Chick-Fil-A customers lined up around the block to support the restaurant
Chick-Fil-A customers all over the country eagerly lined up to buy chicken sandwiches in support of "traditional marriage".

These days, business and politics seem to be inextricably linked. Take the recent events in Georgia, for example. The state legislature passed a bill that would make it legal for faith-based organizations to deny services to gay people. The bill then went to the desk of Governor Nathan Deal and the warnings started pouring in from forward-thinking corporations all over the country. Disney, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and Apple were just a few of the hundreds of companies which expressed their opposition to the discriminatory legislation, and threatened to move their business elsewhere. Given the potential economic impact on his state, Governor Deal's hand was forced: he quickly vetoed the bill. This incident provides a great example of the prominent role businesses play in politics today. However, there are plenty of companies who aren't blessed with such progressive leadership.

The Curious Case of Chick-Fil-A

Today we'd like to explore an older, well-known case of business mixing with politics. Back in 2012, the restaurant chain Chick-Fil-A came under fire after the owner publicly stated that he did not support same-sex marriage. Many people promised to boycott the business due to the bigoted stance of the owner. Others decided that they really wanted to support the stance by lining up around the block for the food, turning otherwise normal chicken into a deep-fried homophobic political statement. The year of the scandal, profits jumped by over 12% from the previous year as customers all over the country eagerly flocked to buy chicken sandwiches in support of "traditional marriage".

Tough Gamble

For Chick-Fil-A, the upward trend in profits has only continued over the last several years. Of course, we can't attribute this solely to the company's political stance; they make some good chicken and have been successfully expanding their business. We can safely say that their political stance isn't hurting their bottom line but that's not the case with every company. There are plenty of reasons why companies should consider leaving politics out of their business. This is especially true for small businesses, which can be affected in numerous negative ways.

Profit Loss

No matter what you believe, there are people out there who are going to disagree with you. It doesn't matter how popular the opinion is, politics is a prickly topic. Consumers also have a hard time separating their politics from where they spend their money. By taking a strong political stance, you are running the risk of losing some of your most loyal customers, which can directly hurt your profits. There have been many small businesses who have taken a stand on a political issue and wound up going out of business. You have to decide whether that risk is worth it to you or not. And remember, it's not just the business owner's interests at stake, but employees' as well. Your profits affect your employees in several different ways:

  • It determines whether or not you can hire more employees

  • You may not be able to offer decent wages if profits decline

  • If the business starts losing money, you may no longer be able to offer a benefits package

Many of your employees may be relying on their jobs to provide for their families. You may be directly hurting your employees when you share your political beliefs.

Alienating EmployeesUpset Employee

Chances are good that not all of your employees are going to agree with your political stance. Imagine, for example, how a pro-choice woman would feel if her employer forces her to pay out of pocket for birth control based on a personal belief. Since your employees probably have diverse political beliefs, some may decide they don't want to work for a business with views fundamentally contrary to their own. This can lead to employees leaving, or at the very least some awkward encounters in the workplace. Any business owner knows that such drama is best avoided.

Online Posts Last Forever

In the age of social media, everything you post online can be held against you in the future. There have been so many cases of someone saying or posting something in the heat of the moment that they don't mean, and which later comes back to bite them. No matter what the person does to rectify the situation, he or she lives with that remark forever. This means that once you take a stance on a political issue, there is no going back. Even if you try to delete a post or separate yourself from a statement, there will still be evidence that you said it and people will remember.

Should Politics Mix With Business?

It can be very advantageous to associate your business with a political stance. It's a great way to distinguish your brand, for example. Loudly voicing an opinion is also quintessentially American. However, you should tread carefully when trying to make politics part of your business image. Even though it's admirable to stand up for what you believe in, that doesn't mean it's a good idea to push your beliefs on customers in the end, it may cause more harm than good. What do you think? Is this a gamble worth taking? Is it a good idea to mix business with politics?


  1. Alvin Jones's Avatar Alvin Jones

    Different Lifestyle unions need the same ingredients to sustain their lives as so called "normal" people. Feed the people! Make sure they can get the same products and services as everybody else! Respect them as people! What they do with their bodies is between them and the God of their understanding! We as Ministers are in the spiritual business of teaching the spreading of Love and not passing judgement on people because they want to be different! AMEN!!

    1. Tom's Avatar Tom

      Well said.

    2. Ken Johnson's Avatar Ken Johnson

      I agree with Mr. Jaynes. Very well said.

  1. George R Taylor's Avatar George R Taylor

    Each time you take a stand about other beliefs, you shrink your world. this can happen in your own religion. Broad faith like Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, etc are broadly based on the love of Jesus. as one says no to the other faiths their world gets smaller and smaller. This could develop into each person would have their faith. Not saying this is wrong but it tends to divide us.

    1. Tom's Avatar Tom

      Yes, it does.

  1. Pastor Brenten Stevens's Avatar Pastor Brenten Stevens

    This mess started in Arkansas over a year ago , first I don't consume any food product containing the product known as MSG which they use . It's a neurotoxin a flavor enhancer do you here them say anything about poisoning people with that ? 2nd having a political point of view is fine but being I spent years in the mission fields , seminary school on and on I simply can't judge others for what many precieve as a Sin while judging others are just that . I can go on and on pointing out scripture and counter their ugly actions with scripture they choose to ignore . It's a terrible situation our country has chosen angry hate filled decisions such as they have . It saddens me greatly , Jesus often sat with thieves , whores , and many other criminals yet these folks want to point the bony finger at others while their hearts are filled with bitter hate . This Is Not My conclusion of Jesus christs directions to forgive and love thy enemy . No I don't agree with deep rooted hate thus I pray who ever made these ugly choices re thinks their position , last time I checked God nor Jesus died and gave control to any one religion . I've learned many different beliefs may have different paths to the creator all are seeking the same goal to be closer to God no matter what name they use its still the creator . I pray they find peace and replace it with love and Stay out of people's private medical decisions . Let God judge that's Not any human beings job . Pastor Brenten

    1. Galen M. Ross's Avatar Galen M. Ross

      As Jesus said, "Judge not lest ye be judged." That's not the whole quote but, all you have to do is look at the way Jesus lived his life and you will see that he welcomed everyone.

    2. Tom B's Avatar Tom B

      I agree with all that you say...for clarification, i believe that every single medical decision, including but not limited to abortion, suicide, etc, should not be the subject of laws, but should be left to each of us...i am a lawyer, and my position is that the more laws you have, the more you evidence the breakdown of society...the only necessary commandment is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you

  1. Tom's Avatar Tom

    A great number of people bought their products. How many were turned off and did not buy anything? Business, politics and religious beliefs never mix. As a business owner you have two choices. Advertise that you serve everyone or advertise that you only serve those who agree with you. The rules of service say the former not the latter.

  1. cmdsgtmajor's Avatar cmdsgtmajor

    Two guys (or women), go into a restaurant, order their food (one guy pays for all of the food), sit down and eat; no one says a word, no one asks if they are gay, married, etc Everyone has a right to their beliefs. Question? If someone went into a Chick-Fil-a and announced they were gay and married, would the manager of that store refuse their business? Is it Chick-fil-a policy to refuse to serve gay people? I am very confident that Chick-fil-a serves a lot of gay people - and they don't know!!

    1. CJ Russell's Avatar CJ Russell

      Of course they know. And they know that they have gay employees. My grandson's uncle is a gay Chick-Fil-A employee. He doesn't keep his preference a secret. He doesn't hide that he has a husband. The corporation does not discriminate. The owner has a personal opinion. It was his personal opinion that he stated, not his corporate policy.

  1. Shane Van Winkle's Avatar Shane Van Winkle

    Im a Social Justice Clergy plus an Excavating Contractor, have a ULC membership. I work with men just out of prison to get them employable plus help feed alot of them. I am a Bible believing Christian and come out against gay activist ALL the time through my business. I speak out against Hetero-phobia. I work for gay and lesbian couples to this day...they know exactly my positions. I use my business to write business checks to "Samaritan's Purse" to give financial aid to the owners businesses that have been shut down by fake activists. Chick Fil A is 100% correct in standing their ground. My employees know know my beliefs and I tell them up front Im a Christian, a Patriot and its my way or no way. Anything that contradicts my belief structure and comfort zone is grounds for unpaid time off or dismissal. All I have to do is put my license on inactive status, shut my business down for 7 days, lay everybody off for a week. Then activate my license, hire only those who agree with me, its MY Business, I built it myself without government help. Its my way or the Highway.

    1. Tom's Avatar Tom

      You may have a problem with the EEOC on that score!

      1. Lee Boutell's Avatar Lee Boutell

        While self-righteousness is legal, discriminating on the basis of religion is not. Good luck with that strategy, Mr. Van Winkle.

    2. James's Avatar James

      The sad thing here is that the correspondent probably sees himself as a "good Christian" and therefore justified in judging those who have different views on life, love and unity.

      No doubt he makes some positive differences in the lives of others with his donations and in providing support for former prisoners, but the fact that his offerings are conditional upon the beneficiaries accepting his views on how best to live a life is a great sadness to those of us who value each and every life, no matter the religious or any other beliefs a person has.

      How did it happen that Christianity has become such a powerful divisive force in society? How is it that selective interpretations of the biblical texts are now used to harm others who disagree? What is a "fake activist" and is it reasonable to expect unconditional love from Jesus when acceptance of others, who live outside a strictly defined set of beliefs, is not only sometimes conditional but very often replaced with violent hostility.

      Violent hostility doesn't have to be a punch in the face or the all too frequent "righteous bullet" for a non-believer. Violent hostility can include firing someone, whose well-being depends on employment, because they hold different views to the business owner. The harsh, seemingly uncaring, employment environment in the US undoubtedly provides that right and that power to a business owner to disadvantage others who depend on him for their work, but I can't help but wonder how that form of economic violence fits with the compassion, understanding and unconditional love that is attributed to Christ.

      1. john muli's Avatar john muli

        thanks again

      2. Tom B's Avatar Tom B

        I agree, Pete...i think the same thing is happening in Islam as in Christianity...radical fundamentalism has merged into politics and government, and is a serious threat to society...there are way too many demagogues around, and way too few good people in government

        1. James's Avatar James

          Regrettably, you are entirely in the right of it Tom. Both Islam and Christianity have become the perverted tools of those who seek money and power through the manipulation of the ignorant and uneducated.

          This does not condemn all good people within either faith but until those of peaceful, loving intent within the followers of Christ and Islam join together to disavow the bigotry and atrocities committed in their name chaos, prejudice and hatred will remain a public emblem of the false "faith" that now prevails.

          Fear is always the enemy and we have a responsibility to be fearless in the face of the hatred we see in so much of religion today. And what is bigotry and hatred but fear?

          On all indicators presently available, change may take some time but if it's to be at all possible, its vital we continue to express our views and in this way, work against the tyranny all around us.

    3. David A Griffith's Avatar David A Griffith

      You are wrong on so many levels. How can you claim to be a Christian when you are a bigot. I think you need to close your business for seven days and spend time reading The New Testament, the first four books mostly, and learning what Christ thought, not what your particular church teaches. You have a lot to learn.

    4. Vincent Bernhard's Avatar Vincent Bernhard

      Sir, It is very fortunate that your opinions are in the minority. However, I have issues when people use the Holy name of God or the Bible to stand in the way of other people's civil liberties. Thank you for being upfront with your prospective employees. I could never work for such a company. I think that it is the bounden duty of every Christian to uplift every single member of the Body of Christ and treat with dignity the holiness of all of his human creation,

  1. CRAIG's Avatar CRAIG

    Big business, any business needs to stay out of politics. Period. Politics is about people and companies are about money, pure and simple. Large companies don't get involved in politics for the betterment of people--they don't large sums of money to candidates and representatives because they're protecting their profit interests.

    This country will not straighten itself out until corporations are excluded from the political process. 'Nuff said.

  1. Rev. Wayne Gibbons's Avatar Rev. Wayne Gibbons

    I do not go to Chick-Fil-A, or Hobby Lobby or any of those business that spread hatred, or use Christianity as a tool to condemn others under the false pretext of "My personal beliefs". I do not care for politics because it causes friends, family and others to fight each other because of their individual stand on their political beliefs. Very often, religion causes the same strife. And I am getting very tired of hearing those same "religious" and "God fearing" people using Christianity as a hammer to beat others up with. But, as a person of faith, I will pray for them and wish them well. Which is difficult for me to do, but it is what Jesus commanded of me. I am not a great minister with all the answers and my faith has been, at times, thin. I can appreciate those who can quote chapter and verse and seem to know the Bible well. I cannot, nor do I, appreciate those who use the Bible and its verses to condemn and vilify others because others may have a different view or lifestyle. It is not Christian and is just wrong. You can run your business as you wish, but leave religion and politics out of it. If someone is hungry, feed them If they are sick, heal them If they have no clothes, clothe them If your personal beliefs are offended by someone's lifestyle, find something else to put your efforts into. There are just too many "Not in line with my basic religious beliefs, so I can refuse to help you" in this world. I like the poem, Desiderata. Desiderata

    Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

    Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

    Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

    You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

    Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

    © Max Ehrmann 1927

    I like the premise of these passages and attempt to remember them in my daily life.

    My sincere apologies if my comments have offended anyone, but I am human and sometimes become distressed and even angry by the way we treat those who differ from us. I pray for guidance and forgiveness for my occasional intolerance of bigotry and those who use Christianity to justify their actions. For those who continue to do this, Repent. Go and sin no more.

  1. CJ Russell's Avatar CJ Russell

    Chick-Fil-A: the owner was asked for his personal opinion. Each person has an opinion. Would we rather that he lied about it? That's what he believes. He also made it clear that his personal opinion did not affect his business decisions. He has gay employees. He serves gay patrons. His business does not discriminate based on sexual preference, or anything else. I thought it was stupid of people to make such a stink about someone voicing his opinion.

    Business in politics? Will only stop when our elected officials stop taking business handouts in return for favors. The fault is with politicians who can be bought - which is most of them. They don't serve us; they serve themselves.

  1. Paul's Avatar Paul

    It seems you all have forgotten that this country was started by men way smarter than any of us here or may one of you could write something better than the US constitution. Freedom of religion is one of the rights afforded us by this document and the way I see it you should be able to choose who you sell to or provide benefits that fall in line with your personal beliefs. If I am writing the checks I decide how it's going to go and no government is going to intrude on my beliefs. So as long as I say I am in favor of same sex marriage I am a progressive and if I follow my catholic faith and believe marriage is between a man and a women, I am a narrow minded bigot. I take great offense to that and I believe the owner of chic filet was well with in his rights. See the liberals are only compassionate and understanding when you agree with them when you don't they spew venom at you and use social media to get you to conform. I leave you with this Life Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that what was intended for all men and women. I don't believe in same sex marriage and if that makes me a bigot then so be it, I will deal with that with my maker.

  1. Revy Wilmont's Avatar Revy Wilmont

    There needs to be a clear line about church and state. We have blurred that line (if there even is one, now) to the point corporations are treated as people and people are treated as corporations.

    1. Galen M. Ross's Avatar Galen M. Ross

      There is a clear line, the only people who are trying to blur it are the Far Right, the Constitution clearly states that there shall not be any respect of any religion in the government, yet there are those who try to do it in every election.

  1. Galen M. Ross's Avatar Galen M. Ross

    Business and politics should not mix. That being said I would say that RELIGION and politics should never mix either. The Constitution of the United States says that in the first Amendment.

  1. Lee's Avatar Lee

    Rev Gibbons, you are closer to God than you think. Big difference in praising God and defending your beliefs and actually serving God.

  1. Lyn's Avatar Lyn

    Although it was not a political statement, Denny's had a habit and pattern of discrimination against African-Americans. I have not gone to a Denny's since the 1990's. Although this is not quite the same thing, it is. Why would any business turn customers away? Each customer is money in the bank. That is the job of business. Be financially solvent and hire people and serve customers. Seriously? You stand on odd principles regarding what people do at home? Really?

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