Something Serious.

I don’t often get serious on this blog.  In fact, I rarely get serious, which is true of me a person as well.  However, there is a sociopolitical issue coursing through the veins of the internet and the American people, that I feel the need to address.  You probably know what I’m talking about: the Chick-fil-a Controversy.

For anyone who doesn’t know what’s going on, here are the highlights.  Chick-fil-a President Dan Cathy was giving an interview to the Baptist Press. Reporter, K. Allan Blume asked Cathy about his company’s contributions to  established anti-gay organizations, and he responded, “Well, guilty as charged.”  Cathy went on to say, “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that…we know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

This, of course, raised red flags as LGBT groups all over the country called Cathy a bigot and boycotted the chain of restaurants.  Politicians, celebrities and various groups got involved, chastising and boycotting the chain for the “hate speech”.  The Jim Henson Co. pulled their toys from the kid’s meals and redirected the funds toward GLAAD, emphasizing their commitment to diversity.  Conservative Christians have organized a “Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day” next Wednesday, August 1, to show their support for the restaurant for standing up for Christian values.

All in all, this has become a raging and overblown battle that brings to light the absolute ridiculousness of pretty much everyone, all the time.

I’m not going to talk about whether Mr. Cathy is right or wrong.  In fact, I’m not going to comment on the issue at all.  I have my own opinions, but I’m keeping them to myself because that’s not the point I’m trying to make here.  To me, the real issue here is not whether you agree or disagree with either side, but rather, I’d like to talk about freedom.

Mr. Cathy, and Chick-fil-a as a whole has been accused of bigotry.  That is an incredibly serious accusation in my book.  The problem is that there is no evidence of bigotry here:

Bigot is defined (according to as : a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.

I see no hatred.  I see no intolerance.  I see a guy getting blasted by everyone under the sun for expressing an opinion.

In response to this event, several politicians have made statements.  My favorite is Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who wrote a letter to Cathy which said, “There is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it.”

I see hatred.  I see intolerance.  And in fact, I see a bully.

Anytime something like this happens, it makes me think about flag-burning.  No, I have no plans to burn a flag, but it is an equally hot issue that quickly divides people.  I am against flag-burning.  I think it’s disrespectful and degrading, and it accomplishes nothing.  However, I believe in a person’s right to express their opinion, however they choose to, and here’s why;  brave men and women have fought and died to secure your freedoms.  They have fought and died.  So when you burn a flag, or boycott a restaurant, or make a comment about marriage, you represent all the people who have given “the last full measure’ to ensure that you can.

So here is my final word on the matter.  If we, as a culture, are suppressing freedom of speech, what’s next?

Have a lovely weekend.