenage college student who makes good grades and doesn’t do drugs.

We are what sociologists call, or used to call, a “traditional nuclear family.” Call me corny for saying so, but we see ourselves as a lot like “The Waltons” — one of our all-time favorite TV shows — though we are Kentucky flatlanders, not Virginia hill folk.

Yet because we have no problem with gay people getting married like anybody else, we are foes of “traditional family values,” according to the likes of Dan Cathy and Mike Huckabee. One uber-conservative blogger says we’re “heterophobic.”

Cathy is the now famously outed homophobic head rooster at the Chick-fil-A fast food restaurant chain. Huckabee, his soulmate, is a Republican ex-governor of Arkansas, failed GOP presidential candidate, tea party fan, ordained Southern Baptist pastor, Religious Righty, and Fox News star.

Huckabee wants fellow “family values” Americans to join him in crowing for Cathy by gobbling lots of his franchised fowl on August 1. Huckabee has proclaimed it “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.”

None of the Craigs will be chowing down at a Chick-fil-A on August 1, or any other day. We love fried chicken, but homophobia of any recipe gives us indigestion.

Cathy and Huckabee denounce gay marriage in the name of a loving Jesus. They say people – including many Christians — who dare criticize them are guilty of spewing what Huckabee calls “vicious hate speech and intolerant bigotry.” Is there “tolerant bigotry?”

Chick-fil-A prez Cathy, a Southern Baptist, is more than just anti-gay marriage, according to Huffington Post blogger Steven Kurlander:

“The fast-food chain’s commitment has included millions of dollars donated to anti-gay groups and causes, including the Marriage & Family Foundation and the Family Research Council, according to Business Insider. The company’s WinShape Foundation also has refused to admit gay couples to marriage counseling. Last year, Chick-fil-A cosponsored a marriage conference with the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which lobbied against a state effort to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In another interview on the Ken Coleman Show, Cathy suggested that the nation could face God’s wrath for supporting gay marriage. That’s pretty strong, incendiary language.”

Kurlander supports a boycott of Chick-fil-A:

“It’s one thing for a private business to run its operations based on certain religious values. And without question, its president is entitled to express his religious views and ask employees to live by them. However, when that company supports groups that attack civil-rights protections for people based on their sexual preference, it’s fair to question whether that company should be allowed to operate in taxpayer-supported facilities or work with public school children. Chick-fil-A’s continued support of anti-gay groups and Cathy’s discriminatory comments cross the line of decency.”

Likewise, I wouldn’t for a minute shut Cathy up or shut down Huckabee’s proposed love feast. The First Amendment gives them the right to preach and practice what’s on their minds. It also gives us the right to boo and boycott what we consider their bigotry.

Huckabee and other Religious Righties are especially riled up over Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Chicago alderman Proco Merino because they want to make their bailiwicks Chick-fil-A-free zones. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel backs Merino.

Of course, Religious Righties are fine with boycotts of companies they consider liberal and, you guessed it, “anti-family values.”

Anyway, it’s not just the homophobia of the Cathys and Huckabees that sticks in my craw. It’s their claim that their views are “Christ-centered.”

dan cathy

Dan Cathy

Many Christian conservatives pride themselves on taking the Bible literally. “God Said it. I Believe It. That Settles It,” is one of their bumper stickers.

True, the Good Book defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Yet in other places, the Bible says things like:

  • A wedding is legit only if the wife is a virgin, and if you find out she’s not, she should be stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 22:13-21)
  • It’s basically okay for a married guy to sleep around. (II Samuel 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chronicles 11:21)
  • Marriage between true believers and non-believers (To plenty of Religious Righties, “non-believers” includes Christians not of the Jesus-loves-me-but-He-can’t-stand-you persuasion.) is taboo. (Genesis 24:3; Numbers 25:1-9; Ezra 9:11-12; Nehemiah 10:30)
  • Divorce is forbidden.(Deuteronomy 22:19; Mark 10:9)

I don’t hear any thunder on the Religious Right about any of that stuff.

It’s also true that the Old Testament condemns homosexuality. So does Paul in the New Testament. But what’s not in the Bible is Jesus’ opinion of homosexuality.

My wife, whose roots are Southern Baptist, keeps a King James Bible on the nightstand next to her side of the bed. Mum’s the printed word from the Prince of Peace about gay people.

Like John Walton, I don’t go to church nearly as often as my wife and son do. But growing up Presbyterian, I was taught that Jesus stressed that we are are all God’s children. (He didn’t say everybody except gay people.)

I learned that we were supposed to love one another and do unto others as we would have others do unto us. Christ preached love over hate, peace over war, charity over greed and brotherhood and sisterhood over bigotry and exclusion, to boot.

Those are Craig family values.

Yet homosexuality is so scary to people like Cathy and Huckabee that they want a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage. Mitt Romney, the Religious Right’s guy for president, if by default, says he wants our national charter so amended.

The culture warriors of the Religious Right, and politicians like Romney who’ll say just about anything to get their votes, claim gay marriage is a dire threat to the institution of marriage, if not to all of Christendom.

To hear them tell it, gay marriage equals apocalypse now.

This history teacher doesn’t know of any civilization wiped out by gay marriage. Generally, well-armed invaders do the trick.

Maybe it’s my live-and-let-live, judge-ye-not Presbyterian rearing, of which I am proud. I’ve never understood why so many people get so worked up over homosexuality. But I suspect that deep down inside, a lot of homophobes really are gay or are afraid they might be.

Berry CraigSome of the most avid gay-bashing, “family values” preachers and politicians have turned out to be homosexuals. An Internet website called “Ranker” posted a list of the top 10 anti-gay activists who proved to be gay. The list has grown to 15.

Anyway, mark us down as “100 Percent Pro-Marriage” and “100 Percent Pro-Family,” straight and gay. Oh, yeah, Mr. Cathy, don’t bother reserving a table for the Craig party of three at a Chick-fil-A.

Berry Craig

Posted: Thursday, 26 July 2012

Published by the LA Progressive on July 26, 2012
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About Berry Craig

Berry Craig is an emeritus professor of history at the West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah and a freelance writer. He is a member of American Federation of Teachers Local 1360, the recording secretary for the Western Kentucky Area Council, AFL-CIO, and the author of True Tales of Old-Time Kentucky Politics: Bombast, Bourbon and Burgoo, Hidden History of Kentucky in the Civil War, Hidden History of Kentucky Soldiers and Hidden History of Western Kentucky. He is a native of Mayfield, Ky., where he lives with his wife of 33 years and their 20-year-old son.