COLUMN: Oklahoma's disturbing death march

Anybody who has had the misfortune of being a University of Kansas Jayhawk football fan can likely tell you that the best part of attending a game has nothing to do with the outcome. It's been pretty brutal for several years for KU faithful. But one saving grace has been the readily available fare from Chick-fil-A.

Not satisfied, though, with the long-suffering fans having something to look forward to on otherwise woebegone Saturdays in the fall, a group calling itself "The Sexuality and Gender Diversity Faculty Staff Council" at KU, has written a letter to the KU chancellor. In the letter, they "beseech" him to promote inclusion and tolerance by excluding Chick-fil-A, labeling the restaurant a "bastion of bigotry."

Yes, here we go again.

Chick-fil-A, is considered by many to be one of the most family friendly fast food chains with some of the best-run customer service operations at its restaurants, but it is frequently targeted because it supports organizations such as the Salvation Army, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Family Research Council. The latter of which seems to particularly upset the faculty group.

The faculty group cites FRC as being a "hate group" as labeled by the now widely discredited list compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Pretty much any group that does not align with SPLC's agenda, or is even slightly right of center in its ideology, is labeled a hate group.

The SPLC, meanwhile, has had its own problems recently with its co-founder dismissed and president resigning after numerous claims of sexual harassment and both racial and gender discrimination within the group that professes tolerance.

And what makes Chick-fil-A so abhorrent to the faculty group? Much of it has to do with the belief that marriage should be viewed in the biblical sense. In other words, a union between a man and a woman.

Activists remain particularly aggrieved that Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy told the Biblical Recorder in 2012, “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit.… We are a family owned business, a family led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."

Even more audacious? The chain closes on Sunday to allow time for family and worship. What seems to particularly trouble folks like the faculty group at KU is Chick-fil-A continues to be successful. Attempts to discredit the restaurant have failed. It is clear the American people have spoken, and it's not a reach to state Chick-fil-A's beliefs are not in disagreement with mainstream America.

Oh, and it's food is consistently ranked among the best against its competitors.

For the record, the Family Research Council states on its website "our vision is a prevailing culture in which all human life is valued, families flourish, and religious liberty thrives."

Both the Salvation Army and FCA have long established programs of support and community service that promote both charity and responsibility. The focus of either organization has hardly been on the issue of gay marriage. FCA is particularly well-known for promoting responsibility among young athletes through its speakers and mentors.

It is doubtful any members of the offended KU faculty group have actually attended such an FCA presentation.

The KU faculty group states Chick-fil-A has "donated $1.8 million to anti-LGBTQ groups," without providing supporting documentation, recklessly adding that "Chick-fil-A fosters hate and discrimination on multiple levels."

The faculty letter bemoans the marginalization of the LGBTQ community and seemingly lays it mostly at the feet of chicken sandwiches and waffle fries.

With a complete lack of self-awareness, the faculty wants Chick-fil-A ousted as soon as contractually possible and that would include no longer sponsoring the opening coin toss or having a restaurant in the student union, claiming the student union is a safe space, presumably now threatened by the mere presence of a Chick-fil-A wrapper.

It is very unlikely the aggrieved faculty group sees the irony of cries of being marginalized while seeking to completely marginalize and exclude a company for not marching in lockstep with their beliefs.

So much for embracing true diversity. Maybe the faculty group should look inward. There, it may find an actual "bastion of bigotry."

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Ruthenberg is a multiple award-winning columnist and writer for the Enid News & Eagle. Contact him at

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