I would be hard pressed to name one single American male I admire more than Truett Cathy, the founder and CEO of our country’s greatest “quick food” restaurant chain, Chik-fil-A. I must also inform you that last week when American heroine Sally Ride died of pancreatic cancer after becoming the first woman to ever venture into outer space, my eyes welled with emotion at her passing.
I mention the two in the same paragraph because Truett and his family have built their now-vast empire on family principles, never flaunting their beliefs nor trying to press them on others. The Cathys’ commitment to Jesus Christ is well-known and so is the largess of their philanthropy that has benefitted well over many millions of us.
To this day, none of their 1,600 stores are open on the Sabbath due to their beliefs.
Sally Ride was also private, this despite the fact the 5-foot-5 astronaut used her grace and dignity -- with skillful precision, I might add -- to better the lives of millions of girls and women. After she burst through “the glass ceiling” of our atmosphere, she may have sensed that becoming some pushy feminine activist would never achieve what she could do otherwise in her own, quiet way. And she became a giant.
I am solidly of the opinion that Truett Cathy and Sally Ride would have had the greatest respect for one another. They each have exemplified The American Dream. President George W. Bush once honored Truett with the prestigious “Call to Service” Award for “a lifetime of volunteerism” and Sally wrote five books for children, encouraging them in science and space. There is no doubt about it – the two would have adored one another.
In an unfortunate twist of life, it wasn’t long ago when Chik-fil-A president Dan Cathy – pressured by today’s media -- admitted his family was “guilty as charged” of being a pro-family organization. He said that, yes, the Cathy family feels that same-sex marriage is wrong. He simply told the truth and said what he believes. There is no law against a man believing as he chooses and, in a day when a lack of family structure is blamed for many of society’s ills, taking such a stand is quite laudable to millions of us.
While I cannot say if Sally Ride would have joined thousands across the nation who plan to support Chik-fil-A during tomorrow’s emotion-wrought “Appreciation Day,” I honestly believe the youngest astronaut in history to ever enter space would have rigorously supported the American ideal of standing up for your beliefs. Sally Ride was an icon of freedom. She was also a lesbian.
After Dan Cathy’s guilty plea, the liberal lions and raging activists were quick to pounce. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values.” Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray railed about “hate chicken” and actress Roseanne Barr said she hoped that anyone who eats at Chik-fil-A gets cancer. She later said she regretted the comment but there were others who said far worse.
That’s when former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, asked the nation to support a “Chik-fil-A Appreciation Day” – set for Wednesday – so our purchases throughout the day will send a silent message to the esteemed company "whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values."
While I hardly am a Freedom Marcher, I have every intention of being among those in the crowd after first-hand knowledge of what the Cathy family -- and anyone’s Godly values -- mean to our country.To me this isn’t about gay people; it is about taking a stand for what you believe. Dan Cathy’s remarks were neither derogatory nor spiteful but simply a statement about his family’s Christian beliefs upon which Chik-fil-A was founded and has rigidly embraced since the get-go. Chik-fil-A is not discriminatory in any way, will serve anyone with courtesy and respect, and treat every customer based on Christian beliefs and principles. Period. There is no other agenda!
Those who actually hate are calling for tomorrow to be “Kiss the Same Sex Day at Chik-fil-A” and, while I respect and am befriended by many gay and lesbian Americans, I am now well-aware that Sally Ride never flaunted her sexual preference nor would have used her position to embarrass or affront anyone. For that matter, it was never publicly known she had a same-sex partner until after her death. She had too much grace and self-dignity for that.
In an article out of San Francisco, one gifted writer wondered “what might have been” if the world had known that our fearless female astronaut was gay before her death. Would it have made a difference? It was the writer’s hope that such gossip would have taken away none of Sally’s luster but better is the fact that it wasn’t known until her funeral assured everyone that the prejudice and ignorance of the masses would never come into play during Sally Ride’s glorious lifetime.
Maybe that is the way Dr. Ride planned it. We will never know. But I am assured the Chik-fil-A family and a great American heroine would have held each other in the highest respect because to stand up for our individual beliefs is a sacred cornerstone of our freedom. On this we should all agree and respect one another’s beliefs in an equal manner.
I personally believe I’ll eat at Chik-fil-A tomorrow.