Free Speech and Chicken Sandwiches

We have no opinion regarding Chick-fil-A’s sandwiches, as we haven’t had one in many years and have long since forgotten whether we liked them or not. The company opened a franchise in Wichita last year that proved so popular it has created a traffic problem for the neighborhood, but it’s way over on the east side and we’re content with the store-bought chicken we grill on the backyard barbecue.

Still, we stand foursquare for the company’s right to sell its product, its customers’ right to purchase them, and the right of the company’s ownership to publicly express whatever political opinions they might hold. This strike us as an all-American position consistent with a belief in such fundamental human rights as freedom of speech, but the Mayor of Boston apparently disagrees. He has said that Chick-fil-A has no right to do business in his city because the company’s president has stated his opposition to same-sex marriage.

“You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino told The Boston Herald. “We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion.”

Apparently Boston is not so inclusive that it can tolerate the presence of the 50 percent or so of the American population that shares the Chick-fil-A president’s opinion on the subject of same-sex marriage nor any of the numerous major world religious that hold to the same view. Not content with such an incoherent statement, the mayor went on to say that a proposed Chick-fil-A is especially offensive because it will be located near the Freedom Trail, as if the founding fathers would be so put off by a company’s opposition to same-sex marriage that they would gladly revise the First Amendment.

Sadly, such intolerance is becoming a common feature of modern liberalism. The same leftist tradition that once prided itself on its opposition to McCarthyism — that dark era of American history when citizens were denied the right to make a living because of their political opinions — now routinely attempts to deny citizens the right to make a living because of their political opinions. Some leftists will likely reply that McCarthy’s victims were merely advocating a totalitarian dictatorship, while the definition of marriage that has been the standard in most societies for the past many millennia is now beyond the bounds of civilized discourse, but we find the argument unconvincing.

The left’s McCarthyite tendency seems to be especially prevalent among the pro-same-sex-marriage crowd, which has sought to punish everyone from beauty queens to department stores for their heretical views. A Chicago alderman is also attempting to use the power of government to block a new Chick-fil-A restaurant, and some of his constituents are planning to harass the customers at another location in the city with a “kiss-in.” This is ironic, given that advocates for homosexuality invariably think themselves at the vanguard of the defense of freedom, but despite their reputation for irony they’ll likely never notice. Same-sex marriage is by no means the only issue where the left seeks to silence its opponents, rather than go through the chore of refuting their arguments in the court of public opinion, and as the political debates inevitably become more rancorous the left will likely step up its assault on free speech rights.

It’s enough to make us brave the high-tone and heavy traffic of the east side and try a Chick-fil-A sandwich, just to annoy the likes of Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

— Bud Norman

One response

  1. I’m afraid that gay marriage can’t compete with a great chicken sandwich. I don’t expect to see the drive -through line any shorter here in Wichita!

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