Don’t let anyone tell you that boycotts violate your First Amendment rights to free speech (that’s right, Sarah Palin, we’re talking about you).
In fact it was a boycott—the Boston Tea Party—that helped win us those rights by galvanizing the colonists’ discontent and growing patriotic sentiment, and linking them together into a resistance movement that ultimately grew into the Continental Army of the Revolutionary War.
Boycotts have a long and noble history of contributing to progressive social change. But is a boycott the right response to the Chick-fil-A controversy?
The proposed Chick-fil-A boycott is about more than just a disagreement.
A boycott can’t be just about opinions. If we stopped patronizing a business every time we were troubled by the beliefs or affiliations of its leaders, we’d find ourselves growing our own food and sewing our own clothes. And as advocates of the First Amendment, we shouldn’t be looking to deny anyone their Constitutional rights to free speech and assembly. Plus we have to be sensitive to the collateral damage of lost wages for employees. But our grievances are not about a mere difference of opinions.
Chick-fil-A’s CEO chose to publicly announce its core corporate values and agenda, which happen to include millions of dollars in contributions to conservative Christian causes. How conservative, you ask? How about–
- Exodus International—they cure homosexuality with prayers, although sometimes ‘reparative therapy’ needs a jump start from stun guns and something they call masturbatory reconditioning- and there’s an app for that!;
- The American Family Association—when they’re not fretting about the blatant homosexual agendas of the PTA and Disney movies, they’d like to outlaw mosques on American soil, and ban Muslims from the military;
- The Fellowship of Christian Athletes—didn’t Germany have one of these back in the 30′s?
The company also seems to give to pretty much any organization that works to defeat gay marriage initiatives: Focus on the Family, The Family Resource Council, the Ruth Institute (one man, one women, and we’d all be better off if that woman would just stay home and take care of her family), the Pennsylvania Family Institute (if we’d gotten rid of sex education we wouldn’t be dealing with this nonsense), the Marriage and Family Legacy Fund….and the list goes on.
A portion of the proceeds from every waffle fry and chicken-on-a-biscuit goes toward the advancement of those groups’ goals. For many of us, those goals are contradictory to our own faith and principles, as closely held by us as those of Mr. Cathy and Co. We can’t, in good conscience, contribute one flat dime to a corporate ethos that, to us, represents bigotry and intolerance. The values are different, but we are no less value-driven. That’s why we are left with no choice but to respond.
The next time you have a yen for a crispy chicken on a squishy bun, I hope you’ll go someplace where it doesn’t come with a side of ‘family’ values.