Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) recently declared war on a proposed New York bill, the Rest Stop Restaurant Act, which aims to compel fast-food establishments, including Chick-fil-A, to operate seven days a week at certain transportation facilities.
In a bold X post on December 22, Graham vehemently opposed the legislation, deeming it an affront to religious freedom.
Defending Chick-fil-A’s Sunday tradition
Graham vowed to introduce legislation withholding federal funds from any city or state attempting to force Chick-fil-A to remain open on Sundays.
He highlighted the founders’ decision, rooted in their faith, to close the restaurants on Sundays, a practice initiated by Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy.
Graham asserted, “For any government to try to reverse this decision flies in the face of who we are as Americans.”
Rest Stop Restaurant Act: Intentions and criticisms
The Rest Stop Restaurant Act, introduced by Democrat Assemblyman Tony Simone, aims to ensure reliable food services at transportation facilities in New York.
Critics argue that such areas are inappropriate locations for restaurants closing on specific days, emphasizing the importance of maximizing public benefit.
Strong reactions, both in support and opposition, have surfaced, with some critics suggesting an anti-Christian bias behind the bill.
Key provisions of the Rest Stop Restaurant Act
The bill, expected to take effect 30 days after being signed into law, will apply only to contracts entered on or after that date.
Existing Chick-fil-A locations with established operational practices are not expected to be affected.
Exemptions in the bill exclude temporary concessions, farmers markets, flea markets, and local vendors permitted to operate by authorities.
Social media outcry and differing perspectives
Online reactions to the Rest Stop Restaurant Act have been intense, with some viewing it as an attack on Christianity.
Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, accused liberals of attempting to make it illegal for Chick-fil-A to close on Sundays.
On the contrary, podcast host Keith Olbermann argued that the bill is purely about contractual obligations for restaurants at rest stops, devoid of religious implications.
Chick-fil-A’s history of controversies
Chick-fil-A, founded by Truett Cathy, faced controversies due to donations to Christian organizations with stances against same-sex marriages.
Despite distancing itself from political debates in 2012, the brand continued to draw criticism, leading to protests and, more recently, a call for a boycott by conservatives.
Ongoing Challenges for Chick-fil-A
In 2019, San Antonio’s city council sought to ban Chick-fil-A from the airport due to alleged “anti-LGBTQ behavior.”
The controversy intensified after reports of the company’s donations to organizations perceived as discriminatory.
This year, conservatives voiced concern over Chick-fil-A hiring a vice president of “diversity, equity, [and] inclusion.”
Chick-fil-A’s Sunday tradition: Rest Stop Act controversy
The battle over Chick-fil-A’s Sunday tradition unfolds in response to the proposed Rest Stop Restaurant Act.
Senator Lindsey Graham’s staunch defense aligns with the brand’s historical commitment to closing on Sundays, while the bill’s proponents argue for increased public benefit.
The controversy adds another chapter to Chick-fil-A’s complex history of navigating social and political issues.