To punish dissenters, left-wing politicians promise to use the full force of the government.
One of the more blatant displays of progressive thuggery is playing itself out in Boston and Chicago. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino threatened to keep fast food franchise Chick-fil-A from opening any restaurants in that city because he doesn't want any business operating there "that discriminates against a population." In Chicago, Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno announced that he will pursue the same course in his district for the same reason. "If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don't want you in the 1st Ward," Moreno told the Chicago Tribune. Such "tolerance" is based on an effort to deliberately mischaracterize as anti-homosexual what Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy said about traditional marriage. That mischaracterization has been aided and abetted by a media more than willing to amplify the distortion.
The true story -- as opposed to what is currently being presented -- involved an interview of Cathy by Biblical Recorder editor K. Allan Blume. Blume asked Cathy about his support for traditional marriage. "Guilty as charged," Cathy answered. Further on in the interview, he explained what he meant. "We are very much supportive of the family--the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that," he said. Blume also revealed that Cathy does not impose his beliefs on others. "We're a business that serves the public, all people are welcomed into Chick-fil-A, and frankly we do not feel called to weigh in on a lot of social activism that's taking place as it relates to the definition of the family, but we do definitely want to encourage strong families."
"Homophobic" references regarding gay marriage? None. That "inconvenient" fact was corroborated by Blume. "He was not saying 'guilty as charged anti-gay,'" noted Blume, who further revealed that Cathy "never even brought up that subject. Everything he stated was on the positive side...He never stated anything negative." The Biblical Recorder published the interview on July 7th. It was re-posted on July 16th by the Baptist Press, and subsequently picked up by the Huffington Post, the Associated Press, USAToday, the Los Angeles Times, and other news agencies.
The level of willful distortion media and public figures have engaged in, portraying Cathy's statement of a popular and religiously based position as a hateful rant, is chilling. Like the Huffington Post, which published the piece, "'The Onion' Introduces Chick-Fil-A's 'New Homophobic Sandwich,'" Chik-fil-A critics have vigorously made the case that Cathy's support of traditional marriage is little more than homophobic hatemongering. They further assumed that if Cathy is homophobic, that prejudice must be reflected in his company's policies regarding hiring and customer service. They did this despite Cathy's assertion that his company "does not feel compelled to weigh in on a lot of social activism that's taking place as it relates to the definition of the family[.]"
Hack politicians were more than comfortable to ride atop that wave of distortion. "Chick-fil-A doesn't belong in Boston," said Menino, who delivered a warning to the franchise. "If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult--unless they open up their policies." Menino added an Orwellian outburst to his diatribe as well. "We're an open city. We're a city that's at the forefront of inclusion. That's the Freedom Trail. That's where it all started right here. And we're not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail." Thus, the "forefront of inclusion" is off-limits to those who don't align themselves with the reigning government's position.
Chicago alderman Moreno echoed Menino's faux self-righteousness, as well as his jackboot aspirations. In an op-ed piece presented to theTribune by one of his aides, Moreno referred to Cathy's statements as "bigoted, homophobic comments." Then came the hammer. "Because of this man's ignorance, I will now be denying Chick-fil-A's permit to open a restaurant in the 1st Ward."
Leftist Mayor Rahm Emanuel supported Moreno's distortions and ambitions. "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values," the mayor said in a statement. Emanuel's most recent discussion of Chicago values prior to this one was to tell the city's street thugs, who have driven Chicago's murder rate up 30 percent over last year, to "Take your stuff away to the alley." Since Mr. Emanuel is apparently resigned to a certain level of mayhem in his city, he has hectored those perpetrating it to move to another location away from children, but seemingly within the city limits -- the same city limits that he and his alderman would prevent a Christian-run business from occupying.
Thus the bankruptcy of progressive values, literally enforced by the heavy hand of government, is illuminated. One is left to wonder how many other would-be business owners in Boston and Chicago will be forced to reveal--and perhaps "revise"--their political ideology in order to set up shop in those cities. One might also wonder how many existing businesses will be checked to see if they also have the "proper" ideological credentials to remain in operation. With respect to Chick-fil-A, Moreno noted that's exactly what is expected. After contemptuously dismissing First Amendment concerns with, "zoning is not a right," he explained how the company could get back in his good graces. "They'd have to do a complete 180," the alderman said. "They'd have to work with LGBT groups in terms of hiring, and there would have to be a public apology from (Cathy)."
Such arrogance is remarkable, especially when one considers the virtual certainty that these same people and their fellow travelers would be screaming "fascism!" if some conservative-minded community sought to ban gay-friendly companies such a Starbucks or Oreo Cookies from operating within their confines -- based on nothing more than comments made by company executives. Thus, another aspect of progressive bankruptcy is revealed: the complete lack of intellectual consistency, and the massive amount of hypocrisy such inconsistency produces.
Americans should be outraged by this overt intolerance masquerading itself as open-mindedness, the attempt to use government power as an ideological billy club, and the media's calculating effort to take what Cathy said and twist it into something completely different. Yet for progressives and their media enablers, this is the price one is expected to pay for refusing to kowtow to the parameters of political correctness.
On the other hand, it is very likely both Chicago and Boston are violating Mr. Cathy's First Amendment rights. Three Supreme Court cases, Consolidated Edison Co. v. Public Service Commission, Rust v. Sullivan, and Board of County Commissioners v. Umbehr, make it clear that government may not deny a private business permits because of something said by its owner. Unless officials in either Boston or Chicago can produce evidence of discrimination by Chick-fil-A, preventing the company from operating within their respective cities is unconstitutional.
In other words, this controversy has been manufactured, plain and simple. It represents the epitome of the progressive impulse to control individual thought, using the threat of government retaliation as persuasion. It has been egged on by a corrupt media that no longer bothers to get the story right, when the right story doesn't accrue to progressive interests.
Furthermore, the idea that opposition to gay marriage is tantamount to homophobia is nothing more than a progressive construct aimed at forcing people to accept the gay activist agenda in its totality. It is a ham-fisted attempt to label someone who might be open to homosexuals receiving the same government-mandated services and benefits that married people do, but uncomfortable with redefining "marriage"--a word commonly understood by every culture in the world for more than five thousand years--as a hopeless bigot. As far as the activists and their enablers are concerned, one is all in with the gay activist agenda, or unrepentant homophobe who can literally be run out of town. It is precisely this kind of thinking on which the attempt to deny Chick-fil-A the ability to operate in Boston and Chicago is based. In other words, for "progressives," tolerance and totalitarianism are two sides of the same coin.
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