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Chick-fil-A: Tolerance Takes a Hit

Can we remain a functional, capitalistic society if our beliefs clash with certain businesses?

I have to begin this treatise with the admission that I have never eaten at a Chick Fil-A restaurant and quite honestly, probably never will. But not for the obvious, "jump-on-the-bandwagon" reasons. As anyone who has looked at a TV or read a paper lately knows, people are unhappy that a high ranking executive in the Chick-Fil-A organization proclaimed that he supports the Bible-mandated concept of marraige being solely between a man and a woman. This has angered many people who are accusing him of being many things and they have decided to boycott his businesses. There are also a number of people who are showing support  for his position and his right to freely express his opinions.

The whole issue raises an interesting dilemma. Would you quit patronizing a business if their beliefs contradicted yours? Would it depend on the business and how extreme their beliefs were? Where does one draw a line? If the business showed disrespect or disregard for your family or your culture, would that be enough to shop elsewhere? What if they showed disregard for your country or religion or if they excluded your child because they didn't want children in their place of business? It's a tricky issue in which we have to seriously evaluate our values, morals and ethics. How much are we willing to compromise them when we shop?

When it comes to businesses and who owns and runs them, how much do we really know about the people who operate them? I confess that I don't know whether uses sweat shops to get their clothing and goods or whether the owner of BevMo uses profits to support "pro marijuana" legislation. I don't know that we can look at businesses that way. Ours is a capitalistic society that is dependent on goods being bought and sold for our society to survive. To single out one business or two or three as having a faulty belief system may be a little naive and counterproductive. I mean, if you are committed enough to boycott one business for conflicting beliefs, you'd better be prepared to boycott all of them who go against your beliefs. It's only the fair and right way to justify that.

I don't know how corporate executives feel about the important issues in my life. To me, it's not a deciding factor in whether I patronize a business. My bottom line is, does the product meet my needs at a reasonable price? Of course, that's not to say that I wouldn't quit shopping somewhere if my feelings about their ethics were strong enough to avoid them, but so far few businesses fall into that category for me. In most cases I have to support the Constitution and people's right to freely express themselves and move on.

I know that those who are against Chick Fil-A see bigotry and intolerance and they may be right. But so far, all that's out there is a man's opinion. The boycotters are projecting that it's much more than that and I don't know if they are correct in their own propaganda or not. But if they are incensed at this man's intolerance, isn't it a bit ingenuous that they are just as intolerant of his opinion? Don't get me wrong. I am not declaring the Chick-Fil-A stance as being right. But in this country, it has a right to be expressed.

I may be challenged for backing the Christian "right" or those with a pro-Chick-Fil-A agenda. I am not supporting Chick-Fil-A's position; yet I am not particularly supporting the other side either. I am supporting freedom of speech and seriously wonder why some people feel so threatened by that? 

Just because someone says something you don't agree with doesn't make them evil or a bad person. My parents had opinions that appalled me at times but did I ever value them less? Of course not. It's the same principle here. But in recent years it's not enough to let others express an opposing opinion and step away from it or ignore it. Now it seems people have the need to FORCE others to accept their position or see their way no matter what. I'm sorry, but that's not the part of the American character and it isn't exhibiting the kind of tolerance that made this country great.

Do what you need to do for your own conscience sake, but try not to overreact to others just because they don't share youre perspective. Keeping the lines of communication open can do more to elicit change than cutting people off or insisting that they think like you do.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

victoria August 10, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Thank You For Sharing B K.. I appreciate the fact that in this day and age people still have a "fire in the belly" about something. In a world where it seems to me , people are more afraid to express their opinions than not. On the other hand, I agree with your opinion, that we need to do what we need to do.. It's all of the aggressive anger and hatred that gets people in trouble. There is a saying that is often said. We can Agree,to Disagree, Agreeably "
Albert G August 10, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Thank you for your extremely articulate and civil response, victoria. You made my day :)

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