Dan Cathy, the CEO of the successful chain restaurant Chick-fil-A and a devout Baptist, has made the mistake of insisting that a spade is in fact a spade, and that can mean only one thing: He and his delicious chicken have to go.

If only he had played by the rules of the Game!  Here is a quick refresher, in case you are tempted to follow in his footsteps.

A seemingly sane person looks squarely at you and says that what is right before your eyes is not what you know it to be.  Skeptical at first, you withhold judgment on his sanity, until you consult your television.  Upon learning that many people disagree with you and agree with him, you ask yourself, Could all of them really be wrong?  Then you say, I was wrong: That is not a spade.  Congratulations, you’ve won!

Because, really, the whole point of the Game is for you to agree that whatever one hundred people surveyed say something is, that’s what it is.

If, for example, a hundred people surveyed tell us that two homosexual men have somehow married each other, then the correct answer is, by golly, they are married.  Sure, you can exercise your right to free speech and say that they are not married, that such is impossible, that marriage is what marriage is, that marriage simply exists and therefore cannot be defined or redefined, and that from time immemorial until what seems like five minutes ago, no one questioned whether a turnip is a spade or sodomy is marriage.  You are free to say all of that.  But you will not score points in the Game.  Actually, you will have points subtracted from your score.  In fact, let’s face it, you lose.

And so, in late July when the cleverest of bloggers trolling the internet found an interview with Dan Cathy on the Baptist Press’s website, in which he was asked whether his company donates money to pro-family organizations, and his response was “guilty as charged,” Dan Cathy became a loser.  Before you could say cock-a-doodle-doo, the web was on fire like a Spicy Chicken Deluxe (I highly recommend), and Cathy was adjudged guilty of hate crimes.  HuffPo’s news day was no longer slow, as the follow-up posts and requested tweets streamed in, responding to “Chicken, With a Side of Bigotry.”

Boycotts and celebrity denunciations soon followed, along with Boston Mayor and Game expert Thomas M. Menino’s solemn declaration that, so long as he ruled the roost, there would never, ever be a Dan Cathy franchise in his town.  “[W]e’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail,” he courageously told the Boston Herald.  (Note that this liberty-loving patriot is also a sworn enemy of guns, soda pop, and “prostrate” [sic] cancer.)

But the real cluck-off came from the late Jim Henson’s Muppets.  In response to Dan Cathy’s deep-fried bigotry, the Muppets declared war on Chick-fil-A.  Thus, despite a contractual agreement, Gonzo, the Swedish Chef, and Piggy won’t be making appearances in the kids’ meals of the right-wing hatestaurant.  “We have notified Chick-Fil-A [sic] that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors,” a press release crowed.  “Lisa Henson, our CEO is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A [sic] to GLAAD.”

Yes, it turns out that Chick-fil-A has given millions to pro-family charities, which, among other activities, seek to preserve “traditional” marriage.  And yes, Mr. Cathy personally believes that “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 I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”

And while we’re at it, yes, Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays, so that employees may go to church, if church is something they go to.  And yes, you can often hear Christian music—even hymns—playing as you wait in line or the drive-thru.

Does that make Dan Cathy and his restaurants purveyors of hate?  After all, it’s not as if they use gaydar to determine whether potential employees are homosexuals, nor do they require church attendance for current ones.  It’s difficult to imagine how Chick-fil-A would have become America’s second-largest chicken-chain if everyone who walked in the door got a Bible jammed down his throat—especially considering that they’re only open six days per week.  “We’re not anti-anybody,” Cathy says.  “Our mission is to create raving fans.”

But that doesn’t matter if you want to win at the Game.  If you are a fellow hymn-loving, churchgoing, poultry-eating proponent of non-fake marriage, you’d better not tell anyone or do anything about it—not unless you want to be a loser, too.

Still, Cathy’s not backing down.  He’s decided not to play by the rules of the Game.  He may be a loser, but he ain’t no chicken.