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Chick-fil-A: Evil Empire or Free-Speech Victim?

It's easy to hop on the bandwagon for one side or the other, but the issue's a little more complex.

Nutrition Facts: Serving size: 1 blog, Servings per container: 1, Calories: 0, Calories from fat: 0

Ingredients: marriage (equality, traditional, Biblical), boycott, Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A, high fructose corn syrup, Rahm Emanuel, Thomas Menino, monosodium glutamate, contains less than 2% of: humor, Red #5, snouts, knuckles

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In case you’ve been vacationing in Antarctica or just now awoke from a long-term coma (welcome back! thanks for making my blog a top priority), you’ve probably heard that Chick-fil-A is evil because it hates gays. 

Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy has publicly stated that he believes supporting gay marriage invites God’s judgment down upon our heads. Under Cathy’s direction, the Chick-fil-A company has donated about $5 million to anti-gay organizations (including the infamous Exodus International) between 2003 and 2010, according to an article on The Huffington Post.

I disagree with Cathy. Vehemently. Ultimately, though, his opinions are of little consequence, as are mine. Everyone should be free to believe what they choose, and speak as they choose, no matter how much they are at odds with the prevailing political or cultural atmosphere. Companies too should be free to make whatever donations their leaders see fit.  However, individuals and companies alike need to take responsibility for their words and actions, and accept the consequences. One of those consequences is alienating potential customers. Another is alienating business partners, which has happened with The Jim Henson Company, which had been providing toys for Chick-fil-A’s kids’ meals.

I should boycott Chick-fil-A. Here’s my problem. I’ve never eaten at Chick-fil-A.  Not even once. Never even been inside one, even to use the bathroom or grab some napkins. No particular reason—just one of those things. So choosing not to eat there is a hollow gesture for me to make. 

But I do write.

If you’ve read my profile here or on www.leaanne256.wordpress.com, or some of my previous blogs, you’ll know I’m straight, Christian, conservative and a GLBT ally. Stop laughing, I'm serious! I think strong marriages make strong families, which result in a strong society. It’s love, support and commitment that make a marriage strong, not which type of genitals are involved and how they’re used.  We should be encouraging loving adult couples to make a public commitment to each other, to take that commitment seriously, and to stick to it. Our current culture of disposability is, I believe, the root cause of  many of the bad things in our society. But that cookie is on another day’s menu.   

As a conservative, I think the best government is one that stays out of the individual’s personal life as much as possible, and nothing is more personal than one’s thoughts and beliefs. Freedom of speech and religion (belief) should be protected for everyone equally, including those that are unpopular.

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel apparently does not think those freedoms worth protecting. He has vowed to keep Chick-fil-A out of the city because of the company’s stance on marriage. Emanuel said, “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values…If you’re gonna be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values.” 

Doesn’t that scare you? It scares me. Who is Emanuel to define what “Chicago values” are? Is the mayor’s office going to question every business in the city limits about its views on gay marriage, abortion, the death penalty, gun ownership—and then kick out or refuse permits to those that don’t agree with what one person decides are “Chicago values?”  And who’s to say it stops with businesses?  Non-profits, churches and even individuals are part of the community too.

This precedent of discrimination (yes, discrimination) is extremely dangerous. It’s fine as long as you agree with the person in charge. You just better hope you agree with that person 100% of the time, or your business could fall victim to the same fate as Chick-fil-A. Once you’ve given that kind of power to the government, you can’t take it back just because the next guy who gets elected supports one-man-one-woman marriage.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino originally made statements similar to Emanuel’s, but he has since backed away from his threat. Menino still doesn’t want Chick-fil-A in Boston, but he admits it would be wrong to try to block it. The Boston Herald quotes Menino as saying, “I can’t do that. That would be interference to [Cathy’s] rights to go there.”

As even Menino grudgingly admits, the attempt to legislate thoughts and beliefs is unconstitutional and unethical. In the end, it does little but cause resentment, outrage and stubbornness among those who are the targets. That’s counterproductive. Minds and hearts are not changed by laws, they are changed by other minds and hearts. 

My mind and heart are going to eat in tonight.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Logansdad August 06, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Abe: "Please stop trying to reinterpret it to fit your own divisive purposes and then pointing at the rest of us as being intolerant when we refuse to go along for the ride." Today's definition of marriage has not alawys been a constant. Marriage has evolved. In the past a man was able to have multiple wives. Wives were treated as property. Most marriages were arranged. Is that what you mean by traditional marriages. The bible states marriage is about love and a life long commitment. Why is it that heterosexuals can redefine marriage to allow for a divorce but when it comes to who gets married, then redefining marriage is suddenly an issue?
Kyle Hitchens August 08, 2012 at 12:30 AM
You don't seem to be paying attention. It is not about one man's opinion. It is about the fact that his company gives MILLIONS of dollars to certified hate groups which demean, degrade, attempt to "cure", and even advocate the murder of gay people overseas in countries like Uganda. Many of us are disgusted by this immoral act of funding hatred and we choose to protest the company which is behind it. This is America, right?
Kyle Hitchens August 08, 2012 at 12:31 AM
This is the kind of homophobia gay people put up with everyday of their lives.
Frank A August 14, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Belief in your faith is not hate. Prejuduce is pre-judging - meaning a position without merit or rational thought. A Christian following his or her faith is not pre-judging. In fact, there are thousands of years of history and sacred teachings on the subject. And when you use the terms "prejudice" and "discrimination", I suppose you are not meaning these terms in a literial way, but instead to connote an illegitimate discernment. I don't attend a mosque - or eat chocolate - so in that way I have 'discriminated' (i.e chosen). It does not mean I hate memebers of their faith, or chocolate lovers, it means that I have elected a differntly. In the case of homosexuality my faith teaches it is a sin. I know that many people believe that there is no God, there is no such thing as right and wrong, and that we should all do whatever we want. I'm not one of those people - not because I hate - but because I take my faith seriously. If you want to argue that adherance to tradtional Christian thought is wrong -- that's fine. But its not irrational hatered. There, I've done it, I have 'discriminated' (i.e. chosen) to reject your view.
Sam Kikiacs August 17, 2012 at 12:50 AM
It makes you a bigot because you are denying civil rights to a group of people for no reason beyond who they like. It's not like you're disagreeing with someone's political views or favorite movie. You're disagreeing with who they are physically attracted to. It is the definition of bigoted. I'm not sure where you got the idea that you have to harass or physically hurt someone to be a bigot.

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