Over the next several days, I will be sharing, section by section, a detailed argument against the notion that Chick-Fil-A should have been protected under the basis of Free Speech, and why speech had nothing to do with this issue.
And this is Part 1.
This paper is meant to be my personal reaction to the events surrounding Mike Huckabee’s Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day and the reaction for which it had on the part of the Gay-Rights Community. Moreover, it is my personal reaction to the reaction of others, referring to liberals as intolerant. That having been said, this paper is also quasi-academic – I use a lot of sources. To save time, I was lazy in the method for which I cited them, but in my attempt to maintain credibility I only used sources for which all readers may access via the internet as I understand that not everyone can access certain books due to costs and availability. I checked all sources, and only used sources relating to academia that I have used in previous academic papers and projects. That having been said, I used Wikipedia. My choices behind referring to Wikipedia are upheld by my previous statements and virtues behind fact-checking. I have found Wikipedia to be useful in summarizing issues with broad natures, and I encourage you to travel to those sources, and use their sources, where you can find even more sources – which is what I have done in the past, and what I will continue to do in the future. So please, before you reject my claims on the basis of referring to Wikipedia, I encourage you to travel to my source, and then check their sources.
Lastly, to my friends and colleagues who may endeavor to read this paper: if you became offended by my writing this, or for rejecting your claims, I offer no solace. This is about a fundamental disagreement between you and I. This paper was by no means meant to attack any of you, but rather to express a passionate belief, and a sturdy rejection to either your perceived acceptance of ‘bigotry’, or your perceived apathy on the matter related to Gay Rights, and the other associated social injustices for which the LGBT community faces, or lives in fear of – every day. My hope is that our friendship, and otherwise collegiate relationships will not be dissolved over this matter, but if that is the end result over this issue, than all that I can say in regards to that, is c’est la vie – amen. I will not defile my morality, and abandon my virtues to save a friendship that cannot survive differences, be them political, or religious. I choose to stand up for the rights, protections, and liberty of all people, regardless of their differences (or indifferences). There should be no perceived disloyalty to a friendship when dissent arises. Dissent should strengthen friendships, not destroy them.
-James W., A Proud Ally
“I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag.” – Molly Ivins
I agree with Molly, but further transcribe it to those who do the same with their Bibles. This year has been a particularly vile one with Second Amendment issues, Free Speech, Healthcare, Women’s Rights, and the GLBT Community. And although I usually stay away from discussing 2nd Amendment issues, not from lack of knowledge, but simply because I am particularly tired of trying to discuss constitutional approaches with people who haven’t even read the constitution, much less interpreted it. However, I have found myself even jumping into those debates this year after the Aurora, Colorado massacre, and that of Trayvon Martin. And then of course there was the Supreme Court ruling on ‘Obamacare’ that essentially upheld the individual mandate, and gave a blow to the Republicans and Social Conservatives. But what has unnerved me a lot, is the absolute drudgery that has spewed from the porous souls of the many who supported Chick-Fil-A on August 2nd, 2012, along with the number of other particularly bigoted and hateful, apathetic, and/or ignorant statements on the part of my friends, colleagues, and the public in general.
For instance, one of my colleagues for whom I work with as well as take classes with made a previous statement regarding homosexuals that went something like this:
“I find it funny that people think it’s OK to call Christians “intolerant” or “close minded” for having an OPINION. It’s called freedom of speech for a reason. Chick-Fil-A makes millions of $$$ a day. And I happily contribute!
Her initial post (which was posted on July 25th, 2012 at around 8:30 PM) was aided by an image involving a quote from Mike Huckabee, essentially an internet flier for Chick-Fil-A, and the website “IsupportChickFilA.com”. She further went on to discuss how she is a Christian, and therefore she’s not for Gay Marriage. She then compared gay marriage to her decision to marry her alarm clock, or someone else wanting to marry a dog, and whether or not there would be tax benefits. To continue, she also went on to essentially declare that if the Gay community doesn’t like how Christianity defines marriage, choose another word – like union, or as she put it, a “love union.” She also said that she wouldn’t mind if they got the same rights – just don’t call it marriage.
Lastly, and to quote:
“Out of all of the science that has been completed, there has not been one specific gene found by a doctor or scientist that gives proof that people are born as a homosexual. It’s not just my choice, over 80% of Americans state they are Christians and unless that number changes I don’t see gay marriage happening. (July 25th, 2012, 9:42 PM)”
And later in the discussion;
“You’re right…He didn’t. Nor am I. I just posted that I support Chick-fil-A and the CEO’s stance. Christians can’t dictate anything if anyone has noticed lately. Prayer has been taken out of schools, we no longer say the Pledge of Allegiance because saying “under God” is offensive, we can’t even say “in Jesus’ name” in some military churches! I’m not saying how someone should or should not live, that’s why there is free will. If it’s not anyone else’s business who someone loves why are Christians being pressured to accept gay marriage? People curse God’s name and I get offended daily but speaking out against this makes people uncomfortable that I haven’t conformed to everyone else’s way of thinking. (July 25th, 2012, 11:11PM)
Another friend of mine stated:
“ALRIGHT GAH CHICK FIL A AND OREO FOR THAT MATTER, BTW I DIDNT SEE ANYONE POSTING THIS MUCH ABOUT OREO BEING SUPPORTIVE OF GAY RIGHTS OR GETTING THIS MAD AT THEM….I’m a little aggravated with how this situation has gone….more to come tommorrow. Its too late for this crap right now (July 25th, 2012).”
Whereas another said:
“i’m not cool with people being gay. i’m also not cool with people being murderers. homosexuality is a sin just like the rest of them. if you’re going to complain about gays, complain about yourself. you are a liar, or a gossip, or an adulterer, or whatever.
basically, a sinner.
just like everybody else. (July 19th, 2012)”
Several other friends, colleagues, and family members posted pictures of their long, tedious wait in line at Chick-Fil-A along with their white cups upon finally being able to sit down and enjoy their food. It is particularly saddening to me that more than 670,000 people said that they would participate in the event, and another 64,000 or so said that they might. The event was created on Facebook, where some 3.2 million people were invited to take place, and this is what the description said:
“I have been incensed at the vitriolic assaults on the Chick Fil-A company because the CEO, Dan Cathy, made comments recently in which he affirmed his view that the Biblical view of marriage should be upheld. The Cathy family, led by Chick Fil-A founder Truett Cathy, are a wonderful Christian family who are committed to operating the company with Biblical principles and whose story is the true American success story. Starting at age 46 Truett Cathy built Chick Fil-A into a $4 billion a year enterprise with over 1600 stores. At 91, he is still active in the company, but his son Dan runs it day to day as CEO.It’s a great American story that is being smeared by vicious hate speech and intolerant bigotry from the left.
The Chick Fil-A company refuses to open on Sundays so that their employees can go to church if they wish. Despite the pressure from malls, airports, and the business world to open on Sundays, they still don’t. They treat customers and employees with respect and dignity.
I ask you to join me in speaking out on Wednesday, August 1 “Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day.” No one is being asked to make signs, speeches, or openly demonstrate. The goal is simple: Let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1. Too often, those on the left make corporate statements to show support for same sex marriage, abortion, or profanity, but if Christians affirm traditional values, we’re considered homophobic, fundamentalists, hate-mongers, and intolerant. This effort is not being launched by the Chick Fil-A company and no one from the company or family is involved in proposing or promoting it.
There’s no need for anyone to be angry or engage in a verbal battle. Simply affirm appreciation for a company run by Christian principles by showing up on Wednesday, August 1 or by participating online – tweeting your support or sending a message on Facebook.
PLEASE RSVP IF YOU PLAN ON PARTICIPATING AT A CHICK FIL-A OR ONLINE.”
Those are some pretty harsh words coming from the former Governor of Arkansas. A number of examples can be seen by following the links in the footnotes. I consider myself to be a liberal, a social progressive of sorts, and I would never think to say any of the things that were hurled by some that would call themselves liberals. Jason Howerton from ‘The Blaze’ kindly gave a list of ten, for which Sarah Hinds from ‘The College Conservative’ used to point out ‘Liberal Intolerance’ from the more public sector. It’s no wonder Mike Huckabee, Howerton, and Hinds all came to the conclusion that liberals are just a bunch of fanatics who are only tolerant of beliefs similar to theirs.
But, if I wished to, I could find ten other tweets by Conservatives that said just as hateful things – some that were even said by friends of mine. But I really don’t see anything constructive coming out of an argument using Twitter posts that have about as much intellectual equivalence as a rock. Wishing someone to die, or to choke on their chicken, in one sense could be called intolerance, but I call it immature, and in no way even relevant to the conversation. Even still, it’s interesting that ‘liberal’ leaning was conferred by the hateful remarks, which may be a true assumption, but to boast these as examples of ‘liberal intolerance’ is about as effective, and intelligent, as posting ten tweets from Klansman and expressing them as examples of conservative bigotry. Their politics shouldn’t define them as spokesman for any agenda other than their own. Most importantly, which Huckabee, Howerton, and Hinds all fail to mention – Conservatives played into this just as much, and said similar things, and to simply jump on liberals as being intolerant detracts from the real problem.
Indeed, it’s fascinating to me that while Hinds touts about on ‘liberal intolerance’, one of the individuals – ‘Matthew’ – went on to reject liberal claims while referring to gay folks as ‘sodomites’, for example, he went on to say things like:
“Of course, that’s just nuts. Sodomites already have rights given to them by the Constitution. But they think their sexual behavior entitles and requires a second helping. To put it rather bluntly, sodomites are entitled to exactly two things: Jack and sh*t. And Jack just left town.
I do not give a flaming horse’s patoot if you do not agree. I will not bow to the sexually deviant, or amoral douchebags like yourself.”
This statement was made in response to another respondent named ‘Chelle’, he further goes on to say:
“I’m tired. I am tired of your bullshit. I apologize to everyone else who reads this (who is *NOT* Chelle) for my language and what I am about to say next, but, really, since you don’t know how to simply shut the fuck up, just fuck off and die.”
And later in response to something that I said:
“Liberty? STRAWMAN. People with functioning brains know sodomites already have the right to marry, as long as they are of legal age and of the opposite sex. But they want to be able to marry based on whom they choose to sleep with. People with functioning brains realize this is not only silly, but also dangerous because sodomites have no respect or regard for the consequences, perhaps intentionally so.”
Liberty is something that I will touch on later. At no point did the author of the article defend Chelle, or rebut Matthew’s arguments. At no point was there a suggestion on the part of his fellow conservative comrades that he should tone down, or that he was hurly epitaphs and other intolerant words, phrases, and such language on an article about liberal intolerance. I regret, woefully, that neither did I. This Matthew character was set in his mind. But before I move on, I wish to express how Matthews comments are intolerant. Aside from being offensively impolite, ill-mannered fuelled by a passion to defend his own worldview, when he uses the word ‘sodomite’ to refer to gays, he beckons the call of all who would therefore call him intolerant – among other more passionate and vile terminology. I will elaborate on the word sodomite, and sodomy later.
Moving on however, here are some other things that conservatives said:
“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. I strongly salute Chick-fil-A and others who stand for traditional marriage and withhold discrimination from those who believe differently from them. The last time I checked, Chick-fil-A wasn’t expressing a desire for gays not to eat at their restaurants or seek employment with them.” Demetrius Minor (Project 21) 
First, I think that Minor is ‘missing a vital point’ when he fails to acknowledge the discrimination that the LGBT community faces, and the fact that Chick-Fil-A, for whom he ‘strongly salutes’, funds organizations that actively partake in that discrimination, and vile hate speech. Rather poignant if you ask me. Further, he suggests that there’s a difference between being against gay marriage, and being against homosexuality. Well, that’s true; in one respect you’re against equal rights, and the second you’re against the action, or as social conservatives like to call it, a ‘lifestyle choice’. What’s fascinating though is that in saying that, it’s almost a subtle suggestion that if Mr. Cathy had said he was anti-gay as opposed to Gay Marriage, than liberals wouldn’t be out of line.
After-all, it’s not as if Black Folks were ever called less-than human, and it’s not as if the majority of those in power used religious doctrine (interpreted as well as construed to be the infallible word of God) to promote, propagate, and maintain slavery. Except, that’s exactly what happened. What’s unfortunate though, is that here we have a member of the Black community persecuting the LGBT community for standing up for equality, and it’s not just the right to marry – it’s the whole spectrum, which I will tackle shortly. And further, here we have a member of the minority using arguments against another minority that were used against his ancestor’s – the very same arguments. That’s truely vile.
I am not suggesting that the LGBT community has been subjugated to the same harsh and cruel environment that the Black community has. The social and historical contexts are vastly different. What I am suggesting however is that there are similarities, and that it’s important to notice them lest we wish to repeat history in a fashion for which should have been avoided. I am also suggesting that we as a society measure what’s important; is liberty for all important? Or is liberty only for the ruling, Judeo-Christian White Elite, the only liberty available? Conservatism shouldn’t be a partisanship anymore than modern liberalism, but it seems that’s what it has turned into. These are ideologies, they are lenses for which to analyze our world in its entirety. To accept one is to reject the other – and that’s what we have now. Nothing but rejection for one another’s rights, freedoms, and liberties; and liberty, a fundamental right – has been turned into an auction piece.
Regardless, this is what Mr. Cathy said:
“We’re 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.’ And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude that thinks we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about.”
This of course drudges up many other questions related to marriage, other religions, and whose rights will be lost in the end, which I will discuss later.
One point should be made though, by giving money to organizations that actively participate in law, lobbying, and legislative affairs, he endorsed their views. He doesn’t need to come out right and say that he’s anti-gay, which according to Minor is a justifiable reason to lash out, he endorsed them politically. And furthermore, by helping to fund these political organizations – because that’s what they are – he ultimately engaged in the political arena for which he can suffer any and all social consequences there are. I don’t mean that harshly, although it may sound that way, I am simply pointing out that he’s fair game.
Further, and to quote:
“The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.
Chick-fil-A is a family-owned and family-led company serving the communities in which it operates. From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically-based principles to managing his business. For example, we believe that closing on Sundays, operating debt-free and devoting a percentage of our profits back to our communities are what make us a stronger company and Chick-fil-A family.
Our mission is simple: to serve great food, provide genuine hospitality and have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” – Chick-Fil-A Facebook page, July 19th, 2012
In choosing to pull out of the policy debate, the statement follows along with my previous statement: by funding politically active groups that work against gay rights, he entered into the political arena. He’s faced those consequences, and now he’s pulling out – that’s the best thing for business, and I agree. But before I go into the groups that he funded, it’s important to understand that it is fundamentally hypocritical to suggest that they treat everyone with ‘honor, dignity, and respect – regardless of their…sexuality’, and then fund politically active groups that take a certain group’s rights away. There’s nothing honorable, or respectful in doing that. And to drag the point, dignity is the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect. How can you treat someone with dignity and fund groups that don’t believe that the LGBT community is deserving of dignity? Respect is based on feelings of deep admiration, high esteem and reverence, and honor is dependent on respect.
 ‘C’est la vie’ is French for “such is life”. ‘Amen’ literally translates “so be it” in Hebrew and Greek times when it was first used in the earliest texts. Therefore, when I say ‘c’est la vie-amen’, I am meaning it as ‘so be it-such is life’.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Aurora_shooting. A mass shooting on July 20th, 2012. 12 people were killed, and 58 others injured after James E. Holmes took an AR-15 with a high capacity clip and smoke grenades entered through the emergency exit during the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises”.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Trayvon_Martin. Fatal shooting of 17-year old Trayvon Martin by 28-year old George Zimmerman on February 26th, 2012.
 My friend and colleague was responding to one of her friends who responded and pointed out that Jesus lead by example, and didn’t hate anyone, nor did he shove his ideals down others’ throats. She further injected the idea into the conversation that people who profess to be Christians attempt to dictate, or at least have the want. She also went on to say that it’s no one’s business who another person marries, i.e., supportive of Gay Rights, and their equal right to marry.