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I never took a philosophy or ethics class but as I understand it, life is about doing the right thing as often as possible. But you can’t solely live for the goodness of others; you also are supposed to enjoy life, ya know, while you’re still kicking. I am no Socrates, but even I can identify that sometimes these forces come to a head and we must make difficult decisions. The people who do life right find a way to strike a balance.

So, I am sorry but I cannot give up on Chick-Fil-A, the delicious but homophobic fast food chain.

I can thoroughly see all the reasons I should hate Chick-Fil-A, since they aren’t that good at hiding it, but while my mind is telling me no, my body, my body’s telling me yes. Also, I should definitely stop quoting R. Kelly.

Here’s the deal: Chick-Fil-A is privately-owned by conservative Christians who donate their money to anti-LGBTQ organizations and publicly condemn marriage equality. I disagree with so many everything about this stance, including actual morals of marriage equality and the fact that someone’s religion should affect anyone else. I wish these conservatives kept their spicy expertise to chicken seasoning.

I don’t know much about Chick-Fil-A’s CEO Dan Cathy, but he looks like a guy who would play golf with Donald Trump and purposely look the other way so Trump can kick his ball onto the fairway. He is a guy who is responsible for his franchises staying closed on Sunday, like some kind of club bouncer who keeps a line outside, to power-play customers. I never took a religion class but I sure as hell know God doesn’t give a fuck about me eating waffle fries on Sunday.

And it’s those waffle fries and their fried chicken sandwiches that keep me coming back to Chick-Fil-A, even though I hate them. We are star-crossed lovers or rival gang members in this moral game of… well, chicken.

I can’t chalk it up to nostalgia or use any other excuses.

I just find Chick-Fil-A’s  food too damn delicious to stay in my righteous bunker.

The Chick-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich, with waffle fries, a lemonade, and Chick-Fil-A Sauce is worth all of the calories, all of the grease-induced indigestion, and most of the hypocrisy-induced heartburn.

Chick-Fil-A, why can’t I quit you?

Could I not just go to one of the hundreds of places that make a similar sandwich? There are a few reasons:

  • Although I don’t agree with their politics, Chick-Fil-A pays their employees a fair wage, and provides medical insurance, a 401k, and paid time off. And it shows when you are there. Their cashiers and associates are ALWAYS the friendliest fast food employees. There are plenty of companies that come up short on those basic business ethics.
  • Chick-Fil-A will fill you up without needing to order extra things. I wouldn’t discourage you from adding a milkshake at the end, but unlike the more traditional chains, a meal is enough.
  • Have you ever tried Chick-Fil-A sauce? A holy trinity of barbeque sauce, honey mustard, and mayo, so delicious it helps you eat crow for doing something you know you shouldn’t be doing.
  • Ignorance isn’t bliss. Sure Chick-Fil-A gives money to groups trying to deny equal rights, but so do many corporations. And if companies aren’t contributing to anti-LGBTQ organizations, they’re probably cutting corners with environmental standards or hiring practices or donating bigly to certain presidential campaigns who cut taxes for those rich a-holes. Essentially, if you start giving up the companies whose policies clash with your own, you better become a whole lot more self-reliant.
  • While I don’t want to underestimate the damage of donating to groups like The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, I also am not sure how directly those funds affect real change. It doesn’t make it okay, but I don’t think my twice-a-year indulgence is truly helping take marriages away from hungry couples in Provincetown.
  • I work hard, outside of my occasional Chick-Fil-A dalliance to make sure my LGBTQ friends know that I am there for them as an ally—far beyond symbolically. I would trade all the Chick-Fil-A in the world if it meant ensuring their rights and happiness.
  • Seriously, just try the Chick-Fil-A sauce once.

There are ways to try to counteract the damage my Chick-Fil-A habit may incur.

I will start a zero hate emissions credit, and donate an offsetting amount to groups like Human Rights Campaign every time I devour a morally corrupt meal. I will continue to speak out against hate and discrimination whenever and wherever I see it, and will do my best to create inclusive spaces where LGBTQ persons are accepted, supported, and valued. I can demonstrate that I am an ally every chance I get. I would have voted for Harvey Milk a third time if I could!

I realize that people I care about will disagree with this decision, just as I disagree with some of their personal choices of going to gun ranges, or littering in the absence of a trash can, or adopting cats. None of us is perfect. So while I recognize that my money may end up going towards a fund that I vehemently disagree with, I can justify that decision by trying to be a better person in other arenas. I am not sure how Immanuel Kant would feel about that, but I also know he never had this kind of moral poultry quandary.

Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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