Editorial 8.31.12

Chick-fil-A’s Bradley debut arrives on the heels of CEO Dan Cathy’s highly-publicized comments regarding gay marriage.

According to news outlets, he stated that, “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.”

That comment led to a firestorm of both polarized backlash and support, transforming a savory sandwich into a hotly-contested symbol practically overnight.

Of course, when Bradley opted to bring Chick-fil-A on board, those comments had not been made. But when the university made its decision last spring, it was still a restaurant associated with strong religious views, and it closes each Sunday for that purpose.

Bringing a company with a strong religious bend to a campus unaffiliated with any religion, in addition to Cathy’s comments, is questionable, but it is not despicable.

It is a discussion to be had for sure, but it is not a deal-breaker.

However, there is a lot more to Chick-fil-A than its Christian roots. In fact, there is more to it than Cathy’s infamous remarks. That alone is simply someone’s opinion.

Under the First Amendment, Cathy can say and believe anything he chooses to, and it is absolutely his right. But the company should not be subjected to those views, and neither should the customers.

Somehow, the controversy revolved around Cathy: his remarks, his beliefs. That is not even the most disgraceful part of this company.

According to 2010 tax documents, Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm, WinShape, donated company money to certain anti-gay groups, with the heftiest donation of nearly $1.2 million going to an organization called The Family Foundation.

The Virginia-based foundation states on its site that it aims to strengthen families through faith and founding principles. However, it also states that one of its goals is to “oppose homosexual behavior as a protected class.” The comment then states that homosexual individuals should not be added to a list of protected classes in nondiscrimination laws because “no evidence of discrimination exists, but has potential negative ramifications on religious liberty.”

Perception may be reality to some, but you literally have to have lived under a rock for the past decade or so to actually believe that homosexual people have not been ridiculed, demoralized, beaten, murdered and yes, discriminated against, because of their sexual orientation.

Some members of administration said that students do not have to eat there; it is their choice where they want to go. And it is. But students, just like administration, should look deeper into a company before doing business with it.

Chick-fil-A is here to stay, at least for the next five years, when Bradley’s contract with Aramark expires.

It’s not going to get booted off campus, and for most of the students here now, it will remain for the duration of their time at Bradley.

Like it or not, Chick-fil-A has a stigma attached to it, and one that is going to make some students and faculty uncomfortable.

It should be a lesson to the university that when the time comes again to choose who to do business with, sometimes there’s more to it than a chicken sandwich and waffle fries.