Chick-fil-A has come under a lot of fire for CEO Dan Cathy’s stand in support of traditional marriage. It’s a good thing they have powerful friends: the American people.
On August 1st, crowds poured into Chick-fil-A franchises around the country. Supporters stood in line for hours for a bit of fast food that they normally wouldn’t have waited more than a couple of minutes for. I was one of them. Why would I, and scores of other regular folks like me, bake in the hot, midday Arizona sun for a couple of hours, just for a chicken sandwich?
The answer: free speech.
Dan Cathy and his chain of chicken sandwich shops never hurt anyone. They never visited violence upon homosexuals. Gays were never discriminated against in their hiring practices, or banned from being customers. All Cathy ever did was work tirelessly to build a successful, family-based company. That, and he came out (no pun intended) in direct support of traditional marriage.
Mind you, he didn’t denounce gays. He didn’t advocate oppressing members of the LGBT community through the heavy hand of the government. He didn’t denounce homosexuals as living in sin and iniquity, and call on God Almighty to visit divine wrath upon their persons. All he did was state his unequivocal preference for the lifestyle choice of the vast majority. Is it really an unpardonable sin to express one’s support for something other than an alternative lifestyle practiced by a small minority?
Apparently, some believe expressing such support is, in fact, unpardonable. Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino angrily vowed to block Chick-fil-A from opening up franchises in his city. Chicago alderman Proco Moreno declared he would deny a permit for a new Chick-fil-A chain in his city unless CEO Cathy publicly recanted his remarks (Moreno was not clear as to whether recanting would spare Cathy from being burned at the stake). Even the Muppets’ Jim Henson Company terminated its business relationship with the chicken sandwich heretics.
It’s a good thing that there are still people in this great country willing to stand up for the oppressed. In response to the ridiculous persecution of Chick-fil-A, stores around the nation were inundated with customers standing in support of free speech. I spoke with several fellow customers in the long, snaking chicken line. Some were old, some were young. Some came with fellow church members, others with their families, and still others came alone. They represented a diverse rainbow (ironically) of races, cultures, backgrounds, and income levels. But their message was the same: “We are here to defend free speech.”
America is a great country because it is free. Because you can be who you want to be and do what you want to do, as long as you don’t harm or oppress your fellow citizens. And it will stay free so long as there are patriotic citizens willing to take a stand in the defense of the rights of others. From what I saw yesterday, and what the whole country saw as hordes of free people poured into Chick-fil-A franchises nationwide, I can say this with confidence: America is still free.
Free speech tastes kind of like chicken. With a side of waffle fries. And American pride for dessert. God bless the U.S.A.