The Real ‘Creepy Infiltration’ Is Politicization Of Business, Not Chick-fil-A Opening
A New Yorker writer just called the opening of a new Chick-fil-A franchise ‘creepy’. But the only thing creepy I can see about the issue is that a major American magazine would engage in such transparent religious bigotry.
Here’s the text of an audio commentary of mine, on this topic, which is currently running on Salem Radio stations around the country:
“A recent article in the New Yorker decried the opening of a 4th Chick-fil-A restaurant in Manhattan. The author called it a “creepy infiltration” because of what he calls the company’s “pervasive Christian traditionalism,” evidenced by the fact that the headquarters in Atlanta features a statue of Jesus washing His disciple’s feet, and that the stores are closed on Sunday.
Hm… pretty creepy stuff.
The New Yorker certainly has the right to publish articles with a secular point of view, but New York was founded by Dutch Calvinist merchants, and some 60 percent of New Yorkers still self-identify as Christian.
The foot washing episode inspired John Locke to teach the doctrine of religious liberty, which influenced our own 1st Amendment. So, the scene which offends the New York press today is what led to the freedom which enables that same press to deride it.
Maybe it’s the New Yorker that’s kind of creepy.”
I think there is a bigger issue here for American business culture: Are we going to balkanize our commercial relations along religious/cultural fault lines? Some conservatives talked about boycotting Starbucks because its holiday cups last year looked insufficiently Christmassy. Left wingers push for boycotts of companies that sell guns, or try to punish conservative talk show hosts by leading public relations assaults on sponsors. The end game of all of this is that political schisms lead to a cascade of boycotts and counter-boycotts which leaves American consumers as divided as the two parties.
One of the beautiful things about markets is that they unify people where politics tends to divide them. The American racial integration which followed the end of formal segregation was aided immensely by the need the different races had for each other as workers, as customers, and as investors. The same goes for religious, national, and cultural differences. Markets expose us to different kinds of people in ways which churches and political institutions do not.
It’s high time for American businesses to stop giving in to pressure tactics from left and right (but mostly from left) which press them to boycott cities or states or media sponsorships or customer donor programs or bulk discounts for membership organizations, and focus on doing what corporations were invented for in the first place: Serving customers in a marketplace in order to generate profits for investors. The owners of US companies should expect, and insist on, this.
Jerry Bowyer is a Forbes contributor, contributing editor of AffluentInvestor.com, and Senior Fellow in Business Economics at The Center for Cultural Leadership.
Jerry has compiled an impressive record as a leading thinker in finance and economics. He worked as an auditor and a tax consultant with Arthur Anderson, as Vice President of the Beechwood Company which is the family office associated with Federated Investors, and has consulted in various privatization efforts for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He founded the influential economic think tank, the Allegheny Institute, and has lectured extensively at universities, businesses and civic groups.
Jerry has been a member of three investment committees, among which is Benchmark Financial, Pittsburgh’s largest financial services firm. Jerry had been a regular commentator on Fox Business News and Fox News. He was formerly a CNBC Contributor, has guest-hosted “The Kudlow Report”, and has written for CNBC.com, National Review Online, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as many other publications. He is the author of The Bush Boom and more recently The Free Market Capitalist’s Survival Guide, published by HarperCollins. Jerry is the President of Bowyer Research.
Jerry consulted extensively with the Bush White House on matters pertaining to the recent economic crisis. He has been quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, The International Herald Tribune and various local newspapers. He has been a contributing editor of National Review Online, The New York Sun and Townhall Magazine. Jerry has hosted daily radio and TV programs and was one of the founding members of WQED’s On-Q Friday Roundtable. He has guest-hosted the Bill Bennett radio program as well as radio programs in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Jerry is the former host of WorldView, a nationally syndicated Sunday-morning political talk show created on the model of Meet The Press. On WorldView, Jerry interviewed distinguished guests including the Vice President, Treasury Secretary, HUD Secretary, former Secretary of Sate Condoleezza Rice, former Presidential Advisor Carl Rove, former Attorney General Edwin Meese and publisher Steve Forbes.
Jerry has taught social ethics at Ottawa Theological Hall, public policy at Saint Vincent’s College, and guest lectured at Carnegie Mellon’s graduate Heinz School of Public Policy. In 1997 Jerry gave the commencement address at his alma mater, Robert Morris University. He was the youngest speaker in the history of the school, and the school received more requests for transcripts of Jerry’s speech than at any other time in its 120-year history.
Jerry lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Susan, and the youngest three of their seven children.