Let's talk Chick-Fil-A! According to Mike Huckabee, Chick fil-A is a solid Christian family food company that does not discriminate against anyone and should be free to espouse their religious beliefs under the First Amendment. Seems Huckabee has been beating the "Drumsticks" against efforts by coalitions opposing the opening of new Chick-fil-A's in some towns on the premise that they have routinely voiced opposition to Gay and Lesbian rights and have spent corporate money supporting institutions that openly preach hatred towards Gays and Lesbians. The entire campaign to counter this effort, has taken the tone of a "Christian Food Fight" (per The Chicago Tribune) engaged and promoted by Mr. Huckabee, a Baptist Preacher by trade. This whole "Tempest in as Chicken Coop" started when the owner of the eatery openly bashed Gay folks in an interview with The Biblical Reporter (I was unaware that such a publication existed, I thought they went out of business after Deuteronomy was written...now that IS politically incorrect!). Seems that when the boycott was suggested by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance, the company could have let it happen and none of the publicity (positive or negative) would have arisen, except it seems the owners of Chick fil-A jumped on the chance to use the conflict to elevate their beliefs onto the national stage, and conservatives have been only too happy to oblige them (and give them a ton of free publicity in the process). Now that the publicity is shifting from being positive to overtly negative, the Company and its owners are attempting to "put the paste back into the tube." Oops.
I raise this issue not because I care about Chick-fil-A. I have never eaten at Chick-fil-A, not because I am engaging in some sort of protest, but because they do not serve Kosher food. So I have no "Bone to pick", except when I repeatedly hear or read comments relating to the First Amendment and the invocation of religious freedom. Many folks on the Left side of the political spectrum are incensed that local governments could allow new Chick fil-A's to open in their towns and cities. Some are even demanding they not be allowed to open on college campuses. I have an obvious problem with this sentiment. Government, has no role in inhibiting a company from opening a commercial operation just because it may not accept, endorse, or like the guiding principles of that company. By the same token, the stance taken on the political Right that this company represents true "Christian Values" and that therefore, any suppression of their opportunity to open new franchises is a further attack on those "Christian Values" is equally ridiculous.
Included in the arguments I have heard and read is the claim that Chick-fil-A does not discriminate in any way against Gays and Lesbians. That is fine, but how close to the line do they get if they openly admit to donating big corporate bucks to groups that openly advocate for discriminating against Gays and Lesbians? If you want to open the door to First Amendment arguments, then you will have to open the door to The Equal Protection Clause contained in the 14th Amendment as well.
But what gets my attention more is the political Right's hypocritical attack on those that choose not to buy from Chick -fil-A because of their stated company policies. Within the very same First Amendment Huckabee and his supporters wave around, is also the Freedom to Associate, a form of Free Speech allowing people to collectively decide not to commercially support any company! Furthermore, the First Amendment also includes The Establishment Clause, wherein no government shall favor one religion over another. Mr. Huckabee's "Christian Food Fight" alludes to the notion that the First Amendment protects Christian America from non-believers. And THAT is the issue I have the biggest problem with. Since when are Constitutional Rights supposed to be more sacred to Christians than any other religious group in America? When it comes down to it, the First Amendment applies to everyone, not just those that subscribe to "Christian Values."
Further discussion of Freedom of Speech, Association, Equal Protection and other aspects of the
Constitution, may be found in my book "How Our Government Really Works, Despite What They Say."