02 August, 2012
Americans eat chicken, celebrate free speech- and rebuke slander
Rick Warren, the Saddleback Church pastor and author of that theologically regrettable Purpose Driven Life book, says that Chick-fil-A set "a world record" for sales yesterday. For Chick-fil-A? For fast foot chains? For restaurants? Who keeps these records, anyway? Guinness?
But in any event, after Chick-fil-A outlets nationwide were mobbed by supporters of the First Amendment yesterday, and in many places could be accessed only by waiting for hours in long lines, there can be no doubt that there are lots of people who are upset by the efforts of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to prevent the chain from opening restaurants in their cities because its owner disagrees with them about same-sex "marriage."
The Fox News article linked to above contains some perceptive quotes from participants in "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," an event suggested by former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee in response to Emanuel's and Menino's totalitarian antics. Stephen Lenahan, a "youth pastor" (whatever that is), seems to me to have summed up the basic problem in his interview with Fox, not only as regards the Chick-fil-A controversy but also reaching pretty much across the political board these days. “There is kind of a culture war going on and people aren’t really respecting each other and difference of opinion," Lenahan pointed out. "There’s no dialogue taking place to get to the heart of what we really believe as a nation and what is truth."
Instead of debating issues, Americans are shouting slogans at each other, and confusing disagreement with emnity. At least on the Left, as evidenced by the abuse of mayoral authority by Emanuel and Menino, rational debate seems more and more to be abandoned in favor of attempts to demonize, marginalize and silence those with whom one disagrees.
Seems to me that when the Right tried much the same thing back in the '50's, it was called "McCarthyism."
Demetrios Minor, a member of a conservative African-American orgaization called Project 21, seems to be to have put his finger on an important issue when he told Fox News, "I think liberals are missing a vital point in their blind hatred of Chick-fil-A. Being against gay marriage is not being anti-gay.”
It's a point that the mainstream media in particular seem to have completely missed. "Anti-gay" is an adjective that has been regularly used to describe opposition to gay "marriage," and has been freely- and libelously- used in the articles I've read to describe the position of Chick-fil-A owner Dan Cathy in particular.
The Huffington Post- which reports a large turnout in support of Cathy and Chick-fil-A in Chicago yesterday- is predictably a case in point.
But Bob Matter, a self-described atheist, liberal, and supporter of same-sex "marriage," told the Chicago Sun-Times that he showed up at Chick-fil-A yesterday "because there should be no government limits on what you believe." And gay South African student Amnwari Ndlay-Owusa was there, too. "As long as I don’t get discriminated against," he told the Sun-Times, chicken sandwich in hand, "I respect his opinion because it’s his opinion."
Which seems to me to be pretty much the bottom line. Voltaire once said, "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Mayors Emanuel and Menino (and the NAACP) to the contrary, the comparison between a philosophical debate on the nature of marriage and the struggle for racial equality the civil rights movement represented is about as bogus as can be. One cannot be a bigot for personally disapproving of certain sexual activities- or for believing that they ought not to be given the same legal status as traditional marital relations. The nature of marriage, and not the equality of gay people, is the issue here.
Until we learn to distinguish between disagreement and hate, our democracy and even our ability to live together in peace and harmony will be in serious peril.
Menino, at least, seems to be backing down somewhat. I haven't come across a reaction yet from Emanuel.