Mark Segal

The Meat of the Issue

Filed By Mark Segal | August 05, 2012 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living, Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: Chick-fil-A boycott, chicken sandwiches, Exodus International Ministries, teen suicide, Uganda

Jon Stewart and his crew at "The Daily Show" spoofed the anti-gay talk of the CEO of Chick-fil-A this week. Columnists everywhere and officials in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York City have called for everything Thumbnail image for HateSpeech.jpgfrom a boycott to impeding the fast-food chain's plans to open new restaurants.

All of this outcry, all because the head of a national company stirred the pot about the issue of marriage equality. But, let's get beyond his actual words: Is the fact that he expressed his opinion cause for a full-fledged boycott or prohibiting the chain from opening new locations?

The answer is no -- and for two very good reasons: 1) freedom of speech, and 2) the likelihood of such a boycott failing. (How many boycotts can we in the LGBT community carry out? An effective boycott takes organization -- and this one wouldn't be successful.)

But there's a bigger danger at stake - one the media, our straight allies nor Chick-fil-A are discussing, and one that journalists and elected officials should have researched by now.

Through the fast-food company's charitable organization, WinShape Foundation, the chain has donated some $5 million to various anti-gay organizations -- including, most disturbingly, Exodus International and similar groups that have claimed they can "cure" homosexuality.

One of those who called out Chick-fil-A, Philadelphia City Councilman-at-Large Jim Kenney, told me his actions were meant to call attention to the hate speech -- not in Philadelphia, per se, as most people in our city recognize such hate speech, but rather in places like Mississippi and Alabama, where LGBT citizens are perhaps more afraid to speak out. Our councilman wants them to know there are places in this nation that respect and appreciate their rights. Thus, by speaking out on this issue, we can give hope to those LGBT communities that often don't receive the support they deserve.

But let's get back to Exodus International and its ilk -- organizations that represent among the worst forms of hatred toward LGBT people: the belief that sexual orientation can be "cured," or at least ignored, and the subsequent methods used to carry out those goals.

First, these groups make claims that are completely devoid of medical merit. And they use various forms of torture to support their fictitious theories. They systematically tear down individuals by making them hate themselves for being LGBT. They tell them that society does not accept them, how they will be without family and end up lonely, how they may die from AIDS ... Need I go any further? Yes? Some groups even deliver electric shocks while showing their victims pornography. Had enough of these Christian values yet? Oh, didn't I mention it's almost always a Christian organization that pushes for such "family values"?

So I'll not be skipping Chick-fil-A because of its owner's hate speech and philosophies. I'll avoid Chick-fil-A because of the violence its charitable foundation supports against LGBT people.

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