Chick-fil-A is a fast food restaurant known for its whole chicken breast sandwiches, waffle fries, and homemade cole slaw.
Today it's going to be known as the center of a minor political storm when a lot of people go out of their way to buy lunch or dinner there as a show of solidarity with the embattled chicken chain. Or for those who oppose the chicken retailer's political stances, it'll be a day of boycotts and possible protests.
Wednesday, August 1, is "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," so says former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. He's hoping that tea partiers, and other First Amendment stalwarts will put their money where their opinions are and buy up Chick-Fil-A items today.
There are two Chick-fil-A stores near the Land O' Lakes area: one on Bruce B Downs Boulevard in New Tampa and Little Road in Trinity. Many of 1,615 franchises in 39 states are located in malls, although there are some free-standing stores in New Jersey.
The tempest began several weeks ago when Chick-fil-A executive Dan Cathy said in a radio interview that he supports the concept of traditional marriage, versus same-sex marriage. Gay rights groups, activists, and supporters have been attacking Cathy and the chicken chain, even to the point where some politicians, like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, have been trying to stop Chick-fil-A from opening franchises in their cities.
Tea partiers have taken up the Chick-fil-A banner, and Huckabee—who ran for the Republican nomination for president four years ago— jumped on the bandwagon with the Appreciation Day.
The idea is to make an effort to patronize Chick-fil-A stores today, as a show of support for Cathy and his company's right to express what they say is a dissenting opinion.
Over the years, Chick-fil-A has drawn attention from various groups hostile to the privately-held company's Christian beliefs. The Atlanta-based family-owned firm, for example, has never allowed its stores to be open on Sunday. That was the idea of company founder Truett Cathy, the firm says on their website, when he opened the first store in 1946.
The concept of being closed on Sunday was practical as well as spiritual: they wanted employees to "have an opportunity to rest, spend time with family and friends, and worship if they choose to do so," Chick-fil-A says.
So far, over 624,000 fans on the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day Facebook page say they'll be loading up on chicken sandwiches and waffle fries today.
Will you patronize Chick-fil-A today, or will you avoid it because of the company owner's beliefs? Share your thoughts in the comments.