Dan Cathy could have saved his company, Chick-Fil-A, a lot of trouble. All he had to do was keep his views about family to himself.
Instead, he answered a question honestly. In a recent media interview, the company’s president and COO said what he believes and why he believes it. But his politically incorrect views are intolerable, judging from the anger of many on the left, including several big-city officials who are dead-set against his views.
In the interview, Cathy said he is “very much supportive of the family, the biblical definition of the family unit.” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel took exception: “What the COO has said as it relates to gay marriage and gay couples is not what I believe. But more importantly, it’s not what the people of the city of Chicago believe.”
Now, spirited debates about controversial topics are an American tradition. But it didn’t stop there. The politicians began threatening to block Chick-Fil-A’s plans to expand in their cities.
In a letter to Chick-Fil-A, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino wrote: “I was angry to learn, on the heels of your prejudiced statements, about your search for a site to locate in Boston. There is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail, and no place for your company alongside it.”
Joe Moreno, a Chicago alderman, told Chick-Fil-A to forget about its plans to build a second store in the Windy City: “I’m not gonna sit on the sidelines and allow them to come in when I know in my heart that they believe in discriminating against gay people.”
In Philadelphia, meanwhile, city councilman James Kenney told Dan Cathy to “take a hike and take your intolerance with you.” He also said he plans to introduce a resolution condemning Chick-Fil-A at the next council meeting.
At this point, we’ve moved well beyond debate. It’s a free-speech issue now.
These officials did not merely express an opposite point of view. They threatened to use their political power to punish a man, and those who work for him, for saying something they disagree with. The message this sent is crystal-clear -- and chilling: Conform to the “accepted” view, or else.
Emmanuel and company spoke in breathless tones about how offensive Cathy’s beliefs are. Yet what could be more offensive than what they’re trying to do? What could be more, yes, discriminatory than using the power of the state to punish private viewpoints under the guise of standing up against “discrimination”?