What Does The Chick-Fil-A Drama Mean For The Future?

No one knows when the Chick-Fil-A drama will finally run its course, but when trying to discern what it tells us about American culture, it’s a mixed bag. You can argue, as commentator and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan did, that the news is bad—“ If intolerance is a mark of rising faiths and movements, the news is not good,” Buchanan opined.

Does the intolerance of the gay rights movement have an ending point?

Indeed, the gay rights movement in the United States is about as intolerant a movement as there is in American politics. It brooks no dissent whatsoever, choosing to see no difference in an Islamic world where homosexuals are unjustly executed and those like the Cathy Family, who simply don’t believe in same-sex marriage. It’s the sort of intolerance that works when one is well-financed, as the gay rights movement most definitely is. This is a movement which manages to have Hollywood foursquare behind it, yet still pass itself off as persecuted and oppressed.

But there’s a flip side to all this. While the intolerance of the movement is real, it’s important for believes in traditional marriage to not get carried away with playing the victim card. After all, victims wouldn’t have drawn a huge turnout of solidarity to Chick-Fil-A outlets around the country last Wednesday. Victims wouldn’t have had even liberals like Whoopi Goldberg back up the right of the Cathy Family to speak.

Let’s take it one step further—Chick-Fil-A sponsors a significant college football game, one that bears its name and holds a status just one notch below the sport’s top-level bowl games. A friend who attended the game one year told me they open the game with a prayer.

The huge show of support for Chick-Fil-A is a reason not to give in to despair.

The lesson to all this is to stay optimistic. The intolerance is real, and should be contested at every turn. For without the solidarity movements of those who ate at Chick-Fil-A, or those who protested in other ways, one might overstate the power of the militant left-wing activists.

Politics is a world where power is gained by manifesting grievances. Those that seek office raise money and win elections by exploiting them. Grass-roots activists win arguments  and make themselves feel superior to others by self-righteously overstating them. A healthy view of politics will balance the problems and the possibilities. The Chick-Fil-A saga brought out many of the former, but the response also showcased the latter.

Dan Flaherty is the author of Fulcrum, an Irish Catholic novel set in postwar Boston with a traditional Democratic mayoral campaign at its heart, and he is the editor-in-chief of TheSportsNotebook.com



  • Doug

    So, during the anti-segregation fight of the 1950’s and 60’s, millions of Christians (most notably the entire Southern Baptist religion) argued that “God” and his “Bible” claimed that the races should be separate and that they should not mix in marriage. Should the blacks of that time have been “tolerant” of those views because they were religious?

    • Antonio A. Badilla


      Just for the record, it was the Baptists who fought against discrimination of Blacks in this country and they did it in the name of the Bible and religion and no one told them to shut up and keep their religion an affair between them and God.
      Today, the opposite is true. If the Left likes the message of the churches; like their message on the death penalty and immigration, then they praise the churches. If, on the other hand, the churches condemn gay marriage and abortion, then the churches are told to shut up and believers are told to keep their religion private.

    • Amy

      I’m sure the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Alabama was packed with people supporting their right to refuse service to black people the day after they did just that. It didn’t make it right then, and it doesn’t make it right now.

      • Doug

        Right on, Amy! And Antonio, you didn’t answer my question: should blacks have been “tolerant” of religious views against integration?

      • Antonio A. Badilla

        Amy, it is downright insulting for you to suggest there is no difference between millions of us, including Catholics and Jews and Muslims, and the Woolworth’s lunch packed with people refusing service to Black people. Like Martin Luther King Jr. said, one should judge others on the basis of their character, not on the basis of their skin and certainly we are not judging homosexual marriage on the basis of skin color but on the basis of a behavior the Scriptures find abominable and the Christian churches find sinful.
        Are you ready to say the Pope, the Bishops, all the Church’s priests and deacons and all the laity who take the Church’s teaching seriously are nothing but bigots, no better that the Woolworth’s crowd that refused to serve to Black people? Are you ready to say that Baptist Black pastors today who hold the same position Obama held just three months ago are bigots?
        What is it with you and others here trying to demonized anyone who disagrees with you?

  • Randall

    It means the libs are running scared… they know their days are numbered, and when the Christian Right finally regains power in the government, they and their perverse ways are in big, BIG trouble. :)

  • Antonio A. Badilla

    Mr. Flaherty, I think you said it all, “The lesson to all this is to stay optimistic. The intolerance is real, and should be contested at every turn.” I think at this point we have no choice, either we play doormat, or we contest such intolerance at every turn. Also, priests and bishops from the pulpit have to make sure intolerance does not win.

  • whart

    My fervent hope is that we’ll have a great big Chick Fil A Save Our Country Appreciation Day at the polls on Nov. 6th!

    • Antonio A. Badilla


      And we are only 92 days away from that reality. And the more intolerant certain movements are and the President become, the more they lean to the Left, the more the majority of Americans will reject their message of intolerance.

  • tz1

    CV and most Christians want Nero (the successor to Caesar), or the politicized system the US has that acts as Nero to control what Marriage is, and grant benefits. And allow the pill and no-fault divorce making it illegal for a pre-nup to restore the definition to the 1950s or before where you had to prove abandonment, adultery, or abuse and the victim would get alimony. If we move the sacrament back to sacred instead of profane ground there would be no battle, no argument. If we believe that marriage is a sacrament, fecund, and indissoluble, why are we not seeking to get that definition written into existing law (or at least the option – which priests and pastors could require), rather than trying to defend the institution well past the maginot line?

    • Patrick


      “move the sacrament back to sacred instead of profane ground” ???

      Marriage didn’t begin as a religious sacrament.

      You have it backwards.

      Aaargh. Facts. Don’t you just hate them? 😉

      • Antonio A. Badilla

        Patrick, “Marriage didn’t begin as a religious sacrament.” Correct, but with Christ it became a “sacrament.” Would you like to argue with Jesus?

    • Amy

      TZ1, because this fight has never been about “protecting marriage” at all. Marriage is simply an excuse for anti-gay people to try to harm and punish gay people. Americans don’t care about the sanctity of marriage. They care about sticking it to the homosexuals and causing them pain.

  • Michael

    It bears repeating: Chick-Fil-A is a monetary supporter of National Organization for Marriage. NOM opposed the overturn of Lawrence v. Texas. NOM is a monetary supporter of CatholicVote. To speak of the intolerance of the gay rights movement, while defending a business whose fungible dollars support both this site and an organization that lobbied to imprison homosexuals is a tad hypocritical.

    • David


      Nice try at trying to change the subject and avoid the point of the incredible bigotry and hatred of the tolerance crowd. It is standard fare that the moment you disagree with them, oppose their agenda, have a different point of view, they are the first in line to attack you, call you names, saddle you with labels, intimidate you, and try to silence you. They now want to criminalize thoughts/speech which they don’t like and deem “hateful.” With Chick Fil A they want to ban restaurants from places because of the views of its president. Contrast this to chick fil a itself, which does not refuse to serve anyone based upon their views or sexual attractions. Likewise, all the supporters of chick fil a who turned out last Wednesday, came out peacefully; they and chick fil a did not turn away or try to stop any of the “protesters”- some of whom broke the law, harassed people, and did deliberately offensive things like staging a “kiss-in.” The only people who were trying to stop others and impose their views were the “tolerant” folks.

      • Michael

        Sorry, I disagree. When a company chooses to support hate groups, the people of a municipality have a right to make their voice heard on the issue. Owning a business is not a God-given right.

        • Joe M

          Michael. It is unconstitutional for government to prohibit doing business on the basis of protected speech.

          • Michael

            So whistleblower laws are unconstitutional. Employees have no protected speech. Employees can be required to follow all religious beliefs of an employer or be fired. You live in an interesting world, Joe M.

          • Joe M

            Michael. I don’t see how your comments clearly address my statement at all. Can you clarify what your point is?

        • Tolerate what?

          Well, of course anti-gay bigots are going to think that gays are intolerant of their bigotry. And in that sense, they are right. I never heard any gay voices opposed to the practice of heterosexuality. That would be unjustly intolerant.

          • Greg

            Here’s what the right wants us to believe:

            Conservative Christians amending our Constitution to prohibit gay couples from marrying = not intolerance.

            Gay couples speaking out against conservative Christians amending our Constitution to prohibit them from marrying = intolerance.

            Or better yet:

            A gay person holding up a sign protesting a political position that a company has taken and has supported financially (see photo above) = intolerance.

            A straight Christian promoting the idea that Christians should kidnap the children of gay parents (see this: http://tinyurl.com/9r7w99k) = not intolerance.

          • Joe M

            Greg. In trying to defend your position you demonstrate the weakness of your argument. You characterize one side as “prohibiting” something. But, then turn around and characterize the other more generously as only focused on the act of amending the Constitution. A more equal treatment of both arguments, by the logic you have used yourself, would be to say that the gay marriage movement is intolerant of anyone who does not recognize their marriage. — You seem to be in denial that forcing people to recognize marriages against their will is a consequence of changing the legal definition of marriage.

        • Rosa

          What hate group are you talking about? Are we not suppose to have an opinion on a issue. You are adding propaganda where none should be added. Wasting time and spewing hate.

    • Antonio A. Badilla

      Michael, no one is imprisoning homosexuals but they are being executed for just their sexual orientation in several countries of the Middle East. Are you saying anything about that?
      So what if anyone donates to the “National Organization for Marriage” as if that were a crime? Perhaps we should be donating to NOW who supports the butchery of the unborn 100%, in the name of women’s rights.

      • Michael

        Antonio: Actually, NOM is campaigning in countries like the UAE where homosexuality is punishable by death. NOM isn’t supporting the death penalty, but they aren’t explicitly condemning it either. Second, your statement about donating to NOW is a complete non sequitor. Finally, if you choose to deny historical facts, that’s your problem, not mine. But NOM definitively wanted to keep the criminalization of homosexuality in place.

        • Antonio A. Badilla

          Michael, once again, although I do not think this will sink into your mind, NOM is only concerned about marriage between a man and a woman, period, just like the Roman Catholic Church believes marriage is between a man and a women. That does not make either NOM or the Catholic Church “hate” groups. NOM may not be explicitly condemning the death penalty because their main task is to advocate for marriage. I belong to an organization whose main task is to advocate for the unborn. We don’t have the money and time at our disposal to be dealing with other social issues, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care. You stated: “NOM definitively wanted to keep the criminalization of homosexuality in place.” Is NOM’s concern homosexual marriage or sexual orientation? That makes a heck of a difference. Most of us who oppose gay marriage would never discriminate against gay people simply because of their sexual orientation, yet, many label that stand as “hate.”

          • Greg

            “Is NOM’s concern homosexual marriage or sexual orientation?”

            NOM has become a generally anti-gay group. The oppose gay adoption, gay parenting, civil unions, and domestic partnership. They lament the Lawrence v. Texas ruling and promote lies and negative stereotypes about LGBT people.

        • Antonio A. Badilla

          Michael, “Second, your statement about donating to NOW is a complete non sequitor.”
          Let me explain so it won’t be a non sequitor. Many people who defend gay marriage protest that many of us who support Chick-fil-A and other pro-family organizations, supposedly do not care about the rights of homosexuals. I was simply making the point that many gay and liberal people in general don’t seem to mind supporting organizations like NOW who are, on record, as supporting the butchery of the unborn. So, if I contribute to Chick-fil-A by going there and buying their produt, I’m not contributing to the demise of homosexuals but if homosexuals contribute their money to NOW, they are contributing to the demise of unborn children. Now, if one is a Catholic, that poses a major problem because we know our Church condemns abortion as an abominable crime.

      • Greg

        The National Organization for marriage specifically targeted the countries in the Middle East with the harshest penalties for gay people to promote their Starbucks boycott. Just a coincidence?


        See http://tinyurl.com/8hj6rr9 for more.

    • Jake

      The truth hurts. I suppose that’s why you had ten downvotes (I upvoted you, of course). What I love is that they say that we’re intolerant because we stand up for ourselves. I could give a runny poop less if they want to oppose gay marriage and be homophobic. But I don’t support them being able to tell two adults what they can or can’t do in the privacy of their own home. I, like the intolerant Whoopi Goldberg, support Cathy’s right to be a bigot and express said bigotry, just like I support my own right not to shop at his restaurants.

      What I love the most is that all of the devices used to capture the spirit of August 1st was captured on devices made by people who support marriage equality. That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. :)

      • David

        It’s funny that people are supporting Chick-fil-a because they think that is supporting religious liberty, when actually the opposite is true. Chick-fil-a gives $MILLIONS$ to groups that will eject any member of their group that comes out as gay or lesbian (#notfreedom). They support groups that said that they want to “export” homosexuals (#notfreedom). They support groups that try to change gays and lesbian into straights (#notfreedom). They give money to groups that say they want to “fan hostility” against others in order to get people to vote against their rights (#notfreedom). They support organizations that have said gay soldiers should be fired (#notfreedom). Not only is Chick-fil-a working AGAINST basic freedoms for Americans, they quite clearly are acting in a manner that is unchristian. When you buy their sandwiches, this is what you are ACTUALLY supporting, no matter how much you claim otherwise.

        • Michael

          This site, and its commenters, appear to be showing their true colors. Is it “hate” to imprison homosexuals for private relationships in their own private homes? Apparently not to some people here…truly sad.

        • Braden

          Let’s imprison all sinners. Divorcees, most definitely, if we’re going to be saying it’s OK to criminalize homosexual relationships. What nonsense.

      • Antonio A. Badilla

        Jake, those of us who do not support gay marriage are not “homophobic” nor is Mr. Cathy a “bigot” for expressing his view supporting the structure of the family. Why would you be against that, didn’t you come from a family? Up until a few months ago you could have labeled Obama a “bigot” because he, supposedly, opposed same sex marriage, and the Pope and all the bishops and the entire Catholic Church could be called “bigots” because, not only opposed same-sex marriage, but they also opposed adoption by gay couples.
        Words like “hate” and “bigots” are meant to demonize others so that one could forcefully, impose one’s views on others.
        Obviously you believe in gay marriage and I respect your opinion on that matter, but it would be totally wrong of me to call you names like “bigot” and “anti-Christian” simply because you disagree with Chick-fil-A and the entire Catholic Church, the Pope and the bishops on the issue of gay marriage. Let’s make it clear: homophobic means “being afraid of homosexuals” and those of us who defend marriage between a man and a woman are not afraid of homosexuals, and a “bigot” is one who has a negative belief on a group of people or an individual based on ignorance. Those of us who reject gay marriage based our opposition on religious, ethical, and moral reasons and on the common good, not on bigotry.



Receive our updates via email.