Attack on Chick fil-A was a cheap shot

Initially we heard from the media that the Chick fil-A guy had made this impressive public announcement about his opposition to gay marriage.

Weeks later, we find out it wasn’t like that.

He’s a Baptist and he made a statement to a Baptist reporter for a Baptist magazine that he supported traditional marriage. The quotes I have seen from the statement seem to be more about supporting traditional marriage then taking a stand against gay marriage.

So we were misled. The comments were out of context so that certain interest groups could start some media war, as if the Chick fil-A guy declared war on gay marriage.

Actually, there is no indication that he had any intention that his comments would see a broader audience.

It looks to me like some anti-Baptist online trolls were picking through an online Baptist magazine looking for something so that they could start a fight with the Baptists.

I’m no fan of the Southern Baptists but trying to prevent Baptists from talking with other Baptists about Baptist beliefs is un-American and disgraceful.

What damage did Mr. Chick fil-A do to gay rights in that hotbed of homosexuality, the Southern Baptists? His comments probably set back gay rights back two weeks.

The response to the article was and is an attack on everybody’s rights to communicate, to have their own thoughts and to associate with like minded people. It’s not just an attack on the Baptists. It’s an attack on the culture that made gay rights and other rights possible.

The Baptist article sounds like the kind of piece people sometimes arrange to appeal to a specific population. It has elements of an advertising gimmick- I’m like you, buy my product. Don’t be surprised if Mr. Chick fil-A’s real world view is somewhat less Baptist than depicted. You don’t go from 0 to 1600 restaurants on hail Mary’s, or whatever it is that Baptists do. A saintly man would use success to ensure good wages, benefits and pensions for his workers, leaving less funding for expansion. Rapid expansion in a market already as competitive and saturated as fast food is not consistent with such priorities. It suggests more a ruthlessly objective focus on bottom line business principles. I don’t necessarily have a problem with that, but it isn’t a holy mindset.

So this guy does some light puffery piece where he’s trying to look Baptist to the Baptists and gets blindsided with a fight that he doesn’t seem to have been looking for. He’s going along to get along and may have overstated his position. I’d hardly expect him to be drawing the Baptist’s attention to the fact that Chick fil-A’s policies prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation (which they do). If he was interviewed by a gay magazine he would have probably mentioned the latter position and steered clear of the gay marriage issue.

I don’t see that as being a problem. You can get along with most people by focusing on areas of agreement and you can start a fight with almost anybody by focusing on areas of disagreement. There’s nothing nefarious about being agreeable, it’s good manners.

Turning somebody’s agreeable conversation in a puffery piece into some great national tragedy is out of line. He isn’t inciting hatred, he just doesn’t agree with gay marriage. The price of freedom is that people will say things you don’t agree with. Deal with it.

[and before somebody goes histrionic on me, “puffery” is not related to the anti-gay slur “poof”. If you don’t know what it means, look it up]

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Chick fil-A is evidently run by a moron whose instincts with cooking are somewhat more successful than his PR efforts.

Statistically, probably about half of CEOs are opposed to gay marriage.

Most of them have better sense than to say so publicly though.

So do we figure out which CEOs are homophobes and the enlightened boycott half the companies in the world?

Well that would be a bit hard on the half of their workers who aren’t homophobes.

Come to think of it, half the workers at companies who have a CEO that is in favor of gay marriage are probably against it. So maybe we should boycott everybody.

Well, if you are truely enlightened and believe in human liberty then you don’t believe in thought crime.

A bunch of politicians have egg on their faces for forgetting that there is a first amendment and declaring that they would use their governmental power to prevent Chick fil-A expansion. Now if they DON’T approve the expansions they are leaving themselves wide open.

But the core ethical issue here goes beyond the constitution. If you believe in an open society you cannot regulate what other people think. You are supposed to be able to have profound disagreements with a person but be able to shake his hand and have a beer with him and be able to act civilly towards him. If you can’t do that you don’t get it.

Whether the opinion is right or wrong isn’t relevant. If you are entitled to shut somebody else up because you think he’s wrong then other people are entitled to shut you up because they think you are wrong.

It is relevant whether an opinion is just an opinion or an incitement to violence. Not another kind of incitement. Inciting people to make a decision one way or another on legislation via due process is legitimate. That everybody has access to due process through the legislatures and courts is what prevents us from returning to the stone age and going at each other with pointed sticks.

I note that most states still don’t have gay marriage and opposition to gay marriage would have been uncontroversial ten years ago.

I note that the opponents to gay marriage have been playing by the rules, taking their stands in legislatures and courtrooms, where such agreements belong.

Targetting politicians for such views is fair game. They aren’t selling chicken. They’re asking for a mandate to change laws or to keep them the same. Chick fil-A has a mandate to cook chicken.

We don’t need a left wing version of the committee on un-american activities destroying people for their personal views.

The left in recent years has started to attack the system that allowed civil liberties to advance over the past 60 years, winning over time in the courts and the legislatures. The right wing for the most part did not engage in collateral attacks to destroy anybody advocating for that progress.

Do we really want to change the game so if Steve Bezos of Amazon donates to gay and lesbian causes the right wing boycotts Amazon and tries to destroy him?

Do we want right wingers retaliating against Anderson Cooper?

This goes beyond constitutional issues. The right has known forever about the political views of various influential people and apart from a few whackos on the right haven’t tried to do anything about it.

It can’t be a constitutional rule because you can’t legislate or codify where people eat, what tv they watch, etc. But it is a ground rule, that people used to understand implicitly, that there are certain lines you don’t cross. And it is a rule that is frankly more important than anything that can be put in any constitution.

There is another aspect of the “debate” to consider. To date Chick fil-A has been a relatively minor player, maybe even in a bit of trouble if the recent announcement was a desperate cry for attention.

You would think that the one thing that the left would have learned in the past 150 years is that, for example, if you want an author to be read, the best thing you can do for him is ban his books, thus rocketing him to international fame and saving him from obscurity.

The Chick fil-A guy of course violated another kind of unwritten rule by raising an issue totally unrelated to his business. But if he was seeking attention, he got it.

He had a tiny portion of the fast food market. Now the over 50% of people who oppose gay marriage in the areas that his restaurants are clustered may be tempted to go there in a show of solidarity. If you check on the restaurants now don’t be surprised if they are packed.

Think, people.