7.25.2012

Chick fil A and freedom of speech...a guest post

I have been pondering this story from it's inception....Since it doesn't really affect me directly I went to my friend M. To discuss this...and we found ourselves in agreement. She agreed to write a post for my blog regarding the issue....So here goes....


Citizens in Mountain View, California have filed a zoning challenge to keep Chick-Fil-A from building a restaurant in their town because the head honcho of the company does not support gay marriage. While the zoning challenge is not likely to be upheld, the people responsible for said challenge claim they did so to make a point; they wanted to protect their town from a "bunch of bigots."

Really?

This company does not discriminate from hiring gay workers, they don't refuse to serve gay customers. The head of the company simply believes that marriage should be defined as being between a man and a woman. This is his personal opinion, it's not some kind of official decree. Yes, it's a family-owned company and the majority of his family agrees with his stance on this issue. The company did put out the following statement:

Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena...[we] treat every person with honor, dignity and respect -- regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.

As a lesbian, I do not understand why the LGBT community is so up-in-arms over this. He said nothing derogatory or hateful about us. He's not preaching our eternal damnation or suggesting that we are in some way detracting from the morality of the world. He defined a single word based on his belief system. To be honest, I actually applaud him for having the integrity to give his honest answer to a direct question.

Frankly, this also felt very much like a set up to grab headlines. Why just ask Mr. Cathy for his opinion? Why not Wendy Thomas, the head of McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, etc.? I'm pretty sure I can guess what Colonel Sander's position would've been back in the day, yet there's no call to boycott KFC. I'll bet that none of these other executives will give an honest answer one way or the other to this question after this fiasco. This was an unfair, underhanded ploy, I think, to garner attention to this issue.


The thing is, I believe we still have free speech in this country. We are all for having this right when we agree with what people say. However, when someone presents an opinion that dissents from our own, we suddenly want them to shut up and drop off the face of the earth. We berate them and name-call and unfriend them on Facebook or whatever. What ever happened to listening to someone's opinion, stating your own, and being able to agree to disagree? Why is everything suddenly an all or nothing proposition?

This boycotting of Chick-Fil-A reminds me of when I was a kid and playing football on the playground. Of course, as kids do, there'd be a disagreement of some sort amongst the kids playing, so the kid who brought the ball would have a fit, grab the ball, and go home. This boycott screams the same immature, knee-jerk reaction to me. Moreover, I think it hurt our position more than it helped. The LGBT boycott has led to a backlash among conservative politicians (Mike Huckabee, for one) who are calling for conservatives to rush off and eat at Chick-Fil-A in support of the president's position. We had a chance to take the high road and we blew it.

Don't get me wrong, I do not agree with Dan Cathy's position on this issue. I am a firm believer that all Americans should have the same rights and privileges under the law—that there should not be special rules that give or remove rights for different segments of the population. I simply believe that condemning a man and raising an uproar to boycott a company because someone voiced a rather benign opinion under suspicious circumstances is ridiculous.

20 comments:

Rettakat said...

I've been reading the raging debate on Facebook for days. And am disgusted. By both sides, at times.

I totally agree with you, M, about freedom of speech. I might not agree with someone, but by golly I'll defend their right to say it! That's the country we live in, and the freedom many have died to preserve.

A liberal or pro-whatever-the-current-topic-is can shout their opinion from the rooftops. Yet woe be to the conservative that dares express an honest opinion on same. That's what I've been finding on Facebook and in the media, anyway.

Yep... smacks of politics, manipulation and spin. Oh, and arrogance and hate-mongering on BOTH sides.

I don't care if I agree with you or not... we all deserve to be treated with respect. End of rant... sorry. :-}

Princess Dieter said...

It is a very sad thing. An oppressed community becomes the oppressor. The censored become the censors. Really sad.

E. Jane said...

We have become such an intolerant society, and it will do us in, if we don't stop. Hate mongering exists with political gain as the goal. I guess that's why I'm an independent. I don't want anyone telling me how to think or what to say. I'll make up my own mind, but I will also respect the opinions of others while I'm doing it.

April said...

I've said it before, and I will say it again. Surely it must be possible to disagree without resorting to nasty name calling. I have a choice, I disagree with a company's stance or policies---guess what? I don't support them with my dollars. End of story. It is as easy as that. CFA, will never get so much as a nickel from me. But if you agree with their statements and their views, by all means support them. All any of us need to do is treat others in the same way we wish to be treated. If we all did that, all of this would be a non issue. Really.

Mary Ellen said...

I do feel like I need to amend my post a little because I finally found the exact comment that Mr. Cathy made. I'd read at least a dozen different articles on this subject over a few days before I wrote this, but I didn't find the full original comment until today--the articles I'd read all had summaries. This is the exact comment:

“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. I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about."

While I find this direct quote to be harsher than the summaries on which I'd based my post, I stand by my original comments and my opinions have not changed. I do not (nor did I before, though I did not express it as well as I should have) condemn people who desire to eat elsewhere because they disagree with Mr. Cathy's stance, nor those who wish to show support by eating at this restaurant chain. More to the point, it should be up to individuals to make up their own minds, not put out some clarion call to boycott or support something. It's high time we stop allowing others to tell us how to think and start thinking for ourselves.

Christine said...

Lord, I expected to pop on here and be inundated by pissed off people...the comments are fairly tame. lol. I haven't even lost a follower..yet. Than you mary ellen...since you wrote your whole name...lol...for this article. It was gutsy, which does not surprise me. I have known you for over half my life, your integrity inspires me.

Gigi said...

Yes, never underestimate the power of the high road. Hypocrites like Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel saying Chick-fil-a is "not Chicago values" invites unapologetic anti-semite Louis Farrakahn to help quell the 40% rise in violent crime plaguing his city. But he's "Chicago values"? Wow.

Darcy Winters said...

I don't agree with him, but he has a right to his opinion and I have a right to mine. If they don't like his opinions - the easiest way for people to actually "protest" is to simply not eat there.

Dagny said...

Maybe I haven't read closely enough but I don't think any of you have commented on what should be the most obvious---That ANY business owner runs the risk of alienating potential customers when they are stupid enough to make controversial comments on a social issue. It's bad for business. Mr. Cathy can be a friggin' Nazi but if all I know about him is that his restaurants have a sterling reputation for quality food, quality service, reasonable prices, and ethical treatment of employees, I could have been a patron for life. HE made it necessary for me to question if I want to put money in his pocket, regardless of his business standards.

I know some Christian people feel that it's their responsibility to their god to make their religious beliefs known but when you are the CEO of a major corporation, you have to make judgment calls that include if you want to run the risk of alienating potential customers. If you think everybody's money is green, you'll stay neutral on social issues and rack up the profits.

Dagny said...

And DO NOT call my mayor a hypocrite. A busload of men went out to speak to residents of THEIR OWN NEIGHBORHOOD where children are being shot. The Nation of Islam, at this time, is working within its own community. If they can make a difference FOR THEIR OWN NEIGHBORHOOD, let them try. There's no comparison to the Chick-Fil-A situation.

Christine said...

I am all for debate..but keep it civil. If you don't agree with the hypocrite designation...simply explain why...I can understand strong feelings on the subject..but gigi feels he is a hypocrite..dagny does not..but you BOTH have a right to your opinions. I won't have anyone 'shut up' on my boards. I am sure you didn't mean to do that dagny. But it may come across that way...now..ding ding ding...back at it.

Laura said...

I agree with GiGi. The Nation of Islam are nothing but biggots and hypocrites. Preaching peace and love and then turn around and say how much you hate Jews and whites what a great thing to be teaching children in any neighborhood.

Christine said...

I've only heard selected soundbites from Mr. Farrakhan So I couldn't say one way or the other...Since I listen to a lot of conservative radio, I am hearing edited bits. I would have to go back and look into the entire text. I do agree with dagny, that if they can do something instead of running off at the mouth..so much the better. I hope something quells the violence in chicago...it's starting to take it's toll on it's population. I wish nothing but good for those people.

Khristina aka Khris said...

What a great post...well said. People will always have different opinions on things but this post shows things can be said without being nasty. Hugs Khris

Caron said...

Well said. Bravo. :)

Pam Lofton said...

Nicely said. I wonder how many folks just sit around and wait to take something someone says and blow it out of proportion just to stir up trouble. They probably asked him because they knew what he would say. I'm just hoping this doesn't incite all the idiots who love violence to get up in arms.

carla said...

MAN this has gotten SOOOO crazy huh?

Red Shoes said...

All in all, I agree with you. To me, it was more a freedom of speech issue.

I don't agree with everything that guy said, but the last time I looked, he has the freedom of speech.

I've heard equally mean and harsh statements come from elected officials.

Does being gay make someone a bad Christian? Of course not...

Does going to church each and every Sunday make someone a good Christian?? Of course not.

What a mess our country is in...

~shoes~

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Candi said...

THIS is EXACTLY what I have been saying from the very beginning. This whole debate, not about the fact that gay people should or shouldn't be married, but simply about FREEDOM OF SPEECH did actually lose me a FB "friend". I was friends with a very smart, strong, awesome female who was a lesbian and she just COULD NOT get past the fact that I just wouldn't renounce my own beliefs to believe like she did. ALL I was ever saying is that I allow for her opinions & all I asked was that she allowed for mine, but she couldn't do it. It was either her way or the highway, and so we are no longer "friends". Ridiculous!! Thank you for this post!