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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. 

Susan Troop August 14, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Jack, you're so right. I can't stand egg salad, but I'd never tell someone it's disgusting. They're enjoyment of egg salad would have no effect on my enjoyment of whatever lunch I choose to have. Personally, I'd have the grilled chicken sandwich.
Christina A. August 15, 2012 at 03:41 PM
My Color guard captain is gay. We haven't finished high school yet, but I'd love to see him happy one day, someday without all this hate. Funny thing is, I was opposed to same-sex marriage until I found out my Captain was gay. My parents had me believing being gay was wrong since I was little. But if someone you love in your life is gay, you just want to see them happy.. Getting to the post, if you own a business chain, why would you make a statement like that? That's idiotic, it's like you purposely want to lose customers. And I completely agree with @WGMom post..
Watchdog August 15, 2012 at 03:56 PM
IT is unfortunate that you have picked up on some of the wrongful misleading slang to make your case. The owner believes that marriage is between a man and woman. It that HATE? He has provided jobs for many Gays. His statements actually increased business. Tolerance for the views of others is really what you should be practicing since if you refuse to purchase anything from everyone who believes in Traditional Marriage, your choices in life will be severely limited.
Francis T McVetty August 15, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Mr Kathy was asked a question and he answered it honestly. It seems that the GAY community certainly isn't feeling that love, is it? How tolerant of them!!!
Mike August 16, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Ironic how Mr. Coe and other LGBT supporters have written how intolerant those who have opposing viewpoints have been. Yet, this guy, an LGBT volunteer comits this atrocious act. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57493780/cops-lgbt-volunteer-shoots-conservative-groups-guard/

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