Still Didn’t Build That; Chick-fil-A

August 2, 2012

I know I already mentioned the Tumblr blog Didn’t build that .com, but this one made me laugh out loud:

Didn’t build that .com continues to be updated with new items, some of which are hilarious.  There was even one yesterday in honor of Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day!  (The day was a great success, by the way.  I went to the nearest Chick-fil-A for dinner last night, in a mall food court, and the line stretched from the counter to the end of the food court, for the whole hour I was there.  Others report similar results.)

If you’re just joining us, catch up on the Chick-fil-A situation with Mark Steyn.  (Question for the liberals, if you support legally banning Christians from running a business:  “. . . political winds shift. . . . It’s easy to cheer on the thugs when they’re thuggish in your name. What happens when Emanuel’s political needs change?”)

The current spate of “outrage” started when Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy affirmed (when asked) in an interview (this one, I believe) “the company’s support of the traditional family” (“we are married to our first wives”), and that the company supports a program that tries to help couples save their marriages.  This, apparently, liberals cannot abide; some have responded with calls for boycotts and ugly, angry outbursts that I won’t bother quoting or linking to.  The mayors of Chicago and Boston have publicly expressed their desire to use their power as government officials to keep Chick-fil-A from opening restaurants in their cities.

As you encounter these outbursts (or even, by some chance, actual arguments), keep in mind four things:

  1. This interview revealed nothing new.  Dan Cathy’s opinions and Chick-fil-A’s actions were already known.  The fact that the reaction to this interview has been so sudden and so fierce seems to underscore that it is not a rational, considered response, but an emotional outburst.
     
  2. Nowhere in this interview is homosexuality mentioned.
     
  3. At no point has there been any allegation, as far as I am aware, that the company actually discriminates against anyone, say, by not hiring homosexuals.  In fact, the company explicitly says, “The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our Restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect—regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”  (If something more like declining to extend spousal health-care benefits to persons who are not, in fact, married is what supposedly puts Chick-fil-A beyond the pale, you might mention that President Obama himself was officially “opposed to same-sex marriage” until May of this year.  I don’t remember when Rahm Emanuel or his predecessor as mayor ever suggested that President Obama should be unwelcome in Chicago.)
     
  4. In the vision these liberals have for society, it’s not that companies aren’t allowed to have an official opinion about marriage and sexual morality one way or the other; they’re welcome to have any opinion they want, as long as it’s the one approved opinion.  As of this writing, well-known companies American Airlines, Citibank, Microsoft, Nationwide Insurance, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Lexus, Prudential Insurance, BP, Chevron, Google, Nike, Chase, Dell, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Macy’s, Met Life, Shell, and Starbucks all publicly support homosexuality.  I am not aware of any major conservatives’ calling for boycotts of them; on the contrary, for whatever it’s worth, conservative talk-radio hosts (Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity, in my hearing) have repeatedly recommended that conservatives not boycott companies just because they disagree with them.  Isn’t that interesting?

Read more about the Chick-fil-A situation:

  • Policy Mic
    (Why ban Christian-owned businesses from a city, but not the churches themselves?)
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21 Responses to “Still Didn’t Build That; Chick-fil-A”


  1. I probably should have linked to sources for the above sentence “The mayors of Chicago and Boston have publicly expressed their desire to use their power as government officials to keep Chick-fil-A from opening restaurants in their cities.” Here are two:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/ct-met-chicago-chick-fil-a-20120725,0,929023.story

    “Because of this man’s ignorance, I will now be denying Chick-fil-A’s permit to open a restaurant in the 1st Ward.”

    The alderman has the ideological support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

    “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values,” the mayor said in a statement when asked about Moreno’s decision. “They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”

    http://bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20120720menino_on_chick-fil-a_stuff_it_vows_to_block_eatery_over_anti-gay_attitude

    Mayor Menino on Chick-fil-A: Stuff it
    Vows to block eatery over anti-gay attitude
    . . .
    “If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult — unless they open up their policies,” he warned.

    I believe (I haven’t researched it further) both have subsequently walked back their statements somewhat, possibly after it was pointed out to them that it would be illegal (under current Supreme Court jurisprudence on the First Amendment) to ban Christians from running a business, but the statements were made. Can you imagine if the mayor of some conservative (but equally large) city said that he would, with the force of law, ban pro-homosexual businesses from his city?

    • Snoodickle Says:

      The religion argument is the weaker of the two potential First Amendment arguments. In my view, the stronger argument is the Freedom of Speech argument, that is, that the municipalities are retaliating against the Chick-fil-a owner for exercising his Free Speech Rights, and that such retaliation has a chilling effect on speech.

      The religion argument is not as clear. For one, the municipalities are not targeting Christianity qua Christianity. Their position would be the same as to a Jewish or Muslim business owner who opposed gay marriage, or an atheist for that matter. Dan Cathy could argue that opposition to gay marriage is part of his religious beliefs, but the government is not targeting his religion; it is targeting discrimination in general. If someone opposed inter-racial marriage based on his religious beliefs (which many have and still do, God bless you Christianity!), no one would say the government is targeting religion if it took action against that person. That said, unless there is evidence that Chick-fil-a actually discriminates against homosexuals (e.g. denying spousal benefits to employees in a state that recognizes gay marriage), there is no legal basis to deny permits to Chick-fil-a, as Cathy’s comments are protected under the Free Speech Clause.

      It’s easy to sympathize with what the mayors did on a moral level, though. Many Christians, though not all (it’s interesting that the church is not unified on this issue, by the way) treat homosexuals as subhuman, and believe that it is okay to wreck other people’s lives because “God” told them it was okay. If we want to live in a truly free, civilized society that cherishes liberty, this is unacceptable.


    • Since you decided to serve your legal analysis with a side of potshots at Christianity, I just want to remind you that your own religious beliefs contradict each other and are logically untenable. When you’re ready to admit that, I hope you’ll take an open-minded look at Christianity, as I eventually did.

      Incidentally, Christianity does not teach that homosexuals are “subhuman”; on the contrary, it teaches that we’re all sinners. Homosexuality is one sin among many.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        You do realize that at the same time you were calling my beliefs “logically untenable,” you were trying to defend the Bible’s condonation of slavery, trying to defend your cherry-picking-style interpretation of the Bible, refusing to acknowledge that possibility that morality could inhere in man in the absence of God, along with countless other contradictions and logical errors.


      • You kept changing what you said you believed and/or your beliefs contradicted each other. Your position(s) is (are) untenable. If you have changed your mind again and are ready to have the conversation over again from a more clear-eyed position, I’m happy to discuss theology with you again any time.

        You didn’t point out any contradictions in my position. If you have now found one, I would be very interested to know about it. Note that as a prerequisite to finding contradictions in the other guy’s worldview, you have to make the effort actually to understand it (on its own terms); you can’t just observe that his position contradicts some of your preconceived notions, or your hostile caricatures of his position, and then say that you’ve found his position to be internally inconsistent.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        From what I can gather, my beliefs (and I emphasize this word) are not logically untenable. The only mistake I made was trying to argue with people who insist on using logical extremes, and who confuse belief with absolute knowledge. My position, as I understand it, is that I am willing to acknowledge that there may be supernatural forces in the universe, but I also believe (again, emphasis on this word) that there are limits on those forces, and that science should be the starting point when looking at whether something is true or not. Thus, I believe that there are forces in the universe that science cannot explain, but I do not believe those forces impregnate virgins or raise people from the dead. I never claimed to know this for a fact, indeed I have no knowledge of these forces at all; this is just what I believe. I don’t know anything; neither do you. Do you understand the difference between knowledge and belief?

        From a pure logical standpoint, as I acknowledged in the thread you reference, strictly speaking anything is possible. So it is technically possible that God impregnated a virgin, no matter how implausible or irrational that story may seem. However, if it is indeed true that anything is possible, you must acknowledge the possibility that God doesn’t exist, that there are multiple gods, that the Bible is false, or that God isn’t what you claim him to be. Your failure to acknowledge that anything is possible, while at the same time insisting that I acknowledge the same, is a blatant logical contradiction.

        So, to be clear, your claim that my beliefs are logically untenable derives from your belief that logic requires that if I acknowledge the possibility of the supernatural, that I must acknowledge that anything is possible. But that doesn’t mean I have to believe it. I acknowledge the possibility that unicorns exist too, but I don’t believe it. Nor should you, unless someone provides you with evidence of their existence.

        Now that I have addressed your concern about my beliefs being logically untenable, and have acknowledged that strictly speaking anything is possible, will you do the same?


      • That’s not what I said at all.

        Would you like me to recap?

        I wasn’t trying to get you to “acknowledge” that “anything is possible”, and it’s not clear that it makes any sense for you to try to get me to do so, either.

        Yes, please tell me what “knowledge” and “belief” mean according to your way of using the terms.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        Explain again how my beliefs are logically untenable.


      • Among other things,

        (1) You were sure that slavery is morally wrong.

        (2) Yet when pressed, you claimed to be agnostic as to whether God exists and whether there is any such thing as objective morality.

        I’m not trying to discourage you from changing your mind in response to new information. Nothing is wrong with changing your mind. If one or both of those is no longer your position, I would be interested to hear it.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        So let me get this straight: you are claiming that one cannot hold that slavery is immoral unless one acknowledges the existence of a higher power?

      • Snoodickle Says:

        You do realize that this man, among countless others, would vehemently disagree with you.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Martin_(philosopher)


      • I don’t have to claim that; the article you yourself previously linked to freely acknowledged that if the moral law is objective or “transcendent”, it must have come from some outside authority; that if it comes only from “biology”, it is subjective—in other words, not morality.

        I have never heard of Mr. Martin, but if you have read in his writings some counterargument that applies here, I trust you can make the argument yourself.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        The argument, or at least one of them, is that morality is a collective sense of what is right and what is wrong, but that the instinct is itself a product of evolution, and does not flow from any supernatural force. I don’t know what your definition of “morality” is, but it doesn’t square with the definition assigned to it by countless philosophers and people who study this kind of thing for a living. The fact that you think your opinion on this matter is the only one that logic supports is amusing.


      • Is that your position, then? that “morality is a collective sense of what is right and what is wrong, but that the instinct is itself a product of evolution”?

      • Snoodickle Says:

        Not necessarily, but I think it’s a v

      • Snoodickle Says:

        iable theory.


      • Right, so as I said, (2) you claim to be agnostic as to whether there is any such thing as morality. If “morality” means only that we have an instinctive feeling (because of evolution) that certain things are right or wrong (and not that anything is actually, in reality, right or wrong, independent of our feelings about it), that’s not morality; you are then not free to argue (1), Slavery is wrong. You can only say, I have certain feelings about slavery.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        You’re being silly.


  2. […] Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day (August 1st), by the way, was a great success, drawing huge crowds across the country; you can get some sense of it from Hot Air, the Daily Beast, and even a New York Times blogger.  See also this local-news site in Pennsylvania.  The day may have set a single-day sales record for Chick-fil-A. […]


  3. Add to the list of big-name companies supporting homosexuality: Home Depot and JCPenney.


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