Some quick thoughts in the Chick Fil A brouhaha that has blown up (again) over the last few days as the news that the fast food chain will no longer be donating to the Salvation Army and FCA, organizations that have historically been unfriendly towards LGBTQ+ people:
Chick Fil A refraining from putting funds towards these organizations in favor of instead diverting that money towards organizations focused on homelessness, education and hunger awareness initiatives is not the equivalent of putting that money towards organizations that support LGBTQ+ people (especially LGBTQ+ youth, since homelessness is a priority for them and 40% of homless youth in America identify as LGBTQ+.) Its not like Chick Fil A has all the sudden pledged its bottom line to Planned Parenthood, GLAAD, or PFLAG, and religious conservatives need to stop acting like they have. To do so is to make clear that, first, ones abiding hatred of/disregard for LGBT people in the our country, all of whom are just regular people worthy of all the love and respect one can give. Second, the palpable anger over this decision makes it clear that many Christians continue to shove any and all other social concerns far down the list behind anything related to sex and/or LGBTQ+ people, thus confirming many of the stereotypes and assumptions people make about Christians.
Additionally, the idea that this is in some way about “leftists” or “cancel culture” or some part of some mythical war on Christianity is pretty wild. What this is is something conservatives are usually pretty defensive of: pure capitalism. Chick Fil A saw the writing on the wall, recognizing as they expand further and further across the nation that support for the LGBTQ+ community is very high across the board. If there is some underlying motive at work here, it is the profit motive: Chick Fil A wants to continue making boatloads of cash off of its food, and apparently, they recognized that continuing to stand as the premier anti-LGBTQ+ business entity in the United States was going to begin cutting into the bottom line. So they made a change. And that’s not the fault of some magical leftist-secularist cabal intent on destroying all Christians in America or something; instead, its the power of positive social change meeting the hard realities of modern capitalism.
The last point I want to make is this: I don’t think this decision moves the needle morally in any way, either positively or negatively. I think its a pretty morally neutral action; it’s not some huge moral or ethical victory for the LGBTQ+ community. Chick Fil A still continues to be associated with conservative Christianity. The wheels of capitalism continue to churn. This all plays into the same strains that drive my own personal refusal to participate in boycotts of businesses for various political or social stances. Making moral choices the driver of purchasing decisions is a fool’s errand; there are really no “good” choices when it comes to deciding with who to spend your money, outside of choosing to solely spend money locally with businesses you know and are intimately acquainted with, a choice that is largely unavailable for most people today, due to the structure of modern global capitalism. Unless you choose to completely disengage, you might as well spend money in a way that is economically and logistically viable for your family, and focus your moral energies elsewhere.
Anyways, Chick Fil A not giving money to FCA and the Salvation Army is good thing, as far as any thing good can come from modern capitalism, but really, its a mostly empty gesture that none of us should care much about. Its not worth the elation of the left, or the panicked overreaction of the right. Just like so many things our social media feeds want us to think matter.