On the Chick-fil-A Front of the Culture War

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Two weeks ago, Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A, an Atlanta company famous for its juicy chicken sandwiches, appeared on “The Ken Coleman Show” to air his biblical belief that those who champion same-sex marriage are risking divine retribution upon us all.

“We are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,'” said Cathy. “I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”

Speaking of the company his father started after World War II, Cathy went on, “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.”

With 1,600 restaurants and 50,000 employees in 40 states, Chick-fil-A is among our fastest-growing food chains. Obedient to the commandment, “Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day,” Cathy closes his outlets on Sundays.

Reaction to his remarks has been little short of hysterical.

Mayors Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, Thomas Menino of Boston and Edwin Lee of San Francisco said they no longer want Chick-fil-A in their cities. “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values,” says Rahm.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray says there’s no place for “hate chicken” in the nation’s capital. Boycotts of Chick-fil-A, its expulsion from campuses and “Same-Sex Kiss Day” at local outlets are planned.

Rush Limbaugh, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin have come to the defense of Cathy and Chick-fil-A, and on Wednesday scores of thousands of loyal patrons dined at outlets in solidarity.

What does this battle tell us about which way the tide is running in the culture war? If intolerance is a mark of rising faiths and movements, the news is not good.

For consider. Chick-fil-A does not discriminate against any patron, and after Cathy’s remarks, the company issued a statement that, as Paul Gottfried writes, reads like something out of the Department of Education.

Said Chick-fil-A’s PR office, we “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.” Nor have charges of systematic civil rights violations in hiring or promotion been leveled against the chain.

What, then, brought down the firestorm of abuse on the company and its president as homophobic, intolerant and bigoted?

Answer: It is simply what Cathy said and what Cathy believes.

The homosexual rights revolutionaries can no longer tolerate the public expression of beliefs, held since the time of Christ, about the immorality of homosexuality — beliefs still taught in Christian schools and preached in Christian churches. Those who profess or promulgate such beliefs are to be shunned and subjected to social and economic sanctions.

What is astonishing is that we are not talking here about the expression of Nazi ideas, but of teachings about the spiritual and social consequences of homosexuality embedded in our country’s own Old-time Religion. In the more progressive precincts of America, the retelling of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the lessons therein, is apparently now a hate crime.

Remarkable is the change in society we have witnessed. It was not 10 years ago that the Supreme Court declared that states could no longer outlaw private sexual behavior between consenting adults and tossed out the anti-sodomy laws of 17 states.

In his dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that the court had “taken sides in the culture war” and “largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda.” This decision “effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation” and makes same-sex marriage a logical result, said the justice.

Scalia was right. Consider how far we have come since.

While homosexual marriage has been rejected by voters in all 31 states where it has been on a ballot, it is being imposed by state legislatures and judges. Now we have the spectacle of a public caning of a private citizen for expressing religious beliefs held by perhaps 100 million American adults.

What is behind the rage, other than a hatred of Cathy’s Christian beliefs and a determination to see them stamped out?

As the individuals attacking Cathy obviously reject his biblical beliefs and consider them absurd, what are they afraid of? Mr. Cathy is not some fascist about to seize power, but a socially conservative businessman.

Indeed, not until this year has a timid Democratic Party decided to endorse homosexual marriage in its platform. In 2008, Barack Obama was still for traditional marriage.

If the Republican Party has not gone wobbly in the culture war, it will take up the challenge of that Democratic platform and make homosexual marriage the social issue of the fall election.

The GOP might just drive a wedge through the Democratic coalition and send Obama down to defeat. But if the Tampa Republicans are unwilling to fight the culture war, culture warriors should look to themselves.

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