In the last week the media world tied itself into a knot after a writer at The New Yorker wrote a scathing critique of Chick-Fil-A’s continued success in New York. The issue, in part, was that the critique wasn’t totally focused at Chick-Fil-A itself but had its sights set on Christian values. A few quotes from the piece:
- The brand's arrival here feels like an infiltration…Â because of its pervasive Christian traditionalism.
- Its headquarters, in Atlanta, are adorned with Bible verses and a statue of Jesus washing a disciple's feet.
- The restaurant's corporate purpose still begins with the words â€˜to glorify God.'
My question for you today: would you have fired your employee for saying or writing this kind of thing, knowing that his or her actions reflect on you as an employer?Â Â
Bloomberg’s rebuttal was one of the most insightful responses to the article because it not only highlighted much of the anti-Christian sentiment, but also demonstrated that the hatred for Christianity is in part a hatred of immigrants, minorities, and women, as they hold disproportionately large segments of the Christian faith. Full disclosure: it’sÂ my Christian faith, as well. A snippet from the Bloomberg piece:
In other words, American Christianity is growing heavily through immigrants who are people of color. If Christians are really so scary, maybe it's time to build that wall.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the article shouldn't have been published. I don't think the New Yorker owes anybody an apology. I'm a free-speech guy, and I don't believe any group should be placed beyond criticism or mockery. But if you plan to mock, it's useful to know whom you're actually mocking.
Narrow-mindedness of this sort is alarmingly common on the left. A few years ago, a well-known progressive commentator mused to his large Twitter following that sometimes he wishes all the Christians would just disappear. I would like to believe he was simply too uninformed to realize that he was wishing for a whiter world.
Now, the question I’m posing today is whether you’d terminate someone for this kind of language at work. In this case the author of the piece has some leeway to stir the pot as a member of the press, and if the goal was to get interest and readership then they have definitely made that happen with this particular article. How would you respond if an employee posted something like this on their social media channels?
My response for the author (not that he needs another one) would be to eat where he wants to eat and leave the rest of us alone. Nobody forces him to eat at Chick-Fil-A. The same freedoms that allow him to write silly clickbait articles like this one are the same freedoms that let him choose where and when he eats his food. And I can’t speak for New York locations, but the ones here in Alabama offer the most pleasant ordering and dining service experience of any fast food restaurant I’ve ever visited in my thirty plus years. The food is good (breakfast is my favorite), but it isn’t something miraculously out of this world. Bottom line: whether they’re serving me and my family well to help the bottom line or to “glorify God,” as is their mission, the end result is still the same for my side of the equation.
Back to the story at hand… Employers, especially for the rest of us in outside the news and publishing industry, how would you respond to an employee writing something like this on their Facebook page, a personal blog, or posting a video with these kinds of comments on Instagram/Snapchat?