I agree that the owner of Chik-Fil-A has the right to express his opinion, but he does not have the right to discriminate against LGTB individuals in his business or require them to practice a certain lifestyle or attend a certain church. That violates their constitutional rights. But expressing his opinion is his business. I do not think the mayors of Chicago, Boston or any other city were correct in saying they would prevent Chik-Fil-A from doing business in their city, but I support their compassionate INTENT to reject the owner’s intolerant opinions. However, in doing so, they were intolerant themselves.
We should be mindful that during segregation many white leaders and business owners publicly expressed these types of intolerant opinions against blacks and other races and immigrant groups and religions, just as we see a tremendous amount of intolerance for Hispanics in the border states (and elsewhere) and LGTB individuals now. The fact that they felt the way they did then was sad, as it is now, but they had a right to express their opinion. THEY DID NOT, however, AND WE DO NOT NOW HAVE THE RIGHT TO ACT ON IT AND PREVENT OTHER RACES, RELIGIONS, SOCIAL GROUPS AND NATIONALITIES FROM ENJOYING THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.
Our constitutional rights and protections are supposedly, according to our founding documents in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, INALIENABLE, meaning given to us by GOD, not by MAN. Which means regardless of how we feel about other human beings and their lifestyles or culture or religious beliefs or politics, the Constitution binds us to protect their rights just as we protect our own. The confusion between facts and beliefs and how we should “judge” others legally and morally presents a conflict. Distinguishing between spiritual/moral behavior and legal behavior may seem to be a fine line at times, but that constitutional line exists for a reason. Even Jesus instructed us on this subject in Mark 12:17 — “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.” This draws a distinct line between what is legally correct and what is morally correct and allows us the freedom to impose our own moral code upon ourselves voluntarily — over and above what is legal, which forms the baseline for social behavior.
Freedom of religion requires us to allow others who belief and worship differently – or not at all – to do so without penalty or fear of retribution. The reason Faux News and other extreme right-wing media try to paint a picture that Christianity is under attack is because they need Christians to feel this way so that they will blindly react (knee-jerk) out of fear and anger — creating a false crisis. Rather than stopping to think about the difference between religious righteousness and legal social behavior and how we must protect everyone’s constitutional rights in order to protect our own rights, this not-so-subtle manipulation uses our religious zealotry and faith to manipulate us into a mob reaction. Whether it’s the “War on Christmas” or some other manufactured cause, it keeps us off-balance and reactive. Propaganda, fear, blind rage, racism, sexism – all these are tools of the extreme right-wing that are driving our society and our culture and our nation over the cliff.
If you read Niemoller’s poem, which describes how Nazi Germany imploded, you see how the polarization of society into an “us” and a “them” pits neighbors and citizens against each other; there must always be a “them” — an enemy — to rally against. As this destructive society in decline implodes, the circle of “us” gets smaller and smaller and more of “us” become the “them” – the enemy that we must turn against — until finally there is no one left “to speak up.” That is what is happening in the Republican Party with the “compromise-is-evil” where tolerance and moderates are not welcome. And that is why we have crippling gridlock in our Congress where scoring political points and obstructionism rule the day and what is good for the country and its people takes last place in the list of priorities. And that is why I am a Christian liberal progressive Democrat.