"Judge not, that you be not judged" (Matthew 7:1 ESV).
As more states recognize same-sex marriage, Christian warriors are amping up their crusade to preserve what they define as traditional marriage between a man and a woman. But there comes a point when such fervent disdain for same-sex marriage crosses a threshold of decency and begins to violate the basic civil rights of gay Americans. Take the recent comments by Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy in the Baptist Press, in which he pleaded "guilty as charged" for his company's advocacy of traditional marriage based on biblical principles:
We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that.
The fast-food chain's commitment has included millions of dollars donated to anti-gay groups and causes, including the Marriage & Family Foundation and the Family Research Council, according to Business Insider. The company's WinShape Foundation also has refused to admit gay couples to marriage counseling. Last year, Chick-fil-A cosponsored a marriage conference with the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which lobbied against a state effort to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In another interview on the Ken Coleman Show, Cathy suggested that the nation could face God's wrath for supporting gay marriage. That's pretty strong, incendiary language.
Chick-fil-A is a successful, private business that trains its employees "to focus on values rooted in the Bible." It stays closed on Sundays. It has over 1,608 restaurants nationwide and more than $4 billion in sales. Some of its sales are made in publicly support sports stadiums, as well as at major sporting events, such as the Chick-fil-A Bowl in the company's hometown of Atlanta. The Georgia Bowl, where the game is held, is owned by authority of the State of Georgia. Public schools also do business with the company, which supports sports and educational programs.
It's one thing for a private business to run its operations based on certain religious values. And without question, its president is entitled to express his religious views and ask employees to live by them. However, when that company supports groups that attack civil-rights protections for people based on their sexual preference, it's fair to question whether that company should be allowed to operate in taxpayer-supported facilities or work with public school children. Chick-fil-A's continued support of anti-gay groups and Cathy's discriminatory comments cross the line of decency.
It's time for public officials, school districts, and institutions such as the NCAA to cancel the fast-food chain's operations at public facilities and sporting events and make the company pay a price for its bigoted, impious attitude toward gay Americans.
It's now time to eat "mor hamburgers," not "chickin," in public venues, and to boycott Cathy's Chick-fil-A.
This piece originally appeared in Florida Voices on July 24, 2012. © Florida Voices
Steven Kurlander blogs at Kurly's Kommentary, writes a weekly column for Fort Lauderdale's Sun-Sentinel and Florida Voices, and is an attorney and communications strategist. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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