There's a Chick-fil-A in Nashua, NH -- which I had no idea about -- whose manager, Anthony Picolia, has announced his intention to sponsor the New Hampshire Pride Fest, which is being held in Manchester the Saturday after next (August 11). Picola said in a press release:
It would make me sad if someone felt that they were not openly welcomed into my life or restaurant based on their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.
Chick-fil-A at Pheasant Lane Mall has gay employees and serves gay customers with honor, dignity and respect. We also don’t discriminate in giving back to the Nashua community, donating to a wide variety of causes.
Picolia "challenge[s] people to come have a conversation with me before they make assumptions or boycott my restaurant." This all sounds great, and I'm happy to see that when companies like Chick-fil-A subsidize hate, they get backlash even from inside their own company.
And the fact that the Nashua Chick-fil-A donates to pro-LGBTQ causes might balance out the corporate donations to institutionalized bigotry -- meaning there's at least one Chick-fil-A that's ethically neutral. But being part of the franchise still means that their money goes up the chain, where it then finances hate groups.
It's not enough for me to go out of my way to drive to Nashua and buy a sandwich, but if you love Chick-fil-A and can't bring yourself to boycott them, taking a road trip to the Nashua restaurant would make a strong statement. If you do it next week, you can come to the NH Pride Fest, too.
Anonymous letter about what it was like to be a gay Chick-fil-A employee Wednesday
For fear of losing her job, this employee didn't reveal her identity. She spoke out against the boycott initially, saying that LGBTQ employees at Chick-fil-A suffer because of it. But after seeing the behavior of the congregations on Wednesday that came out in support, she took it back.
When these preachers told their congregations to support Chick-fil-A by eating there today, no one called the restaurants and said “Hey, you may be flooded with customers. Thaw extra chicken.” Not one of the employees in those congregations gave the restaurant a heads-up. That sort of consideration wasn’t even an afterthought. The ministers, and through them the congregants, didn’t think about the consequences of their actions, or who it might screw over. And it ended up screwing us rather thoroughly.
I wasn't surprised to hear about the bigotry against homosexuality. I was surprised that the lack of human empathy coming from the people who showed up to support Chick-fil-A on Wednesday extended that far. Even their preachers and community organizers don't seem to think of restaurant staffers as real people. It's like they think the distribution of humanity breaks down into "My church group" and "Meat puppets."
Their descendants will be ashamed of them, just as I’m ashamed of my grandparents’ support of segregation.