Chick-fil-aflap about tolerance
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