“It’s a great day at Chick-fil-A.”
Actually that’s only part of what the voice said as we pulled up to the drive-through ordering station. The whole spiel went something like this: “Hi, my name is Amy. It’s a great day at Chick-fil-A. How may I serve you today?” Amy may have added something about the peach milkshakes, but I’m not sure about that.
You probably already know that today is Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, so named by Governor Mike Huckabee in an attempt to rally support for the Cathy family who started Chick-fil-A many years ago. When Dan Cathy (son of founder Truett Cathy) spoke out in favor of “traditional marriage” (that is, one man and one woman), he was widely pilloried in the press. The mayors of Boston and Chicago opined that their fair cities could do without Chick-Fil-A, and the mayor of San Francisco told the chicken chain to keep its distance.
Feathers have been flying ever since.
Billy Graham spoke out. So did Alan Dershowitz. Cardinal George of Chicago weighed in. A writer for Mother Jones opined on the topic as did John Kass of the Chicago Tribune. Comedian Steve Martin tweeted about it.
Christians are divided over whether or not to go to Chick-fil-A today, although if you live in Montana the decision is made easier by the fact that there are no Chick-fil-A restaurants in the entire state. Some people think that too much is being made of this issue. I doubt that because it’s hard to find a good chicken sandwich, and where else can you find a good chicken sandwich plus waffle fries, a vastly underrated side dish. I’ve never had a peach milkshake but it sounds like a good idea.
I’m enough of a contrarian that I don’t like being told where to buy my fast food, and I don’t like the idea of big shot politicians telling Chick-fil-A they aren’t welcome in Boston or Chicago or San Francisco. Plus I don’t think the mayor of New York needs to give us advice about breast feeding, but that’s a topic for another day.
At the moment 645,000 people have signed up on Facebook saying they plan to eat at Chick-fil-A today. Cal Thomas has reminded us that eating at Chick-fil-A won’t strengthen marriage in America, a point I readily concede. But I can’t agree with Barnabas Piper that going to Chick-fil-A today is some sort of big mistake.
Go if you want to go.
Don’t go if you don’t want to go.
If you’re too busy or otherwise occupied, don’t worry about it.
If you live too far away, this doesn’t apply to you anyway.
Or go to the drive-through, order a bag of sandwiches, and then go home and watch the Olympics. That way you can support Chick-fil-A and watch badminton at the same time.
I do think an important issue of free speech is at stake. I don’t like seeing a fellow Christian kicked around because he spoke out in favor of traditional marriage. I totally get it that some people don’t like a business owner speaking out and others disagree with what he said. That’s cool. If you feel that way, don’t go to Chick-fil-A.
Compared to the great issues in the world today, this one doesn’t register very high on the scale. But from time to time moments come along that prove to be what James Emery White called a mirror on our culture. They tell us something about ourselves and about our values. You can’t predict when it will happen. We’re all just cruising down the highway, Dan Cathy gives an interview, and the chicken hits the fan.
So that brings us to the moment at hand, when a few hundred thousand of us will gather at Chick-fil-A to strike a blow for freedom of speech and for a really good chicken sandwich. If I were in Chicago, I’d go to the one not far from Moody Bible Institute. But since we’re in Tupelo, Marlene and I plan to eat lunch at the Chick-fil-A next to the Kroger on Barnes Crossing Road.
Again, this isn’t the Cuban missile crisis.
It’s about the freedom to speak your mind.
In my judgment it’s a point worth making so in that spirit we’ll go, I’ll order the #1 (large size), and we may even try their peach milkshake.
Like Amy said, it’s going to be a great day at Chick-fil-A.