The disturbing attacks on Chick-fil-A

There’s one part of Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy’s recent remarks that the left seems especially intent on disproving: the part where he said,

… we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.

The rest of Cathy’s comments, if you haven’t already heard, concerned his opinion of the propriety of gay marriage from a biblical perspective. As retribution for his voicing this opinion, some liberals in Chicago and Boston want to deny Cathy and his company the right to operate in their cities.

This is disturbing on a number of levels, two in particular.

The first is the idea that local governments might deny a business license to a company because of the beliefs of its owners. In Chicago, Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno threatened to do just that in his ward. (The city’s mayor, former Obama aide Rahm Emanuel, was more oblique, voicing sympathy with Moreno’s perspective but saying only that a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Chicago “would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”)

As Elizabeth Scalia notes, this is how fascism works. As the far-from-right-wing Boston Globe editorialized, in response to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s statement that “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston” and that the company shouldn’t be allowed to open a store near famed Faneuil Hall along the city’s — first irony alert! — Freedom Trail:

… which part of the First Amendment does Menino not understand? A business owner’s political or religious beliefs should not be a test for the worthiness of his or her application for a business license. … If the mayor of a conservative town tried to keep out gay-friendly Starbucks or Apple, it would be an outrage.

Menino has since backtracked on his threat. Moreno appears to be digging in, although some of his fellow aldermen take a different view.

The second is the way Menino and Moreno are twisting the definition of the word “discrimination” to apply it to Cathy’s objection to — second irony alert! — the redefinition of the word “marriage” to apply to same-sex couples.

“You can’t have a business in the City of Boston that discriminates against a population,” Menino told the Boston Herald to explain his desire to keep Chick-fil-A out of his city.

“If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don’t want you in the 1st Ward,” Moreno told the Chicago Tribune.

But I have yet to see the first shred of evidence Chick-fil-A is actually discriminating against gay couples. Menino and Moreno cited no reports that same-sex couples in a Chick-fil-A restaurant have been denied service or asked to leave, nor any instances of gay employees or job applicants being dismissed due to their sexual orientation. This is hardly comparable to a Southern lunch counter turning away black customers half a century ago.

Nor could anyone accurately describe Cathy or Chick-fil-A as influential political agitators who are enabling some sort of “discrimination.” While much was made back in March of the company’s donations to groups that promote the traditional definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman, the company is practically silent in terms of donations to politicians and political organizations. According to the Sunlight Foundation, the sum total of all political donations by the company, its employees and its PAC, between 1989 and 2012, was just $177,410 — about $7,400 a year. And even this meager spending does not appear to have been tied to the issue of gay marriage.

If a mere difference of opinion with elected officials is enough to qualify as “discrimination,” then in some way or another virtually every employer would be, as Cathy put it in the interview that sparked this episode, guilty as charged. Civil society itself would be fractured irretrievably. As Scalia asked,

… where does the “punishment” spiral stop? The press declares Chick-fil-A “homophobic” (a dishonest word) and then the local governments start penalizing them for it; Jim Henson’s outfit stomps off. What next? Will people against gay marriage start boycotting Muppet stuff? Pyres of Elmo in support of Chick-fil-A’s right to be itself?

We’re already seeing a preliminary version of this: Activists are encouraging same-sex couples to visit Chick-fil-A stores next Friday for a “National Same-Sex Kiss Day”; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is encouraging fellow social conservatives to “buycott” the company by patronizing its restaurants en masse next Wednesday.

Does anyone see this thing headed toward reconciliation?

The idea at the foundation of our freedom of speech is often said to have been summarized by the French philosopher Voltaire: “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” It’s a long way from Voltaire’s France to Menino’s Boston and Moreno’s Chicago, and the direction is a very disheartening one.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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474 comments Add your comment

Hmmmmmmmmm

July 26th, 2012
2:17 pm

This is NO surprise, the left radicals are just that, RADICAL. Chic fila will not lose any business, matter of fact, I will bet their business increases….

sheepdawg

July 26th, 2012
2:18 pm

cathy’s ignorance and bigotry is what is disturbing

Simple Truths

July 26th, 2012
2:20 pm

Watch out for Redneck Convert in the Chick fil A drive thru. He will drive over you in his F-550!

Jose

July 26th, 2012
2:22 pm

shouldn’t Chicago focus more on preventing murders in their gun control city than worrying about the remarks of a well known Christian business?

Jose

July 26th, 2012
2:23 pm

and Boston will have no money to buy a meal #1 anyway since they have INVESTED in the BIG DIG

Jefferson

July 26th, 2012
2:24 pm

The politician are looking to improve their standing, the chicken stand is just the medium.

This was a planned controversy and it don’t befront me.

Jose

July 26th, 2012
2:27 pm

hey if liberals and homosexuals boycott them…….. it just means the rest of us get our meals a lot quicker

Slick Rick

July 26th, 2012
2:27 pm

The “disturbing attacks” on Chick-Fil-A (dare I call it “Anti-Gay-A”?) are no less “disturbing” than the Chick-fil-A founder’s “disturbing attacks” on gay people themselves and the very notion of humanity and fundamental decency.

I can tell you that this particular liberal will NOT be frequenting Chick-Fil-A/Anti-Gay-A for the forseeable future.

Jose

July 26th, 2012
2:28 pm

they should start a new ad campaign with the cows

be beef-a-fobic
eat mor chick

Don't Tread

July 26th, 2012
2:30 pm

The end justifies the means, according to the left, and the attacks on Chick-Fil-A are just the latest illustration of this anti-freedom mindset. So the fact that they are screaming “discrimination” when there is no actual discrimination taking place is just another day for them. (Then we have the mayors of these liberal cities threaten or actually take steps to discriminate against the company. This is rich.)

As for me, I will proudly order my breakfast at Chick-Fil-A and the commies can go jump off a bridge for all I care. (Just make sure it’s not a bridge over a road or rail line, as we don’t want to cause problems for the people who are actually producing something of value.)

@@

July 26th, 2012
2:30 pm

I picked up a peach milkshake at Chic-fil-a yesterday. I allow myself one a year. The place was busy, busy, busy.

My daughter had two friends in high school who were gay. Both worked at the local Chic-fil-A for several years.

One was awarded a Chic-fil-A scholarship to attend college. All of their co-workers attended the same high school. They knew they were gay. I’ve no doubt Mr. Cathy knew too.

I’m bettin’ there’s an employment policy at Chic-fil-A where they’re not allowed to discuss their sexual positions.

Thank goodness!

schnirt

Steve

July 26th, 2012
2:32 pm

Disgusting topic. Anyone that supports bigotry or homophobia is a dinosaur and no friend of mine.

brian

July 26th, 2012
2:32 pm

Justifying hatred because its part of your religion? Disturbing!

zebra

July 26th, 2012
2:33 pm

People have the right to believe what they will- just like with the mosque in Tennessee. Freedom of speech or religion is only validated by protecting the unpopular.

Steve

July 26th, 2012
2:33 pm

Besides, this is freaking fried high calorie JUNK FOOD. I avoid fast food in general, nevermind those run by bigots.

xRedfoxx

July 26th, 2012
2:33 pm

Please join the group “Support Chick-Fil-A on August 1st!!” on Facebook and show your support for individuals being able to express their religious opinions without being run out of town by corrupt city officials!!

Hmmmmmmmmm

July 26th, 2012
2:34 pm

@sheep Dawg and Slick Rick

Guys just do us all a favor and get some help!

Goldie

July 26th, 2012
2:35 pm

Kyle– this is disturbing… and I call it Instant Karma for you right-wingnuts who were blasting New York City a couple of years ago about building that “mosque” near the World Trade Center:

["Associated Press-- updated 8/18/2010 6:39:45 PM ET

WASHINGTON — A New York imam and his proposed mosque near ground zero are being demonized by political candidates — mostly Republicans — despite the fact that Islam is already very much a part of the World Trade Center neighborhood. And that Muslims pray inside the Pentagon, too, less than 80 feet from where terrorists attacked. ..."]

How quickly you Cons like to forget when you step in it! :)

Just saying..

July 26th, 2012
2:35 pm

I’m just content that Mitt continues to practice Freedom Of Speech…

1961_Xer

July 26th, 2012
2:35 pm

The problem is that gay activists take the view, “you are either for us or against us. And if you are against us, you are a hate filled bigoted person, and we hate you and are willing to destroy you”.

They cannot conceive that someone could be against same sex marriage, but not against homosexual individuals. This describes me. I have had MANY gay and lesbian friends. I have invited them to my house, I have been invited to their houses. I have carpooled with them. I have worked out and showered with them. I believe that they should have most of the same privileges as as heterosexual couples. But I believe redefinition of marriage is a slippery slope that will undo 200 years of case law and open up the concept of marriage to all kinds of unions. Whether true or not, this is my belief. But to believe this, I am a bigoted hateful person in the eyes of the gay activist community.

Jose

July 26th, 2012
2:35 pm

brian logic

hating jerry sandusky for child molestation because its part of your religion is disturbing!

Drudge

July 26th, 2012
2:38 pm

Folks, not agreeing with your cause is not “hate.” I guess it’s OK in this country to have an opinion as long as it’s liberal. Remember Miss California? Well, they asked her opinion and she gave it – it turns out that it was the only pageant question EVER asked that had a right and wrong answer. They didn’t really want an answer, they just wanted her to gush over her love for gay marriage…

Kyle Wingfield

July 26th, 2012
2:40 pm

Slick Rick @ 2:27: Suit yourself. Personally, if I want good coffee, I spend zero time wondering if the folks at Starbucks agree with my politics. Etc., etc.

But on the question addressed in the OP: Do you think a company should be denied the right to operate in a city because of its owners’ beliefs?

RC--apoi

July 26th, 2012
2:40 pm

Watch out for Redneck Convert in the Chick fil A drive thru. He will drive over you in his F-550!

Well, it’s a F-450, thank you, and I got better things to do than wait in a drive-thru. I walk right in and tell the nice Christian kid at the counter what I want. But I reckon if they’re going to have a same-sex kissing day I’ll need to use the drive-thru or my appetite will be ruint.

Steve

July 26th, 2012
2:42 pm

Replace this is with “black” and get the point.

Ok to repress a group of people called gay, not ok to suppress blacks but it WAS in <1964.

Grow up people. Evolve.

Rightwing Troll

July 26th, 2012
2:44 pm

Man… a Southern Baptist family that runs their private business how they see fit and stands by their convictions… All this kerfuffel is exactly what gives liberals a bad name. Of course the Cathy’s aren’t going to be big supporters of gay marriage, no big surprise there. Their religious leanings have been well known since they opened their doors, they’re a private company, and a good family. This lib fully supports them in their business and beliefs.

As for all the libs that are SHOCKED I tell you… just SHOCKED by Dan Cathy’s statement, well maybe they can borrow some of you conservitards well used swooning couches… I’ve already had lunch today, but CFA sounds good for tomorrow…

Del

July 26th, 2012
2:44 pm

The left has again shown what bigots and hypocrites they really are. An Independent business owner of a family owned business who also happens to be a Christian believer announces that he and his family members don’t support same sex marriage. What happens in the aftermath, we have the left wingers coming out vilifying Dan Cathy accusing him of bigotry and announcing a boycott of his business locations. Of course there’s no creditable evidence that Chick-fil-A has ever discriminated against a homosexual customer or a employee but they’ll call him a bigot merely because he expressed his belief. These tools of the hard-left are the real bigots. What’s way over the top is Democrat politicians in major U.S. cities threatening illegal action by denying Chick-fil-A business permits. Does the DNC condemn this bigoted discrimination against Christian owned business? Of course they don’t and won’t. This latest assault on American Christians may very well be a strong motivator to come out in huge numbers and vote against Democrats who condone this left wing bigotry in November.

guest

July 26th, 2012
2:44 pm

Unfortunately, freedom of speech only goes one way in this country. It’s sickening that there are so many double standards in this country.

Corkryn

July 26th, 2012
2:45 pm

“This is disturbing on a number of levels, two in particular.

The first is the idea that local governments might deny a business license to a company because of the beliefs of its owners.”

I would hazard a guess that a great many conservatives wouldn’t be disturbed in the slightest by this prospect given their attitudes with respect to the construction of new mosques. I guess its only wrong when it’s Christians that are being “persecuted” for their beliefs.

veemmmgee

July 26th, 2012
2:46 pm

Chicago needs to back pedal a bit – that city is BROKE!!!! The CFA on Michigan Avenue is doing a booming business – people can’t get enough. I can assure that there are Christians who eat at plenty of gay-owned eating establishments…not boycotting them. I will say it again – we live in a world of double standards. As a Christian, I am a bit weary of all the Jesus bashers. We are not ignorant, red neck biggots who drive F550’s through drive throughs as one of the others posted. God gave us all brains and hearts. What you choose to do with your brain and your heart is your business. God will sort us all out in the end…

Kyle Wingfield

July 26th, 2012
2:48 pm

Steve @ 2:42: Ok, let’s go with your thought experiment. Suppose a restaurant-chain owner in Atlanta in 1964 personally believed in segregated schools (I don’t think this is actually equivalent to gay marriage, but I’m trying to keep the historical analogy intact), yet his restaurant chain employed and served black workers and customers, and otherwise treated blacks no different than whites. Then, suppose his chain wanted to expand to another city. Would it have been right to deny him a business license based on what he thought rather than how his business operated?

TGT

July 26th, 2012
2:49 pm

Even more sad and sick irony:

In declaring family-friendly restaurant chain Chick-fil-A unfit for his city, Chicago mayor, former Obama Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, declared, “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values.” Pardon me, but, No Duh!! This is exactly why so many American cities are pits of hell!

Just two weeks ago a Chicago police sergeant, who also happens to be a decorated veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, compared the violence in his city to what he saw in combat. It’s “tribal warfare,” he declared. Much of the violence is a result of gang warfare. And what are gangs the result of? Exactly–the breakdown of the traditional (biblical) family.

On July 9, in a CBS interview, Emanuel said that Chicago’s violence problem was about “values.” The CBS interviewer Scott Pelley, asked: “When seven-year-old Heaven Sutton was killed last month, caught in the crossfire, you said ‘It’s not about crime, it’s about values.’ What did you mean?”

Emanuel answered: “We’ve got two gangbangers, one standing next to a kid. Get away from that kid. Take your stuff away to the alley. Don’t touch the children of the city of Chicago. Don’t get near them. And it is about values.”

In other words, take your gunfights to the alley and slaughter each other there, but leave the rest of us out of it. It sounds like Chicago, along with most every other U.S. city, could use some of those Chick-fil-A values!

What’s more, Emanuel has now enlisted Nation of Islam leader and anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan to help quell the violence in Chicago’s streets. Emanuel said, “People of faith have a role to play and community leaders have a role to play in helping to protect our neighborhoods and our citizens.”

“People of faith have a role to play,” as long as that faith doesn’t involve a biblical view of marriage, right Mr. Mayor? “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil!”

Slick Rick

July 26th, 2012
2:49 pm

Candidly, Kyle, no, a business shouldn’t be denied the right to operate in a city because of its founder’s beliefs, no matter how bigoted, hateful and completely wrongheaded they are. I’ll vote with my wallet. But the hypocrisy and bigotry of the “religious faithful” (Michele Bachman in particular, but also including Mr. Cathy) is odious and has no place in a supposedly civilized, supposedly enlightened country.

Matt

July 26th, 2012
2:49 pm

If the Cathy wants to air his homophobic beliefs as a statemnt about his company, he has to live with the consequences. If he had kept quite and focused on making chicken none of this would have ever happened.

Dave

July 26th, 2012
2:50 pm

The younger Cathy was talking about what he believed, and he’s perfectly entitled to have and promote his beliefs. I’m more concerned about the company donations to anti-gay groups in the past. If the donations are ongoing I don’t want to spend money at a place that will give part of it to discriminatory groups, however little an amount of money that is. Chick-fil-A is entitled to spend as it will; and, I’m entitled to show my displeasure by eating elsewhere.

Darwin

July 26th, 2012
2:50 pm

Ok Kyle – you got your “liberal” dig in for the day. I am reminded of Anita Bryant…as I was alive and living in South Florida during the 70s. And you were in diapers? You see, it goes both ways. But not me!

Middle of the Road

July 26th, 2012
2:51 pm

I strongly disagree with the Cathy family’s viewpoint but so long as they don’t discriminate in any way I don’t see any serious problem here. It’s also perfectly acceptable for individuals and organizations to boycott the restaurant if they so desire. I stopped eating at their restaurants long ago.

But I certainly disagree with governments imposing their will on the situation. If Chick-Fil-A wants to open a restaurant in Boston they should be allowed to. Let sales and profitability determine its ultimate fate — not politicians.

Of course, I don’t like government trying to shut down abortion clinics but that’s another issue for another day.

Kyle Wingfield

July 26th, 2012
2:51 pm

Slick Rick @ 2:49: Then you and I are in agreement on this topic, no?

TGT

July 26th, 2012
2:53 pm

And when it comes to “discrimination:”

Of course, one of the most frequent and favorite cries of the left is the dreaded “d-word:” discrimination. Never-mind that virtually every position in the marriage debate requires a measure of “discrimination.” As Al Mohler recently put it, “Discrimination—even ‘obvious discrimination’—is not necessarily wrong at all. Indeed, any sane society discriminates at virtually every turn, as do individuals. The law itself is an instrument of comprehensive discrimination.”

What’s more, as Mohler also points out, both individuals and governments discriminate on (gasp!) moral terms. “No sane person would ask a convicted child molester to be a baby sitter. No sane society would elect a known embezzler as state treasurer. These acts of discrimination are necessary and morally right.”

So a real dilemma for the left here lies not in their efforts to gain acceptance of same-sex marriage, but rather, how they would (eventually) discriminate and define marriage? Also problematic for liberals: upon what moral code would this definition rest?

regibee

July 26th, 2012
2:53 pm

Ate lunch at Chick-fil-A today near Perimeter Mall, and it was packed.

Road Scholar

July 26th, 2012
2:53 pm

How they run their business is their business. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else. If they had crappy food and service, you’d go somewhere else, right? But Kyle:

“But I have yet to see the first shred of evidence Chick-fil-A is actually discriminating against gay couples.”

I feel the same way about this and the alleged voting by illegals. No shred of truth/evidence, but aren’t you for the new voter I D laws being passed because of the illegal voting versus it is just the right and smart thing to do, as long as all have free access to getting an ID?

Up Up and Away

July 26th, 2012
2:54 pm

Chickfila made a choice as a corporation. They have the right to say what they said. That goes without question. People and businesses also have a choice to do business with them or not to do business with them.

There are conservative leaning groups that are in continual boycott mode of businesses for their stances and they are within their right to do so, as well as encourage people not to do business with them.

The American Family Association comes to mind.

As for some of the crap in terms of name calling and saying that Chickfila can’t have a business here or there, I would agree it is stupid.

JamVet

July 26th, 2012
2:54 pm

Words have consequences.

The chicken dude is a blithering idiot for putting both feet in his mouth. And he should have known better.

The bad part is that the innocent franchisees who are caught in the middle of this firestorm are the ones who will pay the price for his stupidity. He has enough money he doesn’t have to care about the consequences.

And to Kyle’s point about good coffee, I never figured out how that overpriced cr@p at the Chicken Shack ever became popular in the first place.

Oh that’s right! Most people are TV addicts and easily manipulated sheep and all it takes to convince them is a clever Madison Avenue marketing campaign that is pounded into their skulls over and over and over and…

Jose

July 26th, 2012
2:55 pm

futility

trying to engage liberals in logic

took a logic course in college………. was taught by a conservative professor……. they couldn’t find a liberal that understood the content of the course

christopher

July 26th, 2012
2:55 pm

The argument you’re making is, I think sound. But then let’s apply it to everyone, not just those of your political persuasion. I went over your archived articles and I didn’t see you defending the mosque who wanted to build in downtown NYC, nor did I find you defending the religious freedom of the mosque who wanted to build in TN.

Up Up and Away

July 26th, 2012
2:56 pm

Road Scholar

Off topic from Chickfila but relates to your post.

Wonder why no one on this blog has mentioned the huge number of cases PA was able to show in terms of voter id fraud? It was an astounding zero, zilch, nada.

BB

July 26th, 2012
2:57 pm

Please stop trying to tie the gay rights and black rights together. They are totally different.

Slick Rick

July 26th, 2012
2:57 pm

Yes, Kyle, on this you and I agree. I’m just tired of the way in which people on both sides (you included) always make it a “us” vs. “them” proposition.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

July 26th, 2012
2:57 pm

Good coffee and Starbucks should never be used in the same sentence. More like burnt bean coffee: Charbucks.

Guess i need to boycott Kyle’s blog since I don’t agree with his views??

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

July 26th, 2012
2:58 pm

on topic, I agree completely with kyle. there’s no room for that crap. customers have to decide for themselves.