Chick-fil-aflap about tol­er­ance

The Ambler Gazette - - OPINION -

HDYH yRu KHDrd WKDW WKH KHDd RI WKH &KLFN-fiO-A rHVWDurDnW FKDLn LV anti-gay mar­riage? That’s not ex­actly how CEO Dan Cathy put it, but close enough.

In a re­cent in­ter­view with the Bap­tist Press, Cathy, an evangelical &KrLVWLDn, PDdH FOHDr WKDW &KLFN-fiO-A LV D FRPSDny WKDW VuSSRrWV &KrLV­tian val­ues and lives by bib­li­cal teachings. This in­cludes clos­ing all its restau­rants on Sun­day, as well as ex­press­ing sup­port for “tra­di­tional mar­riage.”

“:H DrH YHry PuFK VuSSRrWLYH RI WKH IDPLOy — WKH ELEOLFDO dHfinL­tion of the fam­ily unit. We are a fam­ily owned busi­ness, a fam­ily led EuVLnHVV, Dnd wH DrH PDr­rLHd WR Rur firVW wLYHV. :H JLYH GRd WKDnNV for that …”

Cathy’s com­ments were quickly jumped upon by var­i­ous ac­tivists, me­dia mem­bers and even politi­cians as be­ing “anti-gay” and “big­oted.” 3rRWHVWV wHrH RrJDnL]Hd Dnd ERyFRWWV VuJJHVWHd, wKLFK LV finH. :KDW wDV nRW finH wDV KRw D nuPEHr RI SROLWLFLDnV Dnd JRYHrnPHnW RI­fiFLDOV said they wished to pun­ish the com­pany for the ex­pressed reli­gious be­liefs of its own­ers.

BRVWRn 0DyRr 7RP 0HrLnR VDLd “&KLFN-fiO-A dRHVn’W EHORnJ Ln BRV­ton … vou 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.”

1R RnH KDV VuJJHVWHd WKDW &KLFN-fiO-A rHVWDurDnWV DrH rHIuVLnJ WR serve gay cus­tomers or even re­fus­ing to hire gay em­ploy­ees. What mat­ters is that Dan Cathy has an opin­ion, shared (as it hap­pens) by mil­lions of other Amer­i­cans, that of­fends the sen­si­bil­i­ties of a par­tic­u­lar con­sti­tuHnFy Dnd D IHw HOHFWHd RI­fiFLDOV.

In the mean­time, con­ser­va­tives from Mike Huck­abee to Rick SanWRruP WR 6DrDK 3DOLn Dn­nRunFHd WKHLr VuSSRrW IRr &KLFN-fiO-A Dnd HnFRurDJHd WKHLr VuSSRrWHrV WR PDNH AuJ. 1 &KLFN-fiO-AASSrHFLDWLRn DDy. Thou­sands did at 1,600 lo­ca­tions na­tion­wide. Cus­tomers clogged driv­ethrough lanes and crowded park­ing lots to buy a chicken sand­wich and show their sup­port.

The com­pany said in a state­ment the turnout made for “an un­prece­dented day,” al­though it says it doesn’t re­lease ex­act sales num­bers, ac­cord­ing to The As­so­ci­ated Press.

The game of chicken con­tin­ued last Fri­day, as gay rights ac­tivists and other sup­port­ers of mar­riage equal­ity planned a na­tional “Kiss In” at &KLFN-fiO-A rHVWDurDnWV.

Par­tic­i­pants were en­cour­aged to come to the fast-food restau­rants and kiss a fel­low demon­stra­tor of the same sex. Or, just hug some­one.

“With­out ques­tion, Dan Cathy has ev­ery right to voice his opin­ions Dnd EHOLHIV,” HHrndRn GrDd­dLFN, SrHVLdHnW RI WKH GDy Dnd /HVELDn AOOLance Against Defama­tion, said in a state­ment. “But he should meet and get to know the peo­ple that he’s speak­ing out against — the peo­ple who are harmed by his com­pany’s mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar do­na­tions to anti-gay KDWH JrRuSV wRrNLnJ WR KurW HYHry­dDy /GB7 [OHVELDn, JDy, ELVHx­uDO Dnd trans­gen­derz Amer­i­cans and break apart lov­ing fam­i­lies,”

7KH flDS RYHr &DWKy’V FRPPHnWV, ERWK Ln VuSSRrW Dnd Ln SrRWHVW, LV D bit of a stretch in both direc­tions.

The CEO is en­ti­tled to voice his be­liefs as long as they don’t cross the line of dis­crim­i­na­tion, and those who sup­port his be­liefs can show their sup­port by buy­ing more chicken sand­wiches. Those who don’t agree can say so and eat burg­ers, if that’s what they choose.

Many are couch­ing this episode as be­ing en­tirely about free speech, but in truth, it’s about tol­er­ance. Tol­er­ance means liv­ing along­side one an­other and ac­cept­ing our dif­fer­ences, even in taste. Be­lieve it or not, not ev­ery­one likes chicken sand­wiches. Jour­nal Reg­is­ter News Ser­vice

By Eric Devlin

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