Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Game of Chicken

Many bloggers have taken to the ether to vent about the Chick-fil-A controversy. Personally, Chick-fil-A is okay, but I don't really like my chicken with sugar on it. If you hadn't yet figured out that this is their "secret ingredient", well, ooops. That's why it's vaguely sweet. What I'll miss most is that they're the only place on Earth that did a diet fresh-squeezed lemonade made with Splenda; I'm phenylketoneuric, i.e., I can't have aspartame, and I also can't have carbonated drinks because of my LapBand. That makes finding something to drink in a food court an absolute nightmare, one that was mitigated by the Chick-fil-A lemonade. Oh, well, I guess I'll be getting unsweetened tea and putting in my own Splenda from now on.

Dan Cathy is entitled to his opinion, and so am I. Personally, I know we heteros have screwed up the "holy institution of marriage" so badly that over half of all of those holy institutions end in divorce. It's not so much that he went on record as being a "one man, one woman=marriage" guy, it's that his corporation gives money to things like conversion ministries. I know people who were horribly scarred because their parents shoved them into 'conversion' programs- they emerged just as non-hetero on the other side as they were when they went in, albeit angry and bitter at the people who put them there.

On the flipside, Constitutionally speaking, Boston and Chicago can't keep Chick-fil-A out of their respective cities just because they find Dan Cathy's religious beliefs offensive. The First Amendment guarantees us both free speech and freedom of religion, no matter how you slice it. As I've pointed out more than once, strident objection to Larry Flynt's values did nothing to stop the Hustler Store from opening in Lexington. That protection is there for Larry Flynt, Dan Cathy, and everybody in between. It was also pretty flabbergasting that the mayor of Boston waxed poetic on his city's role in the founding and framing of this country, when the thrust of his speech was the restriction of a business with whose owner's personal values he disagreed. That flies in the face of both democratic and capitalistic principals, two of the pillars of American society and culture. If you disagree with the man's values, don't buy his chicken, but don't think we have a right to keep him from doing business.

I'm in favor of LGBT marriage because I don't see it as a 'special right'- I see it as a fundamental legal right that's denied to a large segment of our population. "Marriage" is licensed by the state and does not require religious sanction; it's only a sacrament if that's part of one's personal belief system. We are not a theocracy, and the Founding Fathers absolutely didn't want that. I speak to this with some qualification- I'm a history professor- and the ramrodding of someone else's religious views down my throat is as bad as attempting to silence theirs in return. What makes a Christian theocracy better than an Islamic one? Historically, nothing; they're equally oppressive, each in their own sweet way.

And PS, fried chicken is bad for you, regardless of the politics of whoever fried it. Sure, it tastes good, but when's the last time you had your cholesterol and triglycerides checked? Maybe you should just stay home and bake one instead- it's cheaper and easier on your digestion, and not having to prove a point about your beliefs by where you buy your dinner may just lower your blood pressure.