The Corner

Chikin Derangement Syndrome

Dan Piepenbring is not, it is fair to say, a fan of Chick-fil-A. He is at odds with its owners’ opposition to same sex marriage (FWIW, I don’t agree with their stance either), and more generally their embrace of a form of traditionalist Christianity:

New York has taken to Chick-fil-A. One of the Manhattan locations estimates that it sells a sandwich every six seconds, and the company has announced plans to open as many as a dozen more storefronts in the city. And yet the brand’s arrival here feels like an infiltration, in no small part because of its pervasive Christian traditionalism. Its headquarters, in Atlanta, is adorned with Bible verses and a statue of Jesus washing a disciple’s feet.

Disciple’s feet, Bible verses, wait a second, scroll back….

An infiltration?

That’s a—how shall I put this— interesting word to choose. It suggests that Christian traditionalism (and no, that’s not my thing either, but live and let live) simply doesn’t belong in New York City: Diversity, it seems, can only be taken so far.  Piepenbring is fully entitled to his opinions, and any magazine is fully entitled to publish them, but I wonder if the New Yorker–a proud standard-bearer of what it considers to be liberalism–would have been quite so keen on an article suggesting, say, that Halal food carts represented some sort of ‘infiltration’.

New York City currently has six Chick-fil-A restaurants.


Adding another dozen would take the total to eighteen, in a city of well over eight million.

Piepenbring also disapproves of the chain’s advertising:

It’s impossible to overstate the role of the Cows—in official communiqués, they always take a capital “C”—who are displayed in framed portraits throughout the Fulton Street location. If the restaurant is a megachurch, the Cows are its ultimate evangelists. Since their introduction in the mid-nineties—when they began advising Atlanta motorists to “eat mor chikin”—they’ve remained one of the most popular, and most morbid, advertising campaigns in fast-food history.

Morbid? Oh dear.

But it’s hard to avoid the impression that Piepenbring’s real beef (I’m sorry) is with Chick-fil-A’s  Christian mission, which he can detect, well, everywhere:

The restaurant’s corporate purpose still begins with the words “to glorify God,” and that proselytism thrums below the surface of the Fulton Street restaurant, which has the ersatz homespun ambiance of a megachurch….

[T]here’s something especially distasteful about Chick-fil-A, which has sought to portray itself as better than other fast food: cleaner, gentler, and more ethical, with its poultry slightly healthier than the mystery meat of burgers. Its politics, its décor, and its commercial-evangelical messaging are inflected with this suburban piety.

Good grief.

Sometimes a chicken place is just a chicken place.

And now I feel hungry (googles Chick-fil-A and discovers that the nearest one is just a few minutes away).

Most Popular


Understanding the Mind of Modern Atheists

‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). Anthony DeStefano uses this Bible quote toward the end of his new book Inside the Atheist Mind: Unmasking the Religion of Those Who Say There Is No God, pointing to the resiliency and truth of Christianity. “You can hide it, ... Read More
Economy & Business

How the Constitution Limits State Taxes

Must a company have a physical presence in a state for that state to require it to collect taxes? The Supreme Court is considering that question, which has grown more important as online sales have taken off. The Competitive Enterprise Institute has submitted an excellent brief arguing that the answer is yes, at ... Read More

Off the Shelf: Suicide of the West

Editor’s Note: Every week, Michael Brendan Dougherty writes an “Off the Shelf” column sharing casual observations on the books he's reading and the passing scene. Before social media, Jonah Goldberg would respond to obstreperous emails from a much younger version of me with a characteristically light ... Read More

The Scholarship/Activism Balance — A Rejoinder

The Martin Center recently published an article by sociology professor Fabio Rojas, in which he argued that professors should maintain the right balance between their teaching and scholarship on the one hand, and activism on the other. In today's article, the Center's Jay Schalin pushes back somewhat. Schalin ... Read More