"We are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,'" said Cathy. "I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about."
Speaking of the company his father started after World War II, Cathy went on, "We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives."
With 1,600 restaurants and 50,000 employees in 40 states, Chick-fil-A is among our fastest-growing food chains. Obedient to the commandment, "Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day," Cathy closes his outlets on Sundays.
Reaction to his remarks has been little short of hysterical.
Mayors Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, Thomas Menino of Boston and Edwin Lee of San Francisco said they no longer want Chick-fil-A in their cities. "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values," says Rahm.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray says there's no place for "hate chicken" in the nation's capital. Boycotts of Chick-fil-A, its expulsion from campuses and "Same-Sex Kiss Day" at local outlets are planned.
Rush Limbaugh, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin have come to the defense of Cathy and Chick-fil-A, and on Wednesday scores of thousands of loyal patrons dined at outlets in solidarity.
What does this battle tell us about which way the tide is running in the culture war? If intolerance is a mark of rising faiths and movements, the news is not good.
For consider. Chick-fil-A does not discriminate against any patron, and after Cathy's remarks, the company issued a statement that, as Paul Gottfried writes, reads like something out of the Department of Education.
Said Chick-fil-A's PR office, we "treat every person with honor, dignity and respect -- regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender." Nor have charges of systematic civil rights violations in hiring or promotion been leveled against the chain.
What, then, brought down the firestorm of abuse on the company and its president as homophobic, intolerant and bigoted?
Answer: It is simply what Cathy said and what Cathy believes.