“Eat mor Kow!”
That would have been the best reaction to the strong position against gay marriage struck by Dan Cathy, CEO of the Chick-Fil-A franchise system. If you disagree, you simply take your appetite – and your money – somewhere else.
Cathy’s stated position was a lightening rod for LGBT proponents for recognition of gay unions. That he held these positions was no surprise to anyone who knows even the least of Chick-Fil-A’s corporate development and very public record. That he dared express those views was treated as if he single-handedly threatened the civil rights of every non-hetero American.
Usually, I don’t allow myself to get caught up in these social battles. But it was the reaction of officials from several large U.S. cities that prompted to me to leap to Cathy’s defense.
When you hear government officials of any stripe talking about running a prominent and successful businessman out of “their city” for doing nothing else but expressing his opinion, consistent with his long-held religious beliefs and personal philosophy, you should be compelled to object!
From cities like Philadelphia, Boston, New York City and Chicago you heard local officials threaten to close Chick-Fil-A franchises or to deny them business opportunities. And that’s when I decided to stand up for Dan Cathy’s freedom to express his views free from retribution by those who did not agree. This was also the basis for such actions as the Same Sex Kiss Day planned by LGBT groups targeting Chick-Fil-A franchises. The objective is to embarrass the public face of the Chick-Fil-A corporation in an attempt to shut them up.
These are exactly the kind of politicians of whom you should really be afraid. The ones who will condemn a successful corporation and endorse efforts to deny it business opportunities based on the expression of an unpopular opinion. If they will stoop to that level over a position on a social issue, imagine what they might do if … say … you balked at their sugary drink policy or refused to donate to their political party!
But their suggested sanctions won’t hurt Chick-Fil-A. Given the support the restaurant chain received yesterday, I’m certain Cathy would have no problem moving his franchises and JOBS out to the suburbs.
Based on the reactions seen all over the country on Wednesday. Chick-Fil-A may very well experience the best single week in terms of retail sales than ever before. When I attempted to treat the wife to Chick-Fil-A takeout Wednesday evening (Yeah, she was a bit flummoxed.), we could not get close to their Warrington, PA location. The standing line went out the door and threaded itself far enough along to wrap around the building at least once. The drive-thru line went around the building, out the driveway, and hundreds of yards down PA Rt 611. Reports had the wait for service running between 60-90 minutes at 7:00 PM!
Many of those who made the trek and withstood the lines (We decided not to.), certainly were motivated by former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s original social media call to honor Cathy’s stand against gay marriage. But many – like I – were simply there to recognize and support Cathy’s right to believe what he believes; to speak freely in accordance with those beliefs; and to be free of intimidation and punitive action by those who disagree … particularly those in government with no legal basis to judge or penalize such expressions.
The LGBT/Chick-Fil-A confrontation is a challenging lesson in the demands of American citizenship. Freedom of Speech requires that you endure messages and viewpoints that are guaranteed to make your blood boil. That’s what Freedom of Speech requires at its very core.
The question really comes down to this … Are you strong enough to LIVE what you claim to embrace?