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Those in power seek to punish political speech they don’t like

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POSTED July 29, 2012 10:35 p.m.

Political correctness is getting a bit dangerous.

Dan Cathy - the president of Chick-fil-A - dared speak his mind.

Cathy said he opposes gay marriage and supported the “biblical definition of the family unit.”

Judging from the reaction of elected leaders from San Francisco to Boston you’d thought that Cathy had announced he was supporting the selling of meth to 10 year-olds. Their remarks were much like Chicago Alderman Proco Moreno who wrote in the Chicago Tribune that “because of (Mr. Cathy’s) ignorance, I will deny Chick-fil-A a permit to open a restaurant in my ward.”

It’s a knee jerk reaction that would have made the Taliban proud.

First of all, there is absolutely no evidence that Chick-fil-A as a business discriminates against gays. It should be noted that the company has never been convicted of any wrongdoing regarding an employee or customer based on their belief, race, sexual orientation, or gender.

That, however, is not enough for the self-anointed thought police. They want to use their position of authority to persecute those who think differently politically.

And like it or not the issue of gay marriage is a political issue.

Make no doubt that Chick-fil-A’s ownership has what could be called deep Christian values. The owners for years have donated millions to various organizations through their WinShape Foundation. Among them are Christian organizations that are dedicated to preserving traditional heterosexual marriages.

It is no different than amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos giving $2.5 million to an organization pushing for the legalization of same sex marriage. Bezos and Cathy are both exercising their right to political speech. The only difference are politicians that disagree with Cathy’s views and are in a  position of power to make him pay the price for exercising his freedom have expressed a willingness to do so.

In short they are saying political speech that goes against their beliefs should be punished by the government. In this case, it is denying Chick-fil-A the right to do business in their jurisdiction.

Some mayors have since backed off on their threats saying it was nothing more than rhetoric. Actually what they said reflected a rare moment of candor. There are the self-righteous in power who view the world as one that should only tolerate views that they embrace.

Chick-fil-A has a long history of putting their principles above profit. Since opening the first restaurant in 1946, the chain has never been open on Sundays. Observing the Sabbath costs them millions of dollars in sales every year. That doesn’t make the owners of Chick-fil-A that plan to build a restaurant in Manteca better than anyone else. It simply demonstrates they are true to their personal Christian values. And since the company has no convictions for violating state or federal labor law over an individual’s sexual preferences or beliefs they also are true to their values as an American. The same can’t be said of those in power lashing out at Chick-fil-A threatening to punish them for taking an opposing view on a political issue.

Even if you support gay marriage you should object to agents of the government threatening to extract the proverbial pound of flesh from the owner of Chick-fil-A for simply exercising his First Amendment rights.

Either the right to exercise the First Amendment is a sacred American birthright or it belongs only to those in power.

 

 

This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209-249-3519.

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