Religion in the workplace causes controversy

February 17, 2011

by Haley Kraemer, COPY?EDITOR

Chick-fil-A’s recent “anti-gay” controversy is a good example of how disorder can ensue when religion is brought into the workplace.

Controversy began when a gay blog called Good As You posted a screen shot from the Pennsylvania Family Institute website showing Chick-fil-A as a sponsor of this “pro family” and alleged anti-gay institute committed to strengthening families by “restoring to public life the traditional, foundational principles and values essential for the well-being of society.”

According to MetroWeekly.com, the text appearing on the PFI website described it as a “pro family” organization which is against “the homosexual lifestyle,” and it is promoting a marriage conference instructed by “pastors and Bible teachers.”

Opposition quickly spread across the Internet in response to Chick-fil-A’s sponsorship of the allegedly gay organization, PFI.

Certain individuals are offended and boycotting the restaurant, and others who agree with the anti-gay values, are now supporting Chick-fil-A even more heavily than they had previously.

I can see how people are offended because this organization is supporting an allegedly anti-gay organization.

Though I do not agree that they are chastized for supporting an organization they agree with regardless of its supposedly anti-gay platform, I believe businesses should be able to donate their money as they please.

According to christiannews.com, Chick-fil-A’s CEO S. Truett Cathy’s mission statement is “to be America’s best quick-service restaurant at winning and keeping customers.” Chick -fil-A’s purpose statement reveals the heart of their company:

“That we might glorify God by being a faithful steward in all that is entrusted to our care, and that we might have a positive influence on all the people that we might come in contact with.”

It is widely known that Chick-fil-A presents itself as a Christian business and the fact that its employees are more or less required to be of the Christian faith.

Cathy told Forbes Magazine, “You don’t have to be a Christian to work at Chick-fil-A, but we ask you to base your business on biblical principles because they work.”

As the current laws stand, it is perfectly legal for Chick-fil-A to sponsor whatever organization it chooses to sponsor.

Though it is legal, opposition may naturally exist.

According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an employer with a policy of promoting members of a particular religion is called Disparate Treatment Discrimination.

However, it also states that if some employers whose business purpose is religious in nature may require certain employees to adhere to a particular faith.

Because Chick-fil-A says they welcome any employee regardless of their faith as long as they base their business on “biblical principles,” they are completely in the confines of the law.

Cathy lives his life by these principles. Therefore, he should be able to sponsor any organization with his hard-earned profits that he may choose, and it should not be an issue with customers.

Chick-fil-A makes a good chicken sandwich and satisfies the hunger of many Americans.

When customers walk in or drive through a Chick-fil-A restaurant, they have hungry bellies and salivating taste buds, and they are expecting to pay for their food and receive it.

This is what is expected, and it should serve as the prime expectation. What else do you need from a fast-food restaurant other than good service and a delicious meal?

Chick-fil-A has served satisfying food to America for 65 years, and that fact alone should be suitable enough for the customer.

I believe a vast majority of people will soon get over this scandal and quickly move on forgetting about it entirely and continue to eat the food they know and love.

Haley Kraemer is a junior journalism major from Shreveport who serves as a copy editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to hek002@latech.edu.