Where the people laugh and children play;
Oh, I’m in love with Chick-Fil-A.
Suddenly, I need waffle fries in front of me
With some nuggets and a large sweet tea;
Oh, Chick-Fil-A. You set me free.
The Chick-Fil-A Song by Tim Hawkins
According to a news report earlier this month, a Christian Dean at Rider University Resigned in Protest of Campus Chick-Fil-A Ban. Rider claimed “the company’s record widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ+ community” and their “corporate values have not sufficiently progressed enough to align with those of Rider.”[i]
Cynthia Newman, dean of the College of Business, announced that she resign, stating, “I am a committed follower of Jesus Christ. As such, I endeavor every day to do exactly what Chick-fil-A puts forward as its overarching corporate value: to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to me and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with me.”
On the heels of that, the San Antonio City Council voted 6-4 last Thursday (March 21) to keep Chick-Fil-A out of the San Antonio International Airport. (See, e.g., San Antonio City Council votes to stop Chick-fil-a from opening at airport.) District 1 Councilman Roberto C. Treviño made the motion to exclude Chick-Fil-A. He said, “San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.”
The purported “anti-LGBT behavior” apparently is Chick-Fil-A’s positive support for traditional marriage, and donations to entities such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (gasp!) which also support traditional marriage. Though Councilperson Treviño said, “Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome” he and five others made it clear that Chick-Fil-A and those who support it do not have “a place here” and “should [not] feel welcome.” So much for welcoming and affirming. Just like the rest of us, intolerant people “welcome and affirm” who and what they believe in, and “exclude and deny” who and what they don’t believe in!
The case of Rider University is a private institution making a decision they believe matches their values. I disagree with their decision and values in this case. Nevertheless, it varies somewhat from the San Antonio case, which is a government entity excluding a business based on its religious values and (private donation) practices. Chick-Fil-A’s DOES NOT practice excluding anyone from buying a chicken sandwich! There is no discrimination of that sort with which they are charged. Six members of a governmental entity called the San Antonio City Council excludes Chick-Fil-A on the religious beliefs they hold regarding marriage and the charities they choose to support. Isn’t this exactly what our Bill of Rights intends to bind governments from doing? I think so; however, I believe we will continue to see an increase in governmental entities excluding businesses that support traditional Christian causes.
[i] Fascinatingly, despite the views of the high mucks at Rider, when the university polled students to ask which restaurants they would like to have on campus, Chick-Fil-A was the “overwhelming favorite”!