Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chicken Politics

Comedian/actor Ed Helms, whose net worth reportedly is $20 million, is being paid $5 million plus 4% of the gross for his role in The Hangover Part 2, as well as $100,000 for each episode of The Office.        Now he has discovered his inner social activist.    Helms tweeted "Chick-fil-A doesn't like gay people?  So lame.   Hate to think what they do to the gay chickens!  Lost a loyal fan."    Perhaps we should not heed the advice of a multimillionaire whose idea of gourmet cuisine is fast food.

Ed Cathy, president and chief operating officer of the fast-food chain, recently told a talk-radio audience

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.   I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that … We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that.

Asked by the Baptist Press about his remark, the COO stated "We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit."    Previously, in a visit to North Carolina, he had explained "We don't claim to be a Christian business," approvingly quoting what the Baptist Press termed a "Christian businessman" saying "There is no such thing as a Christian business."

That, apparently, does not satisfy Helms.   Nor does it satisfy CEO Lisa Henson of Henson Co., which reportedly no longer will be distributing its Creature Shop Toys in Chick-fil-A meals.    Also unimpressed is Boston Mayor Tom Menino, who boasts "You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population.   If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult — unless they open up their policies.”

One searches in vain to determine what "policies" Chick-fil-A, which is not accused of discriminating against gay employees, practices which offend Mayor Menino or the other high-profile individuals who are likely to join in condemnation of the chain.    Chick-fil-A does contribute to such right-wing organizations as Eagle Forum, Focus on the Family, and the Family Research Council.   But that does not seem to exorcise its opponents, perhaps because they then would have to consider whether other fast-food operations have a similar practice.   Nor are the critics especially concerned about such (sarcasm alert) minor matters as the company's employment policies (including pay, benefits, and working conditions) nor its approach toward customers, including quality of service and product..  

Those policies may be bad. But we do not know, and the critics obsessed with the sexual perspective of others do not wish to enlighten us.   In fact, policies and behavior appear to be of low priority to those who would boycott the company not on the basis of what its executives do, but on the basis of what they say.     We have a company which jeopardizes its bottom line by determining to remain closed on Sundays- and simultaneously refuses to claim righteousness or wrap itself in the flag or Christianity.     Finding a corporation with such values, many progressives are outraged.

Five years after the greed of numerous individuals and corporations in the FIRE (finance, insurance, and real estate) industry nearly took down the most dominant and important economy on earth, the right speaks and acts as if suffering from a loss of short-term memory.   One corporation, though, stands apart in recognizing the importance of its values as well as the pursuit of profits and an outcry ensues from individuals of a far different perspective but possessing a warped sense of priorities.

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