Chick-fil-A and the Gay War Against Freedom

Homosexual tyranny in Chicago.

PT Barnum, the famous 19th-century American showman, once said "There's no such thing as bad publicity."  It may have been so for him, but in our modern times it's most definitely not, as the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A is learning.

Despite being a large nationwide chain, Chick-fil-A is known for strongly promoting the Christian principles of its founders, the Cathy family.  Unlike virtually every other store out there, all Chick-fil-As have always closed on Sunday so employees can go to church.

The Cathys, and Chick-fil-A, have always supported the traditional family.  Alas, times have changed, and COO Dan Cathy put his foot in it when he made a statement in an interview that would have been totally non-controversial even ten years ago:

We are very much supportive of the family - the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that. We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles[emphasis added]

Unfortunately he's wrong: apparently we do not in fact live in a country where sharing Biblical values is to be allowed.  Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wasted no time in making this clear:

Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values. They’re not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members. And if you’re gonna be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values.  What the CEO has said as it relates to gay marriage and gay couples is not what I believe, but more importantly, it’s not what the people of Chicago believe. We just passed legislation as it relates to civil union and my goal and my hope … is that we now move on recognizing gay marriage. I do not believe that the CEO’s comments … reflects who we are as a city.

Fair enough, you might think - Rahm Emanuel has the right to his views just as Mr. Cathy has to his.  Not so: the Mayor and his aldermen are taking steps to actually prevent Chick-fil-A from opening any restaurants in their city.

Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) is using the same argument to block Chick-fil-A from opening its first free-standing restaurant in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood.

“Same sex marriage, same-sex couples — that’s the civil rights fight of our time. To have those discriminatory policies from the top down is just not something that we’re open to. …We want responsible businesses,” Moreno said.

Let's review: Mr. Cathy has never refused to serve homosexuals in his restaurants.  He certainly hasn't endorsed any kind of violence against them.  He has used his funds, and the funds of his company, to promote his personal political views, just as has always been legal in America and just as every other individual and business can do.  His views in opposition to homosexuality may be out of style, but they're not only not illegal, they're the views that everyone in the world shared until maybe 20 years ago.

And for this, the power of the government is being used to oppose his business!  This violates every principle of the Constitution we can think of, from free speech rights to freedom of religion to equal protection under the law, but nobody in the media seems to mind.  The only acceptable view is apparently that America is being uncommonly generous to Mr. Cathy by not slamming him in jail.

The End of the Line

It's long been obvious that the Obama administration is fundamentally opposed to religious liberty; they've made it a key objective of Obamacare to force religious organizations to pay for abortion procedures they view as morally anathema as murder.  The attack on Chick-fil-A carries this one step further: religious people are now no longer allowed even to express or support their own moral views.

Yes, Mr. Cathy is garnering a surprising amount of popular support on Facebook.  How much will that count for when the government has declared him and his company an intolerable enemy of the state?

It's long been clear that homosexuals, far from demanding freedom to be themselves, are fighting for a special power of immunity from criticism that nobody can have in a free country.  The consequences of that are plain: the total death of religious freedom.

As evil and un-American as that is, though, it didn't occur to us that the homosexual agenda would also mean the death of economic freedom.  Yet, as Mayor Emanuel explained, that's exactly what it means.

Maybe now, at long last, it's time to oppose this tyranny, defend Mr. Cathy, and hound both Mr. Obama and Rahm Emanuel from the offices they pollute with their presence?  Otherwise, some future unfortunate will echo German Pastor Niemoller: "First they came for the Mormons who opposed Proposition 8, but Mormons are wacky so that's fine.  Then they came for Dan Cathy, but I didn't care, I don't like fast-food chicken anyway..."

And eventually they'll come for you too - unless we all join together to stop them while we still can.

Read other articles by Hobbes or other articles on Society.
Reader Comments

Very true, and I'm glad to see the issue finally coming to the forefront. The homofacists have been destroying every person who dares utter a word about them other than in full lockstep support. Look at what has happened to Rick Santorum, who has never once uttered a word of 'hate' against an actual homosexual person.

As with abortion and gun control, we're seeing a total backfiring against their overreach. People have been flooding to Chik-Fil-A in support over the past few weeks - lines wrapped around the building.

I was listening to a legal expert this morning talking about how these government officials are not only totally wrong but are in fact opening up their city offices to massive lawsuits for abuse of office and discrimination.

According to the expert, even COMMENTING against a business on the part of a high-ranking government is legally actionable, to say nothing of actually attempting to bar them from setting up shop. According to the legal expert, these mayors and councilman are being told by their legal council to SHUT UP quickly before the city has to write massive checks to Chik-Fil-A.

Government officials have to be VERY careful anytime they talk publicly about a specific business, even if their words are mostly positive. Very big precedents against doing that.

July 30, 2012 8:57 AM

Looks like Huckabee is trying to start an "I Support Chick-fil-A Day" this coming Wednesday. Hope it works, though we'll certainly never hear about it on the news.

July 30, 2012 9:00 AM

We live in a Democracy.

Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.

Chick-Fil-A is learning a similar lesson to the one learned by any American politician who dares criticize anything Israel does.

July 30, 2012 9:41 AM

NYT agrees with scragged!

The Chick-fil-A Business
Antigay remarks like those made by the president of the fast-food chain are offensive, but they are not a reason to kick the company out of town.

Dan Cathy, the president and chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A, the fast-food chain based in Atlanta, recently dragged his company into the middle of the same-sex marriage debate. He told one interviewer that the country is “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.’ ” Antigay remarks like these are offensive. But they are not a reason to kick the company out of town, as the officials in Boston and Chicago have threatened to do.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City has the correct take on the matter. Mr. Cathy and his family have long supported efforts to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. Mr. Bloomberg worked hard for marriage equality in New York State. But, said Mr. Bloomberg, “You can’t have a test for what the owners’ personal views are before you decide to give a permit to do something in the city.”

Other officials were considerably less sensitive to the fact that controversial, even hurtful, political views are protected by the First Amendment. One Chicago alderman unwisely threatened to try to use his powers over city businesses to shut out future Chick-fil-A franchises.

Speaker Christine Quinn of the New York City Council also overreached when she sent a letter, on Council stationery, calling for the president of New York University to “sever your relationship” with a Chick-fil-A eatery on campus. “Let me be clear,” she wrote, “I do not want establishments in my city that hold such discriminatory views.”

As a gay woman who recently got married, Ms. Quinn’s anger about Mr. Cathy’s comments is understandable. And she stressed on Monday that the letter was “solely my own opinion.” But, as a powerful city leader and a leading candidate for mayor, she and others in city governments should take care not to be seen muscling aside businesses whose owners don’t agree with their views. That won’t work, especially in a city as big, diverse and opinionated as New York.

July 31, 2012 6:41 AM

They did it again! Are they realizing there are issues with the gay agenda?

Let Chick-fil-A Fly Free
Municipalities and institutions should leave the decision about whether to eat at Chick-fil-A to individual consumers and not to officeholders.

RECENTLY, Dan Cathy, the president of the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, commented publicly on his beliefs about same-sex marriage. He emphasized that his business is very supportive of family and that Chick-fil-A is family-owned and family-led. He advocated for what he called “the biblical definition of the family unit” and observed that supporting same-sex marriage invites “God’s judgment on our nation.”

Predictably, Mr. Cathy’s comments drew a strong response from opponents and supporters alike. In protest, the Jim Henson Company said it would no longer make toys for Chick-fil-A; in support, the former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, now a television host, declared a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.

But less predictable — and troubling — was that officials in a number of cities expressed not only their ire but also their desire to keep Chick-fil-A out of their towns. In Boston, Mayor Thomas M. Menino urged Chick-fil-A not to open a restaurant, explaining to The Boston Herald: “You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population.” In Philadelphia, the City Council member James F. Kenney wrote to Mr. Cathy, instructing him to “take a hike and take your intolerance with you.” A Chicago alderman opposed the opening of a new Chick-fil-A restaurant in his ward. And Speaker Christine Quinn of the New York City Council endorsed a movement by students at New York University who are pushing for the removal of Chick-fil-A from the school’s campus.

As a gay man, I’m disheartened by statements like Mr. Cathy’s, with their limited conception of what it means to be a family. “Family” is a treasured — I’ll say it, sacred — word in the gay community. Through decades of modern-day oppression, gay men and lesbians have created families against all odds. Love, loyalty, commitment, mutual support: these things are family. They are scarce virtues that our society should do everything in its power to foster.

But that’s my opinion. And a society that truly believes in individual freedom will respect Mr. Cathy’s right to his views. Those who disagree with him are free to boycott Chick-fil-A in protest. But if our elected officials run Chick-fil-A out of town, they are effectively voting for all of us, regardless of our respective beliefs, and eliminating our individual freedoms.

And freedom, after all, is at the heart of the controversy over same-sex marriage. True individual freedom includes allowing consenting adults to marry the partners they choose, regardless of gender. To those for whom same-sex marriage is personally objectionable, their free choice is simple: Don’t enter into one. But don’t impede the freedom of others to do so. As long as Chick-fil-A operates within the boundaries of the law, municipalities and institutions should leave the decision about whether to eat at Chick-fil-A to individual consumers. If they do, Chick-fil-A is still likely to experience a net loss of business over time as a result of Mr. Cathy’s statements. This is because gay people are the constituency most viscerally, fundamentally and personally affected by the denial of the freedom to marry the consenting adult we choose. We are the ones with the highest personal stakes in sticking out the battle in the long run. And we will vote with our feet.

In the marketplace as in politics, those rare players who place individual freedom ahead of their own personal agendas will get my vote every time.

Steve Salbu is the dean of the Scheller College of Business at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

August 2, 2012 7:19 AM

The NYT doesn't want their friends overreaching because they know it will backfire. The NYT is smart enough to realize that CFA has the upper hand here politically.

On the opposite side, this is why I'm so glad to see the controversy. The NYT is right to be scared for their friends. Every time gays go down this road, the backlash is quick and focused.

The best weapon gays have on their side is the normal quiet cultural decay that occurs over time. If they keep their mouths shut, eventually more and more institutions accept them. If they march in the streets and create controversy, the opposition solidifies.

August 2, 2012 7:48 AM

But what fun is it just to sit quietly and wait for victory? Unless there's fighting, they can't see themselves as heroes of the culture wars. Some of these firebrands would rather be heroic than win.

August 2, 2012 5:15 PM

the power of the counter-culture warriors of the 60s is at its zenith. Leadership positions in the private sector, in charitable trusts, in both the Republican and Democrat Parties, in the entertainment industry and in government bureaucracies are nearly saturated with counter-culturists. Counter-culture influence in the media has ensured that most issues have been framed in terms favorable to those wanting to radically change society. Public schools have shifted from not teaching western culture and western values to indoctrinating children to be hostile to the values of western civilization, frequently using environmentalism as a tool to attack both capitalism and the concept of limited government.

But, there are clear signs that the political milieu of the counter-culture is about to disintegrate: the European welfare state is imploding; the EU political experiment itself is showing cracks; European nationalism is on the rise; violence and instability in Mexico have shelved the idea of creating a North American Union; border state violence have turned public opinion against multi-culturalism, open-borders and bilingualism; the ideological near-monopoly that radical leftists once had in the national broadcast media in the US has been broken; the internet has allowed the proliferation of viewpoints not controlled by big media gatekeepers; people with mainstream political views have discovered that it is not just radicals who can used social media to organize; push back against radical views in academia and in the K-12 curricula is becoming more common; the events in WI portend a dramatic reduction in the power of government unions and, most importantly, the Tea Party Movement has given a real voice to those who are opposed to the attempt to redefine American society.

The counter-culturists recognize that they are starting to lose their power and are trying to lock-in as much of their political program as they can while they can. It is their panicky efforts to do so that best explains their zealotry.

August 8, 2012 2:23 PM
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