Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Chick-fil A Controversy; One Man's Opinion...

I was going to leave this topic alone because I don't want to stir the controversy even more, but I find myself compelled to voice an opinion.  I keep reading various other opinions, mostly ugly and hateful, and it leaves me with one burning question - why do those who demand tolerance and understanding refuse to display that same tolerance and understanding?

I'm talking, of course, about the controversy created when Chick-fil A President, Dan Cathy, responded to a reporter's question about the issue of gay marriage.  Mr. Cathy dared to give his honest opinion - that he supported traditional marriage due to his Christian beliefs.  Whether you agree with him or not, does not Mr. Cathy have the right to his own opinion and beliefs?  And does he not have right to incorporate those beliefs into his business practices if he so chooses?

Chick-fil A has operated their business with Christian morals and values since its conception.  They do not open on Sundays,  instead remaining closed in observance of the Christian day of worship.  Personally, I find this refreshing since the company obviously worries less about profits than they do about worshiping the God of their beliefs.  I don't see this as a bad thing.

To my knowledge, Chick-fil A does not discriminate against homosexuals, either in service or in hiring.  During a lecture once in Alabama, a spokesperson for Chick-fil A said "If a man's got an earring in his ear and he applies to work at one of my restaurants, we won't even talk to him."  Tracy Baim, an LGBT blogger for the Huffington Post, finds this to be bigoted and hateful.  Interestingly, Publix Supermarkets, one of the largest and most successful employee-owned grocery chains in the US, has the same policy.  Men are forbidden from wearing earrings at work.  They also have restrictions on hair and tattoos.  They haven't made a similar statement as Chick-fil A but is it not the same basic thing?  Or is it just assumed that Chick-fil A thinks any man who wears an earring is gay and therefore not employee material?  I don't feel that way but I'm sure some do.

Now comes the real problem in all of this - at least as I see it.  The lesbian/gay community demands and expects people to understand and accept their lifestyle.  Those who support the gay and lesbian community demand and expect people to understand and accept it as well.  They (collectively) want full access to free speech to promote their cause and their beliefs without interference.  Yet those people who demand such understanding and freedom of speech and expression want to stifle those same rights of the people who disagree with them.  Why is it that disagreeing (not condemning) with a lifestyle on personal and/or religious grounds is seen as hate speech and bigotry?  (Certainly there are those who are the exception to the rule.  The Westboro Baptist Church, a truly vile group of people, is a good example.)

I have known gays and lesbians both who have stated matter-of-factly that they think heterosexual relationships are disgusting and that they just don't understand how people can be with the opposite sex.  Is that hate speech and bigotry?  Or is that OK because, after all, they've been discriminated against for years?
Christians, as a whole, and others believe the two sexes were created by God for a specific purpose - to live together and procreate the species.   Biologically, sex is the means by which humans procreate that just happens to feel good.  And while there are many variations of what people do for sexual pleasure, without the joining of the male and female in some way, be it physically or in a Petri dish, humans would have expired from the Earth centuries ago.  Why then, is it so wrong for many people to believe that homosexuality isn't "normal" by the laws of nature?  Is that bigotry or simple science?  And no - I'm not interested in debating whether or not some people were born that way because I do believe that's true in some cases.

Before anyone gets angry at me understand that I am not here to judge anyone.  That is not my role in life.  There are several gays, lesbians and even transgenders who are important in my life.  I am simply tired of the hate speech that has been leveled at Chick-fil A in the last week simply because Mr. Cathy had the courage to speak his mind.  If we disallow freedom of speech for someone simply because someone else doesn't like it, where does that stop?  Do we next only allow free speech for those who are "politically correct" but disallow it for those who aren't?  I'm thinking we have some politicians who would answer that question affirmatively.

My other beef with all of this (no pun intended) is against the mayors who want to stop allowing Chick-fil A to open restaurants in their towns because Mr. Cathy had the audacity to express an opinion.  Mr. Cathy did not condemn anyone.  He did not say "No gays or lesbians will be allowed to eat our food."  Nor did he say he would not hire anyone who is gay or  lesbian.  He said he believes in traditional marriage.  Rahm Emmanel, Mayor of Chicago, said "Mr. Cathy's beliefs are not the beliefs of Chicago."  Mr. Mayor - with all due respect, have you asked the people of Chicago?  You might be surprised at what you learn.  And what other businesses operate in Chicago that don't agree with your personal views.  Will you close them down and run them out of the city next? 

The rhetoric in this country is only getting worse as the years pass.  Hatred of those who don't share your opinion is getting more common all the time.  I, for one, would like to see it stop.  Can't people disagree without hating the other person for it?  Think about it - can someone disagree with  your opinion without being labeled a bigot or a hater?  If not - where does the problem lie...?

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