OK. Let me get this straight. I live in the United States of America -- the land of the free and the home of the brave. I live in America, where freedom of speech is supposedly valued and has been protected by the First Amendment for almost 225 years. I live in a country where the Supreme Court of this nation has ruled that nude dancing, flag burning and pornography are protected forms of self-expression because we hold the tenet of the First Amendment so dear. I live in that country.
I live in a country where members of a particular congregation who call themselves a church are so full of hate and so narrow-minded and self-righteous that time and time again they march and protest at the funerals of soldiers who have laid their lives upon the very altar of freedom -- and these protests are upheld on the grounds of free speech.
I live in nation where the Ku Klux Klan is allowed to march and spew hatred and violence, a nation in which municipalities have been forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past year to accommodate the Occupy Wall Street movement, many of whom camp out, often without the appropriate permits, and dirty up our streets and sometimes destroy property -- all in the name of freedom of speech.
I live in that country. And yet, in this very country, Dan Cathy -- whose family has built with their own blood, sweat, toil and tears -- and, yes, Mr. President, they did build it themselves -- one of the finest and most successful businesses in the history of this nation -- is being bludgeoned and chastised and villainized from pillar to post because he had the audacity to proclaim that he and his family believe in and support traditional marriage. "We are very much supportive of the family -- the Biblical definition of the family unit ... " That's what the man said.
You would have thought he had said that Chick-fil-A was in support of Hiltler, Stalin and a yellow fever epidemic from the response Dan Cathy's comments have gotten from across the nation.
The Jim Henson Corporation announced that they were severing all business dealings with the Atlanta-based fast-food company. No more Bert and Ernie with your chicken sandwich. No more tickling Elmo with your waffle fries. No more Muppets, period.
The mayor of Boston has vowed to block Chick-fil-A from building in his city. So did the mayor and a certain city alderman in Chicago. That's the ticket. I don't agree with what the president of a company said so I am going to illegally prevent that person's company from doing business in my city. I am going to speak for millions of people and block any business license application that comes in our direction.
Yeah. That's the spirit. That's the open-mindedness that made America great. (Sarcasm, by the way.)
Gay and Lesbian groups across the country have vowed to bring the giant to its knees by refusing to follow the advice of the Chick-fil-A cows to "eat more chicken."
Understand something here. Dan Cathy -- nor any of his family -- have ever bashed gay people or attempted to discriminate against homosexuals in any manner. The Cathys have given away millions and millions of dollars to worthwhile charities and since it is their money and they earned it themselves they have the right to give it anyone they choose or to withhold it from anyone they choose. Chick-fil-A hires the brightest and nicest workers in the fast food industry. They treat their employees -- well, they treat them like they would like to be treated, and as a result the service at Chick-fil-A has always been a significant cut above the service at other counter service restaurants. Their Winshape program has improved the lives of thousands of people.
Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A has never made a secret of his strong Christian faith and has always run his corporation according to Christian values. I don't know exactly when we started demonizing people for standing up for their Christian beliefs, but whatever day that was was a sad day for our nation.
Don't hear something I am not saying. People who don't agree with the Cathys' position have every right in the world to not eat their chicken. But the Cathys have every right in the world to believe what they believe -- and to state those beliefs. If the truth were known and the public was not afraid of offending the political correctness police, I believe a lot more people would agree with their position than would disagree with it, and I would hope that an even larger percentage of the population would agree with their right to express that opinion.
As for me, I believe every consenting adult in this country has the right to do what and with which and to whom they please -- but I stand firmly with Dan Cathy in his stance on the traditional family. That is my opinion. You are entitled to yours. That's the way it works in a free society.
We are a free society -- at least for the time being. In the meantime, I don't always eat chicken sandwiches but when I do, I am going to eat mine at Chick-fil-A.
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.