A Beef With Chick-fil-A

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Let's get real. We don't always feel good about ourselves after dining at a fast-food establishment. When we chow down at McDonald's, Taco Bell, wherever, we're filling our pieholes with highly processed substances that by and large bear only a passing resemblance to the natural state in which they (presumably) once existed. Not only do we not know where they come from, we don't know what they're made of, or how those ingredients were made.

In other words, we know nutrition isn't the value in "value meal." Of course, that's a tradeoff, one that most (if not all) of us make, and make knowingly.

But other compromises and consequences that accompany our consumerism aren't nearly as conspicuous as, say, mystery meat and jiggly thighs.

Multimillion-dollar contributions to radical special-interest groups, for instance.

According to a press release distributed today by the gay-rights watchdog group Equality Matters, popular Atlanta-based fried-poultry purveyor Chick-fil-A donated more than $1.7 million in 2009 to groups that explicitly oppose gay marriage. The donations were made through the WinShape Foundation, a charity founded by the fast-food chain's founder and chairman, S. Truett Cathy. The bulk of bucks went to the Marriage & Family Legacy Fund, which was co-founded by Donald "Bubba" Cathy, Chick-fil-A's senior vice president. Other recipients include the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Focus on the Family and Phyllis Schlafly's nonprofit, the Eagle Forum.

WinShape has been supporting groups that promote so-called family values for a long time, but Equality Matters' tally showed that 2009 (the most recent year for which IRS information is available) was a banner year. In the five years prior to '09, WinShape's donations to similar causes totaled more than $1 million.

Earlier this year Chick-fil-A's COO, Dan Cathy, caused a stir in St. Louis when area gay-rights activists successfully lobbied the Clayton Chamber of Commerce and the nonprofit group FOCUS St. Louis to disinvite him to a luncheon at which he'd been booked to speak.

Next time the cows in Chick-fil-A's commercials beckon you to "eat mor chikin," bear in mind that your sandwich, wrap or nuggets comes with a side order of homophobia, whether you order it or not.

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