by Stanford D. Horn
“Welcome to Chick-fil-A. Before you order your chicken sandwich, have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? No? I’m sorry, no food for you! Next, please.”
I’ve visited Chick-fil-A restaurants in easily half a dozen states and have never encountered such a greeting. Folks, you know me, I would certainly have noticed!
Apparently, in the warped notion dreamed up by The New Yorker magazine’s Dan Piepenbring, Chick-fil-A is seeking global domination via the cow mascot/preacher’s attempt at proselytization of all who misguidedly deign to enter its restaurants. In his April 13 article, “Chick-fil-A’s Creepy Infiltration of New York City,” Piepenbring belies the cosmopolitan airs of the Big Apple with his small-minded, parochial fears that the mere existence of Chick-fil-A in New York City will bring on the second coming of witch trials, prohibition, and the loss of women’s suffrage.
“…the brand’s arrival here feels like an infiltration, in no small part because of its pervasive Christian traditionalism,” wrote an almost paranoid Piepenbring.
Infiltration? There are more than eight and a half million people living in New York City with but four Chick-fil-A restaurants; the latest, on Fulton Street, is the world’s largest at more than 12,000 square feet. Even with the proposed plans to open about a dozen more, does that sound like an infiltration, let alone a creepy one? Are there more than 16 McDonald’s in New York City? More than 16 Starbucks? Is there a fear of oversaturation by those franchises?
Of what is Piepenbring afraid? Is he afraid of juicy, good tasting chicken sandwiches? Is he afraid of good service from clean-cut workers with good manners and the ability to speak English proficiently? That is what he will experience, and more, when choosing to dine at a Chick-fil-A. Workers greet customers with a smile, visit tables offering refills on beverages, even clearing away refuse while patrons are still finishing up their meals. Is it Shangri-La? No, of course not. And to be fair, their iced tea is often weak, but the restaurants are crowded for a reason. It certainly is not the least expensive of the fast food options, but business is good, because Chick-fil-A is a good business.
A good business with a business model that works for them. But a “pervasive Christian traditionalism?” Squads of preachers are not waiting at every table with church applications or asking anyone to join a prayer circle. What is so visibly Christian about these restaurants? And what would be wrong if Chick-fil-A were overtly Christian, replete with Bible verses or even crosses on the walls? Walk into a kosher restaurant and you will see a mezuzah on the doorpost along with sinks for hand washing and the appropriate Hebrew prayer, as well as the blessings for before and after meals. I’m pretty sure that won’t lead to planetary dominion by the Orthodox community.
But why the condemnation of a Christian-owned restaurant? Is it simply because the owners believe in G-d in the first place? Yes, the restaurant’s corporate purpose begins “to glorify G-d.” And sure, Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays to give its employees a day of rest to spend as they choose. They are not required to attend church, or any other religiously affiliated building. Quite frankly, if I owned a restaurant I might want to close Friday after lunch through Saturday in observance of my Sabbath. Like Chick-fil-A, that would be my choice, just as it is Piepenbring’s choice whether or not to patronize the restaurant.
Is Piepenbring’s condemnation because Chick-fil-A believes in traditional values such as marriage and contributes money to anti-LGBT groups? Chick-fil-A also contributes “thousands of pounds of food to New York Common Pantry,” as Piepenbring begrudgingly admits. I don’t think a person in dire need of food is overly concerned about the political leanings of the donor. Chick-fil-A does not discriminate in who it serves or who it hires.
Where is the condemnation of restaurants that support Planned Parenthood? Where is the condemnation of Starbucks for their vocal anti-Second Amendment stance? Hearing crickets. Why? Because of the far left, secular agenda of publications like The New Yorker and its ilk — which is their right, as I am an avid defender of the First Amendment. But don’t claim to be objective or speak for the people, especially when those people are in line purchasing a Chick-fil-A sandwich every six seconds at one New York City restaurant, according to Piepenbring himself.
The bottom line is that Chick-fil-A is an honest business serving the community good food, putting money its pockets, and is successful enough to be able to support the communities’ tax coffers, that in turn help all the people whether or not they eat more chicken. If their belief system includes a belief in G-d, more power to them – there is nothing to fear there.
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN. Having grown up in North Jersey, he is thrilled Chick-fil-A is in New York City.