It turns out out Chick-fil-A in the Charlotte area was so crowded that the company lost my business yesterday. I drove to the five Chick-fil-A restaurants closest to my house. My ventures to each revealed a ton of people showing their support, topped off with a small protest and a bit of discussion to end the day. All of the restaurants were way too crowded for me to starve myself by waiting so long, although I’m sure I will compensate for it later in the week when I’m hungry and they are not so busy.
Most were not as impatient as I was and in such were proud to endure the agony of hunger to cast a vote with their money. This is reflected by David Elliott, who told me, “I came here today determined to spend my money to support Chick-fil-A. I did not care how many hours or days I had to wait because if there’s one thing I will not let happen, it is letting others frown upon and demean us for our constitutional rights to free speech, even when that speech is unpopular and offends some.”
Even before I ventured out, I knew what to expect. All day long, friends of all ages were posting pictures on their Facebook wall to show their proud support for Chick-fil-A and the willingness of its president, Dan Cathy, to take such a bold stance for his moral views.
While I expected scores of people to be showing their support, I also expected to encounter protestors as I ventured around. I was a little shocked as my first four stops revealed not a sign of protest. I was beginning to think that the protestors had all stayed home.
The fifth stop, however did indeed have protestors present, albeit a small group of four of them. It was at this Chick-fil-A that four college-aged students were standing on the cusp of the parking lot wearing T-shirts that said “Chick-fil-A can suck it.” When asked what prompted them to protest, Brandon Pope commented, “I believe it’s completely messed up. I use to like their food, but not anymore. A CEO [sic] of a company should not have the right to come out and make a statement on behalf of his whole business. The whole thing is they don’t like gay people. It’s completely irresponsible. It’s just pure homophobia.”
Another protestor chimed in, “He goes about citing the Bible to support his views, but doesn’t the Bible say God created everyone equal? I mean, gays are born that way. No one chooses to be gay.” Mandy Flock added, “Their lack of support for the gay community is infuriating. Mr. Cathy had no right to take such a stance.”
As I was interviewing the protestors, another group of young college-aged males joined in on the conversation. Jason Rawls disagreed with the protestors, “So what! the owner of Chick-fil-A made a controversial stance. I don’t see why it is such a big fuss. There are plenty of other issues to be worried about. I don't approve of the homosexual lifestyle, but I don't oppose gay rights either. I support the right of the protestors, but it sounds to me like they’re protesting the fact that he exercised his First Amendment right to free speech and I don’t approve of their thinking in that.” Not surprisingly, as Rawls and his friends began adding their comments in a manner of respectful dialogue, the protestors disappeared in anger and disgust.