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Cal Thomas: Chick-fil-A reaction says a lot about liberals

  • Tribune Media Services
  • Published Tuesday, July 31, 2012, at 5:40 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, August 1, 2012, at 9:16 a.m.

Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy is in hot water with the gay community because he committed the cardinal sin in an age of political correctness: Thou must not speak ill of anything gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transgenders wish to do.

In an interview with the Baptist Press and later on a Christian radio program, Cathy, whose father, the philanthropist Truett Cathy, founded the company, defended marriage between a man and a woman. When asked about the company’s support of traditional marriage, he said, “Guilty as charged. We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit.”

Cathy believes American society is rotting (and where is evidence to the contrary?) because the country has turned away from God.

That was it. Cathy did not say he would deny someone with a different view from his the right to eat in or work at any of his fast-food restaurants, which would violate the law. He did not say anything hateful about them. He simply expressed a deeply held conviction rooted in his Christian faith.

The reaction tells you everything you need to know about certain liberals who believe every sort of speech, activity and expression should be protected, except the speech, activity and expression of evangelical Christians.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said he would try to deny Chick-fil-A’s application for permits to open restaurants in that city. Now that’s discrimination. Menino wants to ban Chick-fil-A in Boston, not for discriminating against customers or employees, but because of its owner’s beliefs, a threat he has since backed away from.

Would Menino like to force business owners in the city to testify before an official panel of grand inquisitors, and then deny operating licenses to anyone who believes traditional marriage should be the norm?

In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said, “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values.” Are Chicago values represented by the anti-Semitic firebrand Louis Farrakhan, with whom Emanuel is going to partner in hopes of reducing the number of homicides in his city? Are Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic and anti-gay sentiments somehow more palatable, more of value, than Cathy’s support of marriage and family?

The Jim Henson Co. has decided to pull its Creature Shop toys from Chick-fil-A and donate profits already made to GLAAD, the media-monitoring group that promotes the image of LGBT people. I knew Jim Henson when we both worked at the NBC station in Washington, D.C., in the mid-1960s. While we never discussed politics, I don’t think at the time, at least, he would have wanted his characters, which appeal to everyone, involved in a cultural and political battle.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, both also former presidential candidates, have called for a show of support for Cathy. They want people to eat at Chick-fil-A restaurants Wednesday.

This is more than an economic battle. It is a First Amendment issue. Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution. Cathy has a right to his opinion. So does Farrakhan. So do we all.

The real “war” in this country is not only against the supposed civil right of nontraditional marriage. It is a war against conservative Christians and a denial of the same rights the LGBT community claims for itself.

Free speech is an American value. We shouldn’t settle for anything less.

Cal Thomas, a columnist with Tribune Media Services, appears in Opinion on Wednesdays.

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