Abstract: Of Chicken Sandwiches and the Christian Right: The World of Chick-fil-A

Darren E. Grem


Famed for its signature chicken sandwich, and its "closed on Sunday" policy, Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A purports a singular mission: "to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us [and] to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A." Incorporated in 1964 by S. Truett Cathy, a Southern Baptist, Chick-fil-A's has a history intertwined with the Sunbelt's emergence as the economic, political, and religious center of the nation. In this paper, I focus on the specific arrangements of space, capital, and labor that created Chick-fil-A. In turn, I detail the meritocratic evangelicalism of its employees and managers, its partnerships with suburban megachurches and schools, and its support for the cultural politics of the Christian Right. Altogether, this paper connects the "business of food" to the politics of consumption in contemporary America, showing how consumer actions—such as buying and eating a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich—forward corporate activities and activism from the Sunbelt's suburbs to the global South.