Two long-standing and well-known
American corporations have reaped very different rewards for their very
different positions in the marriage debate.
with over 1,600 restaurants across the U.S., is a privately held and
family-owned company that has never been shy about the conservative Christian
views held by its owners. According to the official bio of President
and Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy (son of founder Truett
Cathy), the “Corporate Purpose” of Chik-fil-A is: “To
glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have
a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”
has long drawn
the ire of pro-homosexual groups for its financial support, to the tune of
millions of dollars, to pro-family organizations such as the Fellowship of
Christian Athletes, the Family Research Council, the Marriage and Family
Foundation, and so on. Most of such donations come from the company’s nonprofit
WinShape Foundation, which has existed since 1984.
spite of its opposition, the company has thrived. For 44
consecutive years, Chick-fil-A has
experienced positive sales growth. Last year, annual sales were over $4.1
billion. Part of this is almost certainly due to the fact that many, especially
Christians, who believe in traditional (biblical) marriage, go out of their way
to support the restaurant.
Mr. Cathy (Dan) reinforced the company’s position on marriage. In an article
published in the Baptist Press he stated, “We are very much supportive of the
family — the biblical definition of the family unit.” Cathy added that, “We are
a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first
wives. We give God thanks for that.”
the other hand is JC Penney. With over 1,100 stores in all 50 states, like
Chick-fil-A, Penney’s (as it is frequently known) is
an American icon. The department store chain was founded in 1913 by James Cash
his early twenties, Penney began work in the Golden Rule stores. The owners
were so impressed with his work ethic that they offered him a share in a new
store that Penney himself would open. He later opened two more stores, and by
1907 purchased full interest in all three stores. This was the beginning of the
JC Penney brand.
1920, there were 120 stores nationwide. By the time of the 1929 stock market
crash, there were 1,400 stores. Penney lost all of his personal wealth in the
crash, and this took a great toll on his health. While receiving treatment, according
to the Southern Baptist Convention, Penney became a born-again Christian
after hearing the hymn “God Will Take Care of You” being sung in the hospital
chapel. Passing away at the age of 95, Penney lived a long life of significant philanthropy.
the recent actions of his company, one has to wonder if Penney is not “rolling
over in his grave.” Prior to Father’s Day of this year Penney’s
released a print ad that featured a same-sex male couple hugging their two
children. The ad reads: “What makes Dad so cool? He's the swim coach, tent
maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver—all rolled into one. Or two.”
company also featured a lesbian couple in its May catalog for Mother’s Day.
This is in addition to hiring outspoken homosexual activist Ellen DeGeneres as
spokesperson in early 2012. Early this year, American Family Association and
other pro-family organizations began a
campaign urging their supporters to contact JC Penney and request that
Penney’s at least “remain neutral” in the culture wars.
is significant evidence that this campaign is working. In the middle of June of
this year, after only 8 months on the job, Penney’s president Michael Francis
left the company. Francis was responsible for the hiring of DeGeneres and the
pro-same-sex marriage ads.
Also, since February of
this year, Penney’s stock has tumbled. It has lost over 50% of its value,
falling from a price of $41.32 to a low of $20.02. What’s more, according to American Family Association,
“Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered its credit rating on J.C.
Penney Co. further into ‘junk’ status.”
Some will dismiss these
occurrences as anecdotal, but I believe that there is more to it than that.
Both of these companies are large and have high profiles. Their positions in the
marriage debate have been widely reported and have elicited passionate
This, combined with the
fact that EVERY time (32 for 32) same-sex marriage has been before a state
electorate in the United States, it has been SOUNDLY defeated (by an average of
67% to 33%), reveals that Americans are willing to stand up for traditional
(biblical) marriage, not only with their wallets, but also at the ballot box.
Of course, as we approach
the November elections and the campaigns are white-hot, there is a message here
for all politicians: supporting traditional (biblical) marriage is a winning
proposition. We’ll see who is paying attention.
Copyright 2012, Trevor
At the Intersection of
Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason