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

Native Atlantan

July 26th, 2012
4:09 pm

@SayWhat — no one is forcing you to accept anything outside of your core beliefs. All we’re saying is don’t hold me hostage to those same beliefs.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

July 26th, 2012
4:10 pm

I predict violence against some Chick-fil-A establishment because, well, that’s how liberals handle disagreements.

Shouldn’t have ginned them up.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 26th, 2012
4:10 pm

Bruno, I think you are reading too much into it.

There were no overt (and tough to even find covert) suggestions that the government should deny the center from being built.

Moreover, I think there is a difference in scale in both these instances, as well as a difference in sensitivity. People died 2 blocks away from the proposed Islamic center, at the hands of Islamic terrorists.

Chik-fil-A is just trying to sell chicken sandwiches and employ people.

weetamoe

July 26th, 2012
4:12 pm

I don’t know much about bible study and tend more to the Thomas Aquinas, Cardinal Newman, CS Lewis religious views. I have eaten one of those chicken sandwiches just once because I don’t go to the hamburger store kind of restaurant, I think Mr Cathy has the moral high ground here. Imagine the profits he forfeits by closing on Sundays; there are many many reports of the immaculately clean restaurants and first rate service; he evidently has funded many many scholarships whose recipients do not have to pass any sort of political, racial, gender litmus test. He has apparently committed a thought crime based on his religious faith and is being denied his first amendment rights because his honest answer to a question has offended a particular political group. Didn’t Obama express the same belief until it became politically expedient/profitable for him to *evolve*? As for the rumored *kiss-ins*, why would anyone protest by using an expression of love and affection as a gesture of hate?

Thomas Heyward Jr.

July 26th, 2012
4:13 pm

If one VOTES for a Fascist…………………then one IS.
.
Admit it.

Eubiful O'sheet

July 26th, 2012
4:14 pm

So Chick-fil-A “doesn’t represent Chicago values” but “reverend” Jeremiah Wright (”God #$*@ America”) and the thugs who murder little girls at lemonade stands or selling candy bars are just fine?
I think America could do with a little more Chick-fil-A values and a lot less Chicago values.

Haysoos

July 26th, 2012
4:14 pm

This is not about opinions or how he runs his business. It’s about his donations to anti gay organizations. He (and his ilk) is actively trying to restrict or remove HUMAN RIGHTS from his fellow citizens! The LGBT community has every right to protest his business to show their disgust with him trying to remove their rights. Kyle until your rights are being taken away by someone save your fascism BS for someone else. Last time I checked a EVERY REAL FASCIST GOVERNMENT TARGETED GAYS FOR PERSECUTION!!!! Keep your religious beliefs out of the public sector if you don’t have the balls to deal with feedback!

Dusty

July 26th, 2012
4:15 pm

If everybody would mind their own business here in this free country, we could get along much better.

Look into your own heart and point out the problems. Stack up for own ethics and abide by them.

Since I see no discrimination of any kind here, MOVE ON! Marriage for gays is not decided by Chick-Fil-A but by legal means if necessary. If mentioning someone or somethng you don’t like or approve is illegal or obnoxious, then all us bloggers are ILLLEGAL MISCREANTS.

Now I’m hungry for fried chicken..aawwww…PLease pass the wings or something! I don’t care who cooked ‘em!

Realistic approach

July 26th, 2012
4:15 pm

Unless you’ve lived under a rock the last 25 years, the religious position of Chick-fil-A and its executive committee has remained the same. The company continues to maintain a strong, biblical position – simply with its defiance to yield to potentially social and financial gain and open on Sundays. Obviously, it’s certainly acceptable for a company (or represetitive) to take a stand for what they believe in. HOWEVER, when a corporation – as a whole – directs financial support (whether it’s $.50 or $5 million) to organizations such as Exodus International & Focus on the Family, it becomes a visual statement of the over-all organization. I, as a gay Christian and FORMER patron of Chick-fil-A, cannot justify supporting a company who finances extreme fundamentalists that preach my mere existence is “unnatural”.

Holly Jones

July 26th, 2012
4:16 pm

My issue isn’t with the privately held beliefs of Dan, Truett or any other member of the Cathy family. My issue is that they use CFA corporate funds, through the WinShape Foundation, to fund groups like Exodus International and the Family Research Council who make gay people feel guilty for the way God made them. In the words of Dan Cathy, that seems “prideful and arrogant” to assume that “we know better than God” who should love whom. If that’s how they use their corporate funds, then I won’t make my money available to them to do that. I’d do the same if a company I patronized supported the KKK or Islamic Jihad with corporate money.

And all this brouhaha about “Biblical definition” of marriage and “traditional family values”- people need to brush up on their Scripture. I want no part of a “Biblical” marriage- multiple wives, concubines, marrying my dead husband’s brother, and being viewed as my husband’s property. Marriage is about love and commitment and honoring promises. We should be glad that anyone wants to be a part of that- since we heteros haven’t exactly protected that particular institution from shame.

Thomas Heyward Jr.

July 26th, 2012
4:16 pm

Wingfeild supported Newt “I will take your money and spend on a moonbase AND give pot smokers the death penalty while I strengthen the Department of Education” Gingrich.
.
And now he’s calling CFA opponents fascists?
.
Ha Ha.

@@

July 26th, 2012
4:17 pm

Kyle’s column from August 16, 2010:

But from the beginning, the debate over the mosque has been about the wisdom of its placement, not about whether the people who own the land have the constitutional right to build a mosque there if they wish.

I will stipulate that someone, somewhere, at some point in this debate, has probably said something along the lines of “They don’t have the right to build that mosque!” But that has not been the main thrust of opponents of the mosque’s construction, who have instead focused on issues of sensitivity — of “the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there,” as the president put it.

People are free to argue that Cathy’s comments were insensitive, but he has every right to put his restaurants wherever zoning allows.

retired early

July 26th, 2012
4:17 pm

If it takes a 2000 year old book to tell you Right from Wrong, you have a serious problem.
You can’t think for yourself or empathize ( put yourself in someone else’s shoes ) with other human beings.
Fortunately, as civilization advances, religions will slowly disappear. Yes, that very thing that causes more bloodshed in the name of “GOD” than all other deaths combined will one day become just a part of ancient history.
The truth shall one day set us all free.
Hallaluyah.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 26th, 2012
4:17 pm

“The LGBT community has every right to protest his business to show their disgust with him trying to remove their rights.”

And yet, no one has suggested that. So, what is your point Haysoos?

BADA BING

July 26th, 2012
4:19 pm

If they opened a CFA in Chicago, it would just be another place to be murdered in that city.

Up Up and Away

July 26th, 2012
4:19 pm

So how far should have the mosque been away from ground zero?

Who would be making that determination?

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 26th, 2012
4:20 pm

I can’t wait for a certain other AJC columnist to come back from vacation so that we can return to some semblance of informed discussion over here.

You know, minus all the hand-wringing and rhetoric.

carlosgvv

July 26th, 2012
4:20 pm

Tiberius – 3:40

Just be honest and say you think “the drama queens on the left” believe imitation is the sincerest form of flatery.

Guest

July 26th, 2012
4:21 pm

If conservative Christians are so devoted to the Bible and the sanctity of marriage, why don’t they ostracize adulterers and divorcees like they do gays?

Norb Hecker

July 26th, 2012
4:21 pm

What moron could do a quick anatomical review and conclude homosexuality is natural? Gays and lesbians are all about seeking approval. Ain’t happening cause it ain’t happenin if you know whut I mean.

Thomas Heyward Jr.

July 26th, 2012
4:21 pm

Romney and Obama progressives………………………….are perpetually lost and tossed ………in an unprincipled sea.
.
Liberty-loving Ron Paul supporters……………………..a good anchor ifn we want it…..otherwise….it’s smooth sailing
And our numbers grow.

Kyle Wingfield

July 26th, 2012
4:22 pm

Bruno @ 3:59: I meant they shouldn’t wag their fingers and ridicule the people objecting to the plan. As I wrote a few minutes ago, I never said the NYC officials had to acquiesce.

As for the rest: I spent 4.5 years in a country, Belgium, where the two chief reactions by mainstream political parties to their citizens’ angst about the way immigration was changing their country were a) pretend there were no problems, and b) to demean the citizens making the complaints. I don’t have time or space to go into detail here and now about the qualitative differences between immigration here and immigration there, but suffice it to say religion is only one component — and really only a tangential one when it comes to the complaints over there. Belgium was very much like several other European counties in these respects, including France, Holland and many of the Nordic countries.

The result has been a rise in popularity of truly extremist parties. These parties attract a larger share of the population than one would expect to vote for an extremist party, but they do so because they are the only parties willing to address the citizens’ concerns. They address them in a misguided way, in my view, but they have won popular support nonetheless.

So my point in that 2010 column was to relate a contemporary debate here to a relevant experience in Europe. In this case, it was to argue that ridiculing people for objecting to the mosque and (working off memory here) failing to give even the appearance of weighing their concerns was akin to the response of mainstream parties in Europe — and that this has not led to good results there.

All that said, I really don’t see the inconsistency on my part. I never said gay-rights supporters shouldn’t be offended by what Cathy said, and I never said elected officials should respond to their offense with finger-wagging. I never said elected officials in NYC should reject the mosque, and I certainly didn’t say they should do so on the grounds of what the mosque-builders believe. As I wrote a few minutes ago: If asked, I would probably give Chick-fil-A the same advice about the wisdom of building something in a place where it might not be wanted, even if it’s their right to do so.

Big R

July 26th, 2012
4:22 pm

@ BlueinRed… you are very correct. Since it seems to be pretty self explainatory to me, and you appear to have a different knowledge of this, maybe you can explain what other meaning might be given?

Ohhh… just so you know, i don’t hate or condemn anyone for what they do. I do my fair share of not abiding by the word. Everyone is given free will to do whatever they want. It’s just important to remember… there are consequences after it’s all said and done. I do care about others enough to say something because i would hate to see anyone go down in flames (pun intended) for a few short years of recklessness. But you have to admit, the truth is the truth and it never changes no matter how you want to spin it.

Doc

July 26th, 2012
4:23 pm

If they can’t stand the heat get out of the culture wars.

Chick-fil-A is on the losing end of this issue. They, and their retrograde supporters can try to use religion to justify their bigotry. Their free speech rights do not, in any way, diminish our ability to call B.S. on them and use every legal method at our disposal to ruin them. Not so much for their views but for donating to hate groups, christian terrorist groups, and the like.

They want to make it their business model? That should be a fun franchise meeting coming up. I hope this ruins them and every one of their outlets.

Obama Is Wrong

July 26th, 2012
4:25 pm

Up, Up and Away, Leviticus is going well. thanks for your concern. Like other books of the Bible and God’s word, I sometimes fail in following it. That makes me a sinner same as you and others. We all fall short in the eyes of God. Glad to know, however, I am saved. How about you?

BADA BING

July 26th, 2012
4:26 pm

Does this mean that CFA can’t sponsor a clean up on the highways?

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 26th, 2012
4:26 pm

“So how far should have the mosque been away from ground zero?”

The bigger question becomes, what is an Islamic center doing trying to be built in the heart of a financial district? As someone who has actually re-zoned property according to local laws, I questioned at that time the ordinances that would allow these two incompatible uses in that same area. No one was able to come up with a suitable answer. I also questioned the insensitive nature of the request. Legal or not, it was, and remains, insensitive.

“Who would be making that determination?”

As always, the government – based on citizen input and the laws in place at that time.

@@

July 26th, 2012
4:26 pm

Maybe the gay activists are experiencing misplaced anger.

Obama moving to slow for ‘em?

schnirt

Mr. Wilhelm Von Preussen

July 26th, 2012
4:27 pm

The Democratic party of America needs to start a kristallnacht against Chik Fill A and other intolerant conservative businesses!

what the heck just happened?

July 26th, 2012
4:27 pm

if the Cathy family said they were no longer going to serve gay folks then there is an issue. all I’ve heard them say is they don’t agree with same sex marriages. it’s a private company so they answer to only themselves. Mickey Ds and BK have chicken sandwiches and sweet tea. go there if you are so insulted. OBTW, please quit comparing gay rights with civil rights. two different things folks. thanks and now back to your local news.

Kyle Wingfield

July 26th, 2012
4:28 pm

Guest @ 4:21: I happen to believe too many of my fellow Christians are prone to a convenient emphasis on some sins while overlooking others that occur much more prevalently among themselves.

Norb Hecker

July 26th, 2012
4:28 pm

Doc, you are a moron. CFA serves more whites, blacks, gays, straights, young, old, Latino, Indian, fat, skinny, pretty, ugly, tall, short, and medium folks in five minutes than you’ll ever serve in your life.

Diversity, diversity, diversity… yep.. in every area but thought. If you disagree with my little panty waisted self, you hate me. Sniffle me a river.

Mr. Wilhelm Von Preussen

July 26th, 2012
4:28 pm

I would like to throw Mittens Rom in a oven. Better yet a gas chamber!

Mr. Wilhelm Von Preussen

July 26th, 2012
4:28 pm

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

July 26th, 2012
4:28 pm

Went to the local mall not too long ago, shopped for a while and then had to use the restroom. Was joined in said restroom by two gay guys. One of the gay guys, not sure if he was the “woman” or not, went into a stall. The other gay guy stayed outside of the stall, luckily, but looked over the top of the door, watching his significant other taking care of the task at hand. They carried on a lovely conversation the whole time, most of it concerning the impending bowel movement. Needless to say, for the first time in my life, I didn’t wash my hands when leaving, because I was in a hurry to get the F out of there.

Maybe Chick-fil-A just doesn’t want them around.

Anybody should be able to understand that.

homosapien

July 26th, 2012
4:28 pm

Lighten up! Aren’t we all a lil’ bit gay?

Mr. Wilhelm Von Preussen Hitler

July 26th, 2012
4:29 pm

Death to religion!

Up Up and Away

July 26th, 2012
4:29 pm

Obama

“Saved” from what?

I am not a Christian, therefore I do not agree to your religious and personal dogma.

I do hope it is something that is beneficial to you, but not my style.

I asked about Leviticus because their are some things that would be hard to adhere too in this day and age. However I know some Christians have told me that they are not bound by the Old, but live in the New. Or something along those lines.

Mr. Wilhelm Von Preussen

July 26th, 2012
4:30 pm

You are all conservative retards!

Big R

July 26th, 2012
4:31 pm

@ Tealiban Party… not because they ate too much quail… the plague was because God was angered due to all the whining about only being fed manna. God was providing everything for them and they still complained… simply put… it pissed him off and he showed them who the real boss is.

BADA BING

July 26th, 2012
4:31 pm

CFA is anti-Murder. Another reason not to open a restaurant in Chicago.

Aquagirl

July 26th, 2012
4:31 pm

Everyone is given free will to do whatever they want.

Unless you’re gay and want to get married, then social conservatives think it’s their job to short-circuit God’s gift of free will. Then they’re amazed people think they’re @$$hats for trying to use secular law to achieve their aims, and cry about persecution.

BW

July 26th, 2012
4:31 pm

Kyle

Cathy probably shouldn’t have voiced that and the blogosphere here should not have expected there to be no controversy with his sentiments. With that being said, I will still eat there as I always do. It’s a great company and I was happy to be employed there throughout high school. I’m not sure why we should be shocked at the turn of events…both sides do it and that will not change anytime soon.

Rightwing Troll

July 26th, 2012
4:33 pm

I report seems awfully interested in the bathroom habits of homosexuals… I wonder if he was toe tapping… hmmmm….

Up Up and Away

July 26th, 2012
4:37 pm

Tiberius

Thanks for the reply. Appears the decision was made that there was nothing illegal in what was occurring and all proper permits had been obtained, therefore it went forward as it should have. People exercised their rights to express opposition. It was duly noted and in the end the law prevailed.

Just as the Cathys have exercised their rights. Now people can go, not go, speak out or not speak out. As I noted earlier it was pretty lame for the mayors to have said what they did, but in the end they are politicians. IMO, they say a lot of stupid things. Depending on where one sits politically, some will get mad on the left or the right, etc, etc.

I have not questioned the motives of the Cathy’s nor will I question the motives of the Muslims who built the mosques and the one in TN. The one is TN to me was the real disgrace in terms of the shenanigans the local government tried in their efforts to keep it from being built.

Little Ricky

July 26th, 2012
4:38 pm

If the parts don’t fit, you must acquit.

Fortunately on our honeymoon, the parts fit. I may be stupid, but I ain’t stoopid. Get ‘er done.

Seriously people, homosexuality is intellectually futile to justify and when you look in the mirror each morning, you know that.

Bruno

July 26th, 2012
4:38 pm

Kyle–Thanks for the reply. Back in a little while to answer….

Obama Is Wrong

July 26th, 2012
4:39 pm

Up, not a Christian hey? I’m shocked I tell you.

I am saved from eternal damnation by the grace of God because I believe in Jesus who died on the cross to take away our sins.

I believe in both the word of God is in both the Old Testament (the 10 Commandments) and the New. However, Jesus tells us in the New Testament that following the Jewish laws (as laid out in the Old Test) is no longer the way to heaven but instead we must follow Jesus. Then in Romans he tells us again the sin of homosexuality.

Will say a prayer for you tonight that you will find the truth and follow Jesus as your Savior.

Up Up and Away

July 26th, 2012
4:39 pm

“Seriously people, homosexuality is intellectually futile to justify and when you look in the mirror each morning, you know that.”

Wow. Amazing that you can speak for the gay community, that is unless you are not telling us something

Tell it all

Up Up and Away

July 26th, 2012
4:41 pm

Obama

Thanks but save your prayer for molested kids, those who are starving in this world, in upheaval due to war, enduring tough financial problems, etc.

Thanks again

:-)