At a store in Fullerton, people line up, some waiting as long as an hour,during lunch time in support of Chick-fil-A Dan Cathy supporting thebiblical definition marriage.
“We are very much supportive of the family - the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.” These are the words that have attracted attention from people, not only in the USA, but also around the world, including South Africa’s media. They were spoken by Dan Cathy, the CEO of a fast-food chain based in the USA known as Chick-fil-A.
The reaction to these words has been, to say the least, astounding. In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that: “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values. They’re not respectful of our residents, our neighbours and our family members. And if you’re gonna be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values.” (Polls in Chicago show that 42% of the population support gay marriage, while 42% oppose gay marriage. So, this Chicago mayor clearly does not really know what Chicagoans reflect.)
Also in Chicago, Alderman Joe Moreno, said: “If he’s in the business of selling chicken in Chicago, he should be in the business of having equal rights for everyone. Period. If it looks like a chicken, talks like a chicken, walks like a chicken, it’s a chicken. If you’re saying you don’t respect the values and rights of same-sex couples, that trickles down through the organization. … That’s paramount to the way the company behaves.” He also went on to accuse Dan Cathy of being homophobic and bigoted.
|Mayor Thomas Menino|
Even the Mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino, decided that he wanted to jump on the bandwagon. He advised Chick-fil-A to stop any plans it has of locating some of its stores in Boston. He however obviously realised just how stupid, discriminatory and illegal his plans to block the fast food chain were, because he is later quoted as saying that he would not block the food chain because: “I can’t do that. That would be interference to his rights to go there.”
There are a number of things that astounded me at the reaction that Dan Cathy’s comments have caused. The one I want to focus on is this tendency to brand people as homophobic and bigots.
I have read the entire interview with Dan Cathy and nowhere do I see any evidence of him making any statements that could be construed as homophobic or bigoted. In fact nothing that he says is offensive to anyone. He is simply a man who believes in traditional marriage and who has chosen to stand by his beliefs and to support the efforts of others who are defending traditional marriage. That is his choice and it is his right to make that choice, just as it is choice not to open his fast-food restaurants on a Sunday.
Why is it that the proponents of causes, like gay marriage, can be so ignorant as to actually believe that if one disagrees with their views, one is immediately bigoted and, in the instance of gay marriage, homophobic? Since when do I have to hold the same views and opinions as everyone else in the world? Since when do I have to like something just because everyone else likes it? I don’t have to agree with what I don’t agree! It is my right to hold my own views about various topics and if the proponents of same sex marriage want to force me to change my views, to conform to theirs, it is they who are in fact bigoted.
|Cardinal Francis George|
Cardinal Francis George had this to say on the subject in response to the comments by the mayor of Chicago: “Recent comments by those who administer our city seem to assume that the city government can decide for everyone what are the ‘values’ that must be held by citizens of Chicago. I was born and raised here, and my understanding of being a Chicagoan never included submitting my value system to the government for approval. Must those whose personal values do not conform to those of the government of the day move from the city?”
 Time, Chick-fil-A Meets a First Amendment Buzzsaw in Chicago, July 26, 2012, http://swampland.time.com/2012/07/26/chick-fil-a-meets-a-first-amendment-buzzsaw-in-chicago/
 Chicago Sun Times, Emanuel goes after Chick-fil-A for boss’ anti-gay views, July 25, 2012, http://www.suntimes.com/news/13988905-418/emanuel-goes-after-chick-fil-a-for-boss-anti-gay-views.html
 Boston Herald, Menino says he can’t actively block Chick-fil-A, July 26, 2012, http://bostonherald.com/business/general/view.bg?articleid=1061148712