Friday, August 3, 2012

Why the Chick-fil-A Flap Matters

Long lines on Chick-fil-A appreciation day
I love Chick-fil-A. We don't have one in our town, so when we travel, it's a treat to get their Chargrilled Chicken Club Sandwich smothered in extra Honey Roasted BBQ sauce. It's enough to make my mouth water just thinking about it. So when all the commotion surrounding  Dan Cathy's defense of "the biblical definition of the family unit" broke loose, I saw it as just another opportunity to go to one of my favorite restaurants. Nevermind that the nearest one is over 20 miles away.

Protesters standing against Chick-fil-A
But, of course, much more is at stake than a good chicken sandwich. Marriage and family issues are vital to the health of any society. What we believe about what constitutes a marriage matters immensely. The reaction to Dan Cathy's comments--both pro and con--are evidence of this fact. In the end, truth matters and people will stand up for what they believe in. My appeal to those who stand for traditional marriage (which I enthusiastically embrace) and those who are pressing for non-traditional forms of family units, is to remain civil in the discourse. John S. Ehrett recently wrote a clear and compelling article, "Playing Chicken with the Law: Chick-fil-A and the demise of responsible discourse." He closes the article explaining why the manner in which we engage in debate matters:
First, the aggressive demonization of one’s public opponents – and the suggestion that opponents are undeserving of constitutional rights – must stop. Few issues are more critical to a liberal society (using the term “liberal” in its classical sense). Real “tolerance” – and basic ethical treatment of others –requires that one respect others’ right to disagree.
Second, private pressure must be the catalyst for social change. Those who disagree with Chick-fil-A’s position on marriage have a number of options: they may choose to take their casual-dining business elsewhere; they may demonstrate against the restaurant chain; they may petition the company’s leadership to change its stance. Resorting to political arm-twisting sets an unhealthy and subversive precedent.
The ideological majority of today may be the ideological minority of tomorrow. Ruling factions must not establish a precedent of suppressing dissent...or risk the tables being turned upon them. And that, in a free society, is the death-knell of liberty. 
Suggesting that others no longer have a right to their opinion – even if that opinion runs counter to prevailing societal currents – is unethical at best and tyrannical at worst.
To read the rest of John Ehrett's click here.

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