As an intern in Arlington, Virginia, I have been exposed to many different things that I’d never see in Maine: 106+ degree days, extreme humidity, and the generally foreign culture of the Southern United States, including pulled-pork sandwiches and various other culinary delights. My personal favorite thing about living in Arlington, however, has been my formal introduction to the southern wonder that is Chick-fil-A.
As a self-described chicken sandwich aficionado, I had previously thought Providence College’s “buffalo meltdown” sandwich had set the high bar when it came to fried chicken on bread. The first time I had a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich, I realized I had been sorely mistaken. Their food is amazing, and I truly wonder how I lived 20 years of my life without ever enjoying Chick-fil-A waffle fries. It was a mind-blowing fast food experience, and my fellow interns and I quickly began the tradition of “Chick-fil-A Mondays,” in an attempt to make Mondays a little less crummy. Anyhow, I enjoy their food, and I began to lament that they did not have any franchise locations in Providence, RI or in Portland, ME.
Last week, Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy said in an interview with Baptist Press that his company supports traditional marriage and that his company is family-owned and family-led. He also said that the nation would be “inviting God’s judgment” if an attempt was made to redefine marriage. These comments shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise, considering that the chain is closed on Sundays at all locations and the charitable arm of Chick-fil-A runs a series of Christian camps, among other things. However, these comments sparked a huge controversy, including a boycott, a planned same-sex “kiss-in,” and, most troubling, a mayor-declared ban of the restaurant in the cities of Boston and Chicago. Chick-fil-A had been planning to open a restaurant near the Freedom Trail, in Boston, MA, but Mayor Tom Menino has promised to make it very difficult for the chain to open.
The rhetoric from the mayors is troubling for a few reasons. One, it’s a very dangerous precedent to start “banning” businesses in an area simply because the mayor disagrees with the owner’s particular stance on a political issue. Catholic bookstores are owned by people who don’t support gay marriage either. Does this mean that they will be banned as well? The founders of Urban Outfitters donated a lot of money to Rick Santorum—and Santorum is famously and most notably opposed to gay marriage—should the Urban Outfitters stores in Boston and Chicago be worried? It’s madness.
Secondly, the fact there’s been a described “ban” of the restaurant in both Boston and Chicago (with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel saying “Chick-fil-A’s values aren’t Chicago’s values”—probably because most of the Chick-fil-A board hasn’t been investigated for corruption) is evidence at its finest of liberal whining and intolerance. These mayors don’t agree with the views Dan Cathy, so they’re pitching a fit and refusing new Chick-fil-A’s in their cities. Why any mayor would be opposed to a reputable and respectable business coming into town in the midst of a recession is beyond me.
Furthermore, Chick-Fil-A has been described as being “anti-gay.” This is false. Chick-Fil-A doesn’t discriminate against anyone who wants to eat at their restaurant. Anyone, regardless of their sexuality, is allowed to eat or work there. Openly-gay internet personality Antoine Dobson (of “Bed Intruder” fame) gave a rather eloquent defense as to why he still eats at Chick-fil-A, and I agree with him. The food is delicious, and they’re the friendliest fast-food employees I’ve ever encountered—and I seriously doubt that they care about anyone’s sex life. I fail to see a problem.
As a practicing Catholic and ardent believer in a fetus’s right to escape the womb unscathed, I do my best to avoid businesses who donate sums of money to Planned Parenthood. Ben and Jerry’s is one of these businesses. When I’m craving ice cream, I simply avoid the pints manufactured by Ben and Jerry’s. They can do their thing, but I’ll be taking my business elsewhere. This is an important distinction between my thought process and that of the mayors of Boston and Chicago and the Left in general.
Do I think Ben and Jerry’s should be banned from Portland, Providence, or any other place I live? Absolutely not. Their product is good, and the majority of the people who work there are kind to customers and they practice fair business practices. They have every right to open up a shop in anywhere the market demands one. I just simply won’t get my ice cream from there. It’s not the biggest deal. LGBT activists, if you’re offended by Dan Cathy’s views, I suggest you get your chicken sandwiches at Wendy’s.
Christine Rousselle | Providence College | @CRousselle