Do You Respect Your Money?

by JT McGee

I will not go to Chick Fil A.You don’t have to hug, love, squeeze and kiss your money to respect it.

And I don’t expect anyone to iron their $1 bills so that they’re always crisp.

But do you respect your money to realize it’s true power–its value as a vote?

Just a few weeks ago, I was reminded in the worst way that my money is my vote.

Chick Fil A

Anyone who knows me knows that I can rant and rave about Chick Fil A all day long. A fast food restaurant, it has to be the best in the US. The food is excellent, and even though they sell fried chicken in every form, it is perennially ranked as one of the healthiest places to eat.

The stores are always super clean. The workers are the friendliest people on the planet—even if it’s forced. Company policy dictates that employees have to say “my pleasure” if you say “thank you” after receiving your food. This is a world-class organization, really.

Chick Fil A’s founder is a Christian, and it’s evident. The company is closed on Sundays to allow employees to attend church and time with family. To get a coveted franchise, owners have to be very involved in their church. You have to be a Christian to own a franchise, something which has tested the boundaries of private property.

Even though I’m a Creaster and will never have the chance to own a Chick Fil A franchise, I’m not upset. Whatever. It’s their company, they can do with it what they want. I’ll still go there even if they wouldn’t let me own one.

The Big Bang – Where My Money Goes

Recently, I became aware that Chick Fil A donates millions of dollars each year to anti-gay groups. These millions of dollars are for the express purpose of promoting a strong family unit.

Do we need stronger families? Uh, duh. Families who are close can weather most any storm. I’m convinced that the world would be a better place if families were closer. But to what end can I take this viewpoint?

Should we really embrace the idea that the best way to build a strong family is to protest gay rights? Are gay people seriously responsible for negative social changes? Couldn’t we spend money in better ways?

Each time I go to Chick Fil A, maybe only $.01 of my $7.00 purchase is going to these organizations, which really isn’t all that much money.

But this isn’t a question of the relative value of one cent or one dollar, it’s about efficiency. How can I let my money, no matter how little, trickle to an organization that attacks one group for a problem of the others? Couldn’t we save the hurt feelings and hatred and fix the problem with the funds instead?

Marry who you want, even if Chick-Fil-A doesn't like it.

I made a choice

I made a choice that day not to go to Chick Fil A again. I haven’t been back for…oh, several months? Quite some time; I used to go once a week.

It may be just a penny, Chick Fil A, but I have to respect it. I’d rather see that we meet goals by bringing the group up, rather than bringing a minority down. A rising tide lifts all boats.

Photo by: Micah Taylor david_shankbone

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea @SoOverDebt September 21, 2011 at 07:43

WHOA, slow down there, JT. This is about the furthest to the left I’ve ever seen you lean; wouldn’t want you to fall off the edge!

I’m with you – I love Chick-Fil-A in ways that are almost unnatural, but I don’t want to fund their intolerance. It’s one thing to be a Christian company (though I only crave their food on Sundays for some reason), but it’s another to send part of their profits, however small the percentage, to groups that think “family” is only defined one way.


JT September 21, 2011 at 08:35

Hey now, this is a fundamental conservative position! You can’t support small government yet yield to government the power to regulate marriage as if it were a product of the state.

I don’t care who, what, or when people marry. For me to care, I would have to consent to others to care about what I do. No thanks!

And yeah…I’m totally craving a chicken sandwich meal – no pickles – with a Coke. Gotta large size it though, becuase I love me some waffle fries.


Niki September 21, 2011 at 07:52

Good for you!

I think more people should be aware of what their money is funding. No matter how small the sum.


JT September 21, 2011 at 08:37

I think so too. I’d go so far to say that it’s our responsibility!


Jonathan September 21, 2011 at 09:57

First of all, I fully support your right to “vote with your wallet” anywhere you please. I do the same.

However, it’s a ridiculous argument to say that Chic-Fil-A spends millions of dollars a year on an anti-gay agenda. No, they spend millions of dollars a year supporting Christian ministry organizations in order to spread the gospel message. And as part of that message, many of these organizations speak out against sin in the world. Many people don’t like to hear the gospel, but a) that doesn’t make it any less true, and b) that doesn’t mean Chic-Fil-A should stop. I find it refreshing that a large and well-known company wouldn’t succumb to PC pressures to water down their beliefs and their mission.

But I do wish they were open on Sunday!


JT September 21, 2011 at 11:16

It isn’t that I don’t think you should be able to broadcast, through whatever medium you deem necessary, a view on a particular issue. Everyone has a right to believe, say, or express themselves however they’d like, even if you’re on the extreme. Westboro Baptist Church is known for very controversial views, but they still have the right to broadcast their views.

I have a problem where feelings intersect with public policy. The institution of marriage, for example, is an important social institution as much as it is a political institution. Tax policy is heavily intertwined with the construct of marriage.

To deny a minority access to “marriage” as a government institution is to say that one person may have access to these “goodies,” but others cannot. (It wasn’t even that long ago that interracial marriage were illegal–the tyranny of majority strikes again.) Surely you can see this to be a problem from a very practical level.

Also from a very practical level, it does make sense to treat others as you would like to be treated, no? The decline of religious institutions in the United States is obvious, and if trends continue those who believe in the ideas promoted by the above groups will find themselves in the minority within a matter of a generation, if not sooner.

Shouldn’t believers be concerned that when believers fall into the minority, the majority may use the force of government to disallow believers from certain benefits, and/or rights?

With the understanding that believers may be in the minority in the not so distant future, then would you accept the reality that the majority can, by government fiat, create economic institutions that put the minority at a disadvantage to the majority? For example: Should a law removing the mortgage interest tax deduction for believers be considered fair game?

These are just hypothetical questions, but I’d like to hear your take.


Jonathan September 21, 2011 at 11:43

I understand your perspective on this, and I’m not a huge fan of Christian organizations getting involved in political lobbying; I do believe, though, that they should be able to fight for what they believe, and this includes working to slow what many see as the inexorable decline of society, as defined by biblical morality – in the same way as people on the other side of arguments (whether gay marriage, abortion, allowing prayer in schools, whatever) are free to fight for their idea of right.

As far as believers being persecuted by the majority, that may happen – it’s happened plenty of times in the past and I would argue that in many ways it happens today.


tom September 21, 2011 at 13:58


Did you read the linked article?

“The WinShape Foundation is Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm and receives millions of dollars every year from the fast food chain. Every year since 2003, WinShape has worked with the Marriage CoMission, a coalition of anti-gay groups, to host a summit on “traditional” marriage at WinShape’s Georgia retreat center.

The summit has served as a meeting ground for some of the country’s most notorious anti-gay activists, including NOM’s Maggie Gallagher , the Ruth Institutes’ Jennifer Roback Morse, Institute for American Values’ David Blankenhorn, and Focus on the Family president Jim Daly.”

It is quite clear that Chick-fil-a is promoting an anti-gay marriage agenda.


Eric J. Nisall September 21, 2011 at 12:20

I support your decision to stand on your principles even though you gave up something you crave. I’m in the same boat as I believe in the human right to happiness and to live their own lives. I’ve never been fond of organized religion and prefer to live by the “golden rule” so I won’t even go there. Good thing I’ve never even been to Chick Fil A or else I might have a decision on my hands too, now that I know this.


JT McGee September 25, 2011 at 11:28

Yeah, the “Golden Rule” is more up my alley. I don’t want to be persecuted because I’m straight, so there’s no reason to hate on those who aren’t.


Ashley @ Money Talks September 21, 2011 at 12:31

I didn’t know about their anti-gay funding. But it doesn’t surprise me. I agree with everything you said. It’s their business to do what they want with their business and money. And it’s my business with what I do with my money.

For some reason my kids are always HORRIBLE when we go to Chick-fil-A and for that reason we haven’t been in years. It’s so weird because normally they are very well behaved. There’s something in the air there.

I didn’t have plans to go back there, but now I know I won’t. Maybe when they give stuff away for free? Free stuff only! lol.


JT McGee September 25, 2011 at 11:28

Haha, yeah–I’ll use the free stuff to drain their resources. As for why your kids act up at CFA, I would like to take a guess–those awesome Chick Fil A mints!


20's Finances September 21, 2011 at 15:45

I too didn’t know about this. I don’t eat fast-food very often, and there aren’t any in my area (that I know of), but it is good to keep in mind. It will be hard to pass up the humorous “my pleasure,” but it is definitely worth it. Great post! Put your money where your beliefs are. That sounds like a good slogan. 🙂


JT McGee September 25, 2011 at 11:29

I can live by that! You should always use your money as your vote, because no one else is going to look after you if you don’t look after yourself.


Financial Success For Young Adults September 21, 2011 at 18:32

I love Chic Fil A! And I am a Christian! (So with that said, I will try to make my comment as unbiased as possible 😀 )

You definitely have a right to vote with your dollars. Some people don’t buy stuff from Wal-mart because of the way they destroy small businesses. Others boycotted a famous supermodels’s clothing line when they found out that she sourced mistreated factory labor. In this day and age, sometimes the only way to voice your opinion is through your wallet.

With that said, Chic Fil A has the right to be closed on Sunday, treat all customers with that extra ounce of service, and support what they believe to be true. I would actually be more surprised if they gave money to gay rights activists.

Chic Fil A = Christian organization
Christian organization = Do not support gays
Do not support gays = ?
What other action would you propose they take to uphold their beliefs?

(Personally, I think denial of marriage rights to gays has much more to do with politics but that’s another discussion.)

If they think that is the best way to follow their beliefs then more power to them. I will still get my spicy chicken sandwich and cookies and cream shake.


JT McGee September 25, 2011 at 11:37

I can understand your logic flow. What I’m saying is that maybe there are better ways to allocate money to advance humanity than to pick on a minority. I mean, there are plenty of families with a mother and father (male and female) who have issues not at all related to gays.

If the goal is to strengthen families, don’t you think we should “fix” the problems of straight families before tearing down others to promote strong families? It’s a question of efficiency above all else.


Financial Success For Young Adults September 25, 2011 at 11:56

Very true. I would rather positive reinforcement any day.


krantcents September 21, 2011 at 19:56

Many corporations express their values in charity, sometimes their values clash with mine. I do not frequent those places. There are plenty of choices.


Market Maker September 21, 2011 at 20:37

I don’t but my wife sure does…. 🙂


Hunter @ Financially Consumed September 22, 2011 at 19:11

Great topic JT.

In boggles my mind when groups campaign for family values by denouncing gays and lesbians. Every family has gay and lesbian members.

Reply September 23, 2011 at 16:21

That’s the nice thing about voting with your wallet, you can do what you wish with your money, and they do the same. Consequences for them is that they don’t get your business. Consequences for you is no waffle fries.


Funancials September 23, 2011 at 18:14

I have a few thoughts here:

1. Chic fil a gives so much free food away, you could easily enjoy their chicken without having to spend a dollar. That way you’re not funding the anti-gay groups.
2. I only skimmed the linked article; but when hearing “National Christian Foundation, Campus Crusade for Christ, and Fellowship for Christian Athletes,” I don’t think of anti-gay. I participated with 2 of these organizations at one point and don’t ever remember hearing anything anti-gay.
3. How bold would it be for them to rebrand as Chil-Fil-Gay?


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