It's one thing for Hollywood moppets and television Muppets to protest Chick-fil-A over the fast-food chain president's support for traditional marriage. They're private citizens and entities. But when an elected public official wields the club of government against a Christian business in the name of "tolerance," it's not harmless kid stuff. It's chilling.
This week, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino declared, "Chick-fil-A doesn't belong in Boston." He recklessly slandered the company by accusing it of "discriminat(ing) against the population." And he warned ominously: "If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult -- unless they open up their policies."
Drawing on the city's history, he railed against the restaurant empire's plans to build a franchise near a famed path: "We're an open city. We're a city that's at the forefront of inclusion. That's the Freedom Trail. That's where it all started right here. And we're not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail."
Poverty is on track to rise to the highest nationwide levels since the 1960s. Boston's jobless rate has been stuck at 6 percent. The city's May employment numbers were revised downward for the second month in a row; in June, the city shed 2,600 jobs. Chick-fil-A employs some 50,000 workers across the country at 1,500 outlets in nearly 40 states and the District of Columbia. The company generates more than $2 billion in annual revenues and serves millions of happy customers looking for affordable food in a family-friendly setting.
Menino must have a darned good reason for meddling with government licensing decisions and turning away one of America's most successful private employers, right?
Wrong. Menino's beef with the beloved chicken sandwich supplier is as full of holes as Chick-fil-A's trademark waffle fries. It's Menino who is engaging in blatant viewpoint and religious discrimination against an out-and-proud company whose leadership embraces biblically based principles and values.
In an interview with the Baptist Press last month, Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy talked about his personal support of traditional family values and fidelity. "(Guilty) as charged," he told the reporter. "We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."
As I reported last year, the Cathy family's commitments to "glorify God" and "enrich the lives of everyone we touch" have made them public enemies of the progressive left. Never mind that the company's community service initiatives have supported foster care, summer camp scholarships and marriage enrichment. Never mind Chick-fil-A's family-strengthening and faith-enhancing decision to forgo profits and close every Sunday to give workers a day of worship and rest.
Anti-Christian organizers have been staging boycotts and smear campaigns against "anti-gay" Chick-fil-A for the past year. An activist lesbian reporter for The New York Times poured fuel on the fire. The proprietors of The Muppets are just the latest to take a public stand.
It's their right. It's also the right of Chick-fil-A supporters to organize social media campaigns, exercise their free speech and exercise the power of their pocketbooks to back the company.
What's disturbing is the flippant schadenfreude with which Tinseltown starlets such as actress Eliza Dushku are cheering Menino's threat to Chick-fil-A's First Amendment rights. "That's right, B!" she tweeted along with a link to Menino's attack. What's galling is the self-serving smugness of PC police such as Menino, who defended his vendetta against Chick-fil-A by bragging, "We're a leader when it comes to social justice and opportunities for all."
Social justice and economic opportunity "for all" -- as long as you hold the proper political and social views. This is ugly repressive civility enforced with government brass knuckles. Boston's Founding Fathers must be steaming in their graves.