August 1, 2012
I boycotted Chick-fil-A for years. This is not an excuse, but I grew up in Southern Baptist churches in the Deep South. I am embarrassed as I look back on my narrow-mindedness, but this is what I truly believed:
Cows who write "Eat Mor Chikin" on poster board are not natural. The cows in my hometown did not make posters. If any of our cows did make posters, then they kept their alternative spellings secret.
Misspelling words like "mor" and "chikin" will make others misspell words. Poor spelling is as catching as chikin pox.
Encouraging misspelling cows will open the door to other kinds of immoral behavior. People will want misspelling cats and dogs. Soon no one will remember how to spell "correctly" or "chicken" or "filet" for that matter.
Cows who spell correctly feel threatened by misspelling cows. To make traditional cows feel comfortable we need to be clear on what the one correct spelling of each word is.
If we treat cows like other spelling beings, we will "eat mor chikin" and that's their agenda.
Normal cows are acceptable because they produce normal calves. Can we trust Chick-fil-A cows as parents?
Jesus never said anything about cows with poor spelling. We can only assume he hated them.
So for years I kept my distance. I stayed in my little bubble. I thought if I ignored them they would go away. When Chick-fil-A commercials came on television I hit mute. When their ads were on the radio I changed to a station that agreed with me on this issue. When I passed Chick-fil-A billboards I turned my head. I not only felt superior to the people at Chick-fil-A I felt superior to the people who defended them.
I had nothing to do with Chick-fil-A for years. This was what I was taught. This was what I believed. Questioning these orthodox views felt wrong.
Then one day my most open-minded friend pulled into a Chick-fil-A. I expected to hear myself say, "We're going to McDonald's like real Americans," but I didn't. I'm not sure why. I felt like some spirit was pulling me beyond my bigotry. My provincial world was
about to be rocked.
When we went inside I started sweating like Angus at a steakhouse. I wasn't sure how or what to order. I didn't grow up with chicken Caesar cool wraps or chargrilled chicken garden salads. Doesn't "spicy chicken sandwich deluxe" seem a bit much? Why don't they serve hamburgers like everyone else?
But after my initial discomfort I realized that it wasn't what I expected. The young men at the counter weren't threatening, but were friendly and helpful. The menu was spelled correctly and punctuated properly. No one tried to talk me into ordering what they liked. I bought a chicken biscuit and a cup of coffee. They tasted like my mother made them. I began to wonder if having chicken as well as hamburger places was okay. My old prejudices didn't make sense. Why was I taught that different is wrong?
Since then I have often picked up a chicken biscuit and a decaf coffee at Chick-fil-A on the way to work.
This morning I went to McDonald's.