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Dan Cathy, President of Chick-fil-A
By now most of you know that fellow on the right, Dan Cathy, head of Chick Fil A. We are all aware of his reprehensible practice of providing funding in the MILLIONS to causes that seek to not only deny members of the LBGT community their basic rights but has even gone so far as to donate to groups that advocate the killing of gay individuals overseas.

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.

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.”

NH Pride Fest Press Release

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.

"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.”

Nashua Chick Fil A

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?

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.

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?

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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Missys Brother, blueoasis

    Wonders are many, but none so wonderful as man.

    by Morgan Sandlin on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 04:53:19 PM PDT

  •  Can someone please explain where the "pride" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, blueoasis

    is in this decision?

    Wonders are many, but none so wonderful as man.

    by Morgan Sandlin on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 05:02:33 PM PDT

  •  I predict a very messy outing in his future (4+ / 0-)

    How many straight guys do you know that would let you take a picture of them sucking on anything other than a beer bottle?

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 05:20:05 PM PDT

  •  I fail to see what the problem is. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AuntieRa, gramofsam1, FG

    Is Mr. Piccola an employee of CFA, or is he a franchisee, who owns his own business?

    Will you be happy when CFA fires him for his actions,  or in some way punishes him for  offering support, however lukewarm (in your opinion) it may be?  He is standing up and, perhaps too discreetly for your taste, refuting the national CFA position, by offering support (and free chicken).

    Seems to me he ought to get a bit of positive regard for this action, rather than being dissed for not coming up to the full standard of your measure, as, it appears,  the Nashua Pride Fest organizers have also failed to do.

    don't always believe what you think

    by claude on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 05:42:17 PM PDT

  •  I don't get the outrage?? (5+ / 0-)

    This franchise owner is standing alongside the LGBT community in a very public way, at considerable risk to his business.

    In repayment, you condemn him?   You guys are WINNING this one!  Why condemn him?

    He is a brave guy to stand up for what he believes in.   He can't change the national corporate position, but he can act locally to support his community.

    Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

    by bobtmn on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 05:47:08 PM PDT

    •  Ditto (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gramofsam1, claude, samddobermann

      The guy is pledging support to the LBGT community. Good for him. What's to be upset about?

      It's the four pillars of the male heterosexual psyche. We like: naked women, stockings, lesbians, and Sean Connery best as James Bond.

      by RIP Russ on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 06:13:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well then, why act at all? (0+ / 0-)

        Why be upset with Chick Fill A when all it is comprised of is franchise owners?

        Perhaps the LBGT community should have let those of us out here in conservative land know that all they really wanted was $50 dollars and a bucket of chicken and Chick Fill A becomes "heroes" and all would be okay?

        There is no "Win" here. Nothing changes and Chick Fill let continues on as before.

        As for "you guys" I'm an upper class straight female in a very conservative state who just happens to care about each of us being worthy of the same freedoms.

        After this stunt I'll still not eat at Chick Fill A because my belief about the rights and dignity of all individuals has not changed, but going "all in" to support or donate in the future is out of the question.

        Wonders are many, but none so wonderful as man.

        by Morgan Sandlin on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 01:17:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Winning happens by degrees. (0+ / 0-)

          By "You Guys" I meant to refer to the group for whom LGBT rights is a big issue.  I consider myself a supporter, but not a warrior in this fight.   I did once make a donation to PFLAG as a xmas gift to Michelle Bachmann, but other than that have been an observer.

          I am a small business owner, so I know the risks that this guy is taking, and I applaud him for it.   I don't expect him to walk  away from his business to show he supports LGBT.

          When you make an argument, you win people over one at time.  When you win someone to your side, it is offensive to attack him for being insufficiently pure.  

          It does make a difference what this owner did.   Having you attack him will be used by others to show that the LGBT community is hateful and intolerant.

          Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

          by bobtmn on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 05:39:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "attack"???..oh that word. (0+ / 0-)

            I disagree with this action...period.

            There is no "having won this guy over"....he's handing out chicken, he hasn't declared support for the cause.

            And you accuse me of being "hateful and intolerant" over a single disagreement on approach???

            I tell you what, the next time I receive a phone call asking me to get supportive bodies to an event, to sponsor a banquet or award, to gather up additional contributors, I'll max out my contribution at $50 and a platter of chicken wings so that I can get back in your good graces.

            Wonders are many, but none so wonderful as man.

            by Morgan Sandlin on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 06:06:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  This owner went public with his (5+ / 0-)

    donation while the haters were waiting on line.

    I think that took some spine. I also think it shows courage to set up at Pride where everyone can look him in the eye and decide for themselves about his motives.

    Since I live in NH I can let you know later how my friends and I experience this.

    •  AuntieRa...it just is what it is. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AuntieRa

      I'm sure that Mr. Picolia discussed this with Corporate before taking this action.

      From a business side it makes sense for Chick Fill A. Its a New Hampshire franchise (the only one in the State I believe), so it will be insulated from the response it may find in more Southern states.

      If the festival goers are not welcoming Chick Fill A can then say "We tried but they just wouldn't let us". If all goes warm and fuzzy then Chick Fill A gets to say "Look, we are supportive and treat all people the same" and a PR coup is had.

      ...and nothing changes regarding corporate monies being used for some very brutal purposes.

      I haven't spoken to anyone today who thought this was a good thing. In fact a friend of mine in Denver reacted with "Well, to hell with this, I'm getting a sandwich" and I could only laugh and tell her to enjoy.

      Have fun at the festival...it looks like its going to be a grand event.

      Wonders are many, but none so wonderful as man.

      by Morgan Sandlin on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 02:26:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your words of hate and attack (0+ / 0-)

        IF you don't consider this to be a hateful attack, I don't know what one looks like.  

        Morgans words, my bold:

        Isn't that a tad like having Jeffrey Dahmer cater your dinner party but telling your guest you're just not hungry?
        Mr. Piccola is  an opportunist. For $50 and chicken he has purchased your support or at least your silence.
        I would hate to have you on my side of any issue.

        Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

        by bobtmn on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 06:16:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Posted in the wrong spot (0+ / 0-)

          This should have been posted under morgans comment titles ""attack"???..oh that word."

          Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

          by bobtmn on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 06:21:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Wow...lots of substance there... (0+ / 0-)

          You don't answer any of my concerns you simply pitch a snit fit because someone disagrees with you. How precious.

          Get over yourself bob. I will continue to work towards equality, continue to try to bring in moderates and conservatives to the cause, whilst you are throwing your toys in the corner.

          Regards

          Wonders are many, but none so wonderful as man.

          by Morgan Sandlin on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 06:46:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  We are different in NH (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Morgan Sandlin, MA Mom

        from the southern states, we agree about that.

        The achievements we've made in equality here were accomplished through a coalition of people from different political and faith affiliations. For marriage equality first we had to convince the conservative Democratic Governor, that took years of conversations and letter writing. He changed his mind and a Democratic majority legislature got the bill passed for him to sign.

        Then came the push to overturn. First through the town meeting process where nearly two thirds of the towns refused to support repeal, then we had the disastrous last election which swept a teaparty (and Free State) super majority into power. It looked like the forces against civil rights would win.

        But a funny thing happened on the way to repeal.

        In the end legislators were flooded with calls, emails, and letters from constituents of all parties demanding that they not shame NH, that the NH way is one of tolerence, respect, and minding one's own business. We had found common ground.

        The hate money (some ultimately funneled from CfA) will be back here again to try and overturn because they were just stunned by the vote, it wasn't a bit close. And we will be back to halt them.

        We will see how it goes at Pride, but I suspect there will neither be an embracing of the franchisee nor a confrontation. If there is I would suspect non locals.

        I hear your anger and frustration, and you are dealing with a more entrenched CfA in your area, I understand that. We have found a way of communicating with different groups here that would probably not work for you. I wish you well and appreciate your passion and effort.

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