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Form letter from Chick-Fil-A
Form letter from Chick-Fil-A (Facebook)
The owner of a Hollywood franchise of Chick-Fil-A posted this letter on the store's Facebook page. It's something of a distancing act for them after company President Dan Cathy made some remarks on marriage equality that made the news. Cathy said:
"I think we are 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 to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about."
You might imagine such Hellfire and Brimstone rhetoric against the gays may not be an ideal marketing message for Hollywood owner Jeremiah Cillpam, nestled in a popular urban gayborhood, and you'd probably be right. Cillpam writes:
We know that some of our guests are upset by comments made by Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A Inc. He has made it clear to me those were his personal views, and that his intent was not to speak on behalf of every Chick-fil-A owner.
It's great to read of Jeremiah Cillpam's personal [implied] disagreement with Cathy, and it's also really nice to know Jeremiah Cillpam took it upon himself to speak personally to Cathy about this. It's touching to read of Cillpam's own commitment to treating everyone with "honor, respect and dignity" and I am moved by his expressions of how much he loves the people in his community, yadda, yadda, yadda.

There's one little problem.

The thing is a form letter. This is the identical letter sent out by franchise owners John and Cristina Crays of Chick-Fil-A in downtown Decatur, Georgia, also Chicago, Illinois and apparently elsewhere as well. All that's been changed are details specific to each location.

So, clearly this is a top-down effort orchestrated by corporate itself to distance individual owners from well, corporate itself. It's an attempt to spin individual stores away from the mess President Cathy has created for the whole chain of 1,600 stores. We're encouraged to not take it out on individual franchises, just keep buying that chicken because they're such nice people.

The problem, of course, is regardless of the individual owner's feelings on the whole mess, the franchise fees of the individual stores still move up the corporate tree and ultimately into the hands of anti-gay activist hate groups. The total was up to $5M at last count.

So, while I may personally sympathize that many franchise owners may well have built their business independently of the values and culture at Chick-Fil-A, I'm personally still not interested in bankrolling my own civil rights oppression and Cathy's rhetorical demagoguing, thank you very much.

And I suspect many other LGBT people feel the same.

If Jeremiah Cillpam wants to demonstrate how much he disagrees with Cathy, he's always free to leave the franchise.

Maybe he can get together with other franchise owners and sue Cathy for undermining the chain's economic viability by wading too deep into the culture war?

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