This Chick-fil-A kerfuffle has mushroomed in a way that I attribute largely to the upcoming November election: folks on both sides are looking for occasions to get their electoral bases fired up. I’ve been struck by the way business, politics, and religion converge in this symbolic conflict. That’s a pretty powerful trinity.
I’m not used to seeing CEOs speak publicly on God’s behalf. It’s hardly unprecedented, of course: oil magnate Lyman Stewart pops immediately to mind, who underwrote The Fundamentals (the publication from which we get the word “fundamentalist”). Or the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship. Or adman Bruce Barton, author of The Man Nobody Knows. (Even if you’ve never heard of the book, you won’t need more than 3 guesses to figure out who it’s about. It’s somebody really famous. Like, bigger than the Beatles.) Still, I would have expected this kind of political energy to be generated by a comment from, I dunno, Pat Robertson or Rick Santorum. But maybe this kind of rhetoric from those kinds of figures is so familiar it’s lost its newsworthiness. It needs to come from the head of a fast food chain to make waves.
And now pro-same-sex-marriage folks are organizing “Feeding Equality” as a counterprotest. On August 25, we’re supposed to donate to food banks. There’s an explicit bid here to claim moral superiority, as illustrated by this publicity image:
I’m sure that what I’m about to say puts me in the company of conservative pundits I normally would want to keep well away from–but this is icky. By all means, donate to your local food bank. But doing it as a political demonstration? Ehhh…. You’re using hungry people as pawns. Spin away at that one, folks. But–if you’ll allow me to get all unprofessional and preachy for a moment–I’m reminded of a proverb from a certain man nobody knows, about how you shouldn’t blow a trumpet in the streets when you give alms.