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At least through the 1980s, and to some extent even today, many were in hiding, afraid of being outed, because of hate-mongering and the threat of violence. The threat of violence, specifically in 1967 and in the South, was very real. Also, pre-Internet and instant information, it was very difficult for the average citizen to find out information like what company donated money to what hate group. I was actually glad when Dan Cathy opened his mouth - people have been trying to spread the word about Chick-Fil-A's donations for a while now, and he went and made it mainstream for us.
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Can you not find a non-Catholic charity that helps in Haiti? Random Acts does a lot of hands-on work, and is not associated with any religion. Donating to the charity doesn't make you a bigot, but there are other ways to help people than by donating to blatantly homophobic organizations. For example, I'll drive out of my way to donate to Goodwill before I'll donate to the Salvation Army. If Goodwill is anti-gay, racist, sexist, etc., I haven't been able to dig it up yet, and SA is incredibly anti-gay.
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If the people claiming that they support GLBT rights but are buying food at Chick-Fil-A to support free speech wouldn't also donate money to the KKK to support their free speech, it's a crap argument. You can support an organization's right to free speech without supporting the organization financially (and thereby giving them more money to use in their crusades for the oppression of minorities, women, or the GLBT community). The hard truth is, Chick-Fil-A's freedom of speech was never in danger. Two minor politicians spoke out of anger about preventing the company from opening locations in their cities, but they have no legal ground and have since backed down. That's it. The free speech argument is a cognitively dissonant one that people who want to consider themselves progressive use to rationalize their own, deep-seated prejudices - and to help convince themselves that Christianity is being oppressed all over the place (which is blatantly not true, but so many people think that having their rights to oppress taken away is actually oppression). Don't want Christianity being associated with homophobia? Don't support homophobic Christians. If your church is homophobic, find another one. Be vocal about how Christianity doesn't have to mean "God Hates Fags" - the religion has been used to oppress nearly everyone at one point or another, and has updated its beliefs on almost everything else. Don't justify your support of bigoted people and organizations as "free speech" unless you're also willing to donate the same amount of money to racist, sexist, and xenophobic groups across the country. And then see how that flies. "I'm not racist, I totally support black people being able to drink at the same water fountain and all, but I give the KKK money because I totally believe in their right to free speech because they're an organization rooted in Protestantism." And yes, it is completely analogous, because some of that Chick-Fil-A cash is going to recognized hate groups, all using religion to maintain the status quo for heterosexual white men.
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Aug 6, 2012