“Well, guilty as charged”

“Well, guilty as charged”
Dan Cathy

A rundown in baseball, also known as a pickle, is anytime you have a base runner who’s between bases, with defenders on either side, who are trying to chase you and get you out. What happens is they throw the ball to one defender, and then the base runner runs the other way, and at some point, they try to get it closer and closer to where one of the defenders can tag you out. Typically, the defenders win hence the term, from the point of view of the ‘stuck’ runner, pickle. It is safe to say that Chick-fil-a is firmly in quite a pickle.

The cause of this particular ‘pickle’ began with a series of outrageous quotes made by Dan Cathy, president and chief operating officer of Chick-fil-a, to Baptist Press in an article published back on July 16th. To avoid misquoting Cathy, his direct quotes, courtesy of the actual BP article, are listed below:

Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position.

“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.

“We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized.

“We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

Cathy’s statements have created a massive division across the entire country. The outcry and support have been nothing short of sensational with a Pandora’s box of chaos-filled reactions that include, but aren’t limited to, the following:

  • Organized boycotts
  • Record setting numbers for “Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day”
  • Same-sex ‘kiss ins’ at CFA sites
  • Jim Henson puppets being pulled from kid’s meals
  • CFA deemed a ‘hate group’
  • CFA a symbol or religious freedom and the 1st amendment

Whatever side you are on, everyone seems to have an opinion. You are either fervently for CFA and you will now eat there much more often in support of it OR you will never step foot near a CFA again unless it is to protest. Either way, it is clear that the U.S.A. has regressed significantly as a country. It is great to have strong beliefs and impassioned feelings but regardless of the side you are on, both sides are adamant that theirs is correct and both sides are uncompromising. If the main issue is equality and the ability to have and share different views, where is the understanding and compassion?

As a quasi-liberal moving to a conservative yet gay friendly city, Boston, it seems clear what side of the issue I should be on. However, as a previous Georgia resident who worked at an original CFA for 4 years, earned a CFA college scholarship, shook hands with the respected founder Truett Cathy (father of Dan), created a monthly CFA recruitment day for my alma mater while working as a admissions counselor  and still respect closed door Sunday policy; what side shall/should/do I take? Which belief (values, equality, religion, politics, roots, future, etc.) outweighs the others? With many friends on both sides, it appears that I’m in a bit of a pickle myself…

Ultimately, Chick-fil-a is obviously in a very intriguing pickle. It is caught in a Catch-22 sized rundown that has different defenders on each side yet the “runner” is still stuck. Who will win? Who will lose? In the end, as a soon-to-be marketing student, what intrigues me perhaps the most is this: if there truly is no such thing as bad publicity, after all of this hoop-la, does CFA come out a winner?

Dan “Mr. Controversy” Cathy

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