The homosexual lobby wants to outlaw Christianity. This is the real meaning behind the uproar over Chick-fil-A. The chicken sandwich franchise has become a lightning rod for the culture war. Liberals despise it; conservatives back it. Supporters of gay marriage want to prevent the Atlanta-based chain from expanding, demanding new restaurant permits be denied.
The reason: Its CEO Dan Cathy opposes same-sex marriage. In an interview for the Baptist Press, Mr. Cathy was asked his views on the issue. He said that he supports the “Biblical definition of the family unit.” Meaning — horror of all horrors — that Mr. Cathy believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. That such a commonsense view could be controversial in today’s America shows how far society has fallen.
Anti-Christian activists immediately called for a boycott of Chick-fil-A. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel publicly vilified the chain. He claimed that Chick-fil-A does not share “Chicago values.” Mr. Emanuel said the restaurant was not welcome in the Windy City. Yet, he warmly embraced the Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan. According to Mr. Emanuel, a Christian family man expressing his private opinion defending traditional marriage is an extremist, while a radical black nationalist and vile anti-Semite is acceptable.
It is not just Mr. Farrakhan. Planned Parenthood, porn merchants and gay pride parades are celebrated in Mr. Emanuel’s Chicago. They are invited to come and stay. Killing unborn babies, smut and the LGBT community — these are supposedly “Chicago values.” Christianity isn’t. Our ruling elites despise the moral traditions that were common only a generation ago. They are implementing a social revolution, seeking to abolish America’s Christian heritage. They are radicals — moral anarchists — masquerading as liberals. They are political thugs, who in the name of “diversity” seek to impose secular uniformity.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said that “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston.” He even wrote a letter to Mr. Cathy warning the company will not get the licenses needed to open two new restaurants in the Boston area. In short, Mr. Menino was engaging in economic intimidation. His message was clear: Change your views or else take your business (and jobs) elsewhere.
This is an assault on freedom of speech and religious liberty — a dangerous violation of the First Amendment. Messrs. Emanuel and Menino are essentially telling the owner of a private, family-owned business what he can or can’t believe about certain issues. And unless Mr. Cathy tows the liberal-progressive line, his company will be punished and denied the ability to expand. It is a naked attempt to criminalize and delegitimize Christian views; to equate opposition to homosexual marriage with hate speech.
Chick-fil-A has more than 50,000 employees and 1,500 outlets across the country. The chain generates over $2 billion in annual revenues. It is a model business that serves excellent food to very satisfied customers. It is also an explicitly Christian business. Its aim is to serve everyone with honor, dignity and respect. It is closed on Sundays, to observe the Sabbath, losing hundreds of millions in potential revenue. It doesn’t just talk the talk; it walks the walk.
And that is precisely the problem. Mr. Cathy simply expressed his personal view — as a devout Christian — on marriage. For this, progressives want to boycott and if possible economically cripple the company. In other words, Mr. Cathy’s sin — Chick-fil-A’s sin — is that he is a Christian traditionalist in an increasingly pagan country.
Yet, liberal multiculturalists are hypocrites — and cowards. Take Mr. Menino, for example. As columnist Michael Graham points out in the Boston Herald, the mayor may dislike Christian critics of gay marriage but he has no problem with homophobic Islamists. Mr. Menino approved a permit that essentially allowed the city to sell land — at below market value — for the construction of a mosque. The Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) has deep ties with a radical imam, Yusef al-Qaradawi. He has been a frequent speaker at the ISB’s Boston mosque. Al-Qaradawi even helped raise funds for its construction. He is an Islamist, who defends suicide bombing and jihad. He also believes homosexuals should be burned or stoned to death. For the likes of Mr. Menino, al-Qaradawi is acceptable to the people of Boston; yet, Mr. Cathy isn’t. Why? Because everyone knows standing up to Muslim militants risks a fatwa — a death sentence. Picking on Christians, however, is easy. They are the true followers of the religion of peace.
And it explains the growing persecution of American Christians. Liberals know that Chick-fil-As will not fight back — the Dan Cathys will not strap suicide bombs and blow themselves up in a crowded place. Hence, for decades our secular elites have been slowly purging Christianity from the public square. Prayer in school is banned. The Ten Commandments are taken down from courtrooms. Abortion is rampant. Movies and popular culture routinely mock Christians. Religious conscience rights — as seen through the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate — are regularly violated. The left’s goal is to reduce Christians to permanent second-class citizens. Now, they are coming for our freedom of speech. This is Christophobia — the dominant bigotry of our time. Christians unite, before it’s too late.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.