When Soledad O'Brien and I were on CNN together, we had more than one conversation about division in America and I have to wonder, based on this tweet, if lack of unity is the problem or wrong teams is the problem. The greatest single issue we have facing this country is people who cannot leave other people alone. It reminds me of the C.S. Lewis quote:
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
To review, Soledad O'Brien shamed Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, on Twitter, for "boosting" Chick-Fil-A. "Boosting" is a feature of Square, the financial payment company also run by Dorsey. According to Square's website, "Cash Boost is a rewards program that allows you to receive instant cash back when you make a purchase at some of your favorite merchants using your Cash Card."
Jack boosted Chick-Fil-A, to which Soledad O'Brien publicly tweeted:
Now, I see a lot of people making excuses here, but when you have 842,000 Twitter followers as Soledad has, you are very aware of what you're doing when you tweet something like that. Jack, of course, beta'd himself into submission after being shamed.
He "forgot about their background."
What background is that? Chick-Fil-A gives all its workers off on Sunday so they're guaranteed at least a day of rest. They also pay their workers above minimum wage and offer insurance. The Cathy family who owns Chick-Fil-A is a Christian family who supports several children's ministries for children with developmental disabilities. They host camps during the summer for children of several mental and physical disabilities where the children get to play outside, camp, and do other things they might otherwise not be able to. Chick-Fil-A also is a huge sponsor of foster programs and supports foster families. Profits from Chick-Fil-A are directed into these programs.
Of course that's not why Soledad O'Brien shamed Jack Dorsey. Chick-Fil-A's former owner, the now deceased Truit Cathy, also funded conservative Christian organizations that advocated for traditional marriage. Chick-Fil-A no longer funds those groups and has not in several years.
Despite not having funded marriage groups in several years, that's not good enough here. Jack had to be shamed for daring to support an organization that several years ago, but not currently, supported traditional marriage. Chick-Fil-A, you see, has not publicly repented of its secular sins. It just stopped funding the groups. But they have not hoisted the rainbow flag.
For a journalist who has spent so much time exploring division in America, it is a shame to see Soledad shaming someone on Twitter for daring to "wrong eat." If you are really concerned about division in America, you really need to allow people to agree to disagree and not shame them into your values. That breeds the very hostility now on full display in the country. It promotes division and it promotes team building where the teams are polar extremes and one cannot support certain Americans.
You may not like Chick-Fil-A. You may think people should not eat at Chick-Fil-A or boost the company during Pride month. But siccing your horde of 800,000 Twitter followers or otherwise using a public platform to shame someone else into correct behavior is just being a secular Torquemada.
In fact, that ultimately is what this is. Gay Pride month is a month long celebration of sin and if you do not support it, you are committing a secular sin. It is the Lenten period for secularism. And Jack Dorsey was eating meat on a Friday.