The Cows' Day Off
When I first heard about Mike Huckabee’s Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day call to action, I wondered exactly what he was calling on America to do. I let it slide and went about my normal workday until my Twitter and Facebook alerts dinged one after the other. I logged on and saw all the posts by friends and strangers. Long lines, packed parking lots and images of fried chicken on buttery buns covered my Facebook page.
I didn’t get in line at Chick-fil-A on August 1. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a tasty Chick-fil-A sandwich and their nuggets too. I went there last week. My kiddos love it, which means we’ll likely be going there next week. What I’m having trouble understanding is what the call to action was supposed to be on August 1. Freedom of speech? Support for traditional marriage? Christian Values? Opposition to nontraditional marriage? Or all of the aforementioned? I believe Dan Cathy had every right to say what he said, that’s the beauty of living in this country. I also understand that he’s the CEO of a privately held, family-owned business and he’s entitled to say what’s on his mind, in his heart or part of his faith.
Given Mike Huckabee’s political background, had he called for a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day to show your support for the organization and small business owners, I probably would’ve gotten in one of the long lines to shake my proverbial chicken sandwich. Because honestly, that’s who gets hurt by a Chick-fil-A boycott. Dan Cathy has enough money to fund several generations of family long after he’s departed this earth; however, the men and women who’ve saved, borrowed and bought their way into owning their own franchise will suffer if a successful boycott gains traction.
Again, why are we giving the cows a day off? Mike Huckabee called for action because a few mayors of isolated cities said Chick-fil-A is no longer welcome? Unless you live in Mayberry, where the mayor is also the tax assessor, commission chair, warden, Justice-of-the-Peace and court clerk, the likelihood that a mayor can ban a franchise is about as plausible as chicken lipstick. The last time I checked, there were voter elected commissioners, Aldermen and Economic Development authorities who had some input into these matters.
I would gladly line up at my two Chick-fil-A locations in support of the franchise owners who support our community youth through sponsorships, donate free lunches to area daycares and schools or give coupons for free meals because they find it unacceptable that customers wait for more than five minutes in drive-thru. Those are the people I support, and no, I don’t know their value system, political views or personal truths.
Had the Christian values support called for people to purchase their meal and an extra sandwich or two to give to the homeless people you pass on the street, I would’ve lined up for the cows’ day off. In my home, that’s showing Christianity in action. That’s what my parents taught, and that’s what I teach my kids.
I believe in traditional marriage and will teach my children about traditional marriage. That’s what my parents taught me, and that’s what I chose for my life and I pray my children do the same. However, I’m not lining up to purchase a chicken sandwich in protest against those who’ve chosen or support nontraditional marriage.
What’s interesting is that Dan Cathy’s statement also mentioned that they were all still married to their first wives (I’m sure as a nod to truly embracing the gift that traditional marriage has given them). I’m glad that didn’t spark a firestorm for those who chose divorce.
Let’s face it, we don’t know what’s in the minds and hearts of the CEO’s, COO’s and CFO’s for many of the companies whose products we purchase and use in our daily lives. For those who are bold enough in their beliefs to share them with the world, that’s their right and I respect their views and rights to share those views.
As I watched the news, the social media feeds and witnessed the packed Chick-fil-A parking lots on my drive home, I grappled with some internal truths for myself. I never thought fried chicken would be the catalyst to move me to verbalize what I believe in my own Christian walk, but there I was at a traffic light taking my own personal stance. In my mind’s checklist:
Support freedom of speech. Check.
Support traditional marriage. Check.
Support Christian values. Check.
Striving to be a Christian in action. Check.
Standing against those who’ve chosen the nontraditional. No check.
Boycotting a company because of their CEO’s belief. No check.
It’s the No checks that kept me out of the Cows’ Day Off line on August 1. I know many of my Christian friends will argue, that I’m being lukewarm by not purchasing my number one meal with a lemonade to drink, but that’s something I’ll have to answer to when I meet my Creator. I pray He agrees on a job well done for showing who He is through my actions, and perhaps my non-action in lining up for the Cows’ Day Off. Lucky for me, He’ll be the judge of that, and for that I’m grateful.