The backlash against Chick-fil-A has been profound. But as the negative press continues to flow, some conservatives are beginning to step out and defend the fast food chain.
We already told you about Sarah Palin's tough words for those seeking to ban the restaurant from local communities. Evangelist Billy Graham, too, has weighed in as has former presidential candidate Rick Santorum. And today, hundreds of thousands of Americans are pledging to stand by Chick-fil-A amidst calls for the restaurant to be banished from cities across the nation.
Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and a 2008 presidential candidate, created an event called "Support Chick-fil-A." After posting the initiative on Facebook, nearly 586,000 people have pledged to show up to make their voices heard in defense of the company's First Amendment rights. The Christian Post provides more information about the event:
Led by former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day has gained the support of influential Christian leaders including evangelist Billy Graham.
The public event was created in response to the backlash the restaurant was facing after its president, Dan Cathy, affirmed his belief in traditional marriage, or the "biblical definition of the family unit."
His comments were made to the Biblical Recorder, a Baptist publication, and they have been met by protests from the LGBT community, with some elected officials, including the mayor of Boston, threatening to block the company from opening a restaurant in their city.
Chick-fil-A has remained quiet in recent days, despite the outrage that continues to center upon Cathy's words. The Appreciation Day is not endorsed by the company and individuals or family members directly related to Chick-fil-A are not involved.
In a Facebook event posting, Huckabee explained why he has taken charge to launch the day of support:
I have been incensed at the vitriolic assaults on the Chick Fil-A company because the CEO, Dan Cathy, made comments recently in which he affirmed his view that the Biblical view of marriage should be upheld. The Cathy family, led by Chick Fil-A founder Truett Cathy, are a wonderful Christian family who are committed to operating the company with Biblical principles and whose story is the true American success story...
The Chick Fil-A company refuses to open on Sundays so that their employees can go to church if they wish. Despite the pressure from malls, airports, and the business world to open on Sundays, they still don't. They treat customers and employees with respect and dignity.
I ask you to join me in speaking out on Wednesday, August 1 "Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day.” No one is being asked to make signs, speeches, or openly demonstrate. The goal is simple: Let's 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. 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 went on to tell participants not to "be angry or engage in a verbal battle." Instead, he encouraged the hundreds of thousands of supporters to show their appreciation for Chick-fil-A and to stand up for the company's values. Supportive activities might include showing up to purchase food from the business or simply tweeting or Facebooking messages of support online, Huckabee wrote.
"We are for the freedom of Americans to speak their mind and practice their faith," Huckabee explained on Facebook last week. "There is no need to lower ourselves into childish name-calling and screaming. That is what people do when they can't defend or explain their point of view."