So many people angered by the opinions of Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy on gay marriage. Everyone knows the story by now. If not you should. Cathy’s opinions and the varying reactions to them represents a larger issue in American politics.
In an interview with a Baptist publication he was quoted saying, “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit.” He was also quoted saying on a radio program, “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.”
After being quoted and heard around the country, various groups responded the only way they could. Either Cathy was the epitome of American ignorance and bigotry and he and his corporation should be condemned to infamy and boycotted or Cathy is a stand up Christian acting as the voice of the American religious right and therefore the true America. Immediately we want to take sides: he is a hateful villain or he is a sacred hero.
What if he is neither?
As I said, this situation shows us a bigger problem in America.
After Cathy was quoted and word got out that he has an opinion different than their’s, good-doer officials in cities like Chicago and Boston saw it fit that they must be the heroes of the minority and keep the evil corporation Chick-Fil-A out of their neighborhoods, lest the youth become infected with anti gay chicken propaganda.
“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. 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… If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult — unless they open up their policies.” –Thomas Menino, Boston Mayor.
Are we taking this threat to keep a restaurant franchise out of a city seriously? I would call this a serious overreach and abuse of power. Chicago and Boston are acting as if Chick-Fil-A incorporated a new policy wherein they wouldn’t serve gays. Yes, that would be a real problem. But that is not the case. This is a case of a man and his company having a set of values that differ from another group’s values, whether it be a minority group or a majority.
Put it in different terms. What if a gay man made plans to open a restaurant in an ultra conservative Southern town. Let’s pretend the mayor of that town denies this man’s right to do business because his lifestyle and political values conflict with the mayor’s. That’d be a story, right?
I see no difference here with Chicago and Boston official’s intolerance. And though the mayor of Boston claims Chick-Fil-A “discriminates against a population,” he is in fact the only party actively discriminating.
I asked, What if Cathy is neither? What if he is not a villain and he is not a hero? What if we could treat things as they are. Chick Fil A is a fast food joint and Cathy is a private citizen with an opinion. You don’t like either? Read the title again.