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San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee last week joined other big-city mayors in telling fast food chain Chick-fil-A that its stores are not welcome in their cities. The controversy started when the company’s owner stated his opposition to same-sex marriage and support for “the biblical definition of the family unit.” We discuss the risks and benefits for companies that wade into politics and social issues. Does a company’s politics play into your buying decisions?

Guests:
Tim Calkins, professor of marketing, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
Debra Saunders, columnist, San Francisco Chronicle
Richard Socarides, longtime gay rights advocate and former Clinton White House senior adviser
Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis, American Family Association
Andy Bagnall, vice president of client services, Global Advertising Strategies Inc.

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    Have never eaten at Chik fil A and since I dislike fast food I never will. 
    Anyone who has known this company, that is closed on Sunday because they are a Bible based company, should not be surprised they don’t support same sex marriage.  They have always believed in traditional marriage so this is a non news story for many folks.

    Now from a Constitutional stand point I think marriage for two people even if same sex, should be legal, because it’s a Constitutional issue per government and not a private religious issue as far as the government is concerned.

  • Postul8

    The religious mindset that causes and justifies homophobia has no place in the modern world, whether the person afflicted is a Christian, Muslim, Jewish or anything else.

    The Old Testament is pure fiction, justifying all kinds of murder. It’s not safe even for children. And it’s ridiculous, too: Don’t forget Ezekial 4:12 where believers are told to cook their food using human feces as fuel, which is a great way to spread disease.

    Why the sudden fixation on Chikfila, though? Starbucks’ CEO has been a big time gay basher for much longer, which no doubt means he’s a closeted homosexual himself.

    • Beth Grant DeRoos

      On March 21, 2012 Starbucks chief executive officer Howard Schultz responded to a recent campaign launched by the National Organization for Marriage urging people to “Dump Starbucks” by telling attendees at a corporate shareholders meeting, “I think Starbucks has many constituents, and from time to time we are going to make a decision that we think is consistent with the heritage and the tradition of the company that is perhaps maybe inconsistent with one group’s view of the world.”   In January, Starbucks — the global coffee chain headquarted in Seattle, Washington — announced its support for same-sex marriages amid the state’s marriage equality debates. “It is core to who we are and what we value as a company,”

  • Selostaja

    At least we can be sure that Chik-Fil-A isn’t serving us the 4-footed legless creeping fowl specified in bible as a dietary abomination – along with clam chowder & shellfish (no fins nor scales), beef (chews cud), pork (clovenfooted), camels (both cud and cloven), etc. but how do we know they don’t use sea weed based thickeners such as agar? That is a biblical abomination! AND their female employees must not be allowed to wear pants or jeans! More abominations!!! We must be ever vigilant.

    • Postul8

       In Ezekial 4:12 it specifies that one should bake food using human poo as fuel. Do you suppose at Chik-fil-A they do that? Maybe that would explain why their food tastes like crap!

      • Beth Grant DeRoos

        Postul8 you ate at Chik fil A? From the wording of your post I doubt it.

      • DofCS

        Postul8, in Ez 4:12 God is punishing Israel for their disobedience.  Cooking food with their own excrement is part of the punishment, not a moral command from God.  The very next verse makes this clear.

  • Seems to me that Ed Lee jumping on the bandawagon to ban Chick Fil-A is inappropriate, and unnecessary. The owner has his First Ammendment rights, after all, and if his own speech proves to be detrimental to business, that’s his problem…it’s not as if the people of San Francisco have been clamoring for Chick Fil-A, the way they did for In-and-Out Burger.

    Also: You have to wonder what kind of impact the sudden death of the company’s longtime VP of Public Relations will have, on the devout owners.  The Lord works in mysterious ways…

  • Srstanley

    Apparently the right to have an opinion or a belief in this country is only acceptable if you are “PC”. I am not religious, but to boycott an establishment because the owner has a certain belief is ridiculous! Politicians get in the act for their own benefit. Yes…this is a free country and yes… You’re free to eat where ever you want……Good grief! 

    • Postul8

       So you’d never boycott a business if the owner was a Neo-Nazi?
      How about if the owner were an Israeli who bombed Gaza and killed children and later bragged about it? I just wonder where you draw the line…

      • Srstanley

         Use your common sense.

      • Michael

        People are free to boycott what they want, but your counterargument is hardly reasonable. We are not talking about extremist minorities here, we are talking about roughly half of the country; many conservatives and many Christians disagree with the concept of gay marriage. Are people going to boycott them all? Boycotts are by their nature discriminatory, and if you follow this path, there will be nothing but partisanship and religious persecution down the road, especially if the other side gets involved as well. The last thing we need is more politics.

        • Postul8

          Anti-gay attitudes are based on hate. Anti-gay beliefs are inherently extremist. People are born gay and hating them is about as sane as hating orange cats but not black cats. Furthermore, if there is a god (there isn’t) then surely that god made gays gay, so to hate them is to hate the god that made them.

          • Michael

            There is actually a lot of debate both inside and outside the LGBT community as to whether or not you can choose. The matter is not settled.

            And I am unsure about your logic. If I hate a Toyota Prius, does this mean that I hate the man who designed it?

          • Postul8

            Debate? I believe you overstate the situation greatly. What are you then, one of those Christians who thinks gayness can be expunged through prayer?

          • Beth Grant DeRoos

            Not all people who do not believe in same sex marriage hate gays/lesbians.  

            I would ask Postul8 to please show scientific proof that people are born gay/lesbian. And no I do note believe in the pray the gay away stuff.

          • DofCS

            Postul8, even though you don’t believe in God, I suppose that you have many good friends who do believe in God.  I doubt that you hate them.  In the same way, one can affirm Biblical prohibitions against homosexuality (e.g., Moses in Lev 18:2, Jesus in Matt 5:19; the Apostles in Acts 15:18-20; and Paul in Rom 1:27) without hating people for being gay.  

            If you’re gay, whether born that way or by choice, as I believe some are, that’s your business.  I spend money at gay-owned businesses and get along great with the owners, even though I affirm the above verses.  They would never accuse me of hating them.I hope you’ll do the same by supporting Chick-fil-A.  Whether LGBT or straight, we each have a duty to tolerate those who believe differently than we do.———————–Also, as to your belief that there is no God, there’s a good experiment you can apply to test that belief:  it’s found in James 4:8.  The first sentence outlines the experiment, the second sentence tells you how to prepare for the experiment.  The experiment may fail the first few times, but if you keep improving on the second part, the experiment will eventually succeed.

  • Postul8

    I hope this is the downfall of Ed Lee. That monster has done so much to attack San Francisco. I hoped he would be better but he’s just like Quan in Oakland. Another anti-populist political crony.

  • Jack870

    Deb Saunders Can’t Understand Normal Thinking

  • Fred

    If San Francisco is an ethical city, why does it permit an awful company like Bechtel to operate in the city? Bechtel bought up the water supply in a city in Bolivia and then double the price of water, making the poor unable to afford this basic necessity.

  • Zmaxm

    Tell Debra that we’re tired of hearing straight people say the systemic homophobia is not a big deal. 

  • Rhet

    I think I detect a huge double standard here. If an employee says something political or atheistic, in many places that employee will be fired or even black-listed. But Debra Saunders insisted that businesses and execs should have the right to express their political or religious opinions and not be banned.

  • JenK

    The biggest issue, to me, is where companies spend their money.  Business owners can have whatever views they want, but when they start using business profits to support one side or the other, they have to realize that they are opening themselves up to criticism from those on the other side.  They shouldn’t be surprised when customers send their money elsewhere to keep it from going to a cause that they oppose.  I don’t see this as an attach on Christianity because consumers choose where to spend their money based on company positions or practices all the time–some people swore off Apple because of issues with how their products are manufactured, some people refuse to spend money on products that engage in testing on animals, and these have absolutely nothing to do with religion.  As I recall, Christian organizations have called for plenty of boycotts against companies that support gay marriage.  (The boycott against JC Penney for hiring Ellen DeGeneres comes to mind.)  It’s hypocritical for Christians to decry a boycott just because it’s against a Christian organization.  Either they have to think that all boycotts are wrong, or they have to suck it up and accept this one.  (And I identify as a Christian, though I support marriage equality, so I’m certainly not attacking Chick-Fil-A or its customers on the basis of religion.)

    • Liz

      The problem is even if an owner even is using their “personal” funds, they are using the profits of their business since they are getting their income from the profits of the company they own. You are basically saying they can have an opinion but not spend their money in support of the opinion they hold.  

  • Laura

    Yes, a company’s anti-gay policies definitely influences which companies I support.  And I have made an effort to support companies that are brave enough to support equal rights for all human beings. 

  • Amy

    There are many stores that I, as a rule, will not give a dime of my money to because of their political beliefs or practices, their labor practices, and many other reasons. I’m rather disheartened to hear from so many people who don’t believe in boycotting. In my mind, this is symbolic of the general apathy that Americans practice, which is why we can have such backward policies and unethical businesses to begin with!

    Our politicians are too often
    willing to either hide or go against their own values and what is best
    for the entire country (as opposed to only their donors) at the risk of
    losing votes. I stand behind every mayor who takes a stand
    against bigotry and hate in whatever way. Just imagine if this was the
    1960s and the issue was race rather than sexual orientation. This is our
    generation’s civil rights movement. If our leaders won’t stand up for
    what’s right (and, frankly, inevitable), it will take that much longer
    for equality and what’s right to take hold. If our leaders won’t lead, who will? All cities are within their rights to determine criteria for what kinds of businesses they will grant permits for operation.No mayor is saying that
    people have to agree or disagree with anything. These mayors are saying
    that they do not want companies that are openly hateful and bigoted to
    be part of their community. And I applaud that. 

  • Jerszy54

    The personal IS political . . . The political IS personal.  I’ve EVERY right to put my money only where it fits with my all-inclusive morals and beliefs.  Never underestimate the power of a few individuals to change the skewed status quo.  Hit them in the pocketbook.

  • Lbuxman

    Of course we should be shopping to support our political beliefs.  In the era of Citizens United and the rush of corporate money into politics, a single voter holds less sway than ever.
    I dumped AT&T for my home phone, internet and cell phone and couldn’t be happier.  I just didn’t want to put so much money in the pocket of Rick Perry and Tea Partiers every time I paid my bill.

  • Elenie Opffer

    A business needs the infrastructure provided by tax payers to operate-roads to receive their shipments,  water, sewage, and the safety offered by police and firefighters. I support mayors for taking a stand. Equality and justice is the law of the land, and if a business discriminates against a group of people, our tax dollars should not be spent supporting them. Its not just individuals making decisions about where to spend their money. A business defacto gets our support through the use of the services and resources we all pay for. If Cathy said he does not support heterosexuals to marry, I think no mayor standing up to his bigotry would be questioned. 

  • Zmaxm

    Biblically based marriage or traditional marriage is not marriage between one man and one woman. Traditional marriage for much of human history viewed women as the property of men and men could have concubines and multiple wives. Conservative Christians seem unaware of what Biblical marriage really was.

    • Rhet

      They pick and choose sentences here and there from their holy books, as do Hindus and Muslims and so on, to support their bigoted beliefs. It’s a kind of psychosis-by-book.

    • Guest

      Biblically based marriage is NOT what you have defined as traditional marriage. Biblically based marriage IS between one man and one woman. I suggest you read Ephesians 5 before you accuse others of being unaware…

  • Chrisco

    When people, such as the caller, speak of Biblically-based marriage, are they declaring themselves to be polygamists? How can you cite the Bible as your guide to marriage and claim that you do not believe in polygamy?

  • Liz

    Instead of protest why not take the money you would have spent at the Chik-fil-A and give it to a pro-equality group. To me, that would be way more effective and directly counter act the money the company gives to opposing groups.

    • Yeah but when you’re hungry giving away money doesn’t satisfy the need does it.

  • Bob

    Chick Fil A’s CEO is in trouble for expressing the same views on gay marriage that got Obama elected. I must’ve missed those protesting the President. Even California voted to ban gay marriage. How did we get to the point where those expressing support for toleration turn out to be the least tolerant?

  • Chrisco

    Debra Saunders sounded quite vapid. I guess she thinks people that are really opposed to factory farming and think this is cruelty to animals are acting in an uncivil fashion by becoming vegetarians and not sharing their dollars with dead flesh vendors.

  • Felicitysfarm

    Remember Anita Bryant and Florida orange juice.

    • Beth Grant DeRoos

      Yes, and I also remember gays/lesbians in the 70’s when Anita Bryant was in the news saying they didn’t want marriage rights, but simply to be treated fair when it came to housing, employment etc.

  • Josh_Summit

    My disappointment in the hour was with what *wasn’t* discussed. 

    Chick Fil A has, in the course of this controversy:

    1) Published lies about the reason for the unavailability of Muppet toys (“safety concerns”) — lies which may prove to be legally-actionable slander;

    2) Created at least one false Facebook profile in which a “teenage girl” defended CFA and wrote about those safety concerns with the Muppet toys; the profile had been created possibly 6 hours before “she” began defending the company, and “her” profile picture was taken from iStock photos.

    3) Drafted a form “I’m only a franchise owner, don’t blame me for corporate action” letter, which has been used by at least two franchise owners to try to deflect anger. 

    So:  Why no attention to deceptive practices in defense of corporate profits?  Why no discussion of hypocrisy in light of CFA’s “Christian values”?

  • It must be exhausting for KQED types to keep track of all the reasons to boycott someone.  Living you life in perpetual guard against opposing viewpoints seems like a wasted existence.

  • Sy2502

    There’s a delicate balance between freedom of speech and voting with your wallet. But I definitely believe the government, like in the case of the City of San Francisco, has no right to tell a business to go away. The government’s role is to defend the constitutional right of all citizens, and that includes the 1st Amendment, regardless of whether you agree with the speech in question. But certainly the individual customers have the right to shop at a place or not according to their conscience. Personally I am very reluctant to boycott on the basis of differences in political ideology. I respect ideological differences as integral part of a democratic society. Ideologically uniform society are scary places, like North Korea. I have friends I disagree with, but I am not going to stop being their friend based on that. Heck, I disagree with my husband on some political issues, I am not going to divorce him over it. Ideological intolerance is what has made this country so polarized. Sometimes, it’s a good thing to agree to disagree.

  • lfivepoints69

    As a Christian, I am horrified that this restaurant owner is blaspheming by trying to use the name of Christ to justify his sinful hatred, bigotry, and opposition to love, marriage, and family.  The Christians I know, both gay and heterosexual, accept the teaching of Christ to love and to follow the Golden Rule.  False Christians like this chicken guy are the reason that many people are leaving the faith.

  • DofCS

    Actually, lfivepoints69, Christ upheld the Biblical prohibition against homosexuality and commands all Christians — including you — to uphold it, too. Here’s the Biblical proof (I encourage you to Google these verses for yourself):

    The prohibitions against homosexuality originate in the section of the Bible known as “The Law”, where God’s prophet Moses (Exodus 4:12) is giving God’s Law to Israel.  In Lev. 18:22 and Lev. 20:13 Moses, speaking as God’s prophet, declares homosexuality to be a sin. 

    In Matt 5:19 Jesus Christ himself commands His followers (who were all Jewish at the time) to obey EVERY WORD of The Law (which includes Lev 18:22 & 20:13).  The Law also included ceremonial practices involving dress codes, kosher rules, etc, that were specifically intended to differentiate Jews from other races.   Christ goes on to say, “Not everyone who calls Me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven but only those who actually do the will of my Father, who is in heaven. (Matt 7:21).  

    In Matt 18:18 Christ gave His Apostles the authority to “bind and loose” regulations in the church.   As Christianity spread to Gentiles (non-Jews), the Jewish Apostles realized that many of the ceremonial and dietary portions of The Law were unnecessary for faith in Christ and would discourage Gentiles from becoming Christians.  So, in Acts 15:19-20, the Apostles, exercising their Matt 18:18 authority, waived all but a few of the Law’s requirements on Christians.  One of the categories they kept in place was the prohibitions against sexual sins.  The Apostle Paul, a former teacher of The Law, recruited personally by Christ in Acts 9:1-6, confirmed in Romans 1:26-27 (read it, please) that homosexuality is part of that prohibited list of sins, when he specifically condemned lesbian and gay sex.
    So, rather than being a blasphemer, the head of Chick-Fil-A was obeying Christ when he upheld the Biblical prohibitions against homosexuality found in The Law, which Christ commanded us to follow, which the Apostles kept in the Church, and which the Apostle Paul specifically confirmed.

  • Guest

    I firmly believe that the LGBT community should be entitled to all the legal benefits granted to married couples. However, I find their disrespect for the Biblical definition of “marriage” to be most intolerant. The word “marriage” should be replaced with “civil union” in all legal documents in order to accomplish their goals without corrupting our lexicon by attempting to redefine the centuries old meaning of “marriage”. Had the LGBT community pursued this approach, I believe that legal civil union for ALL would have been a slam dunk by now. I support their cause, but I oppose their means.

  • DofCS

    FORUM DELETED MY POST FROM TWO DAYS AGO, SO I AM REPOSTING IT:

    Actually, lfivepoints69, Christ
    upheld the Biblical prohibition against homosexuality and commands all
    Christians — including you — to uphold it, too (please Google these verses to read for yourself). The prohibitions against
    homosexuality originate in Lev. 18:22 and Lev. 20:13 where Moses declares homosexuality to be a detestable sexual sin. In Matt 5:19 Jesus Christ
    himself commands His followers to obey EVERY
    WORD of the Law of Moses, which includes Lev 18:22 & 20:13.  However, as Christianity spread to non-Jews, the Jewish Apostles
    realized that many the ceremonial and dietary portions of The Law were unnecessary
    for faith in Christ and would discourage Gentiles from becoming
    Christians.  So, in Acts 15:19-20, the Apostles, exercising the authority that Christ gave them in Matt
    18:18, waived all but a few of the Law’s requirements on Christians.
     One of the categories they kept in place was the prohibitions against
    sexual sins. The Apostle Paul, an expert in the Law of Moses, and one who was recruited
    personally by Christ in Acts 9:1-6, confirmed that homosexuality is part of
    that prohibited list of sins when he specifically condemned lesbian and gay sex
    in Romans 1:26-27 (please read this passage if you read none of the others).So, rather than being a
    blasphemer, the head of Chick-Fil-A was obeying Christ when he upheld the
    Biblical prohibitions against homosexuality found in The Law, which Christ
    commanded us to follow, which the Apostles kept in the Church, and which the
    Apostle Paul specifically confirmed.

  • DofCS

    FORUM DELETED MY POST FROM TWO DAYS AGO, SO I AM REPOSTING IT:

    Actually, lfivepoints69, Christ upheld the Biblical prohibition against homosexuality and commands all Christians — including you — to uphold it, too (please Google these verses to read for yourself). 

    The prohibitions against homosexuality originate in Lev. 18:22 and Lev. 20:13 where Moses declares homosexuality to be a detestable sexual sin. In Matt 5:19 Jesus Christ himself commands His followers to obey EVERY WORD of the Law of Moses, which includes Lev 18:22 & 20:13.  However, as Christianity spread to non-Jews, the Apostles realized that many of the ceremonial and dietary portions of The Law were unnecessary for faith in Christ and would discourage Gentiles from becoming Christians.  So, in Acts 15:19-20, the Apostles, exercising the authority that Christ gave them in Matt
    18:18, waived all but a few of the Law’s requirements on Christians. One of the categories they kept in place was the prohibitions against sexual sins. The Apostle Paul, an expert in the Law of Moses, and one who was recruited
    personally by Christ in Acts 9:1-6, confirmed that homosexuality is part of
    that prohibited list of sins when he specifically condemned lesbian and gay sexin Romans 1:26-27 (please read this passage if you read none of the others).

    So, rather than being a blasphemer, the head of Chick-Fil-A was obeying Christ when he upheld the Biblical prohibitions against homosexuality found in The Law, which Christ commanded us to follow, which the Apostles kept in the Church, and which the Apostle Paul specifically confirmed.

  • Disgusted

    Hey KQED; I notice that one comment has been deleted since yesterday. Please explain why. Specifically. How did that comment violate your community guidelines?

  • DofCS

    Yesterday KQED deleted my succinct and courteous response to lfivepoints69’s comment below, in which I explained Biblically that Christ affirmed Moses’ prohibitions against homosexuality.  This is my third attempt to post since then.

  • censoredbyKQED

    Yesterday KQED deleted my respectful reply to lfivepoints69’s comment below, in which I explained Biblically that Christ affirmed Moses’ prohibitions against homosexuality.  I made four attempts to repost under my username of DofCS (“Death of Common Sense”), and all have failed.  I have created this new identity, and will post my original comments after I confirm that my new identity is not being censored.

  • censoredbyKQED

    Actually, lfivepoints69, Christ upheld the Biblical prohibition against homosexuality and commands Christians to uphold it too. Please Google these Bible passages for yourself:  

    In Lev. 18:22 and Lev. 20:13 — found in that portion of the Bible known as “The Law” — God’s prophet Moses declares homosexuality to be a sin punishable by death.  

    Now, we know that salvation in Christ comes by Faith alone (John 3:16; Eph 2:8-9; Romans 3:20). Nevertheless, in Matt. 4:4 Christ himself instructs us to obey the entire word of God.  In Matt 5:17-19 Christ specifies that we’re to obey every command that Moses gave us in The Law — for all time.   In Matt 7:21 Christ states that only those who obey God will go to heaven.  And in Luke 6:46-49 Christ states that Christians who don’t obey His commands have no foundation in their lives.  

    In Romans 1:26-27 and I Cor 6:9-10 Christ’s handpicked spokesman (see Acts 9:15-17) confirms that lesbian and gay sex remains a sin.  While several Bible passages arguably suggest that Christ lifted the ceremonial and dietary Laws from the Church, nowhere does Christ repeal the Law’s sexual prohibitions.  In fact, Acts 15:20, Gal 5:19-25, I John 2:3-6 and many other Bible passages uphold them.  

    So, far from being a blasphemer, the head of Chick-Fil-A was actually obeying Christ when he upheld the Biblical prohibition against homosexuality.

  • utera

    If folks are going to be consistent, boycott oil first.   Places like saudi arabia have put people to death for homosexuality never mind getting married.  

  • Disgusted

    I have lost respect for KQED. Here we have a discussion about free speech, and KQED sees fit to censor comments without explanation. Their biased behavior is in full view while they claim to be unbiased.

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