Southern-fried support

It may go down in the annals of Special Interest Tactics 101 as the Backfired Boycott.

Gay activists might rue the day they decided to try and flex their political muscle at the expense of popular restaurant chain Chick-fil-A.

When company president Dan Cathy (son of founder S. Truett Cathy) voiced his opposition to gay marriage in a couple of interviews, his comments ruffled the feathers of homosexual special-interest groups. A few political figures saw a pandering opportunity and seized it, like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who proclaimed that “Chick-fil-A’s values aren’t Chicago’s values,” and voiced support for a city alderman who vowed that the city would obstruct expansion attempts by the restaurant in his ward.

When it was suggested that such hostility sounded an awful lot like municipal discrimination against Chick-fil-A on the basis of religious grounds, a spokesman quickly amended the mayor’s meaning.

“If they meet all the usual requirements, then they can open their restaurant, but he does not believe the CEO’s values are reflective of our city,” Emanuel’s press secretary said.

As the vitriol spewed from gay groups, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee proposed a customer appreciation day on Wednesday so supporters could “affirm a business that operates on Christian principles.” His Facebook page promoting the event amassed more than 20 million views, and by Wednesday more than 630,000 people had signed on as planning to participate.

It turned out to be the million-man munch. Across the nation, the headlines were the same. Media reports in city after city described “thousands” flocking to Chick-fil-A stores, lines snaking around blocks, waits of three and four hours.

There was a smattering of protesters and picketers, but in the political vernacular, they got trounced in a landslide. People voted with their feet and pocketbooks and time, and it was an overwhelming victory for free speech—and against special-interest hate speak.

It’s particularly satisfying to see one of these contrived “controversies” blow up in the face of single-minded, hate mongering political activists. Is it really news that an openly Christian company that includes the glorification of God in its mission statement and closes all its stores every Sunday would be strongly in favor of traditional marriage?

Please. Only a charlatan could see “controversy” in a Southern Baptist believer demonstrating and declaring devotion to Southern Baptist beliefs. The fact is, there shouldn’t ever be any controversy over company owners having religious beliefs, or voicing them. Both are sacred rights enshrined in the First Amendment.

What isn’t included in the Constitution is a right to gay marriage. And if gay-rights groups want one in there, the remedy is simple: Pass an amendment.

The amendment process requires enormous public support (which proved to be in pretty short supply on Wednesday), and that’s why the gay lobby would rather engage in bully tactics and intimidation. It’s much easier to subvert the Constitution than to amend it. Subversion often starts with smear campaigns; thus “hate” has become the unofficial litmus test on social-policy issues.

Listening to or reading Cathy’s comments, it’s hard to find a hateful remark in the normal, nonpoliticized sense of the word. He expresses fidelity to his faith: God has ordained marriage between a man and a woman. Just because it’s contrary to what a gay person may believe doesn’t constitute hate. If that’s the standard, then every person who supports gay marriage hates conservative Christians and anyone else who disagrees.

It’d make much more sense to acknowledge that there are a great many people—perhaps even most people—who for any number of reasons may not support gay marriage, but don’t “hate” gays.

Sensibility, however, isn’t part of the vocabulary of special-interest groups, and that’s the underlying problem today. Politicians may be just as narrow-minded and agenda driven, but in behaving as such they at least run the risk of being voted out of office. The public doesn’t get the chance to elect (or un-elect) special interest leaders, despite their totally biased and often bigoted allegiance to their causes.

Gay-rights activists support boycotting Chick-fil-A, but they don’t consider their intolerant desire to inflict harm on a company that disagrees with them as hate. However, if anybody supports boycotting Disney because of its pro-gay-marriage stance, then those people are called haters.

It’s the classic hypocrisy scenario: If you criticize the intolerance of gay activist groups, you’re a hate-filled gay-basher. If you fail to support any pro-gay policies, you’re also a hate filled gay-basher.

Television news coverage has become so spin-driven, it might be time for broadcasters to implement a total ban on special-interest spokespeople. Stop interviewing anybody who holds a position in any advocacy organization, and instead force more accountable politicians to make their own arguments-and face their own consequences.

Some of the best interviews on the Chick-fil-A story were just average people at the stores who recognized a fake controversy, bully-scam when they saw it.

We don’t need to hear the polished special-interest spin; it’s rarely news, and it’s not trustworthy anyway.


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