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



  • Patricia

    Why should it mean anything… has anyone looked into all the good that the Cathy’s do with their money? Probably not – because everyone is to tied up with being or not being Gay – supporting or not supporting Gays…. move on people – there really is more important subjects…. to most of us anyway…

  • Antonio A. Badilla

    Francis, You stated, “First, if homosexuality was really that significant of a moral issue, why didn’t Jesus say one word about it? His emphasis really seemed to be upon caring for the poor and outcast, rather than matters of sexuality.” I believe in one of the Gospels it says that not everything that Jesus said was written down, but that is only part of my answer to you. As Catholics, and also Protestants and Eastern Orthodox, we do not considered the Gospels, were Jesus speaks, to be the “only” part of the Scriptures. In understanding homosexuality one also has to read Gen 19, 1: 29; Romans 1: 24-27; First Corinthians 6: 10; 1 Tim 1:16. Unless we consider these passages to be non-scriptural and we only take the Gospels as our only moral guide through life, then, indeed, your perception would be correct. As a Roman Catholic, one would also have to ignore “Persona Humana”#8 issued by the CDF years ago, and the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” paragraphs 2357-2359.
    BTW, some of the questions you raised are excellent but I can’t reply to all because I have written enough this day.

    • Francis

      I am aware of other scriptural references regarding homosexuality. I am also aware of church teaching and the catechism references. My point is that Catholics view the gospels as the most important part of scripture, because the gospels reveal Christ to the world. Christ is the ultimate revelation of God to the world. If homosexuality is so extremely important, why wouldn’t Jesus emphasize this in the gospels? Or, why wouldn’t the gospel writers have included this key information?

  • Max

    If we allowed the gay “marriage”, then we wouldn’t have principled objection to avoid marriage of three (whatever their sexes are), four, and other nice variants.

  • Greg

    “Indeed, the gay rights movement in the United States is about as intolerant a movement as there is in American politics.”

    But still not the most intolerant, right? Because as we all know, that title remains firmly and proudly in the hands of the Christian right. They don’t want gay people to marry, parent, serve in the military, teach in schools, be appointed as judges, or be protected against discrimination in employment and public accommodations. And they are doing everything in their power to try to shape our laws accordingly. Standing up against that level of intolerance is not also intolerance. This “you’re intolerant because you don’t tolerate my intolerance” argument has gotten really really tired. The day that the LGBT movement actively works, to keep Christians from marrying, parenting, serving in the military, teaching in schools, being appointed as judges, or being protected against discrimination in employment and public accommodations is the day your claims about the intolerance of the gay rights movement will have actually some merit. Meanwhile – as we continue to debate the politics of chicken sandwiches – Bryan Fischer, one of the most vocal activists on your side, has taken intolerance, bullying, and persecution of gay and lesbian people to an alarming new level by promoting the idea that Christians should kidnap the children of gays and lesbians: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/08/bryan-fischer-underground-railroad-gay-parents-kidnapping-_n_1757378.html

    And I’ve yet to hear one person on the anti-gay side denounce him. So go ahead, keep trying to claim that the intolerance and intimidation is coming from the left and that the LBGT population isn’t persecuted and oppressed because “Hollywood” supports their rights. The words and actions of your allies – Christian right extremists like Fischer – will continue prove you wrong.

    • Antonio A. Badilla


      How are you able to go to sleep after lying about millions of people this way? “Because as we all know, that title remains firmly and proudly in the hands of the Christian right. They don’t want gay people to marry, parent, serve in the military, teach in schools, be appointed as judges, or be protected against discrimination in employment and public accommodations.”
      It isn’t a matter of Christian “right” or “left.” Actually the Muslim and Jewish religions hold the same view of homosexual marriage. Christians, if they know their Christianity and not “pretend” they do, reject homosexual marriage for ethical, moral, and biblical reasons, period, so it isn’t a matter of simply demonizing Christians from the “right.” Many of us don’t give a hoot if gays want to united civilly, nor do we care if they serve in the military, nor do we care if they teach in schools, nor do we care if they are appointed judges, and do care that they, as a minority, are protected against discrimination in employment and public accommodations. Now, how can you have it all wrong without making an explicit effort to demonized an entire group of people simply because we do not, nor will we ever, support gay marriage?

  • crystal

    He doesn’t hate a group of people. He doesn’t agree with certain beliefs just like you don’t agree with his. I don’t agree with gay marriage and my gay friends no it. Just like I’am a Christian and my other friend is an atheist people have different beliefs. Freedom of speech. Not everyone will agree with you or with me.

    • Doug

      Except I’m asking for a world where everyone has the same civil right to marry the person they love, and no one is forced to do so. He’s asking for a world where gays ARE forced to not be able to marry.

      • Jim

        It’s interesting that you think gay marriage is a “civil right”. I think there are many African Americans who would vehemently disagree with you, and frankly it’s appalling, insensitive, and yes, absolutely disgusting, that you would try to equate the two. You aren’t being judged on your skin color or appearance – you aren’t walking into a room and being immediately judged and having people come to various levels of conclusions about you on sight alone. You are being judged on your behavior, and everyone makes values judgments on behavior every single day, like it or not, including you. Why can’t I marry a man, a woman, and my dog? Is that not my “civil right” as much as marrying another man is yours? Why can’t I do this? Because society is judging my behavior? Why? I want to and it would make me really happy! Everyone deserves to be happy, there is no right and wrong or up and down, whatever I want is what I should get! Why can’t I marry everyone I want to? Two people? Three people? My pets??? Tell me, Doug, Why are you FORCING me not to be able to marry everyone I want?!??!!!

        • Doug

          What is it with you sickos and your constant need to equate consensual, committed life partnerships with bestiality? You’re the immoral one here.

      • Antonio A. Badilla

        Doug, are you making a difference between a civil union as opposed to a marriage? See, many of us DO make that difference. We don’t give a hoot if many gay couples, in order to protect their assets and rights of any citizen, want a civil union, but when they want to make that union into a sacramental union (marriage) and yes, force us to witness that union with the force of law, we Christians say “marriage” not just a civil union is open for those who are a man and a woman and have the clear intention of honoring their vows.
        Now, you may say, who are you to reject what is lawful? The Supreme Court of this country considers abortion “legal,” right? We don’t, and we don’t obey that law because it violates a higher law, “Thou shall not kill.”

        • Francis

          There are Protestant denominations that do not view marriage as a sacrament, so not all Christians think it that way. Many Christians, regardless of whether they view marriage as a sacrament, are opposed to gay marriage. In an earlier post you indicated that the church has taught marriage to be between a man and a woman because of the Scriptures, but the Scriptures tell of men having many wives (Solomon, for example).

  • Francis
    • Doug

      Francis, no one stated that there weren’t religious folks who supported integration and african-american civil rights. Indeed there were, as there are now religious folks who support marriage equality.

      My still-unanswered question is: should blacks have tolerated religious-based arguments against their civil rights then, as you are asking gays to do now?

      • Francis

        Actually, I don’t believe I have ever chosen a side on this one. I am actually on the fence for a couple of reasons. First, if homosexuality was really that significant of a moral issue, why didn’t Jesus say one word about it? His emphasis really seemed to be upon caring for the poor and outcast, rather than matters of sexuality. Second, heterosexuals have made such a mess of marriage that I don’t think legalizing gay marriage would really make it much “worse”. The fact that many of my colleagues and neighbors have been married, divorced, remarried, are living together, etc., does not seem to have had adverse effects on my own 25-year sacramental marriage. It has, however, affected my many students over the years. It is difficult to see a teenage boy break down in class because his parents are going through a divorce. In this case, it was because one parent was gay, but decided to try to fight it by marrying a member of the opposite sex. Not a good idea.
        Third, the law does not treat all people fairly. Regardless of my own perception regarding the nature and meaning of human sexuality, I understand that there are people who have homosexual orientations, and they should be treated fairly. Frankly, I find the whole aspect of sexual orientation kind of mystifying – why am I attracted to the opposite sex and why are some people attracted to the same sex? Why do some people who are attracted to the opposite sex engage in sexual behaviors with the same sex? At any rate, I don’t think that allowing gay people to marry one another is really going to undermine marriage in this country.

      • Antonio A. Badilla


        What are the “religious arguments” that negated civil rights in the late fifties and early sixties?
        The gay movement in this country and all over the world has become popular. Even ten years ago most folks and even gays did not talk openly about homosexual marriage. We, Christians, did not just invent marriage between a man and a woman. That has been the constant teaching for the last 2000 years because of the Scritures, our understanding of marriage, ethics, morality, etc. So, now because homosexuality has become popular and many gays are demanding gay marriage, the Church is supposed to accomodate an act it has always considered “sinful,” the sacramental union between a man and a woman, not, I repeat, not, sexual orientation. BTW, we are not the only Christians who hold gay marriage to be sinful. The Eastern orthodox churches do hold the same understanding and most mainline Protestant denominations, as well as most major world religions.

        • Antonio A. Badilla


          I meant “the sacramental union between a man and a man or a woman and a woman.”



Receive our updates via email.