Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, Hooters, the Constitution and Jesus
|August 2, 2012||Posted by Rick Hogaboam under Christ & Culture|
Okay, I’ve processed the news and all that and have some thoughts.
- Chick-fil-A apparently set a record for most business in a single day. No surprise there. I love the free market and Chick-fil-A has done well because they offer a great product and treat their workers well. Sure, a public boost is nice but such sentiment isn’t what keeps a business prosperous. Kudos to Chick-fil-A.
- I didn’t eat at the oft stated chain. It is about 35-40 minutes away and I would have then had to wait 30-60 minutes in line and would then spend another 35-40 minutes driving home. All in all, a 2-3 hour investment wasn’t good stewardship of my time, which happens to be a decent Christian virtue, if I should so boldly state. It would have cost $7 in gas and another $5-7 in food = $12-14 total. I’m curious if the average Christian even spends that amount of time and money in ministry in a given week….hmm.
- I hope that Christians who supported Chick-fil-A as a matter of religious freedom and free speech will be consistent in protecting the same rights of those they disagree with. Now, I realize that many Christians ate chicken in support of biblical marriage, and that’s all good if that was the singular stated purpose. Eating fried chicken for marriage is the easiest activism I’ve ever seen. When I was young, Christians were up in arms protesting Disney. Well, at that time, Disney owned the Angels and I continued to cheer for the Angels. Giving up the Angels because Disney execs made a decision to extend health care to same-sex partners seemed stupid. I was either biased toward the Angels or a young constitutionalist defending the rights of business owners to offer their employees whatever benefits they wanted, or both (really the former, but I’ll take credit for being constitutionally minded). A business owner has the right to offer whatever benefits they want. If, as a consumer, you’re repulsed at such values, then fine, don’t shop there. That’s all good. I won’t call you a square or anything. I respect that decision as a matter of conscience. But, if the principle is truly free speech, whether we like it or not, then we must be consistent to such plurality as allowed by our constitution. Of course, there’s a difference between boycotting or appreciation days and opposing in principle the very right of a business to compete in the market because of the owner’s convictions. Some people are smart enough to make those distinctions and those distinctions are helpful. Some idiots said Chick-fil-A had no right to do commerce in their city – apparently, they can’t make the distinction between (1) protesting with their own wallet through refusal to purchase such and goods and services and (2) using their power to refuse such commerce and allow the market to determine whether such a business is desirable in their city. Believe me, Bostonians would eat the chicken and they city would benefit through tax revenue.
- I like Starbucks, and yes, I know about stuff they support. But their coffee is good. Some Christian-owned coffee places have come and gone in the 4+ years I’ve been here in Idaho. Come to think of it, 3 Christian owned places serving coffee have gone out of business. Problem? Their coffee wasn’t that good, go figure. Though I would stop in for an obligatory visit once in awhile, I knew the handwriting was on the wall (not that God was judging them or anything…they just failed to compete in the market, even with the support of a large Christian population simply because they were Christian). Anyhow, some of the employees at the local Starbucks are also Christians. Starbucks is not discriminating against Christians in the hiring process – phew. They are trying to sell a good product with great baristas – and they do it well. They also take pretty good care of their employees with benefits that even full-time jobs lack. The coffee is intrinsically good, although some will debate that, but the coffee is not moral in its ontology. What leaders at the top think doesn’t affect the goodness of their product. Some Christians won’t drink Starbucks for the same reason they may have spent hours securing a chicken sandwich today at Chick-fil-A, and guess what? I respect you for being a conscientious consumer. But I doubt you’re as consistent as you’d like to think you are. If I were to raid all the products in your house and size them up by the personal convictions of the CEOs, you might be shocked – and also out of toilet paper. Okay, so you do what you can – still commendable. But remember that our goods pass through many hands, most of them doing things in their personal lives you would object to. Frankly, I’m grateful for God’s common grace in the market place (hey, that rhymes).
- I like In-N-Out. Just thought I would throw that in. You know why? Because their food is good. It also feels good knowing that they also take good care of their employees. Yeah, I know about the Bible verses hidden on wrappers and such – and to be frank, why would you hide Bible verses in areas not commonly seen. I thought Jesus said something about hiding the light under a basket. Actually, I’m sidetracked – their food is good…enough said.
- President Obama’s fairly recent support of homosexual marriage has clearly emboldened the left to go on the attack. They are attacking the same people who shared the same convictions of our president not too long ago. This is a tactical move on the left and I don’t think it’s wise. Just being a commentator here. The moral majority and Christian Coalition lost steam and credibility because they resorted to power plays in the culture that were often unnecessarily divisive. People don’t like bullies in all stripes and sizes.
- For the Christians: I wish all the money spent today will be matched with the same zeal to invest in infrastructure in villages that need help feeding themselves and/or in supporting missionaries sharing the Gospel to the lost. Some of you traveled hours, waiting in long lines, and loaded up on food – and some of you thought you were doing it for Jesus. I saw reports of church buses loading people up for trips to Chick-fil-A. If that’s you, then I challenge you to load up your bus and go somewhere that is absent of the Gospel, where you can stand in long lines and serve the needs of others, homosexuals included. Eating chicken is perhaps a bit too easy, which is why people showed up in droves. Jesus doesn’t really care if we proudly announce on judgment day, “I ate at Chick-fil-A”. He’s looking for more. My problem with activism is that it has become too easy, too consumer-driven. Jesus asks us to do hard things, impossible things, and we must keep our eyes on the ultimate prize and not get entangled in certain civilian affairs that would distract us from the Kingdom. God, give us discernment.
- BTW, as proof that I do use my values in my consumption of goods, I don’t eat at Hooters because I think the environment objectivizes women. For those who protest that their food is good, perhaps it is, I haven’t tried it, but they call themselves Hooters for a reason and it has little to do with their food. BTW, my wife makes great wings at home and I am allowed to look at her (if you know what I mean). I don’t drive BMW’s, well, because I can’t afford one. I don’t have cable, well, because it costs too much, even though I would love to tell you it has everything to do with questionable content on some channels. We did choose to adopt a boy in Indonesia through Compassion International instead, sorry if that sounds self-righteous.
- A toast to the free market economy, conscientious consumers, good chicken, all of the workers who serve my needs (whatever they may believe), following Jesus, honoring our Constitution, Christian business owners, AND a prayer for the discernment to know how to sort it all out as a matter of personal conscience, in love and humility.
© 2012, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.