Another politician moves to ban Chick-fil-A restaurants
We’ve already heard the Really Deep Thoughts of Boston mayor Thomas Menino, who wants to ban Chick-fil-A restaurants because of CEO Dan Cathy’s politically incorrect stance on traditional marriage. Now another doctrinaire politician is polishing up his jackboots, seeking to punish Cathy (and his prospective employees and customers) for exercising his free speech rights.
This time it’s Chicago alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno, who if anything is even more grimly amusing than Menino when he makes Orwellian efforts to disguise proto-fascist ideological conformity as “tolerance.” He shopped an op-ed to the Chicago Tribune in which he fulminates that because of Dan Cathy’s “ignorance,” Moreno will “now be denying Chick-fil-A’s permit to open a restaurant in the 1st Ward.”
If you’re a Chicagoan who thinks free speech should be answered with more free speech, rather than government oppression, “Joe” Moreno wants you to know you don’t live in that kind of city – not on his watch. “If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don’t want you in the 1st Ward,” he grumbled. Well, unless you discriminate against practicing Christians, that is.
Chick-fil-A does not “discriminate” against anyone in its hiring or service practices. It would be nice if Moreno were required to prove otherwise, under threat of removal from office, to back up his wild allegations, but Chicago is not that kind of city.
If any of Moreno’s constituents retain enough vestigial American patriotism to feel queasy about political leverage being deployed against a law-abiding private company, they should be comforted by the alderman’s interpretation of the First Amendment: “You have the right to say what you want to say, but zoning is not a right.” However, abject submission to the alderman’s political agenda might just squeeze the necessary zoning permits out of him – provided Chick-fil-A is willing to “work with [lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgendered groups] in terms of hiring, and there would have to be a public apology from [Dan Cathy].”
In other words, Cathy must renounce his religious beliefs. Freedom of religion is such a tedious obstacle to the totalitarian mindset.
Moreno claims he’s also really concerned about traffic in the area where the new restaurant would be built. If that’s really his concern, he probably shouldn’t have rattled off a statement loudly declaring that he was blocking construction of the restaurant because of its CEO’s politically unacceptable exercise of free speech.
Moreno might also want to shoot a note about how those traffic concerns are the real issue to the current head of Chicago’s one-party government, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who supported the alderman by saying, “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values. They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”
This isn’t the first time Emanuel has declared his superior knowledge of other people’s “values” recently. Just a few weeks ago, he appealed to the “values” of Chicago gang-bangers when he asked them to aim more carefully during shootouts, so as to avoid hitting children. But evidently crime is all cleaned up in Chicago now, so its government can move on to the really important task of preventing ideological non-conformists from bringing jobs to the city.
It’s also interesting that Emanuel is convinced the proposed restaurant would be “empty.” This is one of the geniuses that brought you the Obama recession, having served as White House chief of staff, so his business acumen is not exactly inspiring. Maybe he’d feel better if Chick-fil-A served their sandwiches on surplus Solyndra solar panels.
Boycotts and denunciations are one thing, but government force deployed against a private citizen’s business interests, to punish him for unacceptable social positions, is quite another. It should not be necessary to agree with Dan Cathy in the slightest to be horrified at the way he is being treated by these totalitarian politicians. In fact, the very definition of “tolerance” involves standing up for the rights to speech, and religious conscience, of people you disagree with. Too many of us have become comfortable with the use of raw political power to re-define such basic concepts.