Chick-fil-A and the Silliness of “Tolerance”

If you have your finger on the pulse on social news lately you’re no doubt aware the those mean and nasty homophobic people at Chick-fil-A have been at it again.

It seems that President Dan Cathy was being interviewed on a radio show, probably sitting in his backyard in shirt sleeves just shooting the breeze. While discussing fatherhood Cathy commented that he supported the Biblical view of marriage being between a man and a woman and further stated, “I think we are inviting God’s judgement on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes marriage’.”

No surprises there. The Cathy’s are well known and outspoken about having founded and continuing to run their company on Christian principles. You’d think it would be more of a surprise if Dan had said anything different.

Apparently though the “tolerance minded” mayors of both Boston and Chicago have taken it upon themselves to be quite intolerant of Dan’s position.

It seems now that in Chicago at least the claim by the city government is that Chick-fil-A’s values are “not reflective of their (our) city” and both cities are telling Chick-fil-A that at a minimum they don’t want them doing business there and at a maximum they will actively try to block them from expanding there.

And here’s the silly part…they’ll block them because they claim Chick-fil-A is intolerant!!! I should note that “silly” was not my first choice for word or phrase there but I wanted the post to stay away from profanity so I chose to go with it.

I wonder if the mayors of Chicago and Boston are also ready to condemn and kick out the Catholic church from within their city limits. Will they stop the Salvation Army from ringing bells at Christmas too? Will the Chicago city government go after Moody Bible Institute as well and give them the boot? All of these organizations share a similar perspective on marriage.

Truth is they probably won’t because, after all, their stance is not consistent, like Chick-fil-A’s is, it is political.

I love the fact that the ACLU has come out in defense of Chick-fil-A on this one. While they don’t in any way agree with Cathy’s position they do defend his right to have an opinion, and to openly speak it, without fear of being prejudiced against. Interesting twist there eh? Good on ’em though for being consistent!

According to Webster’s:
TOLERANCE: Willingness to recognize and respect the beliefs or practices of others.

So let’s be clear. Dan Cathy did NOT disrespect the beliefs or practices of the LGBT community. He simply commented that he didn’t think it was wise to disagree with God regarding marriage.

On the other hand Dan’s beliefs and practices have ABSOLUTELY been disrespected. and there are really only two responses that anyone who wants to defend that kind of attitude can make:

“Yeah, well I don’t care he’s bad.”
“Those beliefs aren’t worth respecting.

Both quite intolerant statements.

So what can we learn from Dan’s faux pas?

1. The “Tolerance” movement has ceased being about tolerance and its adherents have started more openly arguing that anyone who doesn’t agree with them is a bigot. Which is quite bigoted really.

2. The person with the biggest microphone usually wins so be careful what you say in public. For those keeping score at home conservatives in general have smaller microphones these days.

3. The Christian perspective, while once mainstream in this country, is no longer even remotely fashionable and is leaning towards becoming quite unfashionable. That means Cristian folks don’t enjoy the same freedom of receptivity they once did. Get used to it and adjust.

Kudos to Dan for staying consistent. Kudos the the ACLU…never thought I’d say that…for doing likewise. Silly laughter in the direction of the mayors of Chicago and Boston while they publicly display their cranial rectal impaction.

Just to be clear I am not now, nor have I ever been a Chick-fil-A employee. (Although several attempts have been made.) I have, however, worked pretty extensively with CfA people and have found them to be excellent folks across the board. Believe me when I say they are not prejudiced, they’ll sell chicken to anyone!

All of this leads me to this question:
In today’s increasingly polarized political climate is true tolerance even possible?

20 responses to “Chick-fil-A and the Silliness of “Tolerance”

  1. Hey Curtis,
    Excellent post. I just started this week with my blog about tolerance. It is very interesting to read about the issues there are in the USA.
    I am Dutch, the people that are considered to be open and tolerant, but as you say, is true tolerance possible? We also have our problems, and defining boundaries of tolerance is quite difficult.
    If you are interested read my first post @
    The blog just started out so there is not much to read yet, however I am working on that, and reading stories like yours shows me that there is a lot of work to be done to promote a proper tolerant attitude (or to clarify what that is to start with).
    Keep up the good work!

    Tim Van

  2. Very well said! I don’t know of ANY two people (who actually think for themselves) who agree on everything! We all should be alowed to voice our opinions! Silencing voices is how governments dominate and abuse people!

  3. Intolerance will destroy our democracy. In the spirit of Voltaire – I may not agree with your view, but I defend your right to have and express one.

  4. This whole thing is crazy. There was never any disrespect in the comments Dan made. Everything was very respectful. It’s been those on the other side that have thrown hate and vitriol at this company. The funniest, or is it saddest, thing is while Chick-Fil-A’s values do not fit into the city of Chicago and Boston, porn dealers, strip clubs, and more apparently do…

  5. They deserve the freedom to speak their mind, and I reserve the freedom to choose to not shop there. I don’t really care what they believe, just keep your mouth shut if you are trying to run a business. That’s the smart move.

    • Good call Max. Unfortunately Dan wasn’t grand standing, trying to proselytize, or even saying anything about their business. He was just answering a question. Believe me when I say I doubt he’ll be that cavalier again.

  6. The problem is that he gives a lot of money to anti-marriage organizations that harm a lot of people. By supporting them, you’re indirectly donating to those cause.

  7. i admit, I’m one of the “Chik-fil-A” is bad types, but only because I don’t agree with them. But I agree 100% with ya on this silly intolerance stuff. It’s funny how intolerant people can be towards perceived (or real) intolerance.
    I figure it’s this way. I don’t agree with Mr. Cathy. I think he and many Christians, interpret the bible to support their positions on things, and casually disregard that which doesn’t fit their life. But really that’s all fine, that’s their right. I absolutely want to live in a world where he has the right to run his business the way he wants, so long as I have the right to not support him or his business. Would I tell people to eat there? No. But i wouldn’t bar the doors or try to keep someone from walking in.

    I’ve wondered if part the internet-rage was that he was so casual and almost flippant about his answer.

    • Context is crucial John. Remember his statement was about supporting a Biblical view of marriage. There is no direct attack on anyone in that he merely supports a biblical definition of the institution. It wasn’t a prepared political speech, or a soap box statement, just an answer to a question on a radio interview. I’m sure his level of formality fit the occasion as he saw it…talking on the phone from his backyard

      • Agree completely. Also IIRC it was a baptist radio show, so really the entire context makes a lot of sense and tracks with what I’d expect to hear.

        The internet (myself included sometimes) is quick to rage 🙂
        In a perfect world we’d let each other marry the people we love and business, politicians and neighbors wouldn’t get involved.

      • Or at the very minimum have that level of civility in the conversation. 🙂 Thanks John!

      • LOL that’s just crazy talk right there! 🙂

  8. Very nicely worded post! Dead on. And no, I don’t think ‘True Tolerance’ is possible today. Its moreover ‘Selective Tolerance.’ It completely depends upon who’s mouth words originate from & who’s ears those words are found in. Hey, I have an idea…let’s eat more chicken!

  9. I honestly believe that the biggest problem in this mess is that a couple of elected officials went public with a statement about what was “good” or “right” for their cities, and had plans of how they intended to back-up their claims. Did they ask their constituents how they felt? Did they base their ideas on what the people who elected them feel, or on their own personal beliefs?

    Don’t get me wrong… I don’t have a firm “side”‘in this argument. I’m a Christian who happens to have a lot of questions about the topic of same-sex marriages. What I do know is that politicians in our country keep drawing lines in the sand that seem to polarize people more and more. Politics has become way too powerful in our country… especially when we try to make every topic an “all or nothing” proposition!

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