Not talk­ing with my mouth fault

The Covington News - - Opinion - MAU­RICE CARTER

I wasn’t at Chick-fil-A on Wed­nes­day, Aug. 1. For the record, I haven’t eaten there in at least 60 days. That’s not a po­lit­i­cal state­ment or a re­flec­tion of my food pref­er­ences; it’s a ne­ces­sity while try­ing (with some suc­cess) to get my clothes to fit again.

Chances are, though, if I was al­low­ing my­self to oc­ca­sion­ally in­dulge in a fried chicken sand­wich or bis­cuit, I’d still have stayed away last Wed­nes­day. Com­plex so­cial is­sues are dif­fi­cult enough to dis­cuss with un­lim­ited time and all the words in the English dic­tio­nary. So, mak­ing com­men­tary with a chicken sand­wich in my mouth isn’t a good op­tion for me. I’ll use my ~750 words here in­stead.

I per­son­ally be­lieve same-sex cou­ples de­serve the same rights as het­ero­sex­ual cou­ples. I also re­spect and de­fend Dan Cathy’s First Amend­ment right to speak freely in op­po­si­tion to my view.

I have long ad­mired the Chick-fil-A Cor­po­ra­tion. As a pri­vately held com­pany, they hold to guid­ing prin­ci­ples in a way most pub­licly traded com­pa­nies who must bend to the profit-first mind­set of share­hold­ers can­not. When they close on Sun­days, they forego rev­enue and prof­its. I have al­ways re­spected their lead­er­ship for re­sist­ing the lure of in­creased sales to honor a prin­ci­ple they hold more highly. That’s all fine and good with me.

I also don’t take is­sue with Mr. Cathy’s orig­i­nal “guilty as charged” com­ments re­gard­ing be­lief in the “bib­li­cal def­i­ni­tion of the fam­ily unit.” (It’s dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand how a com­pany has a sin­gu­lar “be­lief.” But, I’ve been told “cor­po­ra­tions are peo­ple.” And, at the end of the day, I guess it’s just com­pli­cated. But, Mr. Cathy and his fam­ily own the com­pany; they can ex­press its be­liefs as they see fit.)

How­ever, his later words about “invit­ing God’s judg­ment” and “pride­ful, ar­ro­gant na­ture” are more trou­bling — though I still sup­port his right to speak them.

The gay and les­bian cou­ples I know are no dif­fer­ent from other lov­ing cou­ples I’m for­tu­nate to have in my life. They’re not “pride­ful” or “ar­ro­gant,” and they def­i­nitely don’t ask to be judged by any­one. They do their hu­man best to be truth­ful to the peo­ple their cre­ator made them to be, ask­ing only to be ac­cepted for who they are. I sus­pect most are at peace with what­ever judg­ment may come to pass be­tween them and their maker. And, who else’s busi­ness is it any­way?

When Chick-fil-A closes on Sun­day, they ex­er­cise a right to reli­gious ex­pres­sion, and they alone bear the con­se­quences. I ad­mire that. When they use their voice and their fi­nan­cial re­sources to cam­paign against gay rights, they also ex­er­cise their free­dom of speech. But, those ac­tions in­fringe upon what I be­lieve to be the le­git­i­mate rights of oth­ers.

When my pants fit com­fort­ably again, I won’t let a dif­fer­ence of opin­ion keep me from do­ing busi­ness with Chick-fil-A. Mr. Cathy’s views are not nec­es­sar­ily those of ev­ery em­ployee, and we still have to get along. In that vein, the may­ors in Bos­ton and Chicago are not help­ing, and they have no le­gal grounds to try and block the com­pany’s ex­pan­sion in their cities.

Some ac­tivists on both sides of this is­sue have been out of line. I won’t apol­o­gize for or con­done rude or hate­ful be­hav­ior to­wards any­one. Bul­lies are bul­lies, no mat­ter what view they pro­mote.

Be­fore we get too car­ried away, though, I cau­tion reli­gious con­ser­va­tives not to paint sup­port­ers of same-sex mar­riage and gay rights as “the far left” or the “lib­eral ex­treme.” Since 2009, pub­lic opin­ion polls have con­sis­tently shown a ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans fa­vor al­low­ing same-sex cou­ples to marry. In 2012, polls by CNN, NBC News, the Wall Street Jour­nal, USA To­day, Gallup, Pew Re­search, and ABC News have con­sis­tently shown be­tween 50 per­cent and 54 per­cent of those re­spond­ing sup­port le­gal­iz­ing same-sex mar­riage. This is not a far left agenda. Main­stream Amer­ica is speak­ing.

Just be­cause a ma­jor­ity be­lieves some­thing doesn’t mean you have to change your per­sonal be­liefs one iota. But, it does mean we can’t ac­cu­rately la­bel those views ex­treme. The cen­ter isn’t de­fined by where you or I stand on an is­sue; it’s de­fined by where the ma­jor­ity stands. We can’t de­mand our lead­ers “honor the will of the peo­ple” on one is­sue (say taxes), while si­mul­ta­ne­ously ig­nor­ing the will of the peo­ple on this one.

The peo­ple say it’s time to give same-sex cou­ples the re­spect and rights they de­serve, just like ev­ery other Amer­i­can. Maybe we can dis­cuss this fur­ther over a Chick-fil-A chicken sand­wich. I’ll buy.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.