For those of you who haven’t heard, here’s the story. Chick-fil-A opposes gay rights. Over the years it has given millions of dollars to different anti-gay organizations, and its president has publicly attacked gay marriage, recently stating, for example, that he believes
is “inviting God’s judgment” by its “prideful, arrogant”
attempt to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. America
Well this past week the Jim Henson Company announced that, because it “has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years,” it has decided to terminate its business dealings with Chick-fil-A. Henson further announced that it would be giving all the money it has received from Chick-fil-A to GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
In response to this, many conservatives have attacked the Henson Company. Someone I personally know claimed that the Henson Company is being hypocritical, this person’s argument being that it is hypocritical for one to claim to be tolerant while at the same time “shunning” someone else simply because they disagree with that person’s beliefs.
Although this person’s argument—different forms of which I’ve heard over the years—might initially seem plausible, I think it crumbles upon closer examination. First, the Henson Company hasn’t “shunned” Chick-fil-A. To shun someone is to disassociate yourself from them, to refuse to even look their way when you encounter them on the street. If you want to know what it means to shun someone, talk to a Mennonite. As far as I know, the Henson Company has simply decided to terminate its business dealings with Chick-fil-A.
For similar reasons, I don’t see how refusing to do business with someone makes you intolerant. When we talk about intolerance, we generally mean—quoting Merriam-Webster—that one is “unwilling to grant or share social, political, or professional rights” with others. The Henson Company clearly isn’t attempting to deprive anyone of their rights. That’s what Chick-fil-A has been doing, using its money and influence in an attempt to continue depriving homosexuals of equal rights, namely, the right to marry the consenting adult of their choice. The Henson Company’s decision to terminate its business relationship is not depriving Chick-fil-A of any rights. It is instead an attempt to use its own money and influence to help homosexuals achieve equality.
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 And by “gay rights,” I mean equal rights for gays.
 “Chick-Fil-A Donated Nearly $2 Million To Anti-Gay Groups in 2010,” Equality Matters, July 2, 2012; Dylan Stableford, “Chick-fil-A president slams gay marriage,” Yahoo! News, July 18, 2012.
 The Jim Henson Company Facebook Page, July 20, 2012.
 Or read Miriam Toews’ A Complicated Kindness. Toews, who herself grew up in a Mennonite family, writes about the shunning act in some detail, describing how the shunned person essentially becomes dead to the believing community.