Only in America. Meaning, naturally, 21st- century America, the country where you postulate your own view of reality and people with different views -- older views, especially -- better agree with you or else keep their so-and-so-ing mouths shut, the so-and-so-ing rednecks!
That would bring us to the Chick-fil-A question.
Chick fil-A. Hmmm. Being no patron of fast food, I wasn't sure until fairly recently how one was supposed to pronounce the name. Chick Fill-Uh? We certainly know better now. It's what comes of outraging advocates of same-sex unions by deferring to God when it concerns the purposes of marriage and getting yourself hauled before the Court of Fashionable Opinion.
"I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation," said Dan Cathy, president of the company, "when we shake our first at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage ..."
Don't you see? It's our American right, in the 21st century, to shake our fist at God when he gets it wrong. Like that old-style traditional marriage thing -- one man, one woman -- that Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, The New York Times, the mayor of Boston and so on and so forth have come to find outmoded and discardable. And they're real mad at Chick-fil-A for giving money to groups that oppose the extension of gay marriage.
What Cathy, in a widely disseminated interview, referred to as "the Biblical definition of the family unit" contradicts the brand new notion that if two men or two women want to marry it's cool and fine, and that's all there is to it, so shut up, would you?! Right this minute!
Rahm Emanuel, speaking with the gravity inherent in his job as Chicago's mayor, was succinct on the matter. "Chick-fil-A's' values," quoth Rahm, "are not Chicago's values." Chicago -- a large city whose "values" the present mayor may or may not understand completely -- has evidently done a moral about-face concerning marriage.
On Emanuel's showing, Chicagoans who favor traditional marriage, whether because of deference to God or out of plain old capital "b" bigotry, are a bunch of back numbers. Who cares what they think? Notably, in news stories, organizations that oppose same-sex marriage are identified as "anti-gay." We know where this leads. By supporting these organizations and their aims, the Chick-fil-A family becomes, ipso facto, "anti-gay."
The accompanying implication: not giving same-sex marriage campaigners what they want means you hate them. Next thing we know, probably, the haters will propose clapping their opponents in Auschwitz. Thus commences the fury with Chick-fil-A over on America's moral and cultural left: the shut-ups, the get-outta-heres, the shows of spite by the Jim Henson family in telling off the ex-customers at Chick-fil-A who no longer (sob, sob) may receive Muppet figures with their meals. In 21st-century America we take the values we choose and enforce them. Got that, Cathy?
Oh, he's got it. I'll bet -- without yielding on the matter of principle. If modern America says one thing and God, on the historical and theological evidence, says another, Cathy, I believe, knows where he stands. It does all make for what you might call moral chaos.
The doctrine of same-sex marriage, being brand spanking new, doesn't enjoy the cachet of ancient approbation or of triumph in intellectual debate, with defenders of the traditional understanding of marriage as the joining together of one man and one woman. The doctrine of same- sex marriage is therefore to be enforced by making a loud noise -- by yelling at opponents, calling them bad names, telling them what bigots they are and how they ought to be shunned by decent folk.
Guess what? The totalitarian approach to persuasion -- that's what all this amounts to -- nascent totalitarianism -- has encountered major pushback. Defenders of the old faith are rallying round, licking their lips and lining up everywhere to support Chick-fil-A. See the sometime irony of this make-up-your-own-morality business? You can do what you like with your fist -- shake it at God or stuff a Visa card into it while you order a Spicy Chicken Deluxe with fries.