How Chick-fil-A baffled the PR pundits

Chick-fil-AIn a USAToday article entitled Surprise: PR nightmare didn’t damage Chick-fil-A, Bruce Horowitz expresses surprise that Chick-fil-A was not negatively impacted by the firestorm sent against it by the homosexual community and its supporters. I offer some thoughts on why this “controversy” did not damage Chick-fil-A.

  • Dan Cathy was accused of “hate speech” against homosexuals by his comments in support of marriage. In all of the articles I have read on his interview, I heard nothing hateful toward anyone coming from Dan Cathy’s mouth. He made statements in support of traditional marriage. He did not say that homosexuals are inferior people, nor did he say that homosexuals should be targeted for discrimination. He merely said that by his understanding, marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.
  • I think that people grow tired of the verbal engineering that the homosexual community uses to label as “homophobic” anyone who disagrees with their agenda. Most rational people understand that a person can disagree with his neighbor without hating or fearing him. It is possible to have strong support for traditional marriage and treat homosexuals with respect and dignity.
  • The math doesn’t support the idea that this firestorm should have a large impact on Chick-fil-A. A article concludes that most Americans overestimate the homosexual population to be around 20% when the actual numbers are in the single digits. Some estimate the homosexual population to be as low as 2% and The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force estimate as high as 8% of the population. If you assume that Chick-fil-A had a normal market share in the homosexual community, a boycott could potentially create only an 8% reduction in sales.
  • Consider the fact that because of the firestorm, Chick-fil-A name recognition went up. For a few weeks, Chick-fil-A’s name was often on TV, computer screens and in print. It was essentially free advertising for the brand. Spontaneous sales would naturally increase because of the name promotion.
  • The increased name recognition coupled with the fatigue induced by the verbal engineering of the radical homosexual community induced many to eat at Chick-fil-A that might not have done so before the controversy. Some began visiting Chick-fil-A stores just to support Dan Cathy in light of the unfair accusations against him.

Some who have claimed to be Christian have said hateful things against homosexuals; those who do are rightly condemned. I must confess that the Church has a history of handling the issue of homosexuality poorly. There have been times when homosexuality has been treated as the unforgivable sin, which it is not.

According to the Bible, every human has dignity because humanity bears the image of God. We have all marred that image through sin, none of us stands with an unblemished record. This is the point of the “do not judge” command that Jesus gives us in Matthew 7:1. We are not to look down on others because they are sinners because we ourselves are also sinners.

While the Church should treat homosexuals with the respect that is due those who bear the image of God, we also must stand firm on the definition of marriage that God gave us in Scripture. This is exactly what Dan Cathy did. Mr. Cathy allowed his belief to inform his policy.

Apparently America agrees with his right to do so.