A little like Fred Phelps..Hate begets Hate!

Chick-fil-A makes a great chicken sandwich, and I used to like getting one—with a cup of their amazing lemonade.

Then I found out the company, according to the LGBT group Equality Matters, has donated millions of dollars to groups that oppose gay rights, and Chick-fil-A’s president, Dan Cathy, told a Baptist newspaper that he supported the “biblical” definition of family. That’s why former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas has asked that folks who share the company’s principles stop by a Chick-fil-A on Aug. 1 to show support for the company’s conservative values.

And that’s fair enough.

If you really don’t think gays and lesbians should have the same rights as everyone else, and you oppose same-sex marriage, stop by Chick-fil-A. If you truly believe gays and lesbians should be second-class citizens, and if you sincerely don’t want them to marry the people they love, stop by Chick-fil-A.

But the same goes for those of us who support same-sex marriage and have what we consider to be a broader view of civil rights. We should boycott Chick-fil-A. These are our consumer dollars—and they’re part of our voice. We should use them for products we like—to supportcompanies we like and to back causes we like.

As good as those Chick-fil-A lunches used to taste, there are other places to get a chicken sandwich.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing more about companies whose leaders use corporate profits to support their conservative world view. I have no problem with that. In fact, I applaud their involvement in politics.

But those of us who disagree have to remember that we too can exercise our rights, flex our muscles, and show our commitment to the values we believe in, from how we spend our consumer dollars to how we chose the companies we invest in, to, of course, how we vote in elections. All of these are levers that every citizen should use.

Phelps is getting widespread media coverage by threatening to picket the funerals of the Tucson shooting victims. It’s the same game he’s been playing since 1991. Find a funeral of a soldier, public figure or someone else whose death is getting major media coverage. Fax blast a press release celebrating their demise, grab the “God Hates” signs, gather up the kids and grandkids and hop in the Ford Econoline.

Because of the enormous amount of attention his deeply offensive protests receive, you might get the impression that Phelps is a significant religious leader in this country.

He’s not. Westboro Baptist Church had only 71 members as of 2007, according to a BBC report, and they’re members of his extended family. He has 13 children, many of whom have stuck around and brought their own kids into the loathsome family business.

Update: “Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church won’t picket the funeral of a 9-year-old girl killed in Saturday’s shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., in exchange for getting airtime on two radio stations, a church spokesman said.”

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