Saturday, July 28, 2012


If you're concerned about the social justice positions of the fast food establishments you frequent (and, really, who isn't?), here is the single most important thing you need to know about Chick-fil-A.

They are closed on Sundays.

The tradition of the Sabbath is sacred in all three Abrahamic religions, and possibly some eastern ones I'm not aware of.  It mostly held its own in western society until the industrial revolution came along and rode roughshod over every non-capital institution.  It took decades for the organized labor movement to recover the right to a weekend - a right that had its beginnings as a gift from God to his people three thousand years before.

Unfortunately, most restaurants, retailers and service industries in the U.S. do not respect the Sabbath.  They are required by law to observe the 40-hour workweek, but the profit motive leads them to stay open all weekend, and we, as consumers, are only too happy to reward them for it.  As a result, people trying to find jobs at these businesses often have no choice but to accept working on Sundays.  I had to turn down a job at Target as a teenager because I couldn't sign on to working three Sundays a month.  If I hadn't had supportive parents, and if the economy hadn't been flush with part-time jobs, I might not have had the luxury of saying no.

By remaining closed on the Sabbath, Chick-fil-A must surely forfeit hundreds of millions of dollars in potential sales - all so that their employees can rest from being employees, and their customers can rest from being consumers.  No union had to fight to force them to do that.  No government regulation asks them to.  They do it solely because they believe that life is a sacred undertaking, and that they have responsibility to respect its sanctity.

If the rest of the country's fast food enterprises, big box stores and grocery chains did the same, we would all have a lot more space in our lives for rest, fellowship and worship.  Only Chick-fil-A is willing to go there.  And for that, we should all be grateful.

On the other hand, their CEO's beliefs about same-sex marriage are identical to what our president's views were two months ago.  So there's that.

August 1, 2012 - everyone eat at Chick-fil-A!  For justice!

1 comment: