Skip to main content

🚨 URGENT: Mere Orthodoxy Needs YOUR Help

One More on Chick-Fil-A, with John Corvino

August 9th, 2012 | 2 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

I've had company in town and have been frantically putting together last-second arrangements for our trip across the ocean, so things have been a little quiet for me.  But this week John Corvino and I decided to tag-team the Chick-Fil-A issue and to say something sensible about the whole thing.

If you don't know John's name, well, you should.  He's one of the most careful gay apologists I know and is someone who has become a friend.  We've dialogued about some of these issues publicly before and we'd like to keep that up (which means if you have a budget, we will travel!).

I've a forthcoming review of his co-authored book with Maggie Gallagher on same-sex marriage, which is as good a place as any to wade into the debate as I've seen.  But in the meantime, here's our latest serving of commentary on the Chick-Fil-A brouhaha.

Sometimes a chicken sandwich is just a chicken sandwich. Except, it seems, when it’s from Chick-Fil-A, and you find yourself in the midst of a culture war. In fact, the two of us are passionate participants in that war: Matthew is the lead writer at and a socially conservative evangelical Christian; John is a gay man, a religious skeptic, and a well known marriage-equality advocate.

We differ on the definition of marriage, the existence of God, and other important stuff. Yet we’re also friends, not in the happy-pappy “can’t we all just get along” sense, or worse, in the self-congratulatory “look at how tolerant I am” sense, but in a more challenging and thus more meaningful way. We actually listen to each other, even when it’s hard.

Which is how we discovered last week some common ground in the whole Chick-Fil-A brouhaha. Some of it is easy: We agree that Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy has the right to opine as he wishes on controversial topics, however unwise a business decision that may be; that religious conservatives have a right to express their solidarity by eating fried chicken for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, however unwise a dietary decision that may be; and that gays and their allies have a right to boycott the restaurant and to protest peacefully, however ineffectual such boycotts may be. For comparison, consider the National Organization for Marriage’s “Dump Starbucks” campaign. (Starbucks supports marriage for same-sex couples.)


Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is an Associate Professor of Ethics and Theology in Baylor University's Honors College. He has a D.Phil. in Christian Ethics from Oxford University, and is a Perpetual Member of Biola University's Torrey Honors College. In 2005, he founded Mere Orthodoxy.