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Greg Rikaart

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Chick-fil-A: What It's Really About

Posted: 08/10/2012 6:44 pm

The media blitz surrounding Chick-fil-A isn't about chicken sandwiches or Dan Cathy's First Amendment right to speak his mind. Mr. Cathy's company has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which publicly denounces the "impure lifestyle" of the LGBT community.

Furthermore, this company donated money to the Family Research Council, which supports the criminalization of homosexuality and states on their website that they oppose efforts for homosexuals to have equal rights. Can you even imagine -- your neighbor, your friend, your sibling or your child being criminalized for being who they are?

I posted a tweet airing my disappointment in Melissa Reeves (another member of the daytime community) for aligning herself with this company that financially supports the furthering of hatred and bigotry. I did so because I have aligned myself with organizations like GLSEN (the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) and the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) and I have read too many stories of alienated LGBT kids taking their lives after relentless persecution.

Whether grown up bullies like Dan Cathy and Melissa Reeves realize it or not, they are directly or indirectly telling these vulnerable kids that there is something wrong with them, or they are somehow less than. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm certain of it.

I'd happily talk to Mrs. Reeves about this myself, but alas, she has not responded to me and has blocked me from having access to her twitter account. I have happily engaged in debates with people who have reached out to me in defense of her and/or their own beliefs. The knowledge that I might have the ability to change someone's mind or possibly get them to see the issue from a different perspective is worth the few naysayers who have sent me unkind comments. People often say "agree to disagree.' I think that's a cop-out. Frankly, the stakes in this case are too high to let the conversation end. Let's disagree and talk about it. Maybe I can better understand you and vice versa.

I'm grateful and encouraged that the majority of the feedback I have gotten has been very supportive and positive, and I am happy to use my bit of notoriety to stand up for what is right. Some people have accused me of bullying for expressing my disappointment in Mrs. Reeves. A man named Wayne Self likened this rationale to walking up to a bully on the playground beating up some other kid and then scolding them both for not getting along.

I was having a conversation with some friends last night and someone said "What's the end game on this Chick-fil-A issue?" My hope is that with all the media attention surrounding the issue, Dan Cathy would be open to taking a meeting with my friends Eliza Byard of GLSEN and Chad Griffin of the HRC. Maybe he can walk away from that with a better understanding of why his actions are so hurtful to the LGBT community, particularly the youngest and most vulnerable members of it, and maybe he will think twice about where his tax-deductible donations go.

Until then, I will not be eating at Chik-fil-A. On the occasion that I treat myself to junk food, I'll head out to KFC for some chicken, munch down on some Oreos or some Ben and Jerry's and wash it down with a Venti Iced Vanilla Latte.

 
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