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Caught in the Middle? Try an Offset!


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.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.