Until about a week ago, I never heard of Chick-fil-A. When I first heard the name, I thought it might be some sort of sleazy escort service. Maybe that’s because I observe Jewish dietary laws. Keeping Kosher means not being able to eat at McDonalds or any other non kosher fast food restaurant chain. Which is what Chick-fil-A is.
Normally news about a non Kosher fast food chain of any kind is well below my radar. Why would I care after all about what its owner said? Well, in this case I do care. The president of Chick-fil-A who is a religious Baptist made what many have deemed to be a bigoted statement about gays. What was it he said? From USA Today:
Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy said this week that his privately owned company is “guilty as charged” in support of what he called the biblical definition of the family unit… “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that…”
To say that this statement is bigoted is so ridiculous that I would have thought it was some sort of parody were it not reported as fact. But it wasn’t ridiculous to a Chicago Alderman who vowed to prevent Chick-fil-A from opening up a restaurant in his city. From the Washington Post:
Alderman Joe Moreno said Wednesday that unless the company comes up with a written anti-discrimination policy, Chick-fil-A will not open its first free-standing restaurant in the city as it plans to do.
Chicago’s Mayor Emanuel expressed similar sentiments.
I have expressed my own attitude about homosexuals many times. The short version is that it is all about Kavod HaBrios and treating all human beings with the dignity they deserve – regardless of what their sexual orientation is. The biblical injunction is against a specific homosexual act. Not against someone with the desire to commit it. Nor is it our job to find out what goes on in the privacy of anyone’s bedroom. That is only between an individual and his Maker. It is our obligation instead to judge all people favorably.
What seems to be happening here goes far beyond understanding and tolerance. It goes far beyond treating our fellow man with love and compassion – regardless of the human condition that causes man to sin against God. Is there alive a man today that has not sinned? But the agenda of some gay rights activists is not about respecting human dignity. It is about celebrating homosexuality!
For those of us who believe in the bible that is completely unacceptable.
And yet the current climate of much of western culture is to look at it in exactly that way. It seems that almost all the reporting about Chick-fil-A has been negative. As if to deny anyone the right to see marriage only in a heterosexual context.
This has nothing to do with the whether one agrees with that or not. It has to do with the right to express an opinion. One based on a religious viewpoint no less!
Chick fil-A does not deny anyone the right to eat in their restaurant. They have gay employees and gay patrons. I am sure that many gay people have eaten at Chick-fil-A without incident. And yet for publicly expressing a religious view that has become politically incorrect – there are people who want to harm Chick fil-A financially!
As if to put an exclamation point on this – from the Huffington Post:
(LGBT) has filed complaints against Chick-fil-A, alleging that the franchise violated the Illinois Human Rights Act when its chief operating officer, Dan Cathy, made statements against gay marriage.
This is wrong. It is political correctness run amok! And anyone with any sense of fairness should see that. The fact is that despite the current approach by media, entertainment industry, and some political figures, the American people are not in lockstep with their attempt to stifle opinions they don’t agree with.
Former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called for an “Appreciation Day for Chick fil-A” – asking people to show up to support for the restaurant chain by eating at one of their restaurants on August 1st. Needless to say they had a record number of people showing up that day.
About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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