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Wendy N. Powell

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Another Casualty of the Chick-fil-A Saga

Posted: 07/30/2012 6:48 pm

Donald Perry VP of Corporate Relations at Chick-fil-A suddenly died of a heart attack amid the controversy of calls to boycott the restaurant due to the religious beliefs of their CEO and President Dan Cathy. Mr. Perry had been embroiled in the controversy about Mr. Cathy's personal beliefs about gay marriage. This is not only about the personal beliefs of President Cathy; this has everything to do with our freedoms. The boycott may wane but the political issues and attack on personal and religious beliefs will live on.

Chick-fil-A didn't hang out a shingle announcing the views of the CEO; there was no denial of service to anyone; no hiring discrimination based on sexual orientation. Most people go there for chicken, no lesson in morality or religion, nothing more.

This popular restaurant that serves great chicken has been chastised and quite literally run out of town because of religious beliefs.

Chick-fil-A was told to stay out of Chicago by Rahm Emanuel who said, "Chick-fil-A's values are not Chicago values. They're not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members. And if you're gonna be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values."

What are those values that businesses must comply with to meet that definition? Do people need to check their personal beliefs at the door to the city? And is there going to be a morality test in Chicago to pick and choose businesses based upon religion, national origin, or any of our protected classes? Will they conduct an audit of existing businesses to make sure they comply as well?

And in Boston, Mayor Thomas Menino announced Chick-fil-A doesn't belong there. It makes you wonder how far and wide this goes and what other businesses don't belong there. Menino has walked back his comments realizing that he did not have that power. But after the chicken is out of the coop, it's tough to get it back.

The power of our elected officials has eroded to the level of skimming our coveted First Amendment rights of freedom of speech, religion, and expression. We wonder what is next, banning of Muslims from doing business in Detroit, Jews doing business in Utah? What about Chinese restaurants? Does the city agree with their religious and political philosophies?

My philosophy is that we all have different views and convictions; live with it. Last year, President Obama held the same opinion as the president of Chick-fil-A. We have the ability to patronize who we want and who we don't, so be it. Boycott them if you want, but we all enjoy our freedoms and that includes the ability to purchase a darn good chicken sandwich if we wish to do so.

This is a sad casualty of a new trend of erosion of our freedoms. There is a troublesome focus on "broad brush" and sweeping power of some elected officials. We elect individuals to represent the views of their electorate... or not. Can they act on their personal views to the point that businesses are prohibited from doing businesses within their purview? We need be assured that the political wind doesn't blow too far away from the public. But I realize that we live by sound Constitutional principles. After all, our elected officials swear to uphold that very critical document.

The Muppets have even made the scene, severing ties with Chick-fil-A. They have said "What would Kermit do?" That is certainly their right but they have taken it to a level that mocks our freedoms. "Don't mess with the Muppets. You'll end up looking like a fool." But using character puppets for Heaven's sake, to joke and speak out against constitutionally protected rights on either side of that coin, sorry, not appropriately a laughing matter. And who is Kermit to make a fool out of anyone?

Potential Green Party presidential candidate Roseanne Barr tweeted: "Anyone who eats S*** Fil-A deserves to get cancer that is sure to come from eating antibiotic filled tortured chickens 4Christ." She tried to walk it back but as we know, that chicken has left the coop. The message was received, enough said.

This matter is much larger than Chick-fil-A; the purchasing public has a short memory but this speaks volumes about our freedoms. Most of us believe in the philosophy of live and let live. Some believe, if you don't agree with me you should not exist.

Let's not erode our rights that we hold so dearly. Even the ACLU recognized that Chick-fil-A has a right to do business. And rest in peace Mr. Perry. You personally did not ask for this fight.

 
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