Thursday, July 19, 2012

Maybe You Should Read The Bible, Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy

Dear Dan Cathy:

You know those dreams you have when you imagine you've woken up, dressed, and you've already started your day? And then when the alarm goes off, you're shocked and disappointed, and you have to do it all over again? I think you had one of those. I think you sat down with your copy of the King James, said to yourself, "This is the year, ol' Dan finally blasts his way through this mother," and promptly passed out. Then you just vividly saw yourself paging all the way from Genesis to maps.

You have not cracked this book open. When you say you're against gay marriage, because you want to run your company according to "biblical principles" you are making this painfully clear. Plenty of people are going to kick you for being a homophobe. I want to kick you for being an ignoramus about the Bible.

Okay: Early on, a character called God meets up with this other guy named Moses. And he gives him a list of all the laws that people need to follow. With me so far? And - here's where it gets funny - one of God's biggest subjects is food preparation. The Big Guy has some kind of OCD about the whole deal.

He lists foods you can't eat or even touch, like pigs:

And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you. -Leviticus 11:7-8

He also says that mice are unclean - touching a dead mouse makes you ritually unclean until the evening of that day (Leviticus 11:31), which means if you ever had a worker deal with a rodent situation, the only decent thing to do would be to send them home with a day of paid leave.

God says that you can't combine certain foods:

Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk. - Exodus 23:19

This passage appears two other times in the Bible, and scholars have generally taken it to mean you can't combine milk and meat.

And God also says when slaughtering animals for food you have to drain the blood away thoroughly, because no one is allowed to eat it.

Whatsoever soul it be that eateth any manner of blood, even that soul shall be cut off from his people. - Leviticus 7:27

It is extremely difficult to kill and prepare an animal so that you don't violate these commandments. You know who are experts at this sort of thing, Dan? Jews. Those guys kept the original notes from all that chatter, and they have people who figure out whether food products and restaurant meals are biblically clean. And according to OUKosher, if you walk into one of your joints you are allowed under God's law to eat these items:

Relish, Ice Cream, 2% Milk, 1% Chocolate Milk, Pickles, and Peppers in vinegar.

Every one of your "Classic Menu" items is out. The Deluxe Sandwich is extra bad, because of that cheese slice. And the Chicken Club adds bacon as well.

Your wraps are an abomination before the Lord. Your breakfast menu is like killing a hooker. And you know what? There's nothing specifically wrong about that carrot raisin salad, but the thing looks nasty.

Finally, there was an item in the Bible about a day of rest - a Sabbath. You're not supposed to do any work on that day, and in fact Numbers 15:32-36 has a story about how the Israelites found a man who was gathering sticks on that day, and the Lord ordered the entire congregation to stone him to death. So it's gratifying that you keep your restaurants closed one day a week to avoid needless tribal killings. The only problem is, you picked the wrong day. The Jews have been keeping records on this. You get forced to stone a guy to death, and it really sticks with you.

Christians switched to Sunday worship in honor of Christ's resurrection. And over the years they also relaxed dietary laws. There are plenty of other Old Testament rules they don't follow. You know what, though? God didn't take any of it back. At no point in Scripture did the Lord speak out of the clouds in a booming voice, and say: "Okay, tell you what. I was kind of a noodge about some of these rules. I made a new list of stuff - here's what you have to follow, and here's where you can kind of shirk." Never. There is no definitive "God was serious/God was just screwing with us" memo. And what that means is that if you are a Christian, you are almost definitely not any kind of Biblical literalist. You are living your whole life with a complicated relationship to Biblical law. There is a lot of gray, here, and you should never think you're in a position to judge others. Which is where many Christians actually want to be. This guy said it best:

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? - Matthew 7:1-3

So... there's a lot of stuff in the Bible. You should really read it, Mr. Cathy.

I love your chicken, by the way. I mean, it's so unhealthy it's probably killed more Southerners than crystal meth, General Sherman, and illegal fireworks combined... but it's undeniably tasty. If you stop shooting your mouth off about that book you haven't read, people like me might come back.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bain Capital And Mitt Romney's Other Dog - A Story Of Betrayal

(Note: Several years ago an associate of mine at a retirement community for work dogs gave me documents containing the statement below. It is from a dog who lived from 1990 to 2003, and has an important story to tell. I believe that even now, he needs to be heard.)

My name is Champ. I am a 13 year-old lab mix, and I used to belong to Mitt Romney. For seven years Romney employed me as a vice president at Bain Capital. He forced me to do morally questionable things in order to keep the company profitable. As a lab, I have a highly developed ethical compass. My experience at Bain has left me feeling crippled with guilt and remorse. I now realize that Mitt Romney hates dogs, but he hates obeying federal labor and financial regulations even more. I am nearing the end of my life, and I want to make sure that people know the kind of person I worked for. As I write this, Romney has just been elected governor of Massachusetts. I pray his political career does not progress further.

In 1995, after passing my Series 7 on the first try (my grandmother was a border collie) I went to work at Bain. I was new to the financial world and eager to prove that I was Good. Romney immediately began to delegate a great deal of responsibility to me. He would often stop by my office after hours to chat about our investments and occasionally give me a snausage. I began to look forward to our talks and saw him as a mentor. What I didn't know was that Romney had very specific plans for me, and they didn't involve analysis.

In early 1996 Mitt Romney ordered me to terrorize a group of union representatives who wanted to meet with workers at a company we'd recently acquired. I was told to bark and snarl, that biting would not be required. Romney and other executives sent me on several of these assignments, and - I'm ashamed to admit this - I complied. I needed my job, and I wanted their approval. These jobs became more frequent, and I became desensitized to the terrible things I was doing.

In 1997 I was ordered to target a Pomeranian belonging to an SEC regulator. Romney stressed that he wanted the dog hospitalized. Soon after that, Bain executives began to send me out on regular "sic 'em jobs," as they called them. I shredded the pant leg of a broker at a rival firm in a parking lot. I mauled several investigative reporters from the Globe. The years passed, and I began to lose touch with who I thought I was. In 2002 Bain officials flew me to Salt Lake City so I could do something unspeakable in the laundry bin of the Canadian speed skating team. That night at the kennel I flew into a rage, bit several orderlies, and escaped.

It's taken four weeks of therapy (which counts as 28 weeks in dog therapy) just to come to grips with what I've done, what I've allowed Mitt Romney to turn me into. And unfortunately I don't have enough time to really heal. I do know one thing, however. I wasn't born like this. I wanted, I still want, to be Good.

Not my former boss.

He is Bad. He is as Bad as they come.

If anyone deserves a whack on the nose with a rolled up newspaper it's Mitt Romney.

(Special thanks to Sue, Jeff, and Ella at Beehive Productions. Beehive does "production, development & design for the independent music community," and they work with a pretty awesome group of artists. Check them out!)
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