Conservative radio and TV host Mike Huckabee and the National Organization for Marriage are calling on people to eat at Chick-fil-A on Wednesday to support Dan Cathy, the company's president, who is being attacked by gay activists for saying in recent interviews that he supports traditional marriage.
"Imagine if folks all across the country united together in support of heroes like Dan and Truett Cathy that stand for strengthening marriage and family!" wrote Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, on Saturday.
"Imagine the potential impact the message that companies favoring the radical redefinition of marriage risk fallout with their customers – combined with the message that heroes who stand for marriage and family cannot be silenced!"
The National Eat at Chick-fil-A Day on July 25 is in response to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists urging people to boycott Chick-fil-A after Dan Cathy responded to the Biblical Recorder's question about the company's support for the traditional family saying, "Well, guilty as charged."
"We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."
"We intend to stay the course," Cathy said. "We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."
Cathy's comment caused a media firestorm, with Hollywood actor Ed Helms, who played Dr. Stu Price in "The Hangover" films, tweeting, "Chick-fil-A doesn't like gay people? So lame. Hate to think what they do to gay chickens. Lost a loyal fan."
And many angry messages were left on Chick-fil-A's Facebook page, including:
"Hate mongers! Never again! Not another $ from me," Duke Richards wrote.
Similarly, Blake Brown left the message, "Goodbye Chikkk-fil-a! your food was delicious, but I can no longer eat nuggets filled with hate!"
In response to the boycott threats against Chick-fil-A, Mike Huckabee, who was a 2008 presidential candidate, last week called on his radio show listeners to support the Cathy family by making July 25th National Eat at Chick-fil-A Day.
"Imagine how clearly that message would be heard across the nation if Chick-fil-A reported record sales this Wednesday!" said NOM's Brown, who has joined Huckabee in supporting Chick-fil-A day. "Please join me this Wednesday in supporting this courageous company, while at the same time sending a powerful message of support to every individual and every company with the courage to stand for marriage."
Chick-fil-A was founded by S. Truett Cathy in 1967, with the first restaurant opening in Atlanta. It has rapidly expanded and now has over 1,600 stores with more than $4 billion in sales last year. One of the most well-known trademarks of Chick-fil-A restaurants is that they don't open on Sunday. The policy has been a longstanding one, going back as far as 1946 when Truett Cathy founded his first restaurant in Hapeville, Ga. The older Cathy believes that "employees should have the opportunity to rest, spend time with their family and friends, and worship if they choose to do so" on Sunday, according to Chick-fil-A's website. Yet despite operating only 6 out of 7 days a week, Chick-fil-A has recorded 44 years of consecutive sales growth.
The company's founder and his family are devout Christians and Dan Cathy says they operate their organization according to biblical principles.