November 19, 2019; CNN, “Opinion”
In a beautifully crafted op-ed in CNN, Richard Morgan writes that because Chick-Fil-A never actually apologized for hatemongering, we may wish to withhold our kudos for this week’s semi-declared move away from funding anti-LGBTQ organizations. He points out that…well, they didn’t really say anything that should reassure.
He says the statement “would perhaps be more convincing if Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A’s CEO, acknowledged as wrong, and directly apologized for the comments that he made in 2012 about the company’s belief and support of the ‘the biblical definition of the family unit.’ Instead, the company released a statement saying that ‘The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect—regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender…Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.’”
Fun fact: there is no “policy debate” about gay marriage. There is settled law. Gay marriage has been enshrined as justice by the Supreme Court since 2015. It’s hypocrisy to claim a commitment to “respect” and describe same-sex marriage, affirmed as legal in the Obergefell decision, as a “policy debate” in the same breath. With its new announcement, Chick-fil-A did the corporate charity equivalent of apologizing without ever saying sorry. It is sobriety disguised as therapy or healing. It is silence hoping to pass as reverence. It is tolerance doing its best impression of fellowship.
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Morgan calls this “unspokenness.” He goes on to say that any so-called apology must focus on those harmed and not the apologizer, and none of that has happened in this case. He goes on to remind us that talking about values means absolutely nothing without redemption and action:
However self-purported Christians act interpersonally, and however corporations act financially, every formally stated effort of selflessness, kindness, patience, gentleness, self-control—all fruits of the Holy Spirit—are rendered rancid and hollow when personal tenderness is superseded by structural toxicity.
So, whatever the reasons behind the statement Monday, he says the company, if it wants to walk back its hatemongering, it must do so full-throatedly, just as the original homophobic statements were bellowed at the world in 2012. Those statements did not lack in clarity or passion; why do these, and why should we accept such pablum?—Ruth McCambridge