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US/ Chick-fil-A

MICHAEL SEAN WINTERS comments on the Chick-fil-A controversy, on boycotting a business and on the “biblically-based principles” that the president of the fast food chain claims to follow.

Chick-fil-A in a food court Chick-fil-A in a food court

The controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A is not very delicious. I admit I have never been to a Chick-fil-A. I admit, too, that I had passed signs for their stores for about four years before I realized that their name was a not very clever homonym for chicken fillet. I recall seeing one of their television ads, showing a deep fried piece of unnaturally flat chicken breast, being placed on top of some pickles, lettuce and tomato, all on a hamburger bun, and thinking – “no thank you.” So, I was not disposed to be a patron to begin with.

Consequently, I was not among the throngs of people who lined up to dine at Chick-fil-A yesterday, responding to a call from Mike Huckabee and other leaders of the religious right to show support for the chain. The president of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, has recently been outspoken about both his opposition to same sex marriage and about the fact that his restaurant chain has, since its founding, been employed “biblically-based principles” in managing its stores. So says their website, and they cite the fact that Chick-fil-A closes its stores on Sundays.

I actually think closing a business on Sunday is a very good thing. I understand the difficulty with Blue Laws, that many Americans do not observe the Christian Sabbath, that for Jews, Saturday is the day of rest and for Muslims Friday, and for many millions of Americans, who do not worship any God, let alone the God of Abraham, their freedom to do as they wish on the Christian Sabbath is infringed by Blue Laws. I understand that in my head, but my heart still mourns that, as a society, we have not found some other means of saying to our hyper-commercialized culture: Not today. Anything that sets limits to the reduction of the human person to his economic activity is a good thing and Blue Laws achieved that, saying, in effect, whatever business enterprises one conducts throughout the week, one day at least should be set aside for other humane activities, including that most humane of activities, the worship of God. So, I commend Chick-fil-A for closing on Sundays and wish more businesses would do so, but would be loathe to support a legal regime that coerced them into doing so.