I’m ready to go to Caribou Coffee again.
Up until late last year or early this year, depending how you read financial reports, a majority share owner of Caribou Coffee was Arcapita, an investment firm based out of Bahrain. Before a clever company renaming, it was First Islamic Investment Bank, whose mission was extremely anti-Israel.
That’s their prerogative.
As a Jew who supports Israel, I disagree with what was their intense mission statement and opted not to support them via Caribou.
That’s my prerogative.
It’s also their right and prerogative to do business where ever they want without interference from a local, regional, or state government.
I also like chicken and have, at least once, maybe twice, gone to Chick-fil-a. I’ve also gone to Hobby Lobby.
Both firms are steeped in Christian values and run their businesses accordingly. Hobby Lobby, for example, is closed on Sunday. Chick-fil-A’s president Dan Cathy said recently (as we all know) that marriage is between a man and a woman, citing his interpretation of the Bible.
The outpouring of comments has been interesting. Media reports say Roseanne Barr wished cancer on anyone eating Chick-fil-A (something which she later apologized for) and scores of politicians have voiced concern about having a Chick-fil-A facility in their domain. This includes Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who think Chick-fil-A does not represent Chicago’s values. I think Emanuel needs to focus on the number of people being gunned down in the city and not worry about Chick-fil-A.
What’s at issue here is more than Cathy’s statement. It’s the First Amendment.
The famous 45 words state that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Cathy is merely practicing two of the five – freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Granted, it may not be the best public relations move, but his entitled to his opinion, as anyone is.
The outcry has been amazing, which is expected. You would think it was the biggest news story of the year. Far from it. While Barr was quick to rip Chick-fil-A for its statement, a quick search online did not reveal any comments about the victims of the Aurora shooting. Priorities, I guess.
While I don’t subscribe to Cathy’s statement, I realize it’s his opinion. If government officials are going to take a stand against Chick-fil-A for Cathy’s statement, then are they going to examine every corporate executive’s statement before granting them a business license or zoning variance?
Of course not.
Much in the same way that Cathy has his opinion, so does everyone else. If you don’t agree with Cathy, don’t eat at Chick-fil-A. Period. As unusual as it is for a corporation president to spew forth his personal religious views, it would be equally unusual for people to discriminate against his company simply because he had an opinion. It would be like saying he can’t practice the First Amendment.
It will be interesting to see what the short- and long-term fallout will be from Cathy’s statement.
In the meantime, I can just imagine one thing.
Somewhere Frank Perdue and Col. Sanders are laughing.