NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- Former presidential candidate and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says he is "incensed" at the way Chick-fil-A has been treated in recent days, and he is launching a nationwide Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day for Aug. 1, urging people to visit the restaurant that day or to make their support known via social media.
The company has been the source of criticism -- and the object of calls for boycotts -- since its president, Dan Cathy, was quoted in a Biblical Recorder article and in a radio interview as standing up for the biblical definition of marriage. Baptist Press re-posted the Biblical Recorder interview.
On Monday (July 23) the Jim Henson Company -- makers of children's shows such as "The Muppets," "Sid the Science Kid," "Dinosaur Train" and "Pajanimals" -- announced it would not partner with Chick-fil-A again in the future. The Jim Henson Company, at various times, has supplied the toys for the restaurant's kids' meals.
"The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors," a statement read. "Lisa Henson, our CEO is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD ."
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino went as far as saying he would work to block a Chick-fil-A from opening in the city. Although there are 1,600 Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide, Massachusetts so far has only two. Gay marriage is legal in the state.
"Chick-fil-A doesn't belong in Boston," Menino said according to the Boston Herald. "You can't have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against the population. We're an open city, we're a city that's at the forefront of inclusion. ... And we're not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the the name is, on our Freedom Trail."
The Freedom Trail is a path through the streets of Boston highlighting historic sites from the time of the Revolutionary War.
Huckabee says Chick-fil-A's supporters need to speak up. He has launched a website, www.ISupportChickFilA.com, where people can "RSVP" that they intend to participate Aug. 1.
"No one is being asked to make signs, speeches, or openly demonstrate," Huckabee wrote on his Facebook page. "The goal is simple: Let's affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick-Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1. Too often, those on the left make corporate statements to show support for same sex marriage, abortion, or profanity, but if Christians affirm traditional values, we're considered homophobic, fundamentalists, hate-mongers, and intolerant.
"This effort is not being launched by the Chick-Fil-A company and no one from the company or family is involved in proposing or promoting it."
Huckabee concluded, "There's no need for anyone to be angry or engage in a verbal battle. Simply affirm appreciation for a company run by Christian principles by showing up on Wednesday, August 1 or by participating online -- tweeting your support or sending a message on Facebook."
Huckabee said he has "been incensed at the vitriolic assaults" on Chick-fil-A since Cathy made his comments. Continued...