How Can Fast Food Chicken Politics Divide Montanans So Badly?
It's incredibly easy. Parts of Montana are already a tinderbox for so many topics - housing, urban camping, politics, cost of living, etc. Throw in a chain restaurant with a significant political, religious, and social slant and you've got yourself an old fashioned screaming match.
The difference is that although everyone is entitled to their opinion and point of view, online conversations so often deteriorate into keyboard warriors slinging mud on each other. Companies like Hobby Lobby, Whole Foods, and Chick-fil-A all fall into the category of 'Hot Button Companies'.
NOTE: Before I go any further, this piece isn't about how I feel, or my opinion. BUT, for clarity's sake: I have always, and always will choose to speak (as a consumer) with my money. I have ALWAYS tried to spend my dollars at locally owned businesses as opposed to national chains. When a business of any kind operates in a manner that doesn't align with my beliefs, I don't spend a dime there. That's it.
Let's take a look at the news of Chick-fil-A coming to Bozeman. The latest piece of information is that there will be TWO locations in Bozeman, one of which may be located on the Montana State campus. (A sign in the SUB stated Spring of 2024 but as of this writing, not one news outlet has been able to confirm through Chick-fil-A.) At first glance, many thought that was curious given the company's religious stance and the non-affiliation of MSU with any particular religion. But wherever they end up, the physical location isn't the point of people's discourse.
It turns out BTW, Chick-fil-A has locations on a TON of college campuses. About 300 of them, so that's absolutely nothing new. But the actual locations were just one of the many issues that have been argued about online regarding the new Chick-fil-A branches, and big companies in general. Politics, staffing, religion, wages, and housing were all up for grabs.
- "They're company motto is literally - "To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us." Just know that's where your money is going. Their leadership does NOT stand for inclusion no matter what bull**** they put on their marketing crap."
- "Not another big corporation!!"
- "It's a private company and they can do whatever the hell they want. If you don't like it, go have a pride picnic."
- "Good luck finding people to work there. Everyone is still short staffed. You can't park anywhere on campus. And God won't pay your rent in Bozeman."
- "A reason to go to Bozeman!!"
- "Chick-fila is not shy about being totally religious. Their own website says this - 'From the beginning, Truett based his business on Biblical principles that he believed were also good business principles, and since 1982, our Corporate Purpose has guided all that we do.'"
- "STFU. The McDonald's PAC donated $213,000 to members of the House of Representatives who voted against the Equality Act. F***ing hypocrite."
- "Yet another reason to never go to Bozeman."
- "Glad to hear, love their traditional values and Christian based business approach. Bozeman could use a lot more of this."
- "Right, because "traditional values" and the "Christian based business approach" have both done wonders for America..."
- "There's plenty of God Squad people in Montana to support companies like this. And plenty more stupid people who don't care that their (sic) money is supporting conservative politics."
- "People who work there are some of the nicest I've ever met. I don't think they'll find that many nice people in Bozeman."
- "Will be interesting to see how any of the new businesses do when people can't even staff what's already here and businesses are closing."
It's very important to note that although the Chick-Fil-A CEO (who also happens to be the son of the founder), has reportedly donated millions of dollars over the years to anti LGBTQ+ groups and politicians, the chain itself has not since 2012. There are many layers to the story and it's difficult to REALLY know where your Chick-fil-A dollars go - if you care. According to Business Insider:
Chick-fil-A announced in November 2019 it would cease donations to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, instead supporting charities tied to "three specific initiatives of homelessness, hunger and education."
Cathy has continued to be involved in civil and philanthropic efforts. In 2020, in the aftermath of George Floyd's death, Dan Cathy wrote a letter to Chick-fil-A employees calling for them to "join together to build a world that reflects God's love for all of us."