Here is a story about how social media and social consciousness can ruin your breakfast…but stimulate important conversations and perhaps encourage more justice in the world.

This morning, between some housework and a son that just wouldn’t wake up to go to daycare, I left the house without breakfast. As I was getting hungry on the bus ride to work, I remembered that yesterday a brand new Chick-fil-A opened up just two blocks from church—this was a pretty momentous occasion for southerners and all other lovers of fried chicken living in Chicago. Figuring they served some form of tasty chicken biscuit for breakfast, I turned to Yelp to double check they they are open for breakfast.

While I confirmed that they are indeed open for breakfast—and probably have a damn good biscuit sandwich—I also read a few comments that reminded me that Chick-fil-A has received some pretty strong criticism lately for supporting a variety of anti-gay organizations and causes. Chick-fil-A is a famously Christian company and it’s certainly their right to support whatever social agenda they want. But, I also read about how many supporters of LGBT rights are boycotting Chick-fil-A in protest.

This created an ethical dilemma for me. I really wanted a chicken biscuit. But I also want to stand in solidarity with the LGBT community. What to do?

I turned to social media, of course, and posted the following question to Twitter and Facebook: A Chick-fil-a just opened two blocks from church. Should I indulge the tasty goodness or refrain in solidarity with LGBTs? When a lesbian friend responded that I should refrain, I had my answer.

I guess I won’t be eating at Chick-fil-A in the near future. My waistline doesn’t really need a steady supply of fried chicken sandwiches anyway.

In a tangential direction, as I googled articles about Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay activities, I came across a line talking about the “biblical” standard of marriage between one man and one woman. This prompted another social media query: Can someone explain how “one” man and “one” woman is the “biblical” standard for marriage with all the unchecked polygamy? This question resulted in a great Facebook exchange, which you can follow here.

My main point in this conversation is that there is no clear biblical prohibition against polygamy, much less a clear biblical standard that defines marriage as a covenant between one man and one woman. The “traditional” understanding of marriage—which prohibits gay marriage and polygamous marriage—relies on much more than sola scriptura, and I wish conservatives would just own up to that. But they won’t. Here’s one of my comments on Facebook:

Social conservatives should just admit that there is no clear biblical mandate against polygamy. But that would mess their convoluted hermeneutics all up. If they even hint that this foundational “standard” relies on something more than the Bible, it opens up the door for lots of extra-biblical innovations that they won’t like.

All in all, my craving to “eat mor chikin” has resulted in a great morning of public theology via social media.

As I finish up this post, someone suggested on Facebook that we should host a Bible study at Chick-fil-A to talk about these very issues. I think that is a great idea…

John W. Vest

John is a "church hacker" attempting to overcome the limitations of church as we know it. To connect with him and learn more about his work, please visit

Reader Interactions


  1. As a gay man in Texas, I’ve followed the CFA thing from the edges. I avoid fast food like the plague, so avoiding CFA hasn’t been an additional burden.

    That being said, what CFA has done (and continues to do) is to provide free food for community events when they have been asked to do so. It just so happens that many of those events have been events sponsored or run by offensively anti-gay, anti-family organizations (yes, I’m a bit hung up on referring to organizations like the American Family Association and Focus on the Family as “anti-family” – because that’s exactly what they are if your family happens to involve a same-sex partnership).

    What (at least as far as I’ve been able to find, and I haven’t followed it much in the last several months) CFA hasn’t done is to refuse to provide food or sponsorships for other pro-gay, pro-family events – probably because we haven’t ever bothered to ask them to sponsor Dallas Pride or similar events.

    A well-publicized, well-placed request for them to support an event or organization like, for example, PFLAG or some local GSAs, or a gay adoption seminar would be a nice opportunity to see if they will do what they say they want to do: support American families and the communities in which they have stores.

  2. I’ve noticed references to Chik-fil-a being “anti-gay”… and find it generally consistent with the brand image that Christians as a whole are anti-gay. I don’t deny it’s true that CFA has donated $1 million to organizations that have supported anti-gay messages or events. But to say that any money given to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is “anti-gay” fails to recognize that such an organization does A LOT more. The work they do to promote faith among athletes is admirable… which I suspect is why CFA supports them.

    Not to mention that its dangerous to suggest that any affiliation with an “anti-gay” organization makes one anti-gay themselves. I was in FCA in high school… have personally donated to Campus Crusade… and have attended Christian Camp and Conference Association meetings/conferences. I guess I’m anti-gay, too (which would be a shock to those around me, in particular a former roommate and still best friend).

    Perhaps this is a long way of saying I don’t think a chicken sandwich boycott is in order for me, since I’m apparently anti-gay too.

    Plus, the waffle fries are just too tasty.

  3. I think reasonable people can say about the Bible, “I don’t know.” and think long and hard about it. Civil unions are simply things that the society ratifies. No reason not to have them. I have friends that are in committed gay relationships and I am glad they have the rights of civil union.

    Marriage is a religious issue to me. It’s a different matter I think.

    While there are a few permutations of marriage in the Bible, man with a woman, man with many women, and I have heard of woman with many men (but haven’t found it in the Bible); the broader point is that there is a man and at least one woman.

    Same sex marriage is unnatural. Although I wouldn’t say that emotionally they have the same emotional bond that I have with my wife. Men and women have different strengths, both emotionally and biologically. That’s a scientific fact.

    It’s important though to have some standards. So, if the church were to say “marriage” is more than one woman and one man, I think you will have a lot of defections on your hands.

    Where does the slippery slope stop once you define marriage religiously as anything we want. Is it what God wants? Hard to say.

  4. Oh, and I go to Chick Fil A only because I want to. I don’t boycott anything because of any cause-unless it’s a civil rights thing. I don’t see the LGBT boycott as having to do anything with civil rights. I agree with Thomas Sowell on that one.

    I don’t go often, b/c of my waistline. I didn’t lose 30 lbs by eating fast food. worked though.

  5. A Bible study would be a great idea. A good in context exposition of the Word. Most just don’t get it in regard to CFL. The support they received was about freedom of speech. You could also have a meeting at a mosque in support of JC Penny. After all they are a very tolerant company with Ellen Degenerate their spokesperson and same sex couples in the catalog. I beleieve the Bible says we should be fruitful and multiply. Let me know when Barney Frank gets pregnant . LOL

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