Recently, I had to rent a car for a few days while my car’s radiator was being replaced.
When I rented the vehicle, I noted an interesting option on the rental contract: an “offset” for carbon emissions, which would send a fee to some organization that would alleviate the “damage” the rented car was causing to the environment by doing something proactive elsewhere to help.
I didn’t pay that option, because it seemed silly to me to offset a few days’ worth of a rental car if I’m not doing a similar offset for the main car I drive everyday. There was that, and the fact that if I wanted to donate to an environmental organization to offset my “carbon footprint,” I’d prefer to donate directly to such an organization rather than as an add-on fee to a business where I couldn’t be entirely certain that all of that money would actually get there.
A member of my chosen family, Chip, mentioned the same idea on Sunday when we were talking about the Chick-Fil-A controversy. A friend of his loves Chick-Fil-A. He’s not a fast food junkie; in fact, he’s more of a health nut, and really enjoys the healthier options, like the chicken wraps and fruit cups, that the restaurant offers. But he felt he needed to take a stand for equality after the company’s chief acknowledged what everyone already knew: that Chick-Fil-A runs on Biblical principle, supports a traditional view of marriage and donates to pro-family, pro-Christian organizations.
This guy really felt the “pain” of having to walk away from Chick-Fil-A. Apparently, he fell for the bogus argument that you can’t support equality and set foot inside a Chick-Fil-A.
Chip offered the “offset” option to his friend: every time he dines at Chick-Fil-A, he should keep his receipt; for every dollar he spends at Chick-Fil-A, donate that same amount to a group promoting equality.
His friend seemed to like that idea.
I don’t know what percentage of every dollar spent at Chick-Fil-A goes to a group that doesn’t promote marriage for same-sex couples. It’s a no-brainer that if I spend $3.00 on a sandwich, that group isn’t going to get three bucks. More likely, it might be lucky to get a whole penny out of it.
And based on research one blogger did on the organization’s charitable donations through its WinShape Foundation, there’s a good argument that those organizations wouldn’t get a whole penny out of my lunch.
But a $3.00 donation to an equality-promoting group represents three dollars more than a pro-Christian group would receive as a percentage of that same $3.00 spent inside Chick-Fil-A.
It’s all a matter of how you look at it.