WALSH: The One Crucial Lesson Conservatives Can Learn From Chick-Fil-A

The Huffington Post threw down the gauntlet. In a piece that's gotten some attention today, Noah Michelson declared that you can't continue eating at Chick-Fil-A "if you really love LGBTQ people." What follows from that headline is a lengthy and emotional screed demanding that the reader suppress his desires for delicious chicken sandwiches in the name of a higher cause. "If you care about queer people... you have absolutely no business eating at Chick-Fil-A," Michelson announced with authority.

On Twitter, the Huffington Post shared the article and added a similar rallying cry: "It’s time to choose where your loyalties lie ― with the queer community or with your stomach." It is a bold move to stack yourself up against a chicken sandwich and ask that people choose between you. I'm not sure anyone currently alive in the world can win that contest.

But this is the stance the gay Left has taken. It refuses to coexist alongside the chicken chain, and it will attempt to punish not only the company itself but anyone who associates with it. Only a few days ago, the CEO of Twitter was forced to issue a public apology after eating at one of Chick-Fil-A's "creepy" (to use the New Yorker's description) restaurants. And still there are leftist college students who protest anytime a Chick-Fil-A opens on their campus.

They have not forgotten about Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy's sin of publicly supporting Biblical marriage six years ago. They will never forget. They have chosen the hill that they will die on. It is a hill covered in chicken sandwiches. Also there are waffle fries on the hill. And chicken nuggets. And milk shakes. I'm hungry now. What were we talking about?

Yes, the Left's hilariously failed war on fast food chicken. I think, rather than simply eating chicken sandwiches while we laugh at the whole spectacle — an enjoyable pastime, to be sure — we Christians and conservatives should take all of this to heart and learn something from it. Specifically, we can learn this crucial lesson:

Don't apologize for your beliefs.

Dan Cathy has never apologized for his personal opposition to gay marriage. He has even reasserted his position when asked. A couple of years after the initial controversy, he did say that he regrets getting his business unintentionally involved in a political debate. Cathy is a modest man and you can tell he doesn't like the attention. He likely also feels bad that his employees were swept up in the whirlwind. But he did not, and still has not, retracted his personal opposition to gay marriage. The Left has spent six years trying to beat a mea culpa out of him. They haven't gotten it and never will.

They may try to claim some kind of victory because Cathy's charitable foundation no longer donates to certain "anti-gay" groups, but that was never the point. The controversy started when Cathy was asked about, and voiced, his own beliefs. They set out to punish those beliefs and extract an apology for them. They have failed.

Indeed, Chick-Fil-A has suffered a rather enviable penalty for its owner's Christianity. Rather than being run out of business, it has seen unprecedented growth and wild profits. Cathy isn't one to spike the football, it seems, but he could. He beat them. He won.


Well, by ignoring them, mostly. The company has continued right along doing what it has always done, taking little notice of the controversy. The Left has screamed and shouted and boycotted, but to no avail. Most people these days may basically accept gay marriage, they may even say they support it, but they aren't fanatics about it. They don't care about Cathy's views on the subject. The Left yells "bigotry" and most people respond, "I just want to eat lunch. Can you leave me alone for five seconds?"

And we should not forget that there is still a sizable chunk of people who agree with Cathy — though quietly, in most cases — and now frequent Chick-Fil-A even more often because of it. I am one of those people (minus the quiet part). I am far from alone among Christians. The Left wants us to believe that only misery and failure awaits us if we voice our convictions, but obviously that is not always true.

Granted, not all of us will have such enormous success against the Left, especially if we don't have the chicken sandwich ace up our sleeves. But I think Cathy and Chick-Fil-A still provide us with a model to follow. It's a rather simple model, too. It goes like this: stand by your beliefs, never apologize for them, and continue living your life.

Some may follow these steps and suffer greatly for it. Christ was pretty clear on that point. But you'll suffer anyway, and ultimately more, if you cower and cry and surrender. If you stick to your guns, and ignore the peanut gallery with its impotent rage, there's at least a pretty decent chance you'll emerge unscathed. You may even emerge better off, just as Dan Cathy has. No matter what, you'll still have your soul. And that's what counts. That, and chicken sandwiches.


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