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Belmont Club

The Chicken Disses the Hat

August 2nd, 2012 - 1:52 am

The refusal of the Chick-fil-A issue to leave the headlines and its tendency to embrace more and more facets of the culture wars mean it will become increasingly about something other than what it started as: an attempt by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to strong-arm a business into parroting the Chicago line.

Chick-fil-A is now being denied permission to open a branch in Mountain View, CA, because of “zoning restrictions.” Maybe it is about zoning restrictions, and maybe it isn’t. It’s hard to tell anymore, since it has become the symbol of so much.

For Joe Ozersky of Time, who initially supported Chick-fil-A against Rahm Emanuel, the controversy has become symbolic of an excessive intrusiveness of private belief into a “nonfundamentalist real world.” Now he thinks Chick-fil-A must be taught that being religiously intrusive is beyond the pale:

Today is National Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, at least according to Mike Huckabee. The evangelical minister and former presidential candidate — along with Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and a host of other Christianist culture warriors — is mounting a counteroffensive after big-city mayors tried to shoo the Southern chicken chain from their borders, the Jim Henson Co. pulled its toys from Chick-fil-A’s kids’ meals, and the fast-food company has become a flash point for the whole LGBT community and all their sympathizers in the nonfundamentalist real world. …

The problem with Chick-fil-A goes beyond LBGT issues. A former worker recently filed a lawsuit against the parent company in which she claims that a franchise owner of a Chick-fil-A in Georgia fired her so she could be a stay-at-home mom. The corporate culture embraces an overt religiosity, from prayer meetings at business retreats to asking people who apply for an operator license to disclose their marital status and number of dependents.

I respect Chick-fil-A’s owners for taking a love-it-or-leave-it stance in regard to their religion; and, like a lot of people, I am choosing to leave it.

One man’s religion is another man’s ideology. Chick-fil-A is probably as tolerant, if not more so, of intellectual diversity than a publicly funded university or Time. But just who between the conservatives and the liberals are the Borg we will leave for another day. Suffice it to say, there’s a difference of opinion. In that context Ozersky is within his rights to choose to oppose Chick-fil-A. But also, for that matter, are people who’d like to express their view of Time’s religiosity — excuse me, ideology — by never buying that magazine.

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