ColumnsWhat A World

Come for the cole slaw, stay for the smooching

Is that a Chick-fil-A nugget in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
by Nancy Ford

Here’s the deal: I love Chick-fil-A. Well, I used to love Chick-fil-A. But not for the chicken. In fact, I find their chicken tastes a little bizarre. I swear I can detect nutmeg or cinnamon in there, two flavors I prefer confined to my pumpkin pie. Some Internet epicureans say there’s powdered sugar on those nuggets.

Powdered sugar on chicken? To quote the late Amy Winehouse, “No no no!”

But CFA puts together just about the tastiest cole slaw I’ve consumed since my sainted grandmother hauled her cabbage up to that big buffet in the sky. It’s a fine chop, has the right ratio of cole to slaw, and is even a bit less pricey than other fast-food chicken houses. But now that we know CFA’s official stance on marriage equality, I am morally forced to grind my own cabbage.

In case you somehow missed it, Chick-fil-A’s president, Dan Cathy, doesn’t like us gays. Okay. I don’t like powdered sugar on my chicken. No harm, no fowl. But in this case there is plenty of harm and lots of foul fowl.

“Guilty as charged,” Cathy happily replied, when asked to verify if the company had indeed donated more than $5 million since 2003 to organizations famously hell-bent on stopping the scourge of same-sex marriage in America.

“I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about,” Cathy wrote on his blog at

And that’s what I liked, initially, about Cathy. He was upfront about Chick-fil-A’s restrictive stance on equality. I appreciate that kind of candor. If you’re a bigot, thanks for letting me know. Own it. Be proud of it. When is your parade?

But rather than continuing to be honest about its position on all things gay, Chick-fil-A is explaining a curious, sudden absence of Muppets toys for their young customers with this sign at their registers: “We apologize for any inconvenience but as of 7/19/2012 Chick-fil-A has voluntarily recalled all of the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Puppet Kids Meal toys due to a possible safety issue. Please be advised that there have been some reports of children getting their fingers stuck in the holes of the puppets.”

In reality, Kermit and company initiated the split, proactively choosing to pull their products from CFA’s greasy little chicken-plucking fingers.

“The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors. Lisa Henson, our CEO, is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the [$50,000!] payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD,” the Jim Henson Company posted on its Facebook page.

But now CFA needs a replacement toy in those kids’ meals. How about action figurines of The Lord’s Supper (minus Judas, of course), featuring The Lord blessing a platter of waffle fries. Collect all 12!

And don’t go poking around up Jesus’s skirt, kids, because your fingers might get stuck in there, too.

Cathy explains his company is not antigay, but is run on “biblically based” principals.

“For example, we believe that closing on Sundays, operating debt-free, and devoting a percentage of our profits back to our communities are what make us a stronger company and Chick-fil-A family,” he says. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives.”

Let the biblically based questions begin.

• Mr. Cathy, you say CFA’s leaders are married to “first wives,” as opposed to husbands, first or not. I’m assuming, then, that CFA’s management is comprised largely of men, following the biblical principal that the man is head of the household. How do you get around equal opportunity hiring practices?

• Mr. Cathy, since U.S. labor law insists you do indeed bend biblical rules for qualified female managerial candidates, are they paid to stay home during their monthly menstrual periods? Or do fertile women simply work unpaid on period days, as a reminder of their fall from Eden?

• Biblical principles also instruct that a child who disrespects his parents should be put to death (Mark 7:10), or as a milder form of discipline, his eyes should be plucked out by ravens and eaten by eagles (Proverbs 30:17). Mr. Cathy, if a child disobeys his parent while playing at a CFA playground, should the execution or eye-plucking take place right there on the monkey bars as an example to other disobedient children all hopped up on your sugary nuggets? Or should the parents hold off on the punishment ’til they get home?

• We all know the biblical admonitions against eating shellfish. Is that why Chick-fil-A’s menu doesn’t offer a shrimp boat?

• Proverbs 23:2 instructs: “Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.” Let’s say a customer orders your 64-piece Chick-fil-A Nuggets Tray, and eats them all by himself. Should he meet the Lord’s justice with one of your plastic knives, or do you have more efficient cutlery available in the kitchen to help him expedite the process?

• Since CFA is closed on Sunday, does that mean none of your Jewish employees are required to work past sundown on Friday? (Trick question! Just kidding!)

This month, Chick-fil-A’s 1,600 nationwide stores are about to get even steamier than their deep fryers normally make them. Activists have designated August 3 as “National Same-Sex Kiss Day,” in which thousands of queers and those who support them plan to descend on their local Chick-fil-A to protest Cathy’s denial of equality. Pucker up, my Chick-a-Dees.

And if Chick-fil-A’s Mr. Manager insists you buy something simply for being there, I recommend the cole slaw.


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