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Goodbye, Chick-fil-A, Old Pal

1 Aug

Fried chicken: Tastier coming from an open-minded husband than a narrow-minded fast-food chain.

Oh, Chick-fil-A. Your seasonal shakes are so tasty. Your chicken sandwiches, perfection. Nice touch with the pickles, man! The breakfast biscuits are, I’m sure you’d agree, nothing short of divine. I’ve never loved your waffle fries, but I’ll forgive you that one transgression. The service is typically high quality (although your workers don’t need to say “my pleasure” quite as often – it starts to feel disingenuous after awhile. Give them some credit, would ya?)

I have developed a special relationship with Chick-fil-A since moving to Oklahoma two years ago. I even used to call it “Chick-fil-Yay!” There are few good lunch options in our town, and my husband and I like meeting there during the workday for a quick bite. During the first trimester of my pregnancy with Annabelle, when very little seemed appealing, I could actually stomach a chicken sandwich, which was great protein for my growing bean and me.

I have loved the chain even though it was tacky enough to wear its religious affiliation on its sleeve. Even though I couldn’t go there on Sunday because they are closed, even though they pump horrible Christian rock music through the speakers (surely the devout crowd can turn out better tunes), even though I couldn’t participate in free Monday meals because I didn’t have a church bulletin to present in exchange for food as proof of my godliness, I still gave them my support in the form of buying their delicious meals.

But now we have a problem, don’t we? If even so much as $1 of mine has been pumped through Chick-fil-A and into an organization that ostracizes people on the basis of their sexuality – separates these people from those people, identifying these people as more deserving of God’s love than those people, who are “inviting judgment on our nation” – I am at fault for feeding a monster. A monster that is literally deadly.

This is a hard topic, because both sides feel attacked at their very core. On the one hand, you have pro-Chick-ers – Huckabee and the like – feeling like the traditional families they know and love and want for themselves and feel designed by a most powerful, giving, loving creator to have for themselves (and everybody else) are threatened. On the other hand, you have a segment of the population feeling singled out as sinful because of whom and how they choose to love, which may say more about your soul and than all your good and bad works combined.

But at the end of the day, I see this as a story about America trying to balance its many wonderful freedoms: The freedom to build a business from scratch. The freedom to find success in a winning recipe. The freedom to clog your arteries with fried chicken and milkshakes. The freedom to donate your money to causes you respect. The freedom to grow your business. The freedom to found that business on your personal religious beliefs. The freedom not to patronize a company you don’t like. And, my personal favorite, the freedom to pursue your own definition of love and family.

I will simply not go with my husband and daughter into a place that publicly claims that because I am heterosexual, my wonderful, amazing family is fulfilling a more godly arrangement than somebody else, just like me, who chooses to marry a woman in pursuit of the same dream. Remember, the Bible has been used to justify slavery, too. It’s a shame to have a bad taste in your mouth about such delicious food.