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J. KARL MILLER: Tolerance is a two-way street

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:30 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The ongoing flap over Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy's "guilty as charged" admission to the Baptist Press in defining his personal opposition to gay marriage, favoring instead the "biblical definition" of the family, raises two familiar issues.

The first of them, public protests and boycott campaign plans by social media, along with opposition by public officials, particularly from Chicago and Boston, ran afoul of the First Amendment. The mayors of those two cities, Rahm Emanuel and Thomas Menino, and Chicago First Ward Alderman Proco Moreno were forced to take back threats to deny Chick-Fil-A permits to open restaurants, as even the American Civil Liberties Union agreed Cathy's political views are protected by the guarantee of free speech.

The freedoms protected by the Constitution also guarantee the right to protest, boycott and the "kiss-in" demonstrations by same-sex couples at Chick-Fil-A restaurants — freedom of expression works both ways. However, right or wrong, agree or disagree, what does it say about the state of tolerance in the U.S.?

What is tolerance? Robert G. Ingersoll, a 19th century American orator, politician and noted agnostic, defined it as: "Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself."

Likewise, a particular hero of mine, U.S. Marine Gen. Ray Davis, a Korean War Medal of Honor recipient, put it this way: "Tolerance only for those who agree with you is no tolerance at all."

Viewed in perspective, Chick-Fil-A has never concealed its Christian values — its Sunday closures have cost the restaurant chain an estimated $700 million in sales and $210 million annually in profit. It should come as no surprise that a company that puts family time and faith before profits would uphold the biblical view of marriage.

This is not to say that dissenters do not retain the right to protest, boycott and demonstrate against the policies of Chick-Fil-A and the views of its president. Nevertheless, any fair and objective evaluation of the chain might temper the objections fanned by the ever-present knee-jerk practitioners of their own particular brand of "tolerance."

Personal beliefs of Cathy notwithstanding, the Georgia-based restaurant chain, which has more than 1,600 fast food restaurants in 39 states, does not discriminate against its customers or its employees. To treat every person with honor, dignity and respect, regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender has been its policy since first opening in an Atlanta food court in 1967.

It would seem to a rational being that tolerance must be a two-way street. In the realm of sexual orientation, one must realize that of the some 230 million adults in America, more than 60 percent by reason of religious beliefs, traditionalism and upbringing, still define marriage as a state of union between a man and a woman, according to a recent Slate article.

Contrary to the notion of many in the LGBT community and its supporters, this is not an automatic rejection of, or discrimination against, that lifestyle. In fact, a similar majority of Americans (more than 60 percent) support civil unions as an objective and fair solution.

Consequently, while examples such as the Jim Henson Company dropping its Muppets partnership with the chain, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee saying "no way to Chick-Fil-A" and former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's silly allegation that the purchase of a Chick-Fil-A sandwich means you don't believe LGBT members should enjoy equal rights.

For the champions of political correctness, multiculturalism and diversity to define bigotry and discrimination as any belief other than that which the self-ordained have defined as "correct" is hardly a path to compromise. A show of tolerance for those who do not trod your path rather than the "to the ramparts to demonstrate and protest" mentality is far more grown up and will gain more respect.

To give credit where credit is due, at least half of the individual comments I found from LGBT members were supportive of Chick-Fil-A. Perhaps there is more tolerance on the street than among city officials, organizations and social media?

J. Karl Miller retired as a colonel in the Marine Corps. He is a Columbia resident and can be reached via email at JKarlUSMC@aol.com. Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.


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Comments

Gary Straub August 1, 2012 | 9:41 a.m.

For one of the most intolerant contributors to this paper, I find it perplexing that you would write an article about tolerance. However, when you say that tolerance is a two way street then it makes sense as - with most topics - you really have an agenda and are trying to use tolerance as ammunition for it. Quid pro quo, is not tolerance, while it would be nice for all to be tolerant one cannot be tolerant and demand that which they tolerate be tolerant as a per-requisite. Since you are discussing biblical meaning, then perhaps this quote could help enlighten you as to the real meaning of tolerance.

"You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." Jesus

(Report Comment)
Skip Yates August 1, 2012 | 9:58 a.m.
This comment has been removed.
Charles leverett August 1, 2012 | 10:10 a.m.

Actually Gary that was the point that was being made in the article. Though the CEO of Chick-Fil-A doesn't believe in same sex marriage he does not discriminate against them, ie he has tolerance. Regardless of if Karl here is intolerant, or my personal views on the situation, he still bring about a valid point.
You can't preach being tolerant or diversity while at the same time responding with hatred and cold contempt to other people who won't support their beliefs. This happens on both sides the right and left. The conservative that sits there and blames the liberal for everything that is wrong and for being intolerant, or the liberal that blames the conservative for everything being wrong and being intolerant, well they are at the core of what is wrong with our country.
I hope one day people will wake up and realize this, we can sit here and try to blame the right or the left, but in the end it's both sides.

(Report Comment)
Gary Straub August 1, 2012 | 10:38 a.m.

Skip, NO, but I only had one cup of coffee then.

Charles I know nothing of the company or whether or not they are being tolerant of all their customers. My point, which I guess I did a bad job of making, was that too often people feel that if their opposition is not being tolerant than they don't need to be. Tolerance is one sided by definition, or there would be no need for it. Which is becoming one of our biggest problems. It seems to me that adults have become more like children in that they often exclaim that "he did it first". To me tolerance is accepting that others are different, have different ideas, and different lifestyles, not necessarily agreeing or approving but accepting.

(Report Comment)
Jake Sherlock August 1, 2012 | 10:51 a.m.

Karl writes:

"Robert G. Ingersoll, a 19th century American orator, politician and noted agnostic, defined it as: 'Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself.'"

So, if we claim such rights for ourselves as freedom to marry, and yet we deny that to the gay community, how is that tolerant exactly?

Answer: It's not.

I have personally abstained from eating at Chick-Fil-A for years now, because I don't want my hard-earned dollar going to a corporation that freely gives its profits to anti-gay groups.

When we deny gay people the same rights as straight people, we're not only showing intolerance, we're acting like a bigot.

Definition of bigot, from Merriam-Webster: "a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance."

I don't want to treat others with hatred and intolerance. I want everyone to have the same rights. And until Chick-Fil-A's leaders agree and stop funding anti-gay groups, I'll stick to hamburgers.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor August 1, 2012 | 10:53 a.m.

So the col is to be tolerant of your intolerance of his beliefs?

Just making sure I have it straight ;-)

(Report Comment)
Sandra Hayes August 1, 2012 | 11:42 a.m.

Jake, Have you researched all the places you purchase products from so that you can also boycott them. You might be surprised how few choices you would have. Chik-fil-a is a pretty amazing company in how they treat their employees and customers. Our daughters ex boyfriend worked for them thru college. They train their employees very well so that all customers are treated with utmost respect. I have had poor customer service at pretty much every fast food restaurant I have been to but never once at a Chik-fil-a.
It seems to me that the gay communities reaction is the more perfect example of intolerance. We all have the right to disagree with those around us and not be called racist or a bigot. Dont we ?

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble August 1, 2012 | 12:12 p.m.

@Jake, well said: "So, if we claim such rights for ourselves as freedom to marry, and yet we deny that to the gay community, how is that tolerant exactly?"

Intolerance of discrimination is something justified by history, logic, and instinctive morality.

@Sandra, that's an interesting take. You seem to be implying that how you're treated as a customer is more important than whether or not the owner of a company is actively working to undermine the rights of a large segment of our society. Not having discriminatory policies against employees means less when the owner is actively supporting groups working against general legal rights.

It's a bit disingenuous to characterize the support of discrimination as simply "disagreeing". If I told you that I don't think you should have many of your civil rights, and I donated time and money to groups working to take those rights away from you, you'd probably characterize it less generously - and you'd be right to do so.

I don't dispute your characterization of the work environment or customer service there, and I think some of the ways they do business are admirable, even remarkable in the area of fast food. But I do dispute that there aren't many choices to make for ethical places to purchase from. When you detach from things like fast food and re-prioritize what you need, it gets dramatically easier to make ethical choices. No human choice is perfect, but the outcry against this company shows that people want better options.

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller August 1, 2012 | 12:15 p.m.

All,

I believe I made it clear that in the interests of free speech and freedom of expression, everyone is permitted to patronize, boycott, protest, ignore or demonstrate against Chik-Fil-A. I did not say it had to be reasonable, sensible nor charitable--that is for each individual to decide. It ain't easy being perfect.

Mr Straub,

"Judge not, that ye be not judged."

MATTHEW 7:1-5:

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Jim Clayton August 1, 2012 | 12:52 p.m.

I agree with the comments supporting Mr.Cathy. Besides I've heard Mr.Cathy even hires gays so what's the big deal?Just because he disagrees with someone you have to boycott him and deny him permits to expand? That's so totalitarian and intolerant in nature which is what most libs are. They are tolerant as long as you agree with them. If not all hell breaks loose. Disagree with a liberal black and you're a racist, disagree with a liberal gay and you're a homophobe, disagreee with a liberal woman and you're a sexist, disagree with a liberal in general and you're in the dark ages to boot.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith August 1, 2012 | 1:17 p.m.

"If we lived by the Golden Rule, there would be no need for other laws." - Ronald Reagan (1973)

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Sandra Hayes August 1, 2012 | 1:18 p.m.

A large segment of our population, what is the actual percentage of the gay population just in the United States. I doubt it comes out to a large segment. Altho I will say even tho it probably is a small segment of the population that doesnt discount their hurt feelings in these situations. I dont purchase food products from the Heinz corporation because they actively support environmental terrorist group so I guess we all choose where our money goes, I doubt a boycott of Chik-fil-a from gay special interest groups will have much affect on them as I am sure my boycott of Heinz hasnt affected them but we all do what feels right for us. It is a free country after all, right????

(Report Comment)
Jake Sherlock August 1, 2012 | 1:21 p.m.

@Jim Clayton,

There is a world of difference between "disagreeing with a liberal gay" and denying them the same rights you and I enjoy. When we support views like Mr. Cathy's, we're at the same time telling the gay community that they are somehow a second-class citizenry. From the tone of your comment, I take it that liberals make you feel like a second-class citizen because you don't agree with them on some issues. So why would you treat the gay community the same way you perceive the liberal community treats you?

When the day comes that all people of all race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity are treated equally, when there are no laws that outlaw people of a certain race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity from a right that all others have, and when we as a society stop terrorizing or murdering those who are not of the same race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity, THAT is when tolerance will have been achieved.

For a great read on how views like Mr. Cathy's hurt the gay community, please read this essay: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/conor-gaug...

(Report Comment)
garrett graham August 1, 2012 | 2:06 p.m.

hi karl. when we see each other at our marine corps reunion in september i will bring judge vaughn walker's 136 page opinion declaring prop 8 in calif unconstitutional as discriminates against gays and their right to marry.

this opinion,baed on the facts produced at trial is an eye opener. the facts disclose there is nothing wrong with gay marriage. no threat to kids or families or anyone. it disclosed the the bigotry and lies promulgated by the catholics,mormons and evangelicals were responsible for suppressing the gay movement and lifestyle for the past 20 years.

i have no tolerance for the lies spread by these religions which made up falsehoods to bolster their agenda against gays and their lifestyle. they could produce no evidence at that trial to support their position against gays. all lies!

after you read this decision then you can write a column about the truth of these lies spread by these religions and the truth will set you free. we all should have no tolerance for lies.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt August 1, 2012 | 2:21 p.m.

The buck has to stop somewhere. Being tolerant of intolerant people only serves to ensure that they remain intolerant.

(Report Comment)
Sandra Hayes August 1, 2012 | 3:25 p.m.

For a great read on views like the gay communities hurt Mr Cathy, please read this essay......oh oops there is that one way street again, guess the huffington post is still working on providing both sides to the story.

(Report Comment)
Tracy Greever-Rice August 1, 2012 | 4:13 p.m.

Mr. Cathy is not a victim. He is a victimizer. There's no essay to be written.

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Jake Sherlock August 1, 2012 | 4:22 p.m.

@Sandra,

It was Mr. Cathy's comments (and actions) that started this entire debate. Clearly his side was told before Conor Gaughan ever wrote his essay for HuffPo, since he references Mr. Cathy right away.

I have a hard time believing that the fight for equal rights has in any way hurt Mr. Cathy, or any other straight person for that matter.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith August 1, 2012 | 7:00 p.m.

@J. Karl Miller:

With us now have entered a new month, matters can more definitely be characterized using titles of novels by William Faulkner. For example, we still very much have "The Sound and the Fury," but most definitely not "A Light in August."

Nor can Miller achieve "Sanctuary," although it doesn't appear he is seeking it. If he is, why does he persist in maintaining this weekly column?

Of those three novels I much prefer "Sanctuary," especially the part where Temple Drake is brutally raped and carried off north to Memphis into forced prostitution. Who says Faulkner's novels are boring?

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop August 1, 2012 | 7:06 p.m.

Texans exercised free speech yesterday. GOP voters showed up 477% more (not forty seven point seven, but four hundred and seventy seven percent) liberals. November won't be too much different.

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J Karl Miller August 1, 2012 | 8:17 p.m.

Ellis,

Alas, rather than providing a measure of objectivity to a sensitive subject, I seem to have fed the flames of intolerance. What must be done with the Dan Cathy's and his ilk who have the temerity to continue to profess beliefs that are "objectionable?" Cotton Mather and the Salem trials, where are you now that we really need you?

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt August 1, 2012 | 9:17 p.m.

Karl:

Interesting that you'd bring up the Salem trials, as Dan Cathy and his ilk are the kind of people who would have gladly corralled all the "undesirables" and lit them up on the pyres back in the day.

Indeed, the USA doesn't have a very good track record on tolerance, but the culprits are not who you think they are.

(Report Comment)
frank christian August 1, 2012 | 9:33 p.m.

You guys, just because you claim to have read some printed matter done before 1960. Can't you understand, nothing but turmoil for American masses, existed before that date?

"It was Mr. Cathy's comments (and actions) that started this entire debate." Odd, first time I heard of it was from Chi Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, pictured on nat'l TV. What was it he said?

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith August 1, 2012 | 9:54 p.m.

"We grow too soon old but too late wise." - Old German saying (translated but left in German syntax).

[Another old saying from the Old Country.]

(Report Comment)
Rich C. August 1, 2012 | 10:27 p.m.

Where was the "tolerance" when One Million Moms protested against JCP and Ellen?

You're right..It's a two-way street.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop August 2, 2012 | 2:44 a.m.

Protests are not the same as government officials stating their intent to deny you your right to do business. Citizens have the right to protest over anything. Government does not have the right to interfere with lawful commerce. One is liberty. The other is tyrany.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett August 2, 2012 | 7:39 a.m.

I am considered ultra-Conservative (or so I have been lableled).

I have been labeled a Republican, too - though I vote on issues, and not on partisan lines.

Here is my take on this chicken mess:

I have bought one of their sandwiches one time, and one time only. The one I got was dried out and cold. I would not buy another one, if it only cost a penny. Another reason not to do fast food, when it is inedible. Based on the company product, I refuse to buy.

As far as gay marriages, the business is being flooded in support of a statement of the owner against gay rights.

Does he read the Bible and Jesus' words?

Jesus addressed marriage, and He spoke of remaining as He was - pure and chaste, but He considered the passions of humans, and He spoke against divorce, adultery and fornification.

Another point is, when people posture as "Christians" and tell someone else how to make their private life choices in reference to God/Jesus/Holy Ghost, then they are entering a double standard mode, and talking out of both sides of their mouths. How can they say that it is wrong for someone else to tell them they cannot pray in public or choose to any of their private sexual decisions that are outside of remaining chaste/pure as Jesus was, and yet they can condemn gays for their private choices that they make before God/Jesus/Holy Spirit - and in a free country that is supposed to support religious freedom. And, are they equally going after the divorced, the ones just living together, the people who have sex before marriage?

How can a believer support a claim against an athiest and, at the same time, condemn the gays?

If you go down the line of the people buying sandwiches to condemn gay marriages, how many of them will be divorced, remarried or just living together, or married and not pure/chaste as Jesus was?

The Word also says that a certain woman was brought unto Jesus and she was to be stoned for adultery. She fell at His feet, and He reached down, touched her and healed her. He said, "Go and sin no more." To those who would have her stoned, He said, "Let any of you without sin, cast the first stone."

The ones condemning the gays then need to get busy. They need to get everyone out of the marriage beds, out of divorced-remarried beds, out of the just-living-together beds.

If you can make the private religious decisions for everyone else, then you are a long way from what Jesus taught and from what He died on the Cross for.

You become a meddler in the matters of others and a Pharisee that is no more than holier-than-thou.

This place needs a better product, and the religous finger-pointers need to read their Bibles.

:)

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop August 2, 2012 | 8:01 a.m.

Delcia, Jesus did not say if it feels good do it. We all have sinned. We all sin. However, if we are not to judge, then we must open our prisons and have no trials. But we are to judge. We are not to judge by a standard to which we would not hold ourselves accountable. We are to love the sinner, but we are to condemn the sin. When you say what is wrong is now right, and what was right is wrong, then it must be that way according to the word of God. I am well aware we do not keep all of God's admonitions from the old testament. Jesus brought us two things. He brought us a way to God through Him. And He taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus did forgive the thief on the cross. But He did not remove him from his just punishment under Ceasar's laws. There are dichotomies there. It is up to society to judge what is moral and immoral. But when society goes too far in turning its face from God, there always seem to be repercussions.

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller August 2, 2012 | 9:15 a.m.

Mr Hopfenblatt,

Your unfounded assumption that "Dan Cathy and his ilk are the kind of people who would have gladly corralled all the "undesirables" and lit them up on the pyres back in the day." is an example of your brand of "tolerance." Don't patronize Chik-Fil-A, lead a protest group, burn chickens in effigy as you choose but, he and anyone else who doesn't believe as you do should be censored? Hypocrisy is still hypocrisy even when practiced by the "holier than thou" progressives.

You made my case better than I ever could--for that I thank you.

(Report Comment)
Gary Straub August 2, 2012 | 9:37 a.m.

Delcia, The posts of yours that I have read fed my belief that you were a far right conservative. However, this last post shows me that you understand the meaning of tolerance and for that I commend you.

(Report Comment)
Sandra Hayes August 2, 2012 | 10:09 a.m.

The Chik-fil-a in our town sold out of soda and lemonade yeaterday. Several others in the Atlanta area sold out of chicken. Our local NBC station (channel 11 in Atlanta) after the Olympics were done interviewed people at several of the stores. All of the people said they were there having chicken not because they support what Mr Cathy said but they were there supporting his right to say it.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 2, 2012 | 11:44 a.m.

("You know what else is constitutional? Rahm and Thomas making out with each other in protest.

In response to Cathy's remarks -- and the fact Chick-Fil-A has donated millions to organizations that fight gay rights -- the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is organizing a same-sex kiss-in to be held at Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country Friday. I'm not sure if Rahm and the others are free that day, but unlike their talk of banning the franchise, their participation in the lip lock is totally legal.")
http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/31/opinion/gr...
("Political folks always run the risk of losing integrity by descending into the thoughtless conformity Peggy Noonan once called “teamism.” So it’s important that we notice when people resist the gravitational pull of thuggishness, and stand up to their own side on a heated issue. It’s clear to me that the bullying tactics being threatened against the Chick-fil-A restaurants are wrong and illiberal, and I want to praise some liberals who are being vocal in agreement on this point.")
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/312...

(Report Comment)
Jake Sherlock August 2, 2012 | 12:10 p.m.

Karl writes:

"Hypocrisy is still hypocrisy even when practiced by the 'holier than thou' progressives."

Same goes for the defenders of "traditional marriage." By tolerating your belief that gay people are somehow not worthy of marriage, we create a second-class citizenry. And in this case, that second-class citizenry finds itself living under laws that not only ban their right to get married, but also ban their right to job security (i.e. you can be fired for being gay), ban their right to access to their loved ones in a hospital, and ban their right to spousal benefits. Additionally, when we legislate against this second-class citizenry, we create a culture where people think it's OK to bully and or attack gay people.

In my book, barring people from basic rights and treating them as second class is bigotry. Am I intolerant of bigotry?

Guilty as charged.

(Report Comment)
Sandra Hayes August 2, 2012 | 12:19 p.m.

I heard this story this summer. A family friend who is gay, his partner works for a company that is faith based, a hospital. He cant bring his partner to any company events or discuss any aspect of his personal life at work. Why does he do this, cause he makes an obscene amount of money. He is fine not being gay most of the time for the love of money. When gay people stop hiding who they are in one place and expect special treatment every where else there fore expecting a double standard of treatment than maybe more tolerance will follow.

(Report Comment)
Jake Sherlock August 2, 2012 | 12:41 p.m.

@Sandra,

So the gay man hides his lifestyle to keep from getting fired, and somehow he's the one who is in the wrong? Really? Really?

I fail to see where gays are asking for any kind of special treatment. Unless by special treatment, you mean the same treatment straight people get.

(Report Comment)
Sandra Hayes August 2, 2012 | 12:58 p.m.

No he hides it so he can make a bunch of money, he hides it from no one else but his employer, he is smart and highly educated think he could get a good job somewhere else but the pay wouldnt be as good. Would you compromise who you are for money. I think we should all be tolerant of alternative sexual lifestyles, some of my comments may come across as anti gay but in reality I am not, dont tell me what I can or cant do in the bedroom and I will likewise. This couple is going to get married next summer I hope they are completely happy, they will exchange vows and have family and friends there with them, the only thing they wont have is the state giving them a piece of paper. I hope that doesnt keep them from being together the rest of their lives.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams August 2, 2012 | 1:11 p.m.

For those of you who believe Chick-Fil-A should be punished, I want to know...from you...what action you would enforce if you were Emperor-For-Life.

(Report Comment)
Rich C. August 2, 2012 | 3:26 p.m.

I personally don't see anything wrong with either side as far as the Chick-Fil-A statement/boycotting goes.

The CEO of Chick-Fil-A has the right to believe and say whatever he wants. The people have a right to disagree with what he says and boycotting his establishment is one way of doing that.

I think the CEO speaking out might be considered as corporate irresponsibility by some people. Since they are a franchise, there may be local owners of a Chick-Fil-A establishment that don't agree with the CEO's beliefs on the gay community but still have to suffer the boycott he instigated.

(Report Comment)
frank christian August 2, 2012 | 4:46 p.m.

The boycott who instigated? The boycott was instigated by *Gay activists* and their minions, notably three Democrat Mayors, whom have shown clearly what they think of free speech in this country.

Mayor of San Francisco "notes that the "closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away," and he goes on to "strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer." He ignores need for jobs and revenue for his city, while pandering to one of the Democrat protected groups.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams August 2, 2012 | 5:04 p.m.

RichC: I think all of us would agree that individuals have the right to disagree/support or boycott/not boycott Chick-Fil-A.

The issue, at least for me, is certain city officials in the US have basically said they will hinder development of Chick-Fil-A establishments in their cities.

I do NOT agree with that.

We have a VERY closely-related example right here and right now in Columbia: The SoCo Club is relocating downtown...the story can be found in an article in this very day's publication.

What if the City Council or Mayor came out and said they will do whatever they can to hinder that group?

Is there a difference? I sure can't see one.

It's true that we have zoning laws, planning laws, community agreements, criminal laws, etc., we use to control where-and-what businesses locate in our environs. Generally, if an establishment does not cause a public danger (eg., Peppers), or go against zoning or other legalities, we allow it. Sure, we fight and fuss over it (eg., Walmart on W. Broadway) but in the end we run headlong into existing agree-upon laws and we have to allow the business.

As far as the CEO speaking out, I agree it might be considered "corporate irresponsibility" by some people. Personally, I think he should have kept his mouth shut but that's not my call....I have no dog in the fight....but you are right that a franchise owner might. But, certainly the feelings of a franchise owner has no bearing on whether a city father/mother should be able to stick their nose into a legitimate business. That issue is irrelevant.

I do not know how to "classify" the threats by city officials against Chick-Fil-A...the best I can do is "totalitarianism" or "tyranny". Maybe "McCarthyism" is more appropriate. Whatever it is, it's dangerous as hell.

You and I have the individual right to pick and choose establishments we will patronize. I'm confident we both do it already....at least I sure do.

But, in this case, we have a legitimate business wishing to set up shop in a city. Chick-Fil-A's only "sin" is a CEO with a big mouth and his non-compliance with someone else's PC wishes. Neither are legitimate reasons for city/county/state interference.

In the end, the city officials will back off, of course. This is lawsuit stuff that simply cannot be won, and a city's loss would be quite expensive. The comments are simple pandering.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt August 2, 2012 | 5:08 p.m.

Karl said: "Your unfounded assumption that "Dan Cathy and his ilk are the kind of people who would have gladly corralled all the "undesirables" and lit them up on the pyres back in the day." is an example of your brand of "tolerance.""

That statement has nothing to do with tolerance. It's a simple review of humanity's history, especially that of people and societies who placed more importance on their religious beliefs than on the people around them. The Salem trials were perpetrated by ignorant, pious people whose holy book taught them that imaginary thought crimes are real and worth punishing. Well, the book that taught our ancestors all about the evils of witchcraft is the same book these people are using to justify their bigotry toward gays.

"Don't patronize Chik-Fil-A, lead a protest group, burn chickens in effigy as you choose but, he and anyone else who doesn't believe as you do should be censored? Hypocrisy is still hypocrisy even when practiced by the "holier than thou" progressives."

Please point me to the part where I said that Dan Cathy et al. should be censored. They have every right to state their ignorant opinions, and I have every right to laugh at them for it. The fact that I don't tolerate wrong opinions doesn't mean that I want to legislate them out of existence.

(Report Comment)
Jake Sherlock August 2, 2012 | 6:07 p.m.

Use of such terms as "gay activists and their minions" and "non-compliance with someone else's PC wishes" show that you guys just don't get it.

What if a large corporation was pumping millions of dollars a year into groups that discriminated against people named Frank and Michael? What if those groups passed laws that forbid you to marry? Or that made it OK for you to be fired just because your names are Frank and Michael? Think you might protest then?

This is what Chick-Fil-A does. It gives money to groups like the Family Research Council that promotes bigoted legislation that creates a second-class citizenry.

How about we stand up for the people who are actually being persecuted instead of the privileged white guy? Or have we learned nothing from history?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams August 2, 2012 | 6:27 p.m.

Jake asks, "What if a large corporation was pumping millions of dollars a year into groups that discriminated against people named Frank and Michael?"
___________________

I'd change my name to Jake.

PS: Lots of large unions pump money into politics in support of stuff I don't like. I say close their offices and run 'em outa town.

Are you saying you support public entities like cities making direct efforts to keep them out? Is that what you advocate?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams August 2, 2012 | 7:41 p.m.

Jon: They have every right to state their ignorant opinions, and I have every right to laugh at them for it.
______________

Agree.

Because I want the same rights....to "state", and to "laugh".

PS: For those that DO wish to censure Chick-Fil-A, I'd still like to know what you would support.

(Report Comment)
Jake Sherlock August 2, 2012 | 8:00 p.m.

@Michael,

Clearly I'm not advocating for municipalities to keep Chick-Fil-A out. And aside from a handful of drunk-on-power elected officials throwing out threats that would clearly get them sued if carried out, I haven't seen any of my fellow "minions" (as Frank so lovingly refers to us) advocating for such a move either.

What I have seen is a lot more attention paid to those wrongful but ultimately meaningless threats than to the issue at hand -- gay rights. Apparently a lot of us would rather serve red herrings than explain why we still eat the chicken.

I just don't see this as a First Amendment issue, or a right to operate a business issue, or a freedom of religion issue. It's about whether or not it is ethical and just to marginalize a group of people. I just want people to set the other distractions aside for a little bit and think about what it would be like if you were the marginalized.

This is about cutting off a major piece of funding to the organizations that work to legislate against gay people. Yes, Chick-Fil-A is free to spend that money any legal way it likes. And I have a right to join the minions in not contributing to where the profits are going.

Now, if Mr. Cathy were to announce that although he is still opposed to gay marriage, his company was no longer going to fund those organizations, I'd be happy to buy the first round of chicken sandwiches and waffle fries.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt August 2, 2012 | 8:15 p.m.

Michael:

But, there's still the issue that this guy is donating money--presumably company profits--to groups that support the discrimination of gays. If he was instead donating that money to terrorist organizations or drug cartels, I doubt I'd see be hearing many objections about the government stepping in to "hinder" his business.

Like I said in Karl's previous article (at least I think it was that one), if Cathy wants to play politics, don't be surprised when politicians get involved.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams August 2, 2012 | 8:49 p.m.

Jon: "there's still the issue that this guy is donating money--presumably company profits--to groups that support the discrimination of gays. If he was instead donating that money to terrorist organizations or drug cartels, I doubt I'd see be hearing many objections about the government stepping in to "hinder" his business."

Me: It's my understanding he (family?) owns the company. Certainly it's privately held, but I don't know if it's an "S" or "C" corp. Whatever the case, if it's after-tax money, then your "still the issue" is not an issue at all except for the fact you may not like where the money goes. Sorry, but that isn't your business so long as it's legal.

As for your comparison, you may not like where MY money goes. If I state it publicly (say, here), and it's related to politics, would you expect a politician to get involved in the way they did?

No, I can't justify by ANY means what those city officials did. It should chill ANYONE, even those who are disgusted with Chick-Fil-A. So far, you are the only liberal who has repudiated those officials.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams August 2, 2012 | 8:51 p.m.

Jake: "...if Mr. Cathy were to announce that although he is still opposed to gay marriage, his company was no longer going to fund those organizations, I'd be happy to buy the first round of chicken sandwiches and waffle fries."
__________________

And if George Soros would just quit giving money to liberal causes, I just might shake the guy's hand when I met him.

You guys can't have your cake and eat it, too.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith August 2, 2012 | 9:21 p.m.

Old Missouri Ozark Saying: "If _____ wuz music we'd sure 'nuf have ourselves an opery."

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams August 2, 2012 | 10:32 p.m.

Ellis: Personally, I like "And if frogs had machine guns, birds wouldn't ____ with 'em."

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams August 2, 2012 | 10:38 p.m.

Waaaaaay to go Gabbyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!

Go Lolo!!!!!!!!
Go Allyson!!!!!!!!!
Go Sanya!!!!!!!!!!

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking August 3, 2012 | 5:41 a.m.

I'll preface this by saying I have no personal problem with gay marriage and I am agnostic.

The practical problem with gay marriage is that religion, by its nature, is intolerant. Followers of a particular religion are supposed to believe, and do, or not do, various things based on their interpretation of some scripture or other. "Marriage", as used in scripture, does mean man and woman with the goal of carrying on the species. There are many gender specific references that will make it very difficult for devout followers of most Christian sects to approve of same sex "marriage". Plus there's that pesky verse in Leviticus that a lot of people can't decide if it's archaic law or not.

Like it or not, the US is still fundamentally a Christian country. That carries over to how a lot of our laws are written. A lot of people that would be fine with "civil unions", balk at the idea of "marriage", particularly if it involved their church (a clergy member being asked to marry a same sex couple, for example). To what extent should the government step in and force a churches' hand in this? Would it be discrimination if the clergy refused?

Because courts have often upheld religious rights even when they conflict with secular law (a good example is refusal of medical care by Christian Scientists), it may be the best practical compromise to push for civl unions rather than "marriage", even though there is a level of "separate but equal" in that. To not do so may mean gays get less than if you simply accept that a lot of people may not be ready for gay "marriage" codified in secular law.

As far as what Cathy said, everyone has an opinion, and it's unfortunate he feels the way he does. Is it going to affect my eating at a Chick-Fil-A (even though I don't think I ever have)? Not really. He's not his company, and as long as the company does not actively discriminate against gays (which would be illegal most anywhere), it's just his opinion.

DK

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking August 3, 2012 | 5:50 a.m.

Just an addendum:

I mean "civil unions" at a federal level, so that the rights and privileges of them are recognized nationwide.

DK

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith August 3, 2012 | 6:54 a.m.

@ Michael Williams:

Could I prevail upon you to add the name of Tyrone Smith (not a family member) to your athletes list? Tyrone begins competition today in the long jump, representing Bermuda.

Tyrone graduated from MS&T in 2007 with a degree in History. As you're now aware, our History faculty isn't shabby, especially when it comes to publishing books. :)

Tyrone won at the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games but did not reach the finals at the last Olympics (by 3 centimeters); however, if he can equal his personal best in this Olympics he has an outside chance for a medal.

How many medals does Bermuda expect to earn at this Olympics? Scuba diving isn't a recognized Olympic category. :)

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams August 3, 2012 | 7:32 a.m.

Ellis: Sure. No problem.

Gooooo Tyrone!

I'll be mainly enjoying 100mH, 200, 400, and 400H of the women's variety.

Long ago, it used to be that when the women ran their races, that was the time for me to hit the hot dog stand or bathroom. Then #2 daughter started running hurdles and lo-and-behold I had a significant attitude/interest adjustment. Go figure.

You say the men are running right now? Ok, where can I get a hot dog?

I miss Muna Lee. I first saw her run the 100m when she was a senior in high school at Central High in KCMO. The gun went off and in the blink of an eye she was at the 30M mark. Holy cow what a start that lady had! I've officiated at several big track meets and have seen some really great runners including a few from UMC.

But I'm especially "tolerant" of the 100M hurdles. I had to add that last comment to stay on topic.
_________________

There I am watching Gabby at the women's all-around gymnastics. All she has to do is smile through the TV and suddenly I'm sitting there in my easy chair grinnin' like a Cheshire cat. That woman's smile is as infectious as the common cold, but there's nothing common about her or ANY of those women.

(Report Comment)
frank christian August 3, 2012 | 8:57 a.m.

"And aside from a handful of drunk-on-power elected officials throwing out threats..."

A handful? Aren't you referring to the Democratic party?

I have only seen quotes of Mr. Cathy's interview. Those indicate that his company is operated within Biblical principles and supports the "traditional family". So why is this "handful" so up in arms (R. Emanuel states he will continue work to prohibit Chick-f. from Chicago)?

Imo Jake, yours are caught up with the other far more serious aspects of a deviation from "one man, one woman, traditional marriage, with it's restrictions. A Democrat, SC Justice (R. Ginsburg) believes the age of sexuality for youth should be 12.

Being gay may be the reason one is not hired, along with all the other reasons an employer may reject an applicant as not conducive to a good hire for a position, but if hired, fired for this reason, could be a problem that may not exist. I have understood gay problems for years and you have related them well, but the treatment of Mr. Cathy and his business is not a good example for your cause.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor August 3, 2012 | 10:58 a.m.

Being intolerant can get you fired even if you think your in the "pc" zone...

Adam Smith, CFO for Avant, a "global supplier of medical equipment" company, berated chik-fil-a worker for founders personal beliefs. Video went viral. Smith became former CFO!

IMHO, marriage is based in religion, government has no business in religion. (I realize it's already there, but that doesn't change my opinion...) If government wants to stop treating people differently based on whether or not they have gone through a particular religious ceremony, I'm for that! If government wants to come up with some kind of legal document that says two people have decided to "become one" and share assets and liabilities and tax benefits etc., I'm for that too!

(Report Comment)
Sandra Hayes August 3, 2012 | 11:30 a.m.

Adam Smith made a fool out of himself. The young lady working at Chik fil a was so composed, good for her. Has anyone caught the Antoine Dodson videos on YouTube, he is a young gay black man sitting there having his Chik fil a and he is also awesome, he states it all very well.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith August 4, 2012 | 12:32 a.m.

Michael Williams et al:

Tyrone Smith, former NCAA Division II track and field star and representing his home country Bermuda, has qualified for the Olympic finals in the long jump. Finals competition begins at 1:55 p.m. CDT Saturday.

To win even the Bronze medal it appears Smith will have to post a jump of 8.10 meters, better than he has ever done before. The top three qualifiers for the finals are from Brazil, United States and Russia, respectively. On the other hand, not many NCAA Division II athletes ever see the finals in Olympic competition.

http://www.minerathletics.com/news/2012/...

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop August 4, 2012 | 6:11 a.m.

Will liberals willingly accept when the NBA is forced to draft and play people suffering from dwarfism, and schools of journalism are required to hire just as many conservative professors and liberals? If they refuse, surely they will be accused of hatred.

Oh, it was interesting to hear that President Obama signed an executive order establishing a government panel to promote “a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools.”

Read more: http://nation.foxnews.com/obama/2012/07/...
http://nation.foxnews.com/obama/2012/07/...

Fox is the only major news outlet covering it.

(Report Comment)
Bob Brandon August 4, 2012 | 2:30 p.m.

The Good Colonel's notion of "tolerance" - and those who support him - reminds me of this quote from Wayne Self (http://www.owldolatrous.com/?p=288):

"Asking for “mutual tolerance” on this is like running up to a bully beating a kid to death on the playground and scolding them both for not getting along."

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams August 4, 2012 | 5:15 p.m.

MarkF said something above that I'm been thinking about: "...religion, by its nature, is intolerant."

I think he's right. All religions, from Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc., have various structures to which adherents are supposed to comply. Even nirvana has requirements. Religions are intolerance of noncompliance.

But religion is just organized tolerance for some things and organized intolerance for others. Individuals are much more unorganized but not so different from tolerances/intolerances expressed by religions.

You, me, and everyone else has tolerance for some things and intolerance for others. We could sit here all day and trade our tales of tolerance/intolerance (I can list a bunch), and all of us will be positive we are right. Are individuals THAT much different from religions?

Because we are individuals, for any one group or individual to claim "rightness" from a secular point of view is pointless; there is no foundation of validity except for what our individual brain claims as truth at that point in time.

PS: For this conversation, I've engaged against those city officials who wish to practice what I view as totalitarian acts that should chill us all. I've not engaged on the more specific issue of gay marriage for two reasons: (1) We already did that a few months ago (the "civil union" moniker for legal purposes, and "marriage" for religious purposes), and (2) I prefer to engage in my own pet project which is financial illiteracy and poor strategies of life that lead one hell of a lot more folks into a second-class citizenship than there are LGBT folks in this world.

We all have our own battles.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt August 4, 2012 | 10:10 p.m.

Don Milsop said:

"Oh, it was interesting to hear that President Obama signed an executive order establishing a government panel to promote “a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools.”

Read more: http://nation.foxnews.com/obama/2012/07/......
http://nation.foxnews.com/obama/2012/07/......

Fox is the only major news outlet covering it."

Is it at all similar to The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans established by George H.W. Bush back in 1990 and continued via Executive Orders by all presidents since? Or is this one worth singling out because Obama started it and therefore must be just another example of government overstepping its boundaries?

http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/list/hisp...

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt August 4, 2012 | 10:37 p.m.

Michael said: "Because we are individuals, for any one group or individual to claim "rightness" from a secular point of view is pointless; there is no foundation of validity except for what our individual brain claims as truth at that point in time."

That's not true. Our notions of right and wrong (should) correspond to our knowledge of the world around us. Whereas a book like the Bible paints animals as mindless objects with which we can dispense as we see fit, our growing understanding of the animal world tells us differently. We certainly did not get animal rights from the Bible.

And that's what makes a world of difference between individuals and religions. Individuals can learn and change their minds should compelling information come about, whereas religions don't undergo this type of revision. 2,000+ years after it was written, Leviticus still says that we should stone our children to death for being rebellious. Fortunately, we as individuals (and as a society) know better. The same will be true of our mistaken ideas about homosexuality, gay marriage, evolution, morality, et cetera, given enough time. Actual knowledge trumps myth.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith August 5, 2012 | 8:39 a.m.

Question: Does "a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools" rule out Sister Luke whacking one's knuckles with a ruler? Sister Luke was as adept as a skilled surgeon: she knew how to inflict maximum pain without breaking any bones.

But Sister Luke was a benighted religious zealot, and we all know how awful those folks can be. Being a nun, we must also assume she was suffering seriously from sexual frustration.

(Report Comment)
frank christian August 5, 2012 | 2:41 p.m.

" Our notions of right and wrong (should) correspond to our knowledge of the world around us."

This is happening. With the aim of progressive, liberals in progress,no instruction booklet, Bible, no instructors, Christian teachers, our youth are learning from the "world around us." Lie, cheat and steal may be seen as the "American way", with the use of guns producing a new "wild west" far more dangerous than the old.

"a book like the Bible paints animals as mindless objects with which we can dispense as we see fit, our growing understanding of the animal world tells us differently."

An understanding of the animal world, must include the fact those not terminated by humans will be eaten alive or eventually starve to death. What knew knowledge have animal rights activists afforded us?

(Report Comment)
Rich C. August 5, 2012 | 5:22 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
frank christian August 5, 2012 | 5:55 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
J Karl Miller August 5, 2012 | 8:05 p.m.

Wow! I return home from a 4 day campout and find that my latest column is still receiving the expected reviews from the usual suspects. I have but one comment.

Mr Hopfenblatt, your unfounded assumption remains unfounded and remains also an example of intolerance. And, no, I did not imply nor did I state that you said Mr Cathy should be censored. I believe if you would read the commentary with more care and comprehension rather than take every post as a personal challenge for a response, we would all be better served. Misinterpretation of and/or misstating one's commentary to imply other than that which was stated is disingenuous at best.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt August 5, 2012 | 11:55 p.m.

Karl said: "Mr Hopfenblatt, your unfounded assumption remains unfounded and remains also an example of intolerance."

Good rebuttal. "No, you're wrong, I'm right, end of story."

Karl said: "And, no, I did not imply nor did I state that you said Mr Cathy should be censored."

I invite everyone else to read this and interpret it in a way that doesn't accuse me of wanting to censor Dan Cathy:

"Don't patronize Chik-Fil-A, lead a protest group, burn chickens in effigy as you choose but, he and anyone else who doesn't believe as you do should be censored? Hypocrisy is still hypocrisy even when practiced by the "holier than thou" progressives."

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith August 6, 2012 | 5:59 a.m.

"It was the other guy that did it." - Bill Cosby

Good Gawd, Martha, we're overrun with "other guys." :)

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller August 6, 2012 | 7:14 p.m.

Mr Hopfenblatt,

Perhaps you will be so kind as to provide evidence to back up your thus far unfounded allegation that ""Dan Cathy and his ilk are the kind of people who would have gladly corralled all the "undesirables" and lit them up on the pyres back in the day."

Smearing others simply because they don't happen to agree with your "progressive" thinking is as blatant an example of intolerance as I have seen posted.

(Report Comment)

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