“Lying for Jesus” is not a new tactic, but it’s certainly a hypocritical one, if you’ve decided that it is more important to follow the rules set out in the Bible than to trust your basic human empathy to guide you in dealing with other human beings. It’s fascinating to me that someone can square a dogmatic need to force everyone to adhere to one lesser set of guidelines in the Bible involving where you’re allowed to put your penis, while completely failing to follow one major rule set forth as a Commandment: thou shalt not bear false witness. Bearing false witness means, in no uncertain terms, lying — the rule, therefore, means “do not lie”.
And yet, Chick-Fil-A has possibly lied twice in their recent PR campaign to weather a crisis caused by their anti-gay COO Dan Cathy.
First, the Jim Henson Company pulled its support for and Creature Shop toys from Chick-Fil-A, explicitly decrying the company’s “coming out” as explicitly anti-gay, and throwing their support behind GLAAD. I’m sure you’d heard this by now — there are quite a few Muppet-lovers around these parts, and news about a children’s media company (now owned by Disney, no less) supporting gay rights and decrying a Christian company for their anti-gay stance is definitely newsworthy.
What you may not have heard, however, is that Chick-Fil-A came out with a different explanation for why the toys are no longer being offered: “safety concerns.” The memo:
We apologize for any inconvenience but as of 7/19/2012 Chick-fil-A has voluntarily recalled all of the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Puppet Kids Meal toys due to a possible safety issue. Please be advised that there have not been any cases in which a child has actually been injured, however there have been some reports of children getting their fingers stuck in the holes of the puppets. We are offering a substitution of a complimentary kids icedream cone in its place until a replacement toy is available.
No actual events involving children being injured, just some “reports” of kids getting their fingers stuck. Color me skeptical.
Of especial note is that the memo circulated by Chick-Fil-A stores is dated to the day before the Jim Henson Company’s announcement. It smacks of post-hoc rationalization, and damage control, and desperation; and given the company’s current PR crisis as relates their anti-gay policies, it’s suspicious timing at the very least. It’s exceedingly likely that, since news of this “voluntary recall” is only hitting us now, it’s a bit of revisionist history after the Jim Henson Company’s left hook gave them a black eye.
What’s more, they evidently tried to spread the meme that the Creature Shop toys were pulled before JHC’s announcement… by building fake Facebook accounts. Gizmodo says:
Instead of owning up to the fact that The Jim Henson Company stopped doing business with them because they’re overrun with bigots, the chicken sandwich company appears to have made fake Facebook accounts to defend its honor on the social network. How do we know the accounts are fake? Just check out this back and forth on Chick-fil-A’s Facebook page between real, breathing people and “Abby Farle”, a Facebook account that was made 8 hours ago by a chicken PR flack with a stock image of a teenage girl as her profile picture
Click through for that exchange.
Chick-Fil-A denies that this was done by any representative of the company. This of course means “officially” — it could very well have been an overzealous supporter, or rogue employee, who created the account completely unbidden and solely for the purpose of defending the company and spreading the probably-false meme that Chick-Fil-A “fired first”. The existence of the second incident casts serious doubt — as though there wasn’t enough already — on the first.
It’s a shame there’s no solid evidence for either event presently. Either one would be damning on its own. And I do mean “damning” literally — because it would mean that these Christians bore false witness in order to protect their company from the fallout of having a COO who genuinely believes that homosexuality is immoral because it says so in his loose reading of his holy book.