The fact that Chick-fil-A is a company that espouses Christian values is no secret. The fact that its 1,600 fast-food chicken restaurants across the country are closed on Sundays has long been testament to that.
But the comments of company President Dan Cathy about gay marriage to Baptist Press on Monday have ignited a social media wildfire.
"Guilty as charged," Cathy said when asked about his company's support of the traditional family unit as opposed to gay marriage.
"We are very much supportive of the family - the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that," Cathy is quoted as saying.
Strong feelings of support and disagreement have followed, making Chick-fil-A the top Google trend on Thursday morning as the company's Facebook and Twitter pages were burning up with arguments.
"Hate mongers! Never again! Not another $ from me," Duke Richards wrote on Facebook.
"Goodbye Chikkk-fil-a! your food was delicious, but I can no longer eat nuggets filled with hate!" read a post by Blake Brown.
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"I am truly ashamed of the recent admittance from Mr Cathy about your bigoted company practices. I hate the fact that my money was used for this. I will never support your company (and) will make sure anyone I know does not either," Mikell Kirbis wrote on Facebook. "While I'm not a Christian I know that hate is not in God's plan nor (is) ignorantly picking sections of the Bible to brandish. Good bye and I hope either you change your ways or close down."
But the support for the company was just as vehement.
"Just wanted to say I'm proud that you stand firm in your beliefs. You knew the risks, and still took the plunge. May God bless this company with abundance. Never back down!" said a Facebook post from David Jones.
"Thank you for standing up for what you believe. The truth is not hate. It's just the truth," wrote Sharon R Boyd.
"I love the values that this restaurant stands for and will support it every dang chance I get! Pay no attention to the morons spewing hate!" read a post from Raymond Joy.
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Twitter comments were also divided.
In a statement to CNN on Wednesday, the company said it would stick by its principles, but it tried to withdraw from the heated social media debate over them.
"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," said a statement from Don Perry, the company's vice president of corporate public relations.
The Human Rights Campaign, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group, said Wednesday that Cathy's comments gave consumers a clear choice.
“It's strange to say, but it's good to see Chick-fil-A finally admit to their anti-LGBT policies," Michael Cole-Schwartz, the organization's director of communications, told CNN. "Now fair-minded consumers can make up their own minds whether they want to support an openly discriminatory company or take their business elsewhere. As the country moves toward inclusion, Chick-fil-A has staked out a decidedly stuck-in-the-past mentality.”
Polling shows increasing support for gay marriage in the United States. A CNN/ORC Poll conducted in late May found 54% of respondents favoring the legal recognition of gay marriage with 42% opposed. The poll had a sampling error of 3%.
Let us know what you think about Chick-fil-A's stance in the comments below.
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I am proud of Chick-Fila-A for standing up for what the Bible says. It would be nice if more people would stand for Christian values in a world where there are no values. God's blessing on your organization!
right, because Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhist, Shintoists(?), and everyone that isn't a Christian has no values right?
The outrage is ridiculous to me. Why would Chik-Fil-A, or any Christian company, support something that is contrary to biblical teaching? Their interpretation of the biblical definition of marriage is not a stretch (we're talking God's intention, which is prescribed in the Bible, not man's action, which is described). God intended for marriage to be one thing. Jesus affirms that intention. Paul explains it further.
The Bible is full of polygamy; US laws forbid it. Are you sure you want to follow the Bible as example? Divorce would be banned then and slavery would also be OK.
This suh.ux. I love Chick-Fil-A. They are awesome sandwiches. Now I can't eat them in good conscience. I will miss the waffle fries as well.
Good, now maybe it'll be a little less crowded when I go there.
Wow some people just crack me up, this man has a right to his thoughts and has the right to express them without people screaming on him. No one says you have to agree with him but his thoughts are his, if I was ask the same question I would have the same answer as he did, does not mean I bash gays, it just means for me no that is not acceptable. So that makes me a bad person, you people need to get a life and get over it. I just have no understanding to your thinking it is stupid and narrow minded. You can be gay I don't care that is your business just don't put it in my face or bug me with the nonsense. It is your right to be that way if you so choose but it is also my right not too. Because he owns a company and makes his personal feeling known you think he is a bad person. I think he is a great man he has lived the american dream and created many job for others. He has put people in business and has helped many along the way. I think people look for any reason to jump on someone for there comments. It only shows me that the level of stupidity out there in the USA. I have friends that are gay and they know how I feel but they also know I don't judge them and it is there business not mine, and I share a good friendship with them. Why because they respect my thoughts and I respect there's. Allow people to have there own thoughts and respect that don't try to make someone think the way you do.
I agree, he didn't once say chik fil a is against gays, he said they do not agree with gay marriage. Those posters who said "i will not eat chicken nuggets filled with hate..." that's such a narrowminded interpretation of what chik fil a is saying. Get off your bandwagon already.
It amazes me that anyone who opposes gay marriage is labeled as a hater and bigot. Just becuase someone has an opposing view, does not make them a hater, it means they have an opposing view. Does this mean that people who do not agree with traditional marriage are haters, too? Or do they just have an opposing view? It seems like anyone who does not agree with the liberal view are automatically haters......sad.
"Inclusion" may be where this country is headed but "Acceptance" will never happen.
Why is it that people aren't allowed to express their own beliefs. Everyone does not believe in gay marriage and they have that right. It seems like if you say anything against gay marriages you're wrong. I don't believe in gay marriages but that doesn't mean I hate gay people. I will continue to to to Chik-Fla-La
What is Chik-Fla-La???
You are allowed to not believe in something for yourself, sure. But you aren't allowed to tell other people they can't do something because of YOUR religion. What part of that is so difficult to understand?
They ARE allowed to express their beliefs. This is exactly what they have done. But when your beliefs are bigoted there is fallout from non bigots. They are now feeling the heat for it.
Please explain how they are/were not allowed to express their opinion.
They seems to have expressed it several times. Including donations to anti-gay hate lobbyists.
O wait.. I think I know… you’re but-thurt because the majority of people disagree with your bigoted and misguided opinion. People like you used to say the same thing about women’s rights.
Learn a little history.
It's because only non-christian beliefs are protected anymore. It is okay to hate on Christians for their beliefs but when someone says they oppose gay marriage suddenly they are embracing hate. How is it different? People are choosing not to go to Chick-Fil-A because of the belief of the owners...is that not also hate? If you don't want to embrace hate then it has to include everything, not just the things on your agenda.
They are more than welcome to express their beliefs, Mr. Cathy did not feel the need to hold back clearly. However, if, as a business, you choose to express a belief that is divisive then it should not be surprising when there is a sharply divided reaction to it that will likely involve losing some of your customer base. Does Mr. Cathy, and the company as he speaks for it, have a right to their beliefs about "traditional Christian marriage?" Yes (as misguided as I and others believe those may be.) Do I think it was a good business move to express that? Heck no, I think any business man/woman in their right mind would know better than that.
I'm 100% in support of gay marriage, gay adoption, and equal rights to anyone in any way. However, I also believe Chik-Fil-A has a right to their opinions as a company. I can square those seemingly conflicting beliefs by not doing business with them.
Andrea, it is certainly the right to state your opinion as it is my right to not ever go to a place that has such a bigoted stance. Free speech is great.
What I don't understand is why do you care? Does gay people getting married actually have any impact on your life whatsoever? Does it somehow make your marriage (if you are) somehow mean less? Jesus loved all and I don't think he would have any problem with two people who LOVE each other getting married.
this is ridiculous. I'm sure if you research all the businesses that you do business with you will find somewhere down the line someone said something you don't agree with. that's life people, don't get your panties in a wad. You go there for the product – just shut up and eat some chicken!
Andrea is right. Just because I want people to have fewer civil rights doesn't mean I am a bigot.....
Don't agree with their views, don't eat their crappy food.
I am in Total Agreement with the Companies stance on this subject. Christian's are not taking a so called Stance. It is just the Morals and Values that our Creator has provided for us, (as it is written in the Bible). Because one believes in these Values doesn't mean that others are being judged. There is only one that can judge others for their Actions, Works and Beliefs and that is our Heavenly Father.
sell crazy somewhere else....your precious bible was written by hateful, vengeful men...sod off
How about you Christians start going after the sin of gluttony and clean up your own house before throwing stones at others?
And if you don't believe in a "Heavenly Father" (I mean, like seriously? You sure it's a man?), then who does one get judged by? L. Ron Hubbard's aliens?
I am completely tired of whiny gays. Shove your perverse life up you filthy AIDS ridden rectum. I hope you all die slow AIDS ridden deaths because you turn your back on morality for an orgasm.
What a bitter little Marine. Why don't you go back to work where you need someone to tell you what to do with every minute of your day because you are too pathetic to think for yourself. When you DO happen to think your own thoughts, they are obtuse, moronic, and hate filled rants that show your own insecurities. Let the Corps do your thinking for you please. You are embarrassing them when you open your mouth.
Wow, sparky, sounds like a real christian stance you got there. Get back on your knees and open your mouth for the second coming of jesus
Such a shame, I loved the breakfast biscuits. But I do thank you, Mr. Cathy, for making my decision to no longer patronize Chick-Fil-A extremely easy one.
It's funny how if you don't agree with someone they are so fast to call it hate. If someone doesn't agree with gay marriage its automatically hate. If thats the case gay people are haters too because they obviosly don't believe in a normal life style. Man and Woman.
Divorce rates… you can keep your sinful normality.
Gay people are trying to take away religious rights. If gay people have the right to be gay, then religion has the right to not support being gay. Why do gay's need community support to live their agenda? Why do I need to know about their agenda let alone support it? This is simply asenine!!
And all this stuff about Hate crimes is just plain silly. People should be dealt with for mis-treating a person only on the basis that he/she is human. Not on the basis that he/she is gay. There should not be pro gay laws, simply PRO PEOPLE LAWS.
If a person mis-treates a gay, then that person should be faulted for the so purpose that he mis-treated another human being. Classifying everything as a hate crime because it does not agree with or support your agenda, is itself a hate crime.
The fact that you compare the ‘right’ to be born as something different than you to a choice of which of the hundreds of gods you follow, pretty much just k!lls your entire argument.
Because they are antagonistic. There are plenty of gays that are conservative in their lifestyle and go about their business, but Obama the Great Divider needs to make this country as divided as possible to pull of the destruction while preventing a REVOLUTION. It is all about distraction.
Where does it say hate? Where does it say that its discrimatory? Its Mr. Cathy's opinion. Thats all. He does not speak for everyone or every Christian on the face of the planet. Get off your high horse and quit trying to cram your opinions down the throats of ones who do not think the same as you. I will eat at Chic-Fil-A everyday that ends in Y because they do stand up to there beliefs and they do not let the media or groups change them. If you do not want to eat there and spend your money there, that is your rite. But don't shove your beliefs down my throat, I am enjoying my sandwich.
Hitler thought he was to good guy too. How did that work out for the Jews?