Prominent conservatives have come out in support of fast-food chain Chick-fil-A after it drew criticism for President Dan Cathy’s statements in opposition to gay marriage.
But ordinary Americans are speaking up as well, flooding Newsmax with a barrage of emails voicing support for the Atlanta-based chain.
One Wisconsin reader told Newsmax he will drive 80 miles next week to the nearest Chick-fil-A to back the chain the best way he knows how — with his wallet.
And a Florida man told Newsmax: “I never ate at CFA until recently. Now it is the only fast food I eat. I drove 10 miles out of my way today to eat lunch there. I support Mr. Cathy. Tell him not to back down.”
The controversy began when Cathy told the Baptist Press that the company, which puts faith ahead of profits by closing on Sundays, was “guilty as charged” for backing the “biblical definition of a family.”
He later ratcheted up the rhetoric in a radio interview, saying: “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.”
Gay rights groups responded by calling for a boycott of the family-owned business. The Jim Henson Co. pulled its Muppet toys from kids’ meals.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told the chain it is not welcome in their cities and vowed to stop further expansion of the restaurants there.
San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee added his voice on Thursday, saying the closest Chick-fil-A to his city is 40 miles away and “I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.”
But on the other side of the debate, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee declared that next Wednesday would be “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” to support a business “whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values.”
Rev. Billy Graham said in statement: “I plan to ‘eat Mor Chikin’ and show my support by visiting Chick-fil-A next Wednesday.”
And Rev. Roger Oldham, spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, said Christians “will come out of the woodwork when a theologically based position is being politicized by individuals for their own purposes.”
Newsmax readers are among those who have “come out of the woodwork” to support Cathy and his company.
A reader in Texas stated: “I am infuriated that Boston and Chicago politicians are persecuting Chick-fil-A for exercising their First Amendment rights. They need to know that reasonable people (not just evangelical Christians) will boycott their cities over this.”
A California woman said: “A large group of my friends are planning to support our local Chick-fil-A next Wednesday including many who are buying gift certificates and giving them to their church pastor to hand out. Americans have had enough with the assault on religion!”
Another California reader said: “We need more people like Mr. Cathy in this country especially during these trying times.”
A Colorado man told Newsmax that when wildfires forced him and his neighbors to leave their homes, Chick-fil-A fed the evacuees that night, adding “please let people know what kind of company Chick-fil-A is.”
And a reader in New York said: “Thank God for Billy Graham and the Cathy family for sticking to the Word of God. God bless Chick-fil-A.”
© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.