Friday, September 21, 2012
Opinion: Choosing Chick-fil-A sandwich over human rights is wrong
Chick-fil-A has now announced that it has stopped donating money to anti-gay hate groups.
DALLAS Until Wednesday, SMU’s SPECTRUM was planning on launching a 13-week boycott of the on-campus Chick-fil-A. As a member, I intended on participating in the boycott.
However, on Wednesday morning, the company announced that it has stopped donating money to anti-gay hate groups, such as the Family Research Council and Exodus International. The donations were the cause of the LGBT community’s ire this summer.
Chick-fil-A also issued a “Who We Are” internal memo declaring that its company tradition “is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”
Obviously, this means that we succeeded. The LGBT community won this particular battle against institutionalized corporate bigotry by taking a firm and public stand against it. We won by educating our friends, recruiting our allies, and raising awareness. The nation-wide boycott of Chick-fil-A was a good idea, and it worked.
Now, in the wake of these events, we must reflect and consider how – and if – history will remember the past few months.
I fully supported the boycott effort. When Dan Cathy’s statements about marriage equality went public, I didn’t think much of it; in fact I thought, of course – they’re a “Christian” company. Although soon after, the fact that Chick-fil-a donated millions to hate groups who support conversion therapy and the criminalization of homosexuality was publicized, and I was overcome with anger.
“Who died and made Chick-fil-A arbiter of the will of the Almighty?” I asked myself.
I was further enraged when conservative hotheads Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin downplayed the issue at hand as a free speech debate and launched the infamous Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.
How demeaning, indeed, to obfuscate the facts of the issue, and advocate a company that financially supports the attempted subjugation of a minority.
Moreover, I felt alienated and betrayed when a friend or family member chose a sandwich over me. I felt pretty worthless to find out my value as a human being was less than $6 – the cost of a combo meal.
Honestly, I didn’t have very high expectations of Spectrum’s boycott at this predominately red university in this predominately red state. I figured we would bring attention to an ignorant and indifferent student population, and I’d feel like I was being proactive. I would have considered changing one opinion a phenomenal success.
So when someone said to me that this intended boycott was “pointless and petty,” I knew it wasn’t. It is never pointless and petty to voice one’s opinion in a public forum. That’s the point of democracy. I respect this right for everyone. I even had a civil conversation with the religious protesters at Pride this past Sunday.
I understand that many people just weren’t as passionate about this issue as I was – and that’s their choice. Not everyone can be a bleeding heart.
What I want everyone to know is that gay people are simply people trying to live their lives as completely as anyone else. And no one – neither Chick-fil-A, nor any other group or individual – has a right to impede that.
Pegasus News Content partner - The Daily Campus
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