As a PFLAG mom, LGBT advocate, and someone who just hates bigotry, I have been paying close attention to the Chick-fil-A situation. Many people on both sides have given their opinions - some people just can't live without their greasy fried chicken, no matter what stand the company takes on LGBT issues. Others don't like the fact that CFA runs their operation in a "Christian manner" and others are angry that Mr. Cathy opposes same-sex marriage.
When Mr. Cathy opened his mouth and said he opposes same-sex marriage, I was angry. Now, I don't eat fast food anymore, and I wouldn't eat at Chick-fil-A for the obvious reasons. But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if Mr. Cathy knew exactly what he was doing.
I certainly can't say for sure, but it seems to me that he made that statement knowing full-well what would happen. I think he wants this controversy.
For all the people who won't eat at his stores, there are many who are opposed to same-sex marriage; others who feel that the LGBT community is telling Mr. Cathy that he can't practice his religion the way he likes; and yet more who maintain that we're stifling his freedom of speech, etc. etc. So they will decide to patronize his restaurants in support of him. That adds up to more dollars that he can stuff in his pockets and that he can also send to more hate groups.
All the while he is playing the victim. He comes out clean in this scenario.
Or so he thought.
What I don't think he counted on was that the main reason people are angry at him is because he donates money to known hate groups who do terrible damage to the LGBT community. Exodus International is one of them; they have been in the business of trying to get gay people to change, with terrible results. Other organizations that he donates to are in collusion with certain foreign governments that believe that their LGBT citizens should be killed. And other groups work to deny LGBT citizens in our country their civil rights.
Mr. Cathy may be feeling righteous lately, but in a few weeks or a few months, I think some people will forget about this. The story won't be in the news anymore and it will die away. But the LGBT community and its advocates won't forget.
They'll want Mr. Cathy to explain himself. They'll want the franchise owners to take some responsibility and urge Mr. Cathy to alter the recipients of his donations. I don't know these owners, but they are the ones who are going to bear the brunt of this situation. I can't call Mr. Cathy and expect him to meet me for coffee, but the franchise owners are in our own backyards and they are the ones who are being targeted. They can tell us they love gay people and even have a gay cousin or two, but what they really need to do is step up to the plate and demand that their boss do the right thing.
We are all entitled to our opinions, whichever side of the fence we're on. But to my mind, the fact of the matter is that Mr. Cathy can say whatever he wants and pray whichever way he likes. He can even say he's against same-sex marriage. But when he gives thousands of dollars to known hate groups that do damage to the LGBT community, then he has to know that LGBT people and their allies will object.
And he also has to know that we will not forget and we will not go away.