Playing Chicken with Freedom of Speech

Robert Knight

7/30/2012 1:22:00 PM - Robert Knight

Each day brings new evidence of the Left’s hatred for Christians and other traditionalists, but the smear campaign against Christian-owned Chick-fil-A sets a new low.

The Atlanta-based, 1,600-restaurant chain that’s famous for its misspelling-prone cows who urge consumers to “eat mor chikin,” is under a full-scale, fascistic assault, complete with obscene celebrity tweets and government bullying.

Acting more like Benito Mussolini than Paul Revere, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said he will block Chick-fil-A from opening a facility in his city. Chicago Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno said he will stop Chick-fil-A from building its second Chicago store. In Philadelphia, Councilman Jim Kenney sent a letter to Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy advising his company to “take a hike and take your intolerance with you.” Meanwhile, the Jim Henson Company, owner of The Muppets, has canceled a deal to provide toys for Chick-fil-A kids’ meals. This is just the beginning.

What has the dastardly company done? Chick-fil-A’s management, while not political, is an unapologetic defender of traditional values. Like the Boy Scouts, the company has enraged progressives who are at war with Nature and Nature’s God.

This isn’t the first time Chick-fil-A has been singled out. In February 2011, homosexual activists launched an unsuccessful boycott when they found out that the company donated food to the Pennsylvania Family Institute’s marriage retreat. Seriously, it doesn’t take much to tick them off.

The current hysteria began after Dan Cathy, son of the chain’s founder, gave an interview that ran in the Baptist Press on July 16. Mr. Cathy noted that Chick-fil-A’s management is “based on biblical principles, asking God and pleading with God to give us wisdom on decisions we make about people and the programs and partnerships we have. And He has blessed us.” When asked about the company’s positions in support of marriage and family, Mr. Cathy went on to say, “Well, guilty as charged. We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. …”

This was too juicy to ignore. CNN ran a July 19 religion blog post, “Chick-fil-A’s marriage stance causing a social storm.” Casually striking a match while pouring the gasoline, writer Brad Lendon wrote that “the comments of company President Dan Cathy about gay marriage to Baptist Press on Monday have ignited a social media wildfire.”

It doesn’t matter that Mr. Cathy never brought up “gay marriage,” as noted by The Weekly Standard’s Mark Hemingway. All Mr. Cathy did was defend the company’s stance that families are paramount and that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

That’s what marriage laws do, too – they define the institution. It’s no accident that the media routinely describe marriage laws as “gay marriage bans,” as if marriage didn’t exist until recently, when it was invented solely to vex homosexuals. You think I’m joking? That’s what openly gay U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker essentially said in his bizarre ruling striking down

California’s voter-approved constitutional marriage amendment.

This madness has gone so far that simply defending marriage is enough to get you banned in Boston. There may be room, however, for a legal challenge, as UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh notes:

“Denying a private business permits because of such speech by its owner is a blatant First Amendment violation. Even when it comes to government contracting — where the government is choosing how to spend government money — the government generally may not discriminate based on the contractor’s speech, see Board of County Commissioners v. Umbehr (1996).”

Perhaps the ACLU will step forward to represent Chick-fil-A. Perhaps the Chicago River will freeze in August.

Comic and Green Party favorite Roseanne Barr joined the Chick-fil-A bashing on Wednesday, tweeting, “anyone who eats (expletive) -- Fil-A deserves to get the cancer that is sure to come from eating antibiotic filled tortured chickens 4Christ.”

As reported by the Media Research Center’s Newsbusters, she sent another Christian-themed, obscene tweet that I won’t repeat, followed by this sarcastic offering: “off to grab a (expletive)- fil-A sandwich on my way to worshipping Christ, supporting Aipac and war in Iran.” (Aipac stands for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.)

On July 25, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank accused Mike Huckabee of pushing “obesity” because Mr. Huckabee has called for people who honor “Godly values” to fight back by eating at Chick-fil-A on August 1. Huckabee’s “defense of the fast-food restaurant will make Chick-fil-A a fat target in the culture wars and will further divide Americans,” Milbank asserted.

Right. Huckabee’s the divisive one for helping the mugging victim. If he were a Good American (like Mr. Milbank), he’d just stay silent (unlike Mr. Milbank).

Up in Boston, where consistency is not necessarily a virtue, Mayor Menino didn’t mind giving a taxpayer-subsidized, sweetheart land deal in 2002 to the Islamic Society of Boston, which has been linked to terrorist groups. But on the “Freedom Trail,” where the American Revolution began, Menino says Chick-fil-A “doesn’t send the right message to the country. We’re a leader when it comes to social justice and opportunities for all.” Except for Christians, who are about as welcome in Boston as the New York Yankees.

Stand for natural marriage and you’ll get the Left’s version of “social justice:” an iron fist in a lavender glove. The end-game is to criminalize Christianity and replace it with a state-approved, false religion that retains enough trappings to fool the unwary.

Chicago’s notoriously foul-mouthed Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, who donned brass knuckles to assist Alderman Moreno, put it this way: “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values.”

No, perhaps not in a town where Al Capone’s spirit animates its politics. Psalm 12:8 says, “The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men.”

As for Mr. Cathy, “We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

I know where I’m having breakfast, lunch and dinner on August 1, do you?