Chick-fil-A has been the focus of political ire recently, after the popular chain sponsored a Christian, anti-gay marriage group at an event in Pennsylvania earlier this month. Yet bringing political activism into private arenas does not accomplish anything, and it threatens to harm the foundations of our nation.
Despite Chick-fil-A’s popularity among USC students, many people are not aware of the company’s Christian roots.
Founded by the Cathy family in the notoriously Christian deep South, the restaurant chain closes Sundays in observance of the Sabbath and encourages employees to attend church.
One aspect of the corporation’s mission is “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to [them].”
As our society becomes increasingly secular, many more people are sensitive to any expression of religion, particularly Christian, in the community.
Although Chick-fil-A is a private corporation and has the constitutional right to promote its religious beliefs, it seems people are offended by when they do so.
A Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender blog, Good As You, first discovered Chick-fil-A’s involvement with a pro-family values group called the Pennsylvania Family Institute when it saw the company’s name on a flyer for the group’s “Art of Marriage” event.
Soon after, gay rights activists began circulating and signing petitions calling for an end to the restaurant’s support of anti-gay events.
Chick-fil-A representatives responded by saying the company has no political agenda and was merely supporting the local community by donating food to surrounding churches.
People, notably student groups, didn’t buy it.
The issue has been especially volatile on college campuses. The restaurant was temporarily cut from Indiana University’s list of retailers as a result of a student movement, and Florida Gulf Coast University had similar plans.
Luckily, USC has not followed suit.
The deeply Christian roots of the restaurant chain’s founding family should be a sufficient explanation for its support of local church events and Christianity-based organizations.
To take a situation like this and turn it into a demonization of an all-American chicken restaurant as some corporation run by ignorant, intolerant homophobes is ridiculous.
Following this warped logic, one could even accuse In-N-Out of being anti-gay because it prints Bible verses on the bottom of its cups.
The funniest thing about this approach to political activism is that people are attempting to use a restaurant that makes chicken to get what they want.
No amount of boycotting will make gay marriage legal across the United States, especially if the place that people are boycotting doesn’t even have explicit anti-gay sentiments.
Not only is boycotting restaurants a futile tool for effecting political change, but it is harmful to the fabric of our nation and its communities.
Family-run companies embody what it is to be American, drawing on relationships and a propensity for hard work to contribute to the community. But in biting the hand that feeds, we only hurt ourselves.
Attacking those who contribute to the economic well-being and cohesiveness of our communities is not an impetus for sociopolitical change; it does quite the opposite.
Looking for any little thing to grab onto to incite political debate in areas where it will not actually effect policymakers is counterintuitive.
Being in the center of a major economic center, perhaps USC students will act with more business savvy in the midst of recent protests.
Let us analyze the situation before turning our back on a highly reputable restaurant chain near our own campus.
Sarah Cueva is a freshman majoring in political science.