By Dale Glading
As Sgt. Joe Friday used to say on the TV show Dragnet, “Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts.” So, let’s start with a fact as indisputable as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.
Chick-fil-A makes the best chicken sandwiches on the planet, bar none. End of story.
O.K., now that we have that settled, let me add a second no-brainer. Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey recently made one of the most outlandish and ridiculous decisions in the history of American higher education.
Last year, Rider sent its students a survey asking what restaurants they wanted on campus. A second survey was sent in November with one glaring omission: Chick-fil-A was left off the list of options after having been included on the first one.
My guess is that the purveyor of the world’s best chicken sandwiches, waffle fries and sweet tea was near the top of the original survey. Maybe it even finished first. However, in the politically-correct but religiously-intolerant atmosphere that pervades most college campuses these days, that wasn’t acceptable.
Why? Because Chick-fil-A supports traditional marriage, which means that it opposes same-sex marriage, which means that it violates the approved “group-think” at Rider.
According to The Associated Press, the university said that the restaurant was taken off the list “because of its opposition to the LGBT community,” stating that Chick-fil-A’s values did not align with Rider’s values.
Undaunted by the apparent contradiction, Kristine Brown, a Rider spokeswoman, doubled-down on the indefensible decision. “Choosing an on-campus restaurant franchise was in no way a judgment on religious values,” Ms. Brown said with a straight face. “Rather, our intention was to foster a sense of respect and belonging of all members of the campus community.”
What about evangelical Christians, traditional Catholics, and orthodox Jews, all of whom support the biblical definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman? For that matter, what about Muslims, who also oppose same-sex marriage? Aren’t people of faith worthy of “a sense of respect and belonging” at Rider?
Once upon a time, colleges and universities were bastions of free speech where an honest exchange of differing ideas was encouraged. Sadly, today you had better toe the company line and drink the liberal Kool-Aid being dispensed or face ridicule and possible banishment. From the faculty, from the student body and now, from the campus itself.
Students at Rider are being cheated out of an invigorating educational experience – as well as chicken nuggets to die for. Meanwhile, the university continues to undermine its own historical mandate as an institution committed to training future business leaders. After all, there are few better examples of entrepreneurship than Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A.
Founded in 1967, Chick-fil-A is a true American success story. It has the highest same-store sales and is the largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the United States based on annual system-wide sales. Isn’t that a business model that today’s college students might benefit learning about over a glass of fresh-squeezed lemonade and a chocolate chunk cookie?
Ironically, Rider’s own website states the following: “From its beginnings as a private business college nearly a century and a half ago, Rider University has consistently thrived as a home for students seeking a timely, relevant and thorough curriculum and an environment to satisfy their intellectual curiosity.”
Let me repeat that last phrase: “an environment to satisfy their intellectual curiosity.” Come on now, stop laughing. You and I are supposed to believe that intellectual curiosity and intellectual coercion go hand in hand. Except they don’t – or at least they’re not supposed to. Especially not on college campuses, where free thinking used to be on the menu.
Maybe another reason why Rider finds Chick-fil-A and its founder so intolerable is because Mr. Cathy was married to his wife Jeannette for 65 years, taught Sunday School to teenage boys for 50 years, and has donated more than $61 million to 46,700 employees pursuing higher education.
Hopefully, those Chick-fil-A team members won’t waste their scholarships on tuition at Rider University. In the meantime, “EAT MOR CHIKIN”!