Brooke Layout

August 01, 2012

Chock-Full-A Controversy

We're all friends here. So let me start off by saying that I'm not going to debate about gay marriage. I'm also not going to tell you which side I stand on or what political party I affiliate myself with.

What I am going to do is try to explain why I find the controversy surrounding a certain chicken restaurant so culturally fascinating. I'm a student of the world. I try to remove my personal beliefs from the furor surrounding controversy and try to examine the "why" of what's going on. Why are people reacting the way they are? Why is this news? Why now?

It has never been a secret that these chicken nuggets are the product of a company with conservative beliefs. If you've ever stepped foot in one of the restaurants you've heard Christian worship music. If you've ever craved a chick-n-mini on a Sunday morning, you know that they close for the Sabbath. Is it so surprising that a high ranking official in this company has conservative Christian beliefs? Is this news? I would argue that we are more surprised because we are not used to CEOs being so bold as to voice controversial beliefs in a public forum. We're shocked by that behavior. Similar shock reverberated across the Christian community when Target refused to allow Salvation Army on their premises during Christmas. As a culture, we do not like it when businesses have opinions and I would go so far as to say that we would tolerate their opinions if they would only keep them to themselves. Why is that? I find that so intriguing. It stems from neither agreeing or disagreeing with their right to say it. I just find it culturally stimulating.

I recently read an article called "In Defense of Eating at Chick-fil-A". While the author is writing from the Christian conservative perspective, he brings up some interesting cultural points. I'd recommend reading his article. Even if you disagree with his stance on the company's beliefs or policies, you could take something away from his article. You'll find it here.

I'm not interested in publicly debating political or religious beliefs, but what I do find fascinating is the responses from both sides. I thought this article brought up an interesting point in calling it "boycott culture". I had never thought of it that way. That the boycott itself is part of a larger group mentality. You can easily call it "support day culture" to acknowledge both sides. I would never ask someone to do business with a company that they disagreed with, but I do find it interesting that we think it's normal or even commendable to refuse to do business with people who have different beliefs than our own. If we coninue to spiral down this staircase, we will soon only be doing business with ourselves. It will be a sort of financial segregation. A reverse back to times where you can only appreciate things that are just like you. I've been through my more conservative times and my more liberal times, but as I mature I'm realizing that it's much more productive to learn to co-exsist with people you disagree with. Afterall, it's more likely that you'll spend your whole life surrounded by people who disagree with you on something. Now, all of that being said, I feel like everyone has a right to go or not go to C-f-A. Spend your dollars where you see fit. Personally, I don't go to C-f-A very often because we don't have a large "eating out" budget and it's not so good for my girlish figure.

I'm challenging myself to learn to debate hot topics without reverting to accusations or bullying. A challenge that will include learning to express my beliefs without feeling the need to belittle the opposition. We've all experienced someone arguing for tolerance while openly speaking hateful or hurtful things. I find those people the most frustrating of all (and I've met some from both sides). I will move forward believing that the way to a brighter future is through understanding. While I don't have to agree with you, I can at least understand you and together we can go to eat Mexican food. Cause who really wants a chicken sandwich when you can have a taco. Am I right?