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Williams: The New Yorker Warns of ‘Creepy Infiltration’ of Chick-fil-A Restaurants in New York City

Chick-fil-A
Kevin Green/AP

The New Yorker announced in a blatantly anti-Christian essay Friday that the arrival of Chick-fil-A restaurants in New York City “feels like an infiltration, in no small part because of its pervasive Christian traditionalism.”

The April 13 article by Dan Piepenbring, ominously titled “Chick-fil-A’s Creepy Infiltration of New York City,” reads like old Ku Klux Klan propaganda against Catholics, Jews, and blacks. It is evident from the first line through the last that the only thing that disturbs Mr. Piepenbring about the restaurant chain is the overt Christian faith of its owners.

Apparently unaware of just how bigoted his essay sounds, Piepenbring offers as evidence of Chick-fil-A’s “creepiness” that its corporate headquarters in Atlanta “is adorned with Bible verses and a statue of Jesus washing a disciple’s feet. Its stores close on Sundays.”

It makes one shudder just to imagine it.

Mr. Piepenbring suggests, moreover, that there may be a sinister, “ulterior motive” behind the restaurant’s work, other than just selling chicken sandwiches, and it has to do with the G-word.

“The restaurant’s corporate purpose still begins with the words ‘to glorify God,’ and that proselytism thrums below the surface of the Fulton Street restaurant, which has the ersatz homespun ambiance of a megachurch,” the essay announces in what is clearly meant to be a frightening revelation.

As one observer has pointed out, the New Yorker would never dream of asking if Muslim- or Jewish-owned businesses should be allowed to “join” the New York community, but they believe it is perfectly acceptable to do so in the case of Christians.

Mr. Piepenbring has a particular issue with the Chick-fil-A “Cows,” which serve as the chain’s unofficial mascots.

The omnipresent Cows, he states, have “remained one of the most popular, and most morbid, advertising campaigns in fast-food history,” due in part to their mantra of “eat mor chikin.” What Piepenbring apparently finds to be “morbid” about the cows is their willingness to suggest that humans consume a fellow farm animal.

If this seems like a bit of a stretch, well, that’s because it is, but this does not deter Piepenbring in his quest to make readers believe there is something deeply troubling about Chick-fil-A.

“It’s worth asking why Americans fell in love with an ad in which one farm animal begs us to kill another in its place,” he writes.

“The joke is that the Cows are out of place in New York—a winking acknowledgment that Chick-fil-A, too, does not quite belong here,” he declares peremptorily.

Piepenbring notes that Chick-fil-A is set to become the third-largest fast-food chain in the nation, behind only McDonald’s and Starbucks. While he seems to have no issue with these last two—which are motivated merely by a desire for profits and market-share—there is something deeply wrong with a successful company owned and run by devout Christians.

Despite the fact that the company donates thousands of pounds of food to New York Common Pantry, Piepenbring adds, still, “There’s something especially distasteful about Chick-fil-A, which has sought to portray itself as better than other fast food: cleaner, gentler, and more ethical, with its poultry slightly healthier than the mystery meat of burgers.”

“Its politics, its décor, and its commercial-evangelical messaging are inflected with this suburban piety,” he scowls.

In its latest ad campaigns, the New Yorker has adopted the slogan “Fighting fake stories with real ones.”

If unconcealed scorn for Christians is what passes nowadays for “real” journalism at the magazine, then lo, how the mighty have fallen.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter

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