Friday, 27 July 2012

Rahm and Co.’s Chicken-headed Intolerance

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Increasingly in America, the Left is putting up a sign stating, “Christians need not apply.” The latest example is the targeting of fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A by politicians in Chicago and Boston.

In case you missed it, the beef with the chicken chain stems from comments its president, Dan Cathy, made about faux marriage on the Ken Coleman radio program. Said Cathy:

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." I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

Not surprisingly, this led to the announcement of a boycott by people such as Deepak Chopra, Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, and the Kardashians (I would say that I’m now boycotting them, but I imbibe their cultural effluent as much as they eat Chick-Fil-A). Of course, it’s citizens’ right to vote with their dollars anytime they wish, so there’s nothing particularly unusual about this. More troubling, however, was the position Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and Boston mayor Thomas Menino took in saying they would prevent the restaurant chain from opening outlets in their cities. And then there was the man who started the chicken roast, Chicago alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno, when he plainly stated, “Because of this man's [Cathy’s] ignorance, I will now be denying Chick-Fil-A's permit to open a restaurant in the 1st Ward.”

Legal experts, however, have since weighed in and said these officials don’t have a chicken leg to stand on. For example, while the ACLU is pro-faux marriage, its senior attorney for its Illinois chapter, Adam Schwartz, pointed out that the government may not engage in “viewpoint discrimination.” Warning of the obvious precedent such a thing would set, he also, wrote Fox News, “noted that if a government can exclude a business for being against same-sex marriage, it can also exclude a business for being in support of same-sex marriage.”

These legal realities prompted Emanuel and Menino to back off, saying they have no lawful mechanism through which to hinder Chick-Fil-A’s commerce. As for Moreno, he’s just changing tactics, claiming that he has “traffic concerns” regarding the new restaurant. This is ironic, though, since Emanuel had previously said when trying to justify banning Chick-Fil-A, “They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This [restaurant] would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.” Well, if it’s going to be empty, we don’t have to worry about traffic then, do we? 

As to the restaurant’s fortunes, I think the common man’s taste buds will trump the uncommon man’s bad taste in social policy. “Empty” will only describe what it does now: these politicians’ heads, character and ideology. And, if they’d gone to the mat, the word also describes how they’d come up in court.

Moreno, though, is a tough nut to crack. Reflecting a very interesting view on free speech, he told Fox News, “That’s another part of it... I think businesses should be neutral on that [faux marriage]. They should be selling chicken.” I wonder, does he take this position on the long list of businesses that support faux marriage? These include Ben & Jerry’s; Amazon, Starbucks; and Office Depot, which supports marriage destruction visibly in both words and funding.

What Moreno thinks businesses “should” do is one thing, but when he uses government to punish them based not on their policies but on an owner’s exercise of his First Amendment rights, it’s quite another. They should just sell chicken? Must bakers just shut-up and bake? Must doctors just shut-up and practice medicine? Do we lose free-speech rights upon engaging in commerce? I think Moreno should just shut-up, not because he has no constitutional rights, but because he’s quite stupid.

Also striking here is the hypocrisy. Since Barack Obama opposed faux marriage until his very recent 2012 “evolution,” we have to ask: Did these politicians magically evolve with him? Bear in mind that Mayor Emanuel not only enthusiastically supported Obama, but also Bill Clinton of Defense of Marriage Act fame. Noting this, faux-marriage supporter Conor Friedersdorf honorably pointed out:

It's the sort of double standard that lends credibility to the conservative charge that some Democratic politicians use identity politics as an opportunistic cudgel that is wielded disingenuously. Conservatives who advance positions that many Democrats held as recently as the last election cycle are deemed bigots unfit for polite company or equal treatment under the law.

It also says something about tolerance, which the Left oft preaches but barely understands. Note that tolerance always implies the abiding of a perceived negative. After all, you wouldn’t tolerate a delectable meal, a luxury car, or a beautiful painting; you relish those things. You would, however, have to tolerate a cold, bad weather, Chicago politics, or anything else you dislike. Thus, if you like homosexuality, you cannot be tolerant of it. Because you like it. 

So when people such as Emanuel and Moreno call Chick-Fil-A and its defenders intolerant, consider something. Chick-Fil-A is a family-owned business informed by biblical values, yet it serves homosexual customers. It doesn’t refuse to hire homosexual employees. And, despite its willingness to sacrifice prosperity for principle (all its restaurants are closed Sundays), it’ll still do business in cities that have rubber-stamped faux marriage. On the other hand, many liberals would deny traditionalists the right to do business simply because they disagree with the leftist agenda.

Who are the intolerant ones again?

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