Recently, comments made by the Chick Fil-A CEO, Dan Cathy have ignited a fire that has just kept spreading. Full disclosure: I love political controversy. Rarely has there been a controversy in the years I have been politically active that has not garnered my full attention. That being said, I had not read much on the Chick Fil-A scrap. In fact, I have deliberately avoided it. When I finally decided to read into exactly what was going on, I was surprised. Given the news coverage, I thought something awful must have been happening. Now that I know what is going on, I have some thoughts.
It all began with Chick Fil-A CEO, Dan Cathy. While being interviewed for Biblical Recorder Newspaper, Cathy made comments regarding his views on gay marriage. Chick Fil-A is a company with Christian, conservative roots. It is closed on Sundays and Cathy has made no bones over the years when it comes to expressing the views by which he lives his life and runs his business.
When asked by BRN about his views on gay marriage, Cathy said that he was “Guilty as charged” in his opposition to gay marriage. He later said “We are very much supportive of…the biblical definition of the family unit.”
These comments, as well as recorded donations by the Cathy Family Foundation to several conservative organizations have sparked outrage from gay marriage proponents across the country.
In response to all the hubbub, individuals on both sides of the issue have organized demonstrations of sorts that will take place today and in the days to come. Those in favor of Chick Fil-A will make it a point to support the restaurant by patronizing the business this Wednesday. Those on the other side have organized “kiss-ins”, where same sex couples will make it a point to take pictures of themselves kissing their partners inside various Chick Fil-A’s and posting them on Facebook and online.
This whole firestorm has gotten me thinking. The more I think about it, the more troubling it seems. Let’s break it down:
1. Dan Cathy, CEO of his own business, Chick Fil-A, was giving an interview.
2. He was asked about his personal views on a very controversial issue.
3. He outlined his views quite clearly. Views that in no way affect his business model, in regards to discrimination.
4. Backlash against his business followed.
Let’s be clear, Dan Cathy is in no way discriminating against his customers or his employees, in regards to their orientation. Chick Fil-A will NOT turn a customer or employee away due to their sexual orientation. This begs the question, what is the row really about?
The row is about religious and free speech and the right to express an opinion that stands in contradiction to the Left. However you feel about gay marriage, you cannot deny Dan Cathy’s right to express his views on political and religious issues. The fact that he happens to be the owner of a popular restaurant chain and as such, has gotten nationwide attention because of his comments, simply highlights a larger issue.
That issue is the misinterpretation of tolerance. In running his business, Dan Cathy practices tolerance. As was mentioned before, he does not and would not turn a customer or employee away because of their sexual orientation. While he is a proponent of a conservative definition of marriage, between one man and one woman (which is a definition supported by a majority of the country, based in thousands of years of cultural and religious history), he does not let that belief affect his business. All he did was voice his opinion when asked. He is practicing tolerance.
On the other hand, the party that claims to have cornered the market on tolerance, the Democrats, and in this case, the activists targeting Cathy, are not practicing tolerance. The Left’s definition of tolerance differs a bit from its formal, dictionary definition. For the Left, tolerance means always agreeing with the Left…always. In case that was unclear, ALWAYS. When a conservative, specifically a conservative in the public eye, dares to express views that differ from the mighty OZ, there is always a row.
3. Opinion (that does not affect his business)
Seem a little odd now that you think of it?
Dan Cathy dared to contradict the Left, and he is getting burned. This is not a fight about gay marriage (though the Left would have you believe it is), it is a fight about free speech and religious freedom. I do not believe that a company or it’s owners should be excoriated and punished because of the CEO’s personal religious belief. Once more, Dan Cathy’s religious beliefs are not a cause of discrimination in his business. Which again begs the question, why the row? What is truly at the heart of this controversy? When the dust settles, what do we have? We have an individual who happens to be a CEO, who voiced an opinion that is contradictory to the Left, and because of this, his business is being targeted. This is an assault on religious freedom and we can’t just sit down and watch, regardless of where you stand.
This Wednesday (today), I will be going to Chick Fil-A to support free speech and freedom to voice your religious opinions, famous or otherwise, business owner or otherwise, gay or straight.
COPYRIGHT © 2012 FRANK CAMP