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Culture Challenge of the Week: Free Speech Under Assault

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

This Wednesday, August 1st, I will be eating chicken. More precisely, I will be enjoying a meal at Chick-Fil-A, savoring every bite in support of the free speech rights of a principled, and successful, American businessman, Dan Cathy.

A few weeks back, Dan Cathy, the President of the Chick-Fil-A chain, gave an interview in which he voiced support for the Biblical tradition of marriage between a man and a woman. He pleaded “guilty as charged” to supporting “the family--the biblical definition of family…We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families.”

Mr. Cathy spoke from the heart, expressing the core convictions that anchor his business practice and are the driving force in his life. He’s a Christian first, but doesn’t operate a “Christian business,” per se, but a business that treats everyone respectfully. He believes that being in business allows him to “take biblical truth and put skin on it. ... We're talking about how our performance in the workplace should be the focus of how we build respect, rapport and relationships with others that opens the gateway to interest people in knowing God.” (Interestingly, Chick-Fil-A is one of America’s most profitable fast food chains, even though it closes on Sundays to allow employees the opportunity to go to church.)

For exercising his right to free speech and for expressing his principled beliefs about marriage and family, Dan Cathy has been excoriated by the Left. Worse, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the Left has attempted to punish his speech by destroying Mr. Cathy’s business.

Obama’s former Chief of Staff and now Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel, exposed his own hostility to American liberty when he pulled Chicago’s welcome mat out from under Chick-Fil-A, saying, “Chick-Fil-A values are not Chicago values.” The mayors of Boston and San Francisco similar threatened that Chick-Fil-A would have a hard time getting business permits in their cities. College students in some areas raised a ruckus, arguing that Chick-Fil-A franchises should be barred from their campuses.

The rhetoric has been so over the top that even constitutional scholars and the Illinois chapter of the ACLU have cautioned that discriminatory government action against Chick-Fil-A would be “unconstitutional.”

Hollywood liberals, however, picked up where the mayors left off and formed a new gauntlet. Roseanne Barr tweeted venomously about Christians who support Chick-Fil-A, saying they deserved to get cancer and then calling them “Christian liars.” (She later apologized for insensitivity to cancer victims—but not to Christians.)

How to Save Your Family: Fortify Your Children, Chick-Fil-A-style.

It’s ironic that few news accounts included Dan Cathy’s additional remarks—expressing gratitude for America’s first freedoms, including his ability to speak in support of traditional families and religious beliefs.

"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."

If the left has its way, Dan Cathy’s freedoms would be no more.

More ominously, your own children will likely endure similar intimidation—at school instead of in the media. Children who speak openly in support of traditional families will likely face hostility from their peers and perhaps even teachers, because schools today increasingly incorporate the “vision” of homosexual agitators like GLSEN.

We can—and must—fortify our children against the lie that sexual “rights” trump freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Our Constitution protects our liberty—our children’s liberty—even inside politically correct schools.

Columnist Mary Beth Hicks, author of the powerful book Don’t Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid, shared with me her belief that the Chick-Fil-A controversy presents “an excellent teachable moment…before our kids head back to school.” Our children must know, she says, that “the right to free speech -- especially speech that reflects Christian beliefs -- is nowhere more threatened than in our schools. It's crucial that we teach our children that the Chick-fil-A episode isn't about being for or against gay marriage; it's about having the freedom in the United States to express any opinion, with the confidence that you have that right.”

I agree.

Those of us who value liberty, and who support the traditional family, need to fortify ourselves. So take your family out to dinner this Wednesday night and “Eat more Chickin!”

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