Chick-fil-A, Tolerance and You

Tolerance (adj.): a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry.

In case you’ve been living under a news blackout rock, let me fill you in on the Great Chicken Flap. Chick-fil-A, a family-owned fast food chain headquartered in Atlanta, inspired a vigorous wave of protests due to its opposition to gay marriage rights and financial support of pro-hetero marriage groups.

Supporters of same sex marriage — including the mayor of the city of Boston — howled in protest after the company’s president told a Christian news organization that Chick-fil-A supported the “biblical definition of the family unit.” Those who oppose same sex marriage responded by flooding restaurant locations with long lines and appreciation days.

As regular readers know, I’m . If you’re gay and you want to get married, that’s just fine with me. I think our society should support loving, committed relationships, regardless of sexual orientation. I think that “pray away the gay” counseling is insulting and silly. And we have way bigger things to worry about as a nation than whether or not Elizabeth and Amy can join in state-sanctioned matrimony.

Nevertheless, real “tolerance” comes in many forms. And I can’t help but notice that people who claim to love tolerance are tolerant only of those people who agree with their own views.

You’re pro-gay-marriage? Great, join our kiss-in! You’re an evangelical Christian? Go eat a processed-chicken sandwich and have a heart attack, you evil, hate-mongering bigot!

The people on both sides of this debate are unlikely to change their views anytime soon. But I suggest that the best way to encourage tolerance among those who oppose your view is by demonstrating tolerance yourself.

Let’s keep in mind that organized religion and faith in God — whomever you believe Him to be — has been around for thousands of years. Faith has provided the backbone of existence for generations of families in our nation and beyond.

Faith is patient. It is slow to accept change. Its bureaucracy does not respond easily to even abhorrent allegations – as a Catholic, I can tell you that firsthand. The fact of the matter is, even if same sex marriage supporters put Chick-fil-A out of business, that won’t alter a religious conservative’s viewpoint — in fact, it may result in deeper entrenchment and bitterness.

Also, let’s not forget, civil rights are for everyone, not just social liberals! The Cathy family has every right to send money to political groups that support their beliefs. S. Truett Cathy, the company’s founder, was a deeply religious man. Dan Cathy, his son, has always expressed his opposition to same sex marriage. This isn’t even the first time that same sex marriage supporters have demonstrated against Chick-fil-A.

If you support same sex marriage and it bothers you that Chick-fil-A sends some of its profits to pro-hetero groups, send a message with your dollars and eat elsewhere. Alternatively, demonstrate peace and love by taking the venom out of your actions. Spewing socially liberal bigotry via grandstanding letters, vandalism and hate-filled Facebook posts only demonstrates your own intolerance for religious freedom, and mobilizes those who oppose you into action.

But most importantly, remember that the Cathy family is expressing its Constitutional rights, as you are expressing yours. 

David Propper August 09, 2012 at 10:18 PM
For me, gay marriage is a big deal because when there are people out there who enthusiastically want to repress the rights of a class of citizens, that we run the risk that another class of people can have their rights repressed. Last year, The Brookfield Theater for the Arts showed "The Laramie Project". The Westboro Baptist Church threatened to come and protest that play. I saw members of this community come together (lead by our BHS students) through the peaceful Angel Action (in a torrential downpour) to show that we stand for tolerance. It made me proud to be a citizen of Brookfield.
John Mainhart August 11, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Mr. Proper, I do mot believe it helps anyone to redefine truth. We must accept the truth whether we agree with it or not and then teach all souls to love each other with their shortcomings. If I have a fault then you should respect me as a human being. It does not help me if you redefine my fault as a good thingi iif you know it is not beneficial for me to continue that behavior
Ryen January 25, 2013 at 03:20 AM
@ Kevin Marriage is not a "legal" term. "Marriage" began as a sacred tradition or ritual bonding a man and a woman. It was ALWAYS spiritual--not "legal" in the sense of courtrooms and "laws on the books" today. In NATURE (creation versus non-creation is a different argument), mating was a sort of basis for marriage--between a man and a woman. Has nothing to do with social contract? Do you even know what social contract means historically?? Does not seem like it. And we are talking reasonable and "reason"--not "logic". What you are calling mating was a precursor to marriage in anyone's book--and it was between a man and a woman--pure and simple. You cannot run down the road a few centuries and change that to something different--that is NOT LOGICAL or REASONABLE.
Ryen January 25, 2013 at 03:23 AM
George Washington was NOT talking about homosexuality--he was talking about spirituality (religion).... That is a fact.
Ryen January 25, 2013 at 03:24 AM
Marriage is not a "right".


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