|Campus Pride executive director Shane L. Windmeyer (left) and Chick-Fil-A's Dan Cathy|
Yes, after months of personal phone calls, text messages and in-person meetings, I am coming out in a new way, as a friend of Chick-fil-A's president and COO, Dan Cathy, and I am nervous about it......Never once did Dan or anyone from Chick-fil-A ask for Campus Pride to stop protesting Chick-fil-A. On the contrary, Dan listened intently to our concerns and the real-life accounts from youth about the negative impact that Chick-fil-A was having on campus climate and safety at colleges across the country. He was concerned about an incident last fall where a fraternity was tabling next to the Chick-fil-A restaurant on campus. Whenever an out gay student on campus would walk past the table, the fraternity would chant, "We love Chick-fil-A," and then shout anti-gay slurs at the student. Dan sought first to understand, not to be understood. He confessed that he had been naïve to the issues at hand and the unintended impact of his company's actions. .....Even as Campus Pride and so many in the community protested Chick-fil-A and its funding of groups like Family Research Council, Eagle Forum and Exodus International, the funding of these groups had already stopped. Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A could have noted this publicly earlier. Instead, they chose to be patient, to engage in private dialogue, to reach understanding, and to share proof with me when it was official. There was no “caving”; there were no “concessions.” There was, in my view, conscience.
What does ThinkProgress think about this?
But Windmeyer fails to actually explain any concrete changes taking place at the company. The company’s donations to FRC and Exodus were piddling — no more than $1,000 in any given year — compared to the millions of dollars it apparently will continue to give to anti-gay organizations like the Marriage & Family Foundation and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Windmeyer’s arbitrary decision that this constitutes an improvement for the company cannot be substantiated until the 990 forms are publicly released. Even still, they represent the company’s giving in 2011 and bear no reflection on the public backlash it received this summer for Cathy’s anti-gay comments.
So, I understand that opening a dialogue with your enemies can actually be a valuable thing. We will need to welcome them into the fold when they see the "error of their ways". What we also really need to understand is that we can forgive but we should really never forget! And we should except, if not demand, an apology from the Dan Cathy's of the world.
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