Chick-fil-A and Free Speech

I heard about an outcry against Chick-fil-A a few days ago.  I had some time to do some digging and discovered that a demographic of our society is openly angry at Dan Cathy’s comments to the Baptist Press about traditional versus Gay Marriage.  “Guilty as charged,” he said. “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.” So, the reactions begins…

I don’t think Cathy said he wouldn’t serve gays, or married gays, or anyone else.  He simply gave his opinion and perspective.  Isn’t that what Free Speech is all about.  No discrimination here … an opinion, a set of values, the courage to state his position, but not discrimination.

Many cities have vowed to block Chick-fil-A from opening new stores in their cities because they are “bigoted.”  What I find ironic, is that many of the same people who opposed Cathy’s comments and his freedom of speech would cry out that  a picture of a crucifix submerged in urine is art and protected.  The hypocrisy is unfathomable.

Do Americans even think rationally anymore?  I’m starting to wonder…

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Hmmm. OK, I’ll bite.

Fundamentally, it’s a question of discrimination in the *work place*.

Taking things to an extreme, what if Cathy made racist comments or was an outspoken critic of interracial marriage? In some people’s eyes (mine), Cathy’s statements are morally equivalent. We can perhaps temper my views given the public debate over same-sex marriage (and federal legal status). However, same-sex marriage is legal in 6 states and I assume that Chick-fil-A has restaurants in some of these states.

Does Cathy have the right to say the things he said? As an individual? Absolutely. As the president of a large restaraunt chain that employs many thousands of people, some percentage of whom that are gay? At best, it shows poor judgement. And from my perspective, he deserves to be criticized. I hope people voice their displeasure vocally and by their choice of dining establishments.

In my opinion, governments in states with legalized same-sex marriage should be able to question Chick-fil-A’s practices.

On a similar theme, I saw this letter to the Boy Scouts of America last week — I thought it was very moving and an excellent way for one person to protest their disagreement with BSA’s policies…

Fair comment. One of the challenges is separating who you are in a given context. I am not aware of any discrimination that is going on. I do see there ultimately being the potential as the societal morality becomes increasingly opposed to a traditional faith based morality. We’ve had the same debates over presidents in terms of the their private lives (and mis-deeds) and their public position. When should we consider which?

In terms of practices, certainly, we live in a country with a rule of law and C-F-A needs to live within those or choose not to do business. Those are the two options. As such, I would also suspect that if the Cathy family chose not to continue their business, there would be a lot of people crying foul (no pun intended) at the loss of jobs.

We live in a challenging time. Our biggest challenge is to make sure we think before we react. There is too much overreaction at this time and its counter productive for all.

Regarding the letter, that is the best approach. If you don’t agree, don’t go on a rant, take action. For that guy, there was a cost of writing the letter and taking the actions he did. Bully for him.

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