U.S. Rep. James Lankford’s Twitter picture of a Chick-fil-A smorgasbord of grease, salt and fat is the epitome of political pandering and bigotry. It also promotes unhealthy eating in a state with an extremely high obesity rate.
On Wednesday, as the Republican politician and his staff celebrated the hateful, anti-gay remarks of Chick-fil-A executive Dan Cathy, Lankford used his Twitter account to reach out to his constituents, who might not know where he stands when it comes to the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) community.
Lankford had this to say: “My staff wants to say thanks to @chickfila for the great lunch they bought there today #eatmorchikin http://twitpic.com/aeb26t.” The accompanying photograph, posted above, showed a cornucopia of Chick-fil-A food, a high-calorie, high-salt feast of unhealthy food.
Cathy, of course, is under fire by many big-city mayors and equality groups for his stance opposing same-sex marriage, which is really just a small part of the company’s right-wing religious ideology that seems cultish, according to a 2007 Forbes article titled “The Cult of Chick-fil-A.”
Here is a Huffington Post piece that outlines the company’s anti-LGBT efforts, which include giving money to hate groups.
Lankford, who represents Oklahoma 5th Congressional district, is a well-known religious ideologue, who once operated youth programming at the Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center in Davis. It’s no wonder he’s celebrating unhealthy food with his fellow homophobes, but it still remains remarkable that a politician representing urban areas-even in Oklahoma-can get away with it. It may take another decade, but this will change.
Maybe he can get away with it because of the one-sided reporting of the Wednesday grease-and-salt fest by the state’s largest conservative news operation, The Oklahoman and its site, NewsOK.com, which posted a poll showing only 22.37 voting participants “protest against” Chick-fil-A. That number almost perfectly matches the number of college graduates in Oklahoma, which stands at 22.9 percent of the population.
Much has been made that Chick-fil-A has a right to express its archaic, hateful views, and that’s true, but it doesn’t have a right to discriminate at its franchises.
According to the Forbes article:
Chick-fil-A, the corporate parent, has been sued at least 12 times since 1988 on charges of employment discrimination, according to records in U.S. District Courts. Aziz Latif, a former Chick-fil-A restaurant manager in Houston, sued the company in 2002 after Latif, a Muslim, says he was fired a day after he didn’t participate in a group prayer to Jesus Christ at a company training program in 2000. The suit was settled on undisclosed terms.
The LGBT community and its vast number of supporters throughout the country also have a right to boycott Chick-fil-A and encourage others to do so as well. Basic human fairness and cultural awareness are on their side and will remain so.
Sales spiked for Chick-fil-A on its somewhat impromptu appreciation day, but one can’t help but think that the continued publicizing of the company’s extremist religious views and actions are going to hurt sales at their restaurants, especially in moderate and progressive states. Company executives should enjoy their one-day victory because it will prove to be fleeting.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s obesity rate is 31.4 percent, according to a 2011 report. Lankford’s celebration of greasy, salt-laden, unhealthy food, even in a supposed religious cause, along with his intolerance, should not be acceptable. I wrote about the nutritional values of some Chick-fil-A food here.