Is a chicken sandwich, even a good one, worth sacrificing your principles?
Choosing a food philosophy that is free of politics is rather difficult. Sure you can be a locavore because you think that is the right choice, but there are political overtones. You can not choose to frequent a place, but if that place is on a boycott list, you might get swept up in that movement.
Other embrace the relationship between food and politics. Then there is the opposite tangent — when politics you agree with threatens the food you want.
There has been a long-standing boycott of Domino's Pizza for its contributions to anti-abortion groups, but given the overall crappy product (which Domino's has admitted), there isn't much temptation if you lean this way politically.
But for some, the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich means supporting an anti-gay agenda, putting principles and palate at opposite sides.
The Chick-fil-A political stances isn't new, but the controversy was raised recently with a Pennsylvania outlet's sponsorship of a marriage seminar by a very outspoken group against homosexuality.
So which way to go: gay or Chick-fil-A?
The actions of Domino's Pizza were that national profits literally went to controversial groups. So far, no one has linked national money from Chick-fil-A to these groups.
On the other hand, Chick-fil-A has worked with Focus on the Family to distribute CDs with kids' meals and has required, as The New York Times has noted, "potential operators to discuss their marital status and civic and church involvement."
Eaters at Chick-fil-A have known for years about the chain's hard-core Christian principles. Chick-fil-A locations are never open on Sunday.
In-n-Out burgers also have Christian principles in their regional establishments, but they also treat their employees really well.
And some may not feel gay marriage is worth losing a chicken sandwich, even if they believe that gays are equal.
People have been eating Chick-fil-A for years, knowing or not knowing their background. But people's attitudes have changed toward gay people over the years.
And people who have very little power in the world, and that is most of us, can vote with our pocketbook, our principles. But our concern have to be channeled properly.
Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A, said all people are welcome at the chain, and that "marriage has long been a focus of Chick-fil-A."
Cathy noted that "providing food to these events or any event is not an endorsement of the mission, political stance, or motives of this or any other organization."
So you would think that an individual Chick-fil-A would provide food to an organization that endorses gay marriage, since Chick-fil-A doesn't have to endorse the POV of the group.
That won't happen.
Chick-fil-A's niche is Christian-friendly; that hasn't changed, that won't change. It has the freedom to go that way, and you have the freedom to decide.
The Chick-fil-A issue has been on my mind for months. The chain is coming to the Chicago area in 2011, a long way from its headquarters in Atlanta.
For the record, I have consumed one sandwich from there since at least 1996, and that was last fall in Washington, DC, as I didn't have much time to eat, and quite frankly, was a bit curious.
I also believe heavily in equal rights for all, especially for those that have been traditional targets of discrimination, such as gay people.
I don't honestly know what will happen. I need to do more research because I want to see where the profits are going. Follow the money. And ultimately, follow your heart … and stomach.
You should follow yours.