On Monday, R. Clarke Cooper, Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans, weighed in on the recent controversies swirling around Chick-fil-A after its president, Dan Cathy, admitted that his company gives financial support to anti-gay causes, and decreed that the whole debate was an "empty calorie diversion from equality." And warned us that an "anti-Chick-fil-A crusade" might play well in the "Democratic Enclaves" (read: godless pits of vice) on the coasts, but in "America's Heartland" (you know, the real America) queers loudly and visibly standing up for our rights is turning conservatives, moderates, and independents against us.
Don't get him wrong, Mr. Cooper doesn't have any problem with us "voting with our feet" and spending our gay dollars elsewhere, he doesn't even mind if we ask our friends and allies to do the same. He just doesn't want us to do so too loudly. You see, Mr. Cooper seems to feel that we've just about convinced social conservatives that we are human beings and if we stay on our best behavior for just a little bit longer and don't cause a ruckus, then they will graciously grant us our natural rights. And by drawing attention to Mr. Cathy's material support for bigotry we are somehow betraying those conservatives who have stood up for common decency and marriage equality (I love you, Meghan McCain! I hope you don't feel betrayed!). Then he invokes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (seemingly without irony) and then Thomas Jefferson.
"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." -- Thomas Jefferson
Mr. Cooper asks what would we gain if marriage activists "won" and Chick-fil-A went out of business, besides one less source of money flowing into the coffers of hate groups and the transformation of a fried chicken fast food chain into a "martyr for religious freedom." But the thing is, this isn't a debate about religious freedom, any more than it is a debate about fried chicken. I don't care one lick if Dan Cathy believes in ten Gods or twenty. I care that Mr. Cathy runs a business that has given thousands of dollars to organizations that work to pass anti-gay legislation all over America. That does "pick my pocket and break my leg" and yours Mr. Cooper, and the collective legs and pockets of our people.
You are wrong, Mr. Cooper. There most certainly is not "room for disagreement" when it comes to marriage equality. Just as there is no longer room for disagreement on school integration or disenfranchising women voters. These are the positions of the truly un-American. And if Chick-fil-A ends up shutting it's doors for good it wont be because America's 9 million or so homosexuals and a couple of liberal mayors were able to somehow bully them into oblivion, but rather because of a change in American culture. A refusal to accept bigotry and persecution, no mater the scripture sighted to justify it.
And that culture is changing, but the work is far from over. And it never will be if we heed the advice of self appointed "leaders" who tell us to play nice and wait patiently for discrimination to fade away. In the words of Dr. King.
"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
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