What a mistake the gay and lesbian agitators made when they decided to attack Chick-fil-A and its outspoken president, Dan Cathy!
It was a mistake that several prominent politicians promptly compounded, with some of the most absurd threats ever uttered by a city official.
It was also an incredible blown opportunity for the Republicans’ candidate for President. Sorry, Mitt, but you got some lousy advice on this one.
The whole kerfuffle began when Dan Cathy, the son of Chick-fil-A founder Truet Cathy, said he was “guilty as charged” for supporting “the biblical definition of the family unit.”
Had he stopped there, I doubt anyone would have paid much attention to his remarks. After all, the Cathy family has been known for years for its Christian beliefs. The company has always put faith ahead of profits, refusing to let any of its more than 1,600 outlets open on Sunday.
No, it was a different Dan Cathy comment that gave his detractors apoplexy: “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’”
The left went absolutely ballistic. Gay rights groups called for a nationwide boycott of the business. The Jim Henson Company said it would no longer supply toys or other merchandise to the chain.
Politicians couldn’t wait to join the parade. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said that “you can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population.” He warned that the company would find it very difficult to get city licenses.
San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee tweeted: “Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.”
In New York, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn wrote a letter to the president of New York University asking him to boot the fast-food outlet off campus. She also started a petition demanding Cathy apologize and change his stance on gay marriage.
In Chicago, where bare-knuckle bruising is a normal part of the political process, Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno said he would do whatever it takes to prevent the chain from opening an outlet in his community. And Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel piously declared: “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values.”
What a bunch of bullpucky. What colossal egotism Emanuel must have to think he can speak for the values of everyone in Chicago. No wonder he was such a good fit with his old boss back in the White House.
Let me point out that the media have not been able to find a single Chick-fil-A outlet in the country that has ever denied service to anyone because of his sexual orientation. If the mainstream media had been able to find even one example of such discrimination, don’t you think it would have made screaming headlines in the press and led every TV news show?
Where do these politicos get off, threatening a popular and well-respected business just because its president said something they didn’t like? Have they never heard of freedom of speech? Somebody better give them a copy of the U.S. Constitution.
The story probably would have ended there had it not been for Mike Huckabee, the former Republican presidential candidate and FOX News host. He wrote on his website: “I have been incensed at the vitriolic assaults on the Chick fil-A company.... It’s a great American story that is being smeared by vicious hate speech and intolerant bigotry from the left.”
Huckabee declared August 1 as “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.” He urged people to visit a nearby outlet to show their support for the chain and its embattled president.
And, boy, did they! The Rev. Billy Graham issued a strong statement of support for Truett and Dan Cathy and promised to “Eat Mor Chikin” on that Wednesday. Several million people did so as well. In many places, the lines stretched for blocks as customers waited for an hour or more to get their order filled.
In Texas, Senate candidate Ted Cruz celebrated his come-from-behind victory in the Republican primary by serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his victory party. Sarah Palin, who had flown to Texas to speak at a Ted Cruz rally, tweeted a photograph of her visit to a local Chick-fil-A outlet. And on it went.
By the time Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day came to an end, the chain had sold more chicken sandwiches and waffle fries than on any day in its history.
Sad to say, there was one prominent Republican who was conspicuous by his silence on the issue. Mitt Romney told reporters that he did not intend to say anything about the controversy. He would not endorse Dan Cathy’s support for the traditional definition of marriage. And he would not criticize the big-city politicians who threatened to punish the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain.
“Those are not things that are part of my campaign,” Romney said. Campaign officials promptly “clarified” the candidate’s remarks, explaining that while Romney favors the traditional definition of marriage, he wants to keep the focus of his campaign strictly on the economy.
Bad call, Mitt. You missed a great chance to gain the support of a huge segment of voters who aren’t convinced you’re one of them. I’m referring here to the so-called “values” conservatives, the men and women of faith who believe social issues are incredibly important.
Granted, Romney’s gaffe here won’t cause any of them to vote for Barack Obama this November. But it will certainly dampen the enthusiasm of what could be one of the hardest-working groups of political activists in the country.
Namby-pambiness won’t win this election, Mr. Romney. Heck, it won’t even counter all the Democrats’ lies and smears.
It’s time for an ardent defense of our country’s values — and a little bit of righteous indignation at the assaults on them.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.
Chip Wood was the first news editor of The Review of the News and also wrote for American Opinion, our two predecessor publications. He is now the geopolitical editor of Personal Liberty Digest, where his Straight Talk column appears weekly. This article first appeared in PersonalLiberty.com and has been reprinted with permission.