The Chick-fil-A Phenomenon

I don't do fast food. Haven't for years. It doesn't sit well in my stomach. I don't do hatred either. Never have. Hatred doesn't sit well in my stomach either. Until last week, I had never heard of Chick-fil-A. But if there were a Chick-fil-A within a reasonable distance from me, I'd have lunch there in spite of my stomach. Why? I'm tired of the lies.

And obviously, so are a lot of other people. I don't think America has ever seen such an outpouring of support before for a business as we have seen for Chick-fil-A in the past week. If you haven't been in a coma, you know the story. In an interview published July 16 in the Baptist Press Chick-fil-A president and chief operating officer Dan Cathy was asked about the company's support of the family:

"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.'"

Also noted in the interview was the fact that Chick-fil-A restaurants are closed on Sundays, the Sabbath Day for most Christians. The article describes Cathy as "a warm, common man who is deeply committed to being a faithful Christian witness," that he is "fully involved in New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ga.", and that he "drives Chick-fil-A's efforts to provide genuine hospitality...Based on Matthew 5:41, Cathy is on a mission to provide customers with 'second-mile' service -- exceeding even the highest expectations of a typical fast-food restaurant."

"And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain" (Matthew 5:41).

In other words, Chick-fil-A incorporates the first and the second great commandments into their business model:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

How refreshing. The next time you hear someone ranting about "corporate greed," remember what you have learned this week about the efforts of Chick-fil-A, Inc. to go the second mile for their customers. Wouldn't it be nice if the IRS were so disposed?

But the response of some -- most notably Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel -- was typical: in essence, "Stop the hate."

And there is the big lie.

Like Dan Cathy and millions of others, I have deeply held moral and religious convictions. And I am tired of being bullied, insulted, and lied about because I am unwilling to abandon the traditional definition of heterosexual marriage.

They call us bigots, which is defined as "a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own." By that definition, Mayors Menino and Emanuel and their ilk are bigots, aren't they? But I am not a bigot. I try to be careful not to judge people by any other standard than the content of their character. I don't care what their sexual orientation is. But I do care about the moral foundation of our culture. For the vast majority of traditional marriage advocates, the charge of bigotry is a lie.

They call us homophobes, which is defined as "fear of or contempt for lesbians and gay men." But I don't fear homosexuals. I just don't see some things as they do. The charge is a lie.

They say I am motivated by hate. That's the biggest lie. I don't hate anyone.

I am weary of being relentlessly charged with bigotry, homophobia, and hatred simply because I have deeply held traditional moral and religious values and refuse to be bullied into relinquishing them. I am guilty of none of these things. I love my neighbor, and I always try to treat him or her with respect. And so do most people. The overwhelming support for Chick-fil-A tells me that not only are the American people determined to stand for legitimate free speech, but, like me, they are weary of the lies.

John C. Greene blogs at