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Chick fil-A Controversy: When a Chicken Nugget Goes Rogue!

A column by Crystal Willcuts about the gay-marriage controversy at Chick-fil-A.

Oh Chick-fil-A, when will you love again? Why drag waffle fries into this? They are innocent I tell you!

In July, Dan Cathy, president of the popular Georgia-based fast food chain, Chick-fil-A, made anti-gay comments on a radio show saying that “we’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage. And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude that thinks we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about.”

Mr. Cathy, I think it’s time to look in the mirror before you talk about pride and arrogance. Marriage predates recorded history and there are various definitions of marriage according to the society or culture one belongs to. The audacity lies in the belief that one very narrow definition of marriage should apply across the full spectrum of humanity and those non-conformists should be treated as outcasts.

Chick-fil-A’s Facebook page says “The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect—regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”

So this is a political drive-by by way of the drive-thru?!? Too late Chick-fil-A, you opened this can of worms. You’re in this, don’t turn and run now. Don’t be a…chikin!

In most instances, I do appreciate anyone who has the courage to stand for their convictions, though I may agree with them or not, it takes guts to stand up in the tech-media whirlpool and say something controversial. Just be ready to stand and defend your position, otherwise don’t fire that first shot. In this instance, I don’t think Mr. Cathy is courageous at all. It’s easy to yell out an insult, then go and run behind the whole loud, angry gang of rich conservatives standing behind you.

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In 2011, Mr. Cathy told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “We’re not anti-anybody…our mission is to create raving fans.” Really, Chick-fil-A? Really?! You sucker me in with promises of waffle-shaped potatoes, crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, then shake your churchy chicken fingers at me for being a fan of the fabulous?! I’ll take my money elsewhere to places that don’t surreptitiously use self-interested cows to support hate and fear.

Regardless of what their Facebook page says, this chicken establishment has donated millions of dollars towards anti-gay organizations; groups that promote gay marriage opposition, bullying and harmful therapy techniques. Northeastern University recently dropped them as a campus vendor because they did not align with the school’s inclusive values.

Despite all of this, I am thankful for Mr. Cathy’s moment of candidness. The Boy Scouts of America and the One Million Moms anti-everything group (they even hate cookies!) have also taken up this fear driven war. I wish more companies and politicians were as forthright. Then I’d know which to support and which to stay far away from. Knowledge is power.

Yet the picture is not completely bleak. Jon Stewart, JCPenney, and even the Muppets are part of an ever- growing group that is tired of all the judging and hypocrisy. They are standing up for what is right and speaking out against the conservative war machine. If Fozzy Bear can stand in front of the tank, so can I, and so can you, dear Reader.

In this age where gay children and teens are bullied to the point of suicide, it is irresponsible and reprehensible to align yourself with the bullies. You’ve drawn your line in the sand, Mr. Cathy, you’ve cast that first stone. I hope you are confident in your own righteous superiority because, I tell you, it takes far more courage to step back over that line and dare to love and accept when your world tells you not to.

Stay strong LGBT’s! Though I am not a member of your beautiful community I stand with you in your fight for equality. You are not alone. No judgment, just love. And If anyone knows where I can get a good waffle fry, please let me know.

Crystal Willcuts Cole, Mnicoujou Lakota and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe member, was born in Rapid City, South Dakota and is an artist, writer, and poet currently residing in Big Stone Gap, Virginia with her husband and two children.