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Playing Chicken with Politics and Food

By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]borderstan.com.

Chick-fil-A has a cult following among some in DC. It’s hard to tell if that obsessive love is fueled by peanut oil, the thin and crispy layer of batter on the nuggets or the relative scarcity of Chick-fil-A options in the DC metro area. So it’s not surprising that news of a food truck operated by the restaurant chain sparked a bit of a public stir. What is surprising, at least to DCist, was some vitriol directed towards their coverage of the Chick-fil-A truck.

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Yes, some chickens still live outdoors. (Courtesy of Carly & Art’s Photostream on Flickr)

It’s not the first time that the chain has found itself in the center of controversy. It’s no secret that the chain has religious roots, as all restaurants are closed on Sunday at the behest of the founder. Those roots have become more visible of late due to the actions of WinShape Foundation, the founder’s charitable organization.

The foundation promotes Christian values, including a very traditional (read: no gays allowed) definition of marriage. To that end, the Foundation has given more than $3 million to anti-gay groups since 2003. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated at least one of these groups as a hate group.

The problem for DCist, as outlined by Dean Gold (who owns Dino in Cleveland Park) is that DCist said chicken lovers ‘rejoiced’ at the chain’s food truck, or indicated they should. Gold took umbrage at  ‘rejoicing’ the arrival of a corporation that has an anti-gay position as well as their “corporate crap from tortured chickens.”

In tweets and then a piece in the Washington City Paper, he and other food heavies in the area argued, essentially, that if you continue to order that No. 5 meal, you are funding and endorsing an anti-gay agenda.

DCist, in a follow-up piece, pondered if there was a way to separate the politics from the food. But it should be noted that the WinShape Foundation is funded by the corporate entity, and at least some of that funding comes from revenues at restaurants. In other words, a portion of the cash you hand over for waffle fries likely ends up, albeit in a small percentage, funding anti-gay groups.

So, if you are what you eat, where does that leave a supporter of gay rights who also happens to have a particular weakness for the eight piece nuggets with Chick-fil-A sauce? Will you order from the truck and up your donations to the Human Rights Campaign in a fit of greasy guilt? Or are certain politics so abhorrent to consumers that a boycott is the only moral, ethical thing to do?

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This post was written by:

- who has written 214 posts on Borderstan.

Lancaster writes news and profiles the interesting people who in live in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area. A PR maven by day, Lancaster is an avid sports fan and and keen observer of all things happening in Borderstan and D.C. Follow her on Twitter @MichLancaster; email her michellel@borderstan.com.

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2 Responses to “Playing Chicken with Politics and Food”

  1. M says:

    Boycott. Their food isn’t all that great anyway and it will make you fat. If you want to see how their tortured chickens (animal cruelty…what a great “family value”) are raised, check out the documentary “Food Inc.”

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