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JV Editorial

In Defense of Chick-Fil-A

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We’re about to do something very unusual for the Jewish Voice: we’re going to talk about a non-kosher restaurant. The popular fried chicken franchise has been making headlines as of late, ever since the company’s president and COO Dan Cathy went on record as saying his company stands for traditional Christian values, and therefore is against the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex unions. (You’d think a man with a woman’s first name for his last name would be more sensitive to a population that is often denigrated for possessing characteristics typically associated with the opposite sex, but I digress.)
Now, we’re pretty sure that a chicken sandwich can’t be homophobic. But apparently some people are up in arms over the fact that this restaurant supports religious organizations which also oppose gay marriage. It’s gotten to the point that they’ve been denied business permits in several cities, with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel saying that the principles espoused by the restaurant’s executives are “not Chicago’s values.” Aside from the fact that he basically suggested the conservative Chicogoans aren’t a real part of Chicago, one wonders if Emanuel’s recent embrace of famous bigot Louis Farrakhan means that anti-Semitism is now a Chicago value.

The First Amendment doesn’t just protect freedom of speech that we find agreeable. To deny the owners of Chick-Fil-A their right to the pursuit if happiness (by conducting business and earning an honest living) because we disagree with their opinions is un-American, plain and simple. A friend recently said to me that Chick-Fil-A’s treatment of the LGBT crowd is equivalent of America’s treatment of Blacks before the Civil Rights movement. Unless they’re making gays drink from separate soda fountains, such a claim is ridiculous on its face, and highly offensive. If you don’t like what Chick-Fil-A has to say, there’s an American way to fight back. You vote with your wallet. Don’t eat there, and encourage like-minded individuals to do likewise. Let the market take care of itself, rather than imposing your views by engaging in the kind of discrimination you claim to be fighting.

Most of our readers don’t really have a dog in this fight, as they keep kosher, and are therefore not part of Chick-Fil-A’s target demo. But if personal ideology becomes a barrier to business, if people are being stripped of their economic rights because their religious ideas are unpopular, fighting such injustice is indeed a Jewish cause. As the original iconoclasts, we stand to lose the most.

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