Area residents flocked to Edmond Chick-fil-A restaurants, part of an event inspired by ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Huckabee posted this challenge on his website (www.mikehuckabee.com). In the post, the former Baptist pastor, Arkansas governor (1996-2007) and one-time presidential candidate alluded to Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy’s recent remarks reaffirming his support of traditional marriage.
Huckabee explained that the effort is not about making signs, speeches or openly demonstrating. He stated the goal is to “affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1.”
Huckabee went on to comment about the flurry of comments in the media after Cathy’s remarks.
“Too often, those on the left make corporate statements to show support for same sex marriage, abortion or profanity, but if Christians affirm traditional values, we’re considered homophobic, fundamentalists, hate-mongers and intolerant.”
Huckabee stated that neither Chick-fil-A nor any members of Cathy’s family were involved in the effort.
It appeared that local residents were responding in a big way.
At about noon, Edmond Police reported that traffic at the Chick-fil-A on Second Street was backed up to Baumann. The Police Department reported a similar scene at the Chick-fil-A restaurant on 33rd Street.
While the Second Street restaurant was busy, the 33rd Street location was even busier. The parking lot was packed and more cars were in lines that snaked from the access road into the parking lot and the drive-thru lane. Patrons were waiting in a line that extended out the entrance doors. Restaurant employees were outside, taking orders from patrons in their cars.
At the time, no protesters were seen at either Edmond Chick-fil-A location. The company, which closes its restaurants on Sundays, has more than 1,600 restaurants and 61,000-plus employees. In February, it announced record annual sales of $4 billion.
On Wednesday, Chick-fil-A issued a statement: “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day was not created by Chick-fil-A. We appreciate all of our customers and are glad to serve them at any time. Our goal is simple: To provide great food, genuine hospitality and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.”
Earlier this year in a story on Cathy, the Baptist Press reported, “Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. ‘Well, guilty as charged,’” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position. “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family owned business, a family led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”
Ensuing criticism came from many quarters. In Chicago, Alderman Joe Moreno said he planned to block a Chick-fil-A permit.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Chick-fil-A’s values were not “Chicago values.”
Several media outlets reported that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino informed Cathy via a letter “There is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it.”
On Tuesday, the company issued a statement, which in part said, “Chick-fil-A is a family owned and family led company serving the communities in which it operates. From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically based principles to managing his business.”
On Wednesday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Republicans have filed a complaint with the Illinois attorney general accusing Moreno of violating state human rights laws with his threat to block Chick-fil-A from opening a store in Logan Square because of Cathy’s position on gay marriage.
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