Dan Cathy, head of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain, recently made a comment that he supported traditional marriage. That set off a stream of protest from the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender community and their supporters.
Some city government officials across the US said Chick-fil-A would not be welcome to open a restaurant in their cities. Others, including Rep. Barney Frank, said that, although they disagree with Mr. Cathy, it is not appropriate for governments to discriminate on the basis of beliefs.*
In defense of the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association, former governor Mike Huckabee called for August 1 to be Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. Lines of customers went down the block at some Chick-fil-A restaurants.
The homosexual community called for a “kiss-in” outside of Chick-fil-As tonight in response to the appreciation day. Many say that Mr. Cathy can say what he wishes, but should not contribute corporate profits to groups that defend traditional marriage.
On the news a reporter spoke with a woman protesting outside one Chick-fil-A. She said Mr. Cathy did not have the right to try to take away her rights. Apparently she thinks that Mr. Cathy’s right to believe as he chooses and right to express those beliefs is only allowable if he agrees with her. Chick-fil-A is a privately owned company; the profits belong to the Cathy family and they can do whatever they want with the money.
Would this woman and other protesters want the same restrictions applied to publicly traded companies, such as Home Depot, that provide financial support to gay pride parades and other homosexual causes (which may go against the beliefs of some of their shareholders)?
In every nation there are people who hold a minority viewpoint. In some countries, the majority may disagree with their government but are powerless to make changes because of laws enacted by a more powerful minority. In the US we are blessed to have the right to express disagreement with our government and other issues affecting our nation. On those occasions when both sides debate calmly and logically, we can learn a great deal about each other.
At times democracy can seem chaotic. But the diversity and independence allowed by our Constitution have helped to make the US a world power in business, technology, even entertainment. In countries where opposing viewpoints are suppressed, the only people who prosper are the few in power. Allowing others to promote ideas with which I disagree in exchange for the right to express my beliefs and practice my religion still seems as good a compromise as it was when the First amendment was ratified in 1791. Any other alternatives are unacceptable.