Killin’ chikins for Jesus…a la Chick-fil-A

With an estimated net worth of $1.2 billion, Mr. Truett Cathy has done quite well with his chicken business. He’s also put on a few extra pounds along the way. “Eat more chikin’—gain more weight.”

As a former resident of Atlanta, I know all about Mr. S. Truett Cathy and how he built his company, Chick-fil-A on biblical principles. But not all biblical principles; just the ones that suited him. For example, I wonder what Jesus would say about how we treat hundreds of millions of sentient beings every day so that we may eat their flesh.

But now, Mr. Cathy’s son has stirred up some real trouble. Lately, he’s been talking about “biblical injunctions” against homosexuality. Now the story is on all the news and is triggering a nationwide controversy. A YouTube video of Jackson Pearce challenging the selective biblical principles embraced by the Cathy family has drawn over 600,000 viewers in just one week. And people are talking about this topic everywhere.

In a 8-1-12 New York Times article (See link below), there was this quote by one of Mr. Cathy’s faithful customers from the religious right:

“If you are serious about your relationship with Jesus Christ, you just can’t be for same-sex marriage,” said Corliss Carter, 44, who ate lunch at a Marietta, Ga., restaurant. “Chick-fil-A has always been a family-oriented business. We’re just showing our support for them.”

I doubt that Mr. Carter (quoted here) knows much about what goes on behind the scenes to produce the $4.1 billion in annual sales for Chick-fil-A. From a “big picture” perspective, in just the United States, we torture and kill some nine billion chickens every single year. And that’s not counting the laying hens who produce our eggs, or the “brothers” of those hens who are nonchalantly tossed into a macerator shortly after their birth.

In the USA, we consume an average of thirty chickens per year for every man, woman and child.

Want a bigger picture? In a world full of seven billion people, we’re now torturing and killing approximately one billion chickens every single week—so that we can have chicken sandwiches, nuggets and fried chicken. I wonder what the average Chick-fil-A customer would think about their “relationship with Jesus Christ” if they spent a few days living in a chicken factory farm.

But back to the hullabaloo of the day which triggered an Op-Ed piece (see link below) by the dean of the business school at Georgia Tech. In his 8-2-12 piece he took the debate to a new level:

Predictably, Mr. Cathy’s comments drew a strong response from opponents and supporters alike. In protest, the Jim Henson Company said it would no longer make toys for Chick-fil-A; in support, the former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, now a television host, declared a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.

But less predictable — and troubling — was that officials in a number of cities expressed not only their ire but also their desire to keep Chick-fil-A out of their towns.

Those towns included Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and New York. No doubt the west coast will be weighing in soon, but this story is moving fast and they’re a few hours behind.

The Bottom Line. Aside from Mr. Cathy’s politically incorrect and insensitive  position on the gay rights issues…

This happens about one million times per hour in the United States—24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

…we should also use this story to stop and consider the barbaric practice of seven billion of one species—torturing and killing fifty billion of another species every year. Not only is that practice cruel, it’s also harmful, inefficient and grossly unsustainable.

While Mr. Cathy is working on his strategy going forward, I would suggest he pay attention to some other biblical references as to what we should be eating. Genesis 1:29, for example.

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

Notice that God didn’t mention anything about 50 billion chickens.

I bet you fifty bucks that Mr. Cathy hasn’t read The China Study or seen Forks Over Knives. If he did, he might have trouble justifying his biblically-based  $4.1 business— which is a big part of what is driving our health care crisis.

This just in. On CNN, two hours before posting this blog.

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About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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5 Responses to Killin’ chikins for Jesus…a la Chick-fil-A

  1. Pat says:

    Romans 14: 1-4 (NIV) says: 1. Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
    ( In other words, I believe the Lord was telling us to mind our own business and stop judging others. This is His job and not ours.)

  2. Nigel Richardson says:

    Shakespeare wrote in The Merchant of Venice:

    The devil can cite scripture for his purpose,
    An evil soul, producing holy witness,
    Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
    A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
    O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

    I like particularly the first and last lines.

  3. Leo S. says:

    If you are interested in how your food is raised you should find the following video informative.

  4. Bill K. says:


    I enjoyed the young lady’s video and could not help but think that she is right on one main point. Every dollar you spend at a store or restaurant is an endorsement for the companies philosophy. So with that being said maybe she should have stopped paying Chik-Fil-a a long time before they entered into this recent controversy.

    I think she may be missing the larger picture (As you like to point out)!


  5. Leo S. says:

    Rev. Malkmus cites Genesis 1:29 and discusses food and cancer. Chickens have been shown to be a major cause of bacterial contamination and food poisoning and promote weight gain.

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