Officials in at least three cities have vowed to block efforts to open Chick-fil-A restaurants after the company’s president told reporters that he supported the traditional definition of marriage – and warned that redefining marriage might bring God’s judgment on the nation.
“Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement to the Chicago Tribune. “They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents.”
Emanuel was vowing his support for Alderman Proco Moreno’s announcement that he would block construction of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in his district.
“If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don’t want you in the First Ward,” he told the newspaper.
Chick-fil-A is privately owned by the Cathy family. The company president, Dan Cathy, drew the wrath of gay rights advocates and supporters when he made recent statements that some have alleged are anti-gay.
Cathy told Baptist Press that the company was unapologetically in favor of traditional marriage.
“Guilty as charged,” he said. “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.”
In a separate interview on the Ken Coleman Show — Cathy suggested that the nation could face God’s wrath over the redefinition of marriage.
“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’” Cathy said. “I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about.”
Alderman Moreno called Cathy’s comments “bigoted” and “homophobic.”
“Because of this man’s ignorance, I will now be denying Chick-fil-A’s permit to open a restaurant in the First Ward,” he announced.
Boston Mayor Tom Menino was the first to announce that the Atlanta-based company would not be welcomed in his city.
“You can’t have a business in the City of Boston that discriminates against a population,” he told the Boston Globe. “We’re an open city. We’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion.”
And Mountain View, Calif, a bedroom community of San Francisco, has temporarily blocked the chicken chain from opening.
A homosexual couple spearheaded an effort to launch a zoning challenge.
“It could be Mother Teresa that owns it and it would be a bad place,” resident David Speakman told SFGate.com. “But because it was a bunch of bigots, it gave us an extra nudge.”
With the help of friends, a gay South Bay couple has at least temporarily blocked the very Christian-minded Chick-fil-A
The company’s position on traditional marriage notwithstanding, threats to ban the company have drawn fire from editorial pages across the nation.
The Los Angeles Times condemned the decision, calling it far more troubling than Chick-fil-A’s support of traditional marriage.
“Public officials have a responsibility to carry out their ministerial tasks fairly and evenhandedly – and to uphold the principle of free speech – whether or not they like a business executive’s social or political stances,” the Times opined.
The Boston Globe wondered “which part of the First Amendment does Menino not understand? A business owner’s political or religious beliefs should not be a test for the worthiness of his or her application for a business license.
Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin said “Boston’s Founding Fathers must be steaming in their graves.”
“When an elected public official wields the club of government against a Christian business in the name of “tolerance,” it’s not harmless kid stuff,” Malkin wrote. “It’s chilling.”
Meanwhile, thousands of Christians are mobilizing efforts to support Chick-fil-A – led by Fox News Channel host and former Ark. Governor Mike Huckabee.
Huckabee has declared August 1st as Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.
“Let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick-fil-A on Wednesday, August 1,” Huckabee said.
Huckabee said the company has come under attack from militant homosexuals and is being “smeared by vicious hate speech and intolerant bigotry from the left.”
“The militant homosexual advocates have launched an all out assault on Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A,” he said. “The attempts to hurt or destroy Chick-fil-A are nothing short of economic bullying.”
Donald Wildmon, the founder of the American Family Association, is backing Huckabee’s efforts saying he hoped it would generate the largest one-day sales in the company’s history.
“I have been incensed at the vitriolic assaults on the Chick-fil-A company,” Wildmon wrote in an email. “It’s a great American story that is being smeared by vicious hate speech and intolerant bigotry from the left.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, was especially disturbed by the actions of Boston’s mayor.
“This is really outrageous when you see this is the train that follows same sex marriage,” Perkins told Fox News. “This idea of the loss of religious freedom – the freedom of speech — and it’s on perfect display in Boston with the intolerance of this mayor.”
Perkins noted that Americans have overwhelmingly endorsed the traditional definition of marriage – 32 times in 32 states.
“Chick-fil-A is in the mainstream, he said. “The mayor of Boston is in the minority.”
“It’s about forcing Americans who do not agree with this agenda to comply and if a business dare step outside of the PC lines they will be attacked just as we are seeing Chick-fil-A being attacked,” Perkins added.