Well, the heartening news in the Student Senate's decision urging Richard Stockton College to kick Chick-fil-A off the campus is that the vote was close - 14 to 10. Obviously, the members of the Student Senate gave both sides of the issue careful consideration. It is also encouraging that a survey of students found that 66 percent want the chicken-sandwich franchise to stay.
The Chick-fil-A controversy, which has raged nationwide, has now come to Stockton. Our problem with the whole thing is that both sides seem to miss the point.
The controversy arose when Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy made it clear this summer that he is a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage. Indeed, the company donates money to groups that share its opposition.
But that shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone.
S. Truett Cathy, the company's founder and current chairman, is a devout Southern Baptist, and as a result of his religious beliefs, all Chick-fil-A franchises have always been closed on Sundays.
To which we say: Fine with us. It's his company.
But at Stockton, as elsewhere, supporters of gay marriage have taken offense at the chain's stand. The Student Senate has taken the position that the Cathys' feelings about same-sex marriage conflict with the college's values. Also, some of Chick-fil-A's campus opponents say students with meal plans are being forced to support a company with which they have a major moral disagreement.
Supporters of Chick-fil-A, both on the Stockton campus and elsewhere, cite the company's right to free speech. Other Chick-fil-A supporters (see the two letters on the subject in today's Voice of the People) say that if the college supports diversity, it must support the controversial chain - because, after all, some Stockton students are conservative Christians who agree with the company's stand.
But each side in the Chick-fil-A controversy, which should be a noncontroversy, overstates its case.
To the supporters of Chick-fil-A: Drop the diversity argument. If Stockton has to have a Chick-fil-A because some of its students are conservative Christians, then it should also have a restaurant that is owned by atheists, because there are some of them on campus, too. Do we really want to go down that road?
And to the opponents of Chick-fil-A, who, it is fair to note, started this whole thing: Don't eat there if you don't want to. It's only one of several options on the meal plan. So if you don't eat there, you are not supporting a cause that you oppose.
Try to remember that life involves interacting with all kinds of people in all kinds of ways - and in most of these interactions, the other party's religious, social or political views are irrelevant.
And if someone's or some company's religious, social or political views are relevant to you, then don't interact with them.
But just understand that this is your personal decision, not one you should impose on others, and certainly not a public issue.