Edible Activism

As my first blog entry, I have chosen the recent issues arising over Chik-Fil-A CEO’s announcement of his belief in the biblical definition of marriage. As it is in the news and includes a juicy dichotomy of views, it seems a reasonable place to start.

Let’s start by setting some generally accepted facts. Chik-Fil-A is a privately held company with a CEO who carries the same inalienable rights to free thought and speech as anyone else. His Christian views and monetary donations to support these causes have never be hidden from the public record. Chik-Fil-A is a franchised restaurant chain in which the owners of individual stores may or may not share the CEO’s beliefs. They are not the only national chain of stores that openly supports or finances instituting laws to deny same-sex marriage (in fact, with a bit of research, you would be surprised who does). And to my knowledge (correct me if I am wrong), I am unaware of a plethora of successful lawsuits against the chain alleging discrimination in the hiring of or service to anyone based on sexual orientation.

So why the uproar? It can’t be that he verbally expressed his personal beliefs, anymore than you or I stating our feelings on the subject would cause such a media storm. He used to be gay and suddenly his reversal has left us all in shock? No, that is not it. Is it because we find him hypocritical since scientific research shows that a percentage of all animal species engage in same-sex sexual behavior and he is doing nothing to protect us from eating the “gay” chickens? (If there is a screening process out there to determine a chicken’s sexual orientation, please let me know) Is it because the mainstream media has spoon fed us an issue that simply highlights behavior that some find intolerant? Regardless of whether you share his beliefs or you are staunchly advocating for same-sex rights, why is this person and his company suddenly the focal point?

Certainly it is in some part a matter of convenience. We could have done some work on our own and found any number of national chains to support or boycott for the same reasons. But it is easier to take a media driven topic and run with it. The people we talk to around the water cooler have already formed an opinion on what they have read and heard. We do not have to set the background of who we are upset with and why. The media does the research, presents easily digestible reasoning for both sides to reiterate in the heat of their own discussions, and we jump in with our thoughts on the topic quickly picking one side or the other. Or is it more the convenience that actively supporting our own personal beliefs is made as simple as buying a chicken sandwich or not? Certainly donating money, contacting our legislators, or volunteering our time to a cause are much more intrusive to our daily lives than simply choosing to or not to eat at a particular food chain. It is form of lazy activism. We can feel good about standing up for what we believe, but really don’t have to do or give much to do it.

We can discuss the incongruity of basing your beliefs on biblical references for another day, but I do wonder if the Chik-Fil-A supporters who pushed them to a single day sales record are fully aware of what other agendas or beliefs their monies may now be supporting. Not every Judeo-Christian sect believes or supports the same biblical teachings. Would Methodists be surprised if they found out that he actively supports the belief that you are not saved unless you have been baptized by immersion? Would Catholics be okay with the fact that he does not necessarily hold the same views on contraception, confessional, papal authority, or last rites? That is hard for me to imagine. No, it seems more logical that since the media has raised the issue and made it a current events topic (barring some other surely more news worthy issues we could be debating), and it requires very little effort on our part to join the fray and openly express our own views, we will jump in on this issue because it is convenient. As for his belief or support of other views we may not share, as soon as all we have to do is enjoy a delicious(if not completely healthy) chicken sandwich to feel like we are doing something about our own beliefs. we will be right there. We care about a lot of things and hold firmly onto our own belief systems as it provides consistent comfort to us. We just aren’t great at getting off our asses and being inconvenienced by actively participating in any issue or debate.

Or am I completely missing something here?

© 2012  Commonsensibly Speaking ~ Brad Osborne

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  1. […] the strange sayings highlighted in the ‘Friday’s Phrase’ series to the political satire of ‘Edible Activism’. This should allow readers to find what they are looking for much […]

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