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On July 2, President of Chick-fil-A Dan Cathy told a reporter that he is opposed to gay marriage. When the story was picked up by Baptist Press on July 16, the American people responded loudly on both sides.
Cathy’s statement was this: “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 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.”
After the statement was picked up by the press many conservatives and liberals rushed to make sure their opinion on the matter was known.
Mike Huckabee, conservative pundit and former Republican presidential hopeful, called for a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day on August 1, a day on which the chain reported record sales. One picture taken of the long lines stated, “Hey liberals, the turnout for Chick-fil-A appreciation day is a preview of the polling stations in November.”
The liberal backlash was very strong. Ed Helms, star of “The Office,” tweeted, “Chick-fil-A doesn’t like gay people? So lame. Hate to think what they do to the gay chickens! Lost a loyal fan.” Several mayors, including Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, made it quite apparent that they were opposed to having Chick-fil-A in their cities after the statements.
Menino stated, “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion.” Emanuel agreed and added, “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values. They’re not respectful of our residents, our neighbors, and our family members.”
One Philadelphia City Councilman, James Kenney, sent a letter to Cathy stating, “take a hike and take your intolerance with you.” A same-sex “kiss in” has also been scheduled for Friday, August 3.
I find this statement ironic, seeing as the ones being intolerant in all of this mess are actually the liberals. To clarify, I am a hard-core liberal – bordering on socialist – and an atheist. I completely support gay rights and gay marriage, but I do not agree with the liberals’ treatment of Dan Cathy.
Shortly after the controversy was announced Chick-fil-A issued a statement saying that the tradition and philosophy of Chick-fil-A has always been to “treat every person with honor, dignity, and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent owner/operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
Since this statements’ release I have yet to hear anyone come forward claiming that they were discriminated against at Chick-fil-A because of his or her sexual orientation. The statements made by Dan Cathy are completely his own opinion and he is allowed to have them and express them as long as he is not hurting anyone or denying anyone service.
In fact, the whole idea of having a “kiss in” is ridiculous, in my opinion, and somewhat insulting to the sit-ins that happened during the Civil Rights Movement on which they are modeled. They are not equivalent whatsoever. No person – to my knowledge – has ever been denied service at Chick-fil-A because they are of the LGBTQA persuasion.
I also think that it is wrong for government officials, who are supposed to uphold the law –including the first amendment – such as these mayors to deny Chick-fil-A access to their cities. Although they have a right to state their opposition to Cathy’s opinion, I do not believe that they are in the right about preventing the company from being in their cities. Their citizens can choose for themselves whether or not they want to support Chick-fil-A by eating there, exercising their own rights.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think that both sides have overreacted. Just because Dan Cathy announces that he supports ‘traditional marriage’ does not mean that every conservative needs to rush off to his or her nearest Chick-fil-A to buy a chicken sandwich and a milkshake. Dan Cathy is no politician, he cannot make laws or issue decrees that will hinder or help gay rights. He is one man who expressed his opinion to the world and happens to be the head of one of America’s greatest and well-known food chains.
Ultimately, all of this controversy is absurd; when did food become so political? Why do I have to base my diet on my political beliefs when they should be completely unrelated? What people eat should be based exclusively on their needs, their preferences, and their health – not what is most in line with their political beliefs. If that were the case every liberal would have to eat Oreos and every conservative would have to eat Chick-fil-A.
I believe Voltaire expressed my sentiment best when he claimed, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” As long as what someone is saying doesn’t hurt another human being then let them express themselves and hopefully others will reciprocate.