In Defense of Chick-fil-A

By Staks Rosch

I have been boycotting Chick-fil-A since the early 2000s. Back then, I did a radio show on WCUR 91.7FM and I not only devoted a whole show on Chick-fil-A, but I also talked about it every week for quite a while. I should also add that I love fast food and would probably be one of their customers if they didn’t wear their fundamentalist Christianity on their sleeves. With that said however, I am now going to defend them a little bit.

I hinted on this when I wrote an article on the current controversy with Chick-fil-A (“Chick-fil-A Losing a Culture War”). But I want to be more straight-forward. I 100% support all boycotts of Chick-fil-A, and I 100% endorse same-gender kissing at Chick-fil-A. That’s great. But I cannot support cities banning Chick-fil-A from opening their doors to the public. First it was Boston, then Chicago, and now Philadelphia. Sure, it sounds great at first. Chick-fil-A is a hateful company with a hateful CEO. But they do have a right to be hateful. I would also support the right of a KKK-owned fast food establishment to open and do business.

I don’t agree with Chick-fil-A, but I will fight for their right to be assholes. I would love for them to go out of business, but for me, it’s all about the means. I want them to go out of business because people stop eating their chicken and they start losing tons of money. I don’t want them to go out of business because the government doesn’t like them.

Religious politicians try to ban stores they don’t like from opening all the time, and when they do, I speak out because I don’t believe government has that right. This usually happens in relation to stores that sell sex toys or pornography. It is wrong when the Religious Right does it, and it is still wrong when my fellow liberals and progressives do it.

Sure, elected officials can play games with zoning and such, but that doesn’t make it right either. There are important reasons for zoning laws and preventing a company you do like from operating is just not one of them. Elected officials can use their bully pulpit to support a boycott, but they can’t and they shouldn’t try to use the law to prevent a business from opening or operating.

Staks Rosch writes for the as the National Atheist Examiner. He previously hosted Dangerous Talk, an atheist radio show on WCHE 1520 AM, and currently coordinates the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason. This article first appeared in Dangerous Talk; reprinted with permission.