Continuing the dangerous trend of late, we once again see the government stepping in and penalizing a business because of its religious beliefs. Last week, the Denver City Council halted approval of a new Chick-fil-a location at Denver International Airport over “moral” concerns due to the company’s previously-publicized stance on gay marriage.
Of course, this is not the first time Chick-fil-a has faced backlash from local government. As The Denver Post reports:
City leaders in Chicago attempted to block a new Chick-fil-A location for similar reasons three years ago, ultimately backing down after reaching an agreement with the chain. Mayors in Boston and San Francisco vowed to fend off any foray by Chick-fil-A into those cities. The issue continues to flare on some university campuses.And while, sadly, it’s less surprising these days — though no less outrageous — to hear this is happening yet again, what is surprising is who’s coming to Chick-fil-a’s defense in Denver. None other than Mother Jones magazine, the publication that, as discoverthenetworks.org describes: prides itself on continuing her pursuit of socialist “social justice” by doing investigative reporting that mostly targets corporations, capitalists, private property, and Republican political officeholders.
So why is Mother Jones coming to the defense of this business that’s previously been vocal about its opposition to same-sex marriage? As Mother Jones writer Kevin Drum writes about the situation in Denver:
Chick-fil-A’s reputation as an opponent of same-sex marriage has imperiled the fast-food chain’s potential return to Denver International Airport, with several City Council members this week passionately questioning a proposed concession agreement.
Councilman Paul Lopez called opposition to the chain at DIA “really, truly a moral issue on the city.”…Robin Kniech, the council’s first openly gay member, said she was most worried about a local franchise generating “corporate profits used to fund and fuel discrimination.” She was first to raise Chick-fil-A leaders’ politics during a Tuesday committee hearing.….Several council members — including four on the six-member committee — raised questions related to Chick-fil-A’s religion-influenced operation, which includes keeping all franchises closed on Sundays.
Most focused on political firestorms sparked by remarks made by Chick-fil-A’s now-CEO Dan Cathy, reaching a peak in 2012 after court decisions favorable to same-sex marriage. The company also came under fire for donations made by charitable arms to groups opposing LGBT causes.
This stuff happened four years ago, and the company halted contributions to anti-gay groups a year later. Cathy presumably still doesn’t support gay marriage, but I really don’t think that should be a precondition for winning a bid with a government agency.
Check that out — a company’s stance on gay marriage shouldn’t be a precondition for winning a bid with a government agency! Hear hear! In fact, I’d add, a company’s stance on marriage should play no role whatsoever!
And when several council members go beyond that, raising questions about “Chick-fil-A’s religion-influenced operation,” all it does is confirm the worst hysteria from the right wing that merely being Christian is enough to arouse the hatred of the left. That’s just wildly inappropriate.
And yep, questioning the company’s “religion-influenced operation” (sounds sinister, doesn’t it?) is indeed “wildly inappropriate.” And unconstitutional, by the way — a big slap in the face of religious liberty protected by the First Amendment. All of which suggests the “hysteria from the right wing” (I guess he’s including us in that) is actually rooted in reality.
If the Denver City Council were giving a popular fast-food outlet a hard time because its CEO contributed to Planned Parenthood four years ago, we’d be outraged—and rightly so. I don’t blame conservatives for being equally outraged about this.
I have no doubt Mr. Drum is absolutely right about this last point — liberal outrage would be fierce if the tables were turned. (However, I will point out that what’s being attacked in the Chick-fil-a case is the First Amendment right to freedom of religion, whereas the constitutional right at play in a similar situation involving Planned Parenthood is unclear. I’m pretty sure the sale of aborted baby parts falls outside the constitutional protections around abortion defined in the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.)
While I don’t fully endorse Mr. Drum’s arguments, I do appreciate a fresh and more reasoned voice from the left in this ongoing debate over religious liberty. We’ll be watching in early September to see how the Denver City Council ultimately rules.