Chick-fil-A President and COO Dan Cathy waded into the deep fat fryer of the culture wars in June, with remarks that eventually jetted the fast food chain to the top of the national controversy over gay marriage. In a June 16 interview on the syndicated radio program “The Ken Coleman Show,” Cathy voiced his objections to equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians: ”I think 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,’” and further characterized gay marriage supporters as “prideful [and] arrogant…. We are very much supportive of the family—the biblical definition of the family unit.”
Cathy describes the restaurant chain, which closes on Sundays in observance of God’s law, as operating on “biblical principles.” But LGBT advocacy groups have traced a rising tide of Chick-fil-A donations to anti-gay groups, with more than $3 million given to such organizations in 2003-2009, and nearly $2 million more in 2010 alone.
Cathy’s comments did not make an immediate stir, perhaps because Venus, arbiter of values, was retrograde at the time. But as Venus turned direct and June became July, the controversy heated up, particularly after Mercury turned retrograde on July 14, prompting a return to the issue. In an interview with Baptist Press about the resulting backlash on July 16, Cathy confessed himself “guilty as charged” when confronted with his support of traditional marriage.
Boston mayor Thomas Menino and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel both stated that as supportive of discrimination, Chick-fil-A restaurants would not be welcomed in their communities. Even the Muppets took Cathy to task, pulling out of a merchandising deal that would have distributed Muppets-themed toys in Chick-fil-A’s more than 1,600 restaurants.
In late July former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, now a FOX News host, took up the banner of the conservative side of the dispute, organizing a “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.” Huckabee proposed that like-minded individuals show their agreement with Cathy’s position by flocking to his restaurants on August 1. More than 620,000 pledged their support on a Facebook page Huckabee created for the event, and on the day in question, lines stretched out the doors in many Chick-fil-A locations. Company officials on Thursday announced that the chain had set a new record for one-day sales, but would not confirm the amount.
With throngs like that, waits for service of up to an hour were not uncommon, although others also showed up to protest the company’s views. Proponents of gay marriage organized a counter-protest, requesting that supporters donate $6.50—the approximate cost of a Chick-fil-A lunch—to gay-friendly organizations, and mounting a “National Same-Sex Kiss Day” for the following Friday, encouraging couples to post their Chick-fil-A kissing photos online.
This tempest-in-a-crockpot began June 16 with multiple celestial placements which aptly describe the themes. The Sun at 25 Gemini was opposed the Galactic Center, indicator of something which would achieve national, even global, notoriety and attention. The Sun was also squared to asteroid Pandora at 28 Virgo and Mars at 21 Virgo, indicating on the one hand the release of unintended consequences, ills and harmful elements (Pandora) and on the other, the emergence of conflict or contention, a struggle between opponents (Mars).
Mercury, ruler of statements and opinions (as well as radio talk shows), was exactly conjunct asteroid Ganymed at 16 Cancer, a minor planet named for Zeus’ homosexual cupbearer and lover, and strongly related to gay issues. Also within orb was asteroid Sappho, named for an ancient Greek poet famed for her lesbianism, which at 24 Cancer was more closely conjunct asteroid Hera, named for the Greek goddess of marriage, at 26 Cancer. “Gay marriage” can’t be spelled out any clearer. This pair was also trine asteroid Juno, Hera’s Roman counterpart, at 23 Scorpio retrograde.
Venus, ruling values and moral/ethical stances, was at 9 Gemini retrograde and exactly squared Chiron at 9 Pisces retrograde, symbolizing wounding. Venus was also tapped in to the ongoing Uranus/Pluto square by sextile and inconjunct, and channeling those energies of disruption or controversy (Uranus) and sex, scandal and taboo (Pluto).
Two personal-named asteroids represent Dan Cathy, and these made their mark as well. Asteroid Daniel (#2589) at 25 Libra was trine the Sun, and in its conjunction with Saturn at 22 Libra retrograde reflected its namesake’s backward (retrograde), conservative (Saturn) stance on the issue. Asteroid Kathy (#4711), homophone for “Cathy”, fell at 15 Taurus, sextile Mercury/Ganymed.
Some of these points also made startling contacts to Dan Cathy’s birthchart (born 1 March 1953). Most particularly, transit Kathy was exactly conjoined Cathy’s natal Jupiter (politics, renown) at 15 Taurus, while transit Juno at 23 Scorpio was exactly atop Cathy’s natal Pandora, again energizing that release of unintended consequences. This circumstance was reiterated by transit Pandora, which at 28 Virgo was exactly squared Cathy’s natal Sappho, tying those consequences specifically to gay themes, at 28 Gemini. Natal Sappho is itself conjoined the transit Sun at 25 Gemini, with natal Ganymed at 0 Libra further squared the transit Sun and conjunct transit Pandora.
Transit Saturn and asteroid Daniel at 22 and 25 Libra were activating a natal pairing of Saturn (conservatism) and Neptune (religious zealotry) at 26 and 23 Libra, with Cathy therefore also in the throes of his second Saturn Return, a period of testing and trial. Transit Mercury/Ganymed at 16 Cancer opposed Cathy’s natal Chiron, the wound-maker, at 18 Capricorn, and exactly squared his natal Mars at 16 Aries, ruling conflict, forming a T-Square. Mercury/Ganymed is also conjunct Cathy’s natal Uranus at 14 Cancer, an image of an unexpected statement which is disruptive and volatile concerning gay issues. Transit Chiron at 9 Pisces conjoins Cathy’s natal 10 Pisces Sun, bringing the wounds home personally, but also suggesting that Cathy’s interview may have been somewhat maverick behavior for him, airing views normally kept quiet.
Natal Venus, values, at 23 Aries is currently being transited by TNO Eris, named for the Greek goddess of strife and discord, at 22 Aries, while opposed by Saturn at 22 Libra, and forming a T-Square with transit Sappho/Hera at 24 and 26 Cancer. This is an image of fractiousness or squabbling (Eris) regarding Cathy’s personal values (natal Venus) concerning gay marriage (Sappho/Hera) which he brings into his business (both natal and transit Saturn). Natal asteroid Kathy at 19 Aquarius lies at the Apex of a transit Yod, or Finger of Fate, formed by inconjunct aspects to Mercury/Ganymed and Sappho at 16 and 24 Cancer, and Mars at 21 Virgo, tying the whole story back to Dan Cathy very personally.
Quite a bit of celestial fowl play, indeed!