Jewish Journal

Viva Chick-fil-A!

by Mark Paredes

August 2, 2012 | 12:04 am

As part of my personal campaign to oppose bigoted boycotts, I will be having lunch tomorrow at the Chick-fil-A in Hollywood. I couldn’t get there for today’s official “Chick fil-A Appreciation Day” declared by Mike Huckabee, but I suppose late is better than never when it’s for a worthy cause.

I have never eaten at a Chick-fil-A, but I’m going there to show my support for the chain’s CEO’s right to publicly endorse traditional marriage without having his restaurants boycotted by bigoted gay marriage advocates. I had no idea that such people existed until I was personally targeted by them during the Prop 8 campaign. If I had not had Jewish bosses who respected my right to voice an opinion on contemporary moral issues, I could have lost my job thanks to these advocates of tolerance. I hasten to add here that a gay rabbi condemned their attacks, and I will always be indebted to him for his support while I was under assault.

My regular readers know that I don’t support business boycotts organized by people who happen to disagree with statements made by a company’s executives. I recently registered my opposition on this blog to the misguided boycott campaign against Starbucks because of its CEO’s support for gay marriage. The only business boycott that I have participated in was a personal one against Marriott, and that was because it was a Mormon-led hotel chain that offered pornography channels (thankfully, it no longer offers smut to its guests). To me the difference between Starbucks and Marriott is clear: Starbuck’s CEO and I happen to disagree on gay marriage. However, although Marriott’s chairman agrees with me that pornography is a great evil, he chose to profit from it anyway.

Of course, there are extreme cases where boycotts are called for. A few years ago in my hometown in Michigan, a furniture store owner began espousing racist views and allowed a white supremacist speaker to speak at his store on a regular basis. The townspeople boycotted the store, which soon closed its doors. Had I lived there at the time, I definitely would have participated in the boycott. However, giving money to organizations that support traditional marriage and making statements opposing gay marriage are in no way comparable to hosting white supremacists.

As I eat my chicken sandwich tomorrow, I’ll be thinking of each bite as a victory for tolerance and freedom in this great country. Viewing online pictures of people lined up to eat at Chick-fil-A restaurants today reassured me that the bigots haven’t won yet.

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Mark Paredes is a former Mormon bishop currently living in Los Angeles. He has worked for the ZOA, the American Jewish Congress, and the Consulate General of Israel in Los...

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