People across the country were shocked and dismayed that Mr. Cathy, whilst being entitled to his personal opinion, would spend significant funds to do harm to individuals we know as friends and neighbors.
So we start to fight the good fight...right below the scroll.
When it was announced that there would be a "Hate the Gay" day at Chick Fil A I immediately became concerned as I knew that in some of the conservative areas there would be a vacuum of reasonable and kind voices.
I contacted a few friends and asked them to please call in their local radio shows and quietly voice their support for the right for same sex marriage, to watch for local online paper commentary and Facebook so that these individuals under attack would know that they were not alone.
This resulted in numerous postings in some venues where otherwise there might have been silence and one individual went above and beyond and to a local radio station identified himself, his business (he employs approximately 125 people) and stated openly that his faith requires him to offer people the word of Christ but it did not require him to hate or control other people's decisions or deny them basic rights.
It was just a few of us but we were doing what we could. After hours of reading posts on various sites that would make Jesus weep and seeing posts on Chick Fil A's Facebook page such as "Burn the faggots" "Send them where they are killing them" "No homos gets my business" that were simply left there whilst posts in the defense of the Gay community were being constantly removed I felt even stronger in my conviction that I could no longer give Chick Fil A my business and would encourage others to withdraw their support.
....and then I read this:
Nashua Chick-fil-a To Help Sponsor New Hampshire Pride Festival
To say I was shocked is an understatement. How in the world did this happen? NH Pride Fest included the following statement from Nashua Chick Fil A Manager Anthony Picolia:
“In both my personal and professional life, I have had and continue to have positive relationships with family, friends, customers and employees in the LGBT community.” Picolia said. “It would make me sad if someone felt that they were not openly welcomed into my life or restaurant based on their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.NH Pride Fest Press Release
Chick-fil-A at Pheasant Lane Mall has gay employees and serves gay customers with honor, dignity and respect. We also don’t discriminate in giving back to the Nashua community, donating to a wide variety of causes. I would challenge people to come have a conversation with me before they make assumptions or boycott my restaurant. Come to my restaurant and see for yourself that my team and I only have one mission: To serve exceptional experiences to all.”
The first thing that struck me was the similarity of this statement with the one on the Chick Fil A main Facebook page:
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.Chick Fil A Facebook Page
Also, please note that Mr. Picolia makes no statement that he supports same sex marriage nor does he voice any objection to the support of hate groups by Mr. Cathy. He offers platitudes and when you visit his franchise page he becomes even more non-specific.
Hey Chick-fil-A Fans! There are rumors related to our restaurant that is currently in the media. Here is an official statement from our Owner/ Operator, Anthony Piccola.Nashua Chick Fil A
"As an independent franchise Operator I am dedicated to supporting our local community in the best way possible and we give to a wide variety of causes in Nashua. 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.”
Note that there is no celebration of their participation with NH Pride Fest, no "We support Gay rights"...only words that reflect the corporate spin.
Call me unimpressed.
What reasoning does NH Pride Fest offer for their decision? Not much.
From their page linked above in the question and answers section:
Q10. I heard that Chick Fil A donated $2000 to NH Pridefest so that they could host the event. Isn’t that a bribe to deal with the devil?My favorite line has to be "...and free chicken (which I’m not even going to eat)". Isn't that a tad like having Jeffrey Dahmer cater your dinner party but telling your guest you're just not hungry?
A. First and most importantly, Chick Fil A is not hosting Pride Fest. They have given us only $50 to secure a spot at the park. (The price we charge for all looking to get a spot during the festival) And they will be handing out free food. They have not offered and we would not allow them to sell anything at the event. While we understand that this is a controversial move, we need people to have the facts. The manager is coming to the event with his lgbt staff to support the community. We are not supporting Chick Fil A and are in fact still supporting the nationwide boycott. This one particular franchise operator is coming to support us. We are not accepting a “bribe.” I think $50 and free chicken (which I’m not even going to eat) can be misconstrued as a bribe. What Chick Fil A has been doing to the community is un-reconcile-able. But this particular franchise operator has decided to step away from the hatred and bigotry of the rest of the nation, and we want to welcome those who support us. Even if we do not support them.
Mr. Piccola is not, in my opinion, a hero. He's an opportunist. For $50 and chicken he has purchased your support or at least your silence.
A more "heroic" action would be if he had contacted fellow franchisee owners and they had communicated to Corporate that they openly support Gay individuals having the same rights as other citizens, that they demanded that Corporate gains not go to fund hate organizations. But he didn't do that...and why should he.
He bought you for $50 and some chicken....and your supporters got sold out.