So I wasn't going to post about the whole Chick-Fil-A debacle. I don't eat much chicken, anyway. Or much meat at all, to be honest. But the Muppets keep showing up in my FB feed, and after my homage to Kermit in yesterday's post, I'm taking it as a sign.
First, let me make sure you understand my lens on this: I'm a Unitarian Universalist (UU). Which means I subscribe to seven principles and take my wisdom from six sources, including Jewish and Christian teachings about love. I'd be that way if I weren't UU, too, but UUism helps me to name what I believe. And I am pro-gay marriage.
I've known since I was a kid that something was different about Chick-Fil-A. I think my mother was the one who told me that they closed on Sundays, though that didn't matter where I grew up because of the blue laws that closed the entire mall on Sundays anyway. I knew that it was a business owned by a particular group of Christians (not to be confused with Catholics, according to my very-Old-World-Catholic father, and at that point I didn't really understand the difference between Baptists and Lutherans and Presbyterians and other sects), who really believed that the seventh day was for rest. Honestly, I never gave their politics much thought. It stands to reason, though, that the values of Chick-Fil-A's Baptist leader would align with the majority of established Baptist congregations in this country.
Where this begins to get tricky for people, so it seems, is drawing the line between the beliefs and actions of an individual--who happens to be a business leader--and the product of his organization. The Muppets say you can't separate the two. Others say you can.
I guess what it comes down to for me is that an individual with a particular belief system, who chooses to use the profits from my chicken sandwich to support organizations that I would not choose to support, may be a little less offensive on the scale of business-antiheroes than, say, a company that overtly discriminates in its hiring practices, or creates a hostile environment for employees and customers. But if I know that my money is, in the end, going to support organizations that don't represent my beliefs, then I feel that I have the responsibility to act on that knowledge. Maybe that's where Kermit is coming from, too.
Now, as KeAnne points out (in her fabulously written post on the subject, which you should go read RIGHT NOW), there are a lot of other companies out there, and a lot of other politics to wade through. Sure, Haagen Dasz seems pretty harmless. And ice cream is always a good alternative lunch. But if I go digging deeply enough, what will I find?
This isn't the first time I've had to come to terms with the thorny problem of putting my money where my mouth, and head, and hands, and heart are. (That is, assuming I'm ever faced with the unlikely situation that Chick-Fil-A is a real meal option.) And I'm sure it won't be the last. I would love to say that every time I make a purchase of goods or services, I know exactly where my money goes. But the truth of the matter is for the most part, I really have no idea. We get hand-me-downs for the kids when we can, and I'm not about to turn them away because they were made abroad in a factory where unfair and even unsavory labor practices prevail. Though I cook most of our meals from scratch, and can get local eggs and butter and honey, I use things like sugar and flour and other pantry staples that come from large companies whose profits could be spent in all kinds of unsavory ways. There are two problems here: one of them is that the chain of commerce is infinite, that even if I know about official company policy, I can't ever hope to track the expenditures of every employee (sort of along the lines of my MckMama post, there does seem to be a point at which a private person's life is just that: private); the second is my own lack of time to do even the most basic research in the first place. And I'm clearly not alone: why did it take so long for people to put two and two together to figure out where Chick-Fil-A's leadership stood on the promotion of the "Biblical definition of the family unit" (Dan Cathy's words, not mine)? Unfortunately, in the end, I suspect that time--of more correctly, lack of time--will often make my decisions for me. It does now.
Still, in the case of Chick-Fil-A: my research has been done for me. And as a supporter of gay marriage rights, I can't support a business that nurtures other anti-gay marriage organizations like WinShape. So Chick-Fil-A can continue to serve up its patties. And if, in this mostly-vegetarian household, I get a craving for chicken, I'll continue to make my own souvlaki. (Which, if you're really not into chicken, would also be tasty when made with some hearty mushrooms.)
How about you? How do you make decisions about companies to support with your business?
Souvlaki with tzatziki is the perfect way to use up all of those summer squash and cucumbers now filling your CSA boxes and farmers' market stalls, for those of you in the northern hemisphere. Southern hemisphere residents: your time will come soon enough.
1 c. Greek yogurt
1 cucumber, shredded, squeeze out excess water with hand
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 t, salt
1 garlic clove, minced
Combine all ingredients together and stir well.
6 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. fresh oregano (or 1 t. dried)
4 t. olive oil
1 t. salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1” pieces (vegetarians can use portobello mushrooms)
2 zucchinis or other summer squash, cut into 1” chunks, halved if large
cooking spray or olive oil
pita bread (I used whole wheat)
Combine lemon juice, oregano, olive oil, salt, and garlic in a bowl. Add chicken pieces and coat well. Marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes, turning once. Remove chicken from bowl; discard marinade.
Light your grill and set it to medium, if you have some control over it. Thread chicken and zucchini alternately on metal skewers (or wooden if you don't have metal ones, but makes sure you soak wooden skewers well in water first). Spray grill with cooking spray or olive oil, and grill skewers, turning ever few minutes, until chicken is no longer pink inside (about 8 minutes). Remove from grill.
Serve skewers with tzatziki sauce and pita triangles.