NEW YORK, New York, April 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In a piece that quickly went viral on social media for its blatant disdain of anything remotely Christian, a New Yorker columnist called on Manhattan residents to resist Chick-fil-A’s “creepy infiltration” of the city.
Dan Piepenbring’s Friday article is a reaction to the popular Christian restaurant chain opening a fourth location in the area last month, with plans to open up to a dozen more. He describes New Yorkers as overwhelmingly embracing Chick-fil-A, with its latest location seeing customers line up “almost to the end of the block” and another location estimating that it sells one sandwich every six seconds.
This, Piepenbring writes, comes despite the fact that the chain “does not quite belong here.”
Chief among its allegedly out-of-place qualities is Chick-fil-A’s “pervasive Christian traditionalism.” Its locations don’t open on Sundays, its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia displays religious imagery such as Bible verses and a Jesus statue, and it lists “to glorify God” as part of its corporate purpose. Piepenbring did not identify any examples of the company forcing religious beliefs or practices on its employees or customers.
Most notably, CEO Dan Cathy has received left-wing condemnations for years because he vocally opposed same-sex “marriage” and the company’s charitable arm has donated to a variety of socially-conservative organizations.
There is little evidence that Cathy’s alleged “bigotry” translated to mistreatment of homosexual customers or employees. The left-wing Huffington Post reported in 2012 that “[s]everal of the gay and lesbian employees interviewed by The Huffington Post said that they liked their work, and had never witnessed incidents of homophobia or discrimination on the job.”
Some claimed they witnessed “homophobic” jokes by local managers and staff (who didn’t know about their employees’ sexuality, and didn’t aim the jokes at them specifically), but one worker at the company headquarters said his experience was “extremely positive.”
Chick-fil-A’s first standalone New York location saw substantial protests in 2015, and Democratic New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called for a boycott the next year, but Piepenbring laments that “[n]o such controversy greeted the opening of this newest outpost.”
Piepenbring goes on to criticizes the repeated invocation of the word “community” in Chick-fil-A materials, which he says “suggests an ulterior motive,” and its use of cows as mascots, begging customers to eat chicken instead of burgers.
“Most restaurants take pains to distance themselves from the brutalities of the slaughterhouse; Chick-fil-A invites us to go along with the Cows’ Schadenfreude,” he writes.
The author acknowledges that Chick-fil-A also “donates thousands of pounds of food to New York Common Pantry,” which is just one of the companies’ charitable activities.
As a 2012 Atlantic piece summarized, Chick-fil-A “funds a large foster care program, several schools of a higher learning, and a children's camp.” It has also “provided thousands of scholarships for Chick-fil-A employees to attend college and grow past the service sector where they got their workplace start.” It has also provided free food during tragedies and crises, such as the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting or the 2017 Atlanta airport blackout.
Regardless, Piepenbring maintains that “there’s something especially distasteful about Chick-fil-A, which has sought to portray itself as better than other fast food,” and that the company’s “politics, its décor, and its commercial-evangelical messaging are inflected with this suburban piety.”
“Enough, we can tell them. NO MOR,” he concludes, mimicking the trademark spelling in the cows’ “eat mor chikin” slogan.
Conservatives swiftly denounced the article.
The Washington Examiner’s Jenna Ellis called it the “essence of bigotry and intolerance,” for the author to suggest “the ouster of a company on the sole basis of its religious affiliation and sincerely held beliefs.”
At The Federalist, Nicole Russell speculated that liberals oppose Chick-fil-A because they “can’t stand the success of a Christian-run company selling folks fried chicken sandwiches successfully with a smile.”
And Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro concluded that Piepenbring’s column was the latest example of the sort of left-wing intolerance that provoked the United States to elect President Donald Trump: “Because not only will he eat Chick-fil-A, but because he doesn’t scorn companies just because their owners happen to believe the crazy Biblical notions that undergird Western civilization.”