anne_mikolay_2012_120There's a lot of misinformation stirring the recent Chick-fil-A controversy. What exactly are the facts?

Fact: Chick-fil-A, a family-owned, Christian business founded by S. Truett Cathy, first opened its doors in Atlanta, Georgia in 1967.

Fact: Chick-fil-A's corporate philosophy is guided by Truett Cathy's devout religious values, which include closing all stores on Sunday, the day of worship and rest.

Fact: Chick-fil-A's charitable organization, WinShape Foundation, has donated hefty sums to anti-gay organizations.

Fact: In an interview picked up by Baptist Press in July, 2012, Chick-fil-A Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy is quoted as saying the company is “very much supportive of the family...the biblical definition of the family unit.” He further stirred the pot by later adding, “I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say `we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage' , and I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”

Fact: People whine too much. Chick-fil-A...blah blah blah.

People love to hop on the politically correct band-wagon and rile others against those with a less than popular viewpoint, who in turn respond by slinging propaganda of their own (such as facebook photos of nuns carrying Chick-fil-A bags and tweets from actors like Kevin Sorbo pleading for tolerance). Be realistic. What else would you expect the chief operating officer of a company founded upon fundamentalist Christian values to say? Where would you expect such a company to donate their funds? With all this anti-Chick-fil-A banter flying around, we're forgetting something. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees Chick-fil-A's representatives the right to express whatever they wish to (though Dan Cathy might want to re-check the hypocrisy of pleading for divine mercy for those arrogant enough to define marriage when he himself is guilty of exactly that).

In light of the world's weightier issues, deciding whether to support a fast food restaurant seems rather silly. I wonder. Do they eat Chick-fil-A in Syria? Is Chick-fil-A on hospital menus in Aurora, Colorado  where shooting victims are recovering? Do they serve Chick-fil-A at funerals? Bottom line: fundamentalist Christians and gay-rights supporters will never see eye-to-eye; they should just shake hands and agree to disagree. There's no need for sophomoric Chick-fil-A “kiss-in” protests or equally petty photos of Catholic nuns eating Chick-fil-A. You support Chick-fil-A? Go ahead, chow down on some Chick-n-strips. You don't support Chick-fil-A? Fine. Eat elsewhere. Kevin Sorbo got it right. Tolerance on both sides is called for.

The fundamentalist Christian and gay-rights opinion of the Chick-fil-A fiasco is clear, but what about the rest of us merely toeing the line, trying to keep our heads above water everyday? What do you think? I invite you to weigh in with your opinion on The Armchair Critic's new facebook page. I welcome your comments (and would appreciate you “liking” the page to follow future columns).