Wednesday, August 8, 2012

DEAR CEO & FOUNDER OF CHICK-FIL-A:




First of all, my congratulations on the empire you have created.  Getting to the top of the poultry fast-food business is not an easy task.  From one poultry connoisseur to another, I can appreciate the sacrifices and hard work it has demanded of you and your family as you have worked you way up to the top of the fast food chicken highway.  I find it sometimes challenging to balance the life of 5 hens in my fabulous backyard, I can’t imagine what it’s like in yours.  Similarly, I must admit that S. Truett Cathy’s resume is impressive.  You definitely don’t get to be the 400th richest American or 799th richest person in the world by sitting on your behind and it always means making some tough decisions.

I also want to offer my condolences on your recent loss, Don Perry, the VP of Public Relations.  It couldn’t have come at a more challenging time for Chick-Fil-A. I would like to offer my thoughts and prayers to Mr. Perry’s family and to the Chick-Fil-A family at large.  I’m sure it was a major loss.

Pleasantries and condolences aside.  I don’t normally get political, but I do believe there is some learning that needs to happen around the whole Chick-Fil-A fiasco going on.  I’m speaking of the recent PR storm where you openly admit that you and, by proxy, your organization is anti gay-marriage.  I am a bit disappointed by you and your father’s position on this matter.  I do believe in everyone’s right to their own opinions.  To that end, there is no argument.  What I whole-heartedly take issue with is a morality lesson my mother taught me as a child, “If you don’t have anything nice to say about anyone else, don’t say anything at all.”  This moral question becomes especially important when you are in a position of perceived power or influence.  I believe for individuals with “influence” or perceived power, you have a moral and human obligation to be a bit more cautious with your words in the public arena.   Don’t you agree?

Personally, I would think using your “influence” for good things would ALWAYS be the way to go.  Please remember that words are harmful.  As Mr. S Truett Cathy has penned multiple books of the self-help nature, something else we have in common, you can understand that words of inequality and prejudice perpetuate more feelings of inadequacies, insecurities, and could incidentally cause young Christians, of like-mind to you and your core religious values, to potentially harm themselves or others.  I sincerely hope you have thought through all repercussions beyond just your financials. 

It’s not your feelings or opinions alone that make me disappointed and have rifled up so many feathers (pun intended), it’s the consistent promotion of intolerance, hatred, and bigotry that has everyone up in arm from your disappointing public words to your choice in organization donations.  What you don’t seem to realize is that this is a human rights equality issue, having nothing to do with religion.  In other words, if you removed your religious feelings about the subject, would you still maintain your position on inequality?  Surely between your 57 years and your father’s 90 years of life, you both have learned a great deal about equality and human rights’ issues.  Your father fought in the US army during World War II, survived civil/human rights movements in the 60s and 70s, received various honorary doctorates, founded the WinShape Foundation, and fostered over 200 children over the past 30 years, somewhere along the way you both would have learned that hatred and war beget additional hatred and war. 

On the flip side, peace, acceptance, and harmony always take your farther and higher.  These concepts are the cornerstone ways in which intelligent beings prevail and succeed in the future.  Do you believe that the Curiosity rover is the result of consistent intolerance and hate?  No, it is the dedication to a higher purpose (God, the Universe, what have you) and the constant commitment to peace and understanding that allowed those intelligent beings to spend over 7 years of their life to searching for existence on other planets.

I’m always amazed when individuals call themselves Christians while promoting ideas of inequality, discrimination, and racism.  I thought Christianity was the constant promotion of God’s and Jesus’ unconditional love for humanity.  Am I wrong?  Instead of promoting the negative by giving large donations to similar negative groups, as a Christian, aren’t you supposed to tithe toward those organizations that are consistent with Christian core values?  I am not a Christian.  However, I have had many discussions with good Christian friends.  Also, given the recent terrible attacks in Wisconsin and Colorado, why not take advantage of a sad situation and focus your resources to continue promoting goodness and charity, instead of giving additional monies to groups that promote hatred, bigotry, and homophobia or even put more money into your homeless foundations.  I’m certain they could always use the money.  I simply don’t understand how you have helped so many individuals with your wonderful foundations and yet produce just as much prejudice and negativity in the world.  See, I am a believer in karma and what goes around comes around.  That said, I do wish you the best in all of your endeavors.

Let’s make a deal.  I won’t insult and disrespect you and your family if you don’t insult and disrespect mine, especially within the public arena.  I have a hard time understanding why there is so much hatred, bigotry, and downright supremacy in this world, especially toward gays, not to mention other religions or sub-factions.  I believe it’s because people fear that which they don’t know or understand.  I can guarantee if either one of you had just one close gay friend or family member, your whole outlook might be different.

Based upon your comments in late July, I, personally, will not be stepping foot in any Chick-Fil-A’s, but I never have stepped foot in a Chick-Fil-A to begin with, so I don’t even know what I am or am not missing.   Kidding aside, while I won’t be eating at your establishment, nor any of my gay-friends and family, unfortunately, you are losing out on a great deal of revenue stream.  And, if you think that gay people make up for only 10% of the US Population, rest assured, you are wrong.  We are everywhere.  We come from all walks of life.  We are Jews, we are Christians, and we are here to stay!  We could even be your neighbors.  Out of those 200 children your father has fostered over the years, there is a good chance that about 20-25 of those individuals were gay.  I hope you wouldn’t alienate or turn you back on them (your extended “family”) as you have the millions of gay and gay friendly individuals in the United States.  One more fact, there are more people that support marriage equality for all in this country than don’t.  Thus, your sentiments are already in the minority. 

Marriage equality is coming and will happen whether you agree or not.  It’s just a matter of time.  That said, I have a challenge for both you and your father.  Since I believe with all my heart if you had a gay brother or close family member that were to be gay, you would want them to be treated as equals, right?  Therefore, I offer my close friendship.  In other words, I will be your gay BFF, at no charge, just to help you understand that gay people are the exact same as everyone else.  We are not scary.  I think you’ll find we are actually more fun and more intelligent than your current friends.  I freely offer you my services as a gay bestie.  What do you think?  Give me 6 months and I’m sure I can help you understand more than just the fabulous gay life, as I like to call it.   Additionally, it might create a great PR boost for you too.  Please feel free to contact me at the below number.

Lastly, I just want to reiterate two things: 
1) People with “influence” or perceived power need to be cautious with their public announcements.
2) Please remember that words of inequality and prejudice perpetuate feelings of inadequacies, insecurities, and could incidentally cause young Christians, of like-mind to you and your core religious values, to potentially harm themselves or others. 

To your continued success,
Seth E Santoro
Gay Chicken Enthusiast
323-204-2974
sethsantoro@mac.com


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