Okay, maybe not the “face of tyranny,” but definitely a step in the direction of less freedom and more state control over our thoughts and actions. By now many of you are aware of the recent flap in Chicago over comments a local alderman and the mayor made regarding the restaurant chain, Chick-fil-A, wanting to open a new store in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. Here’s the scoop. Chick-fil-A owner, Dan Cathy, is an evangelical Christian. The Chick-fil-A restaurant chain is a family business that promotes family values. Cathy is quoted as saying that he is “guilty as charged” for believing that marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman.
Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno find this stance offensive and unacceptable. Moreno is a supporter of gay marriage, and he said, “If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don’t want you in the 1st Ward…Because of [Dan Cathy’s] ignorance, I will now be denying Chick-fil-A’s permit to open a restaurant in the 1st Ward.” Moreno vowed to use something called ‘aldermanic privilege’ to block Chick-fil-A’s building permit in his ward. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who apparently decided he also supports gay marriage, chimed in later by saying, “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values…They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”
That’s the backdrop of this little fiasco. Let’s analyze the ‘logic’ of Moreno and Emanuel’s stance. Because Dan Cathy rejects the radical redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples, they want to punish him by denying the building permit of another Chick-fil-A restaurant in Chicago. The basis for this action? Chick-fil-A ‘discriminates’ against homosexuals. How precisely does Chick-fil-A discriminate against homosexuals? No evidence is put forward by anyone. Apparently having a moral conviction against same-sex marriage is the same as discriminating against homosexuals. If you agree with that line of thinking, then, I’m sorry to say, you have deficient reasoning capabilities. There is absolutely no evidence put forward that Chick-fil-A discriminates against homosexual customers or employees. Their only ‘crime,’ if you will, is that the owner is on the wrong side of a social issue from the mayor of Chicago and one of its aldermen. If anyone is guilty of discrimination, its the City of Chicago if it goes through with its threats to block Chick-fil-A’s building permit; the discrimination being against Dan Cathy and his first amendment rights.
Now the purpose of this post isn’t to debate the finer points of this specific issue, but to use this issue to demonstrate how tyranny spreads. Ald. Moreno and Mayor Emanuel are the new face of tyranny. There is no legal reason to deny Chick-fil-A a building permit. Yet here we have representatives of the State using their considerable influence to block, what by all accounts should be, a private business transaction between two private entities. They also, by means of punishing Chick-fil-A for its owner’s opinions, want to force people who have similar opinions from voicing their opinions in the public square. They do this by laying down false accusations, ad hominem attack, and using the power of the State to coerce people into a certain course of action. The way the City of Chicago is handling itself is not the way a free society is supposed to handle itself, but the way tyrannies handle things.
What bothers me the most about all of this is the fact that some of my fellow Chicagoans agree with Moreno and Emanuel. The would prefer the City prevent Chick-fil-A from doing business in Chicago rather than allow a perfectly harmless business transaction take place. If people find Dan Cathy’s opinion offensive enough that they would boycott Chick-fil-A, then let them. The best way to show one’s disapproval is to not do business with them.
The cost of doing legitimate business is already prohibitively expensive in cities like Chicago without the ‘thought police’ adding their $0.02. And make no mistake, that’s exactly what this is; a business is being punished because of what its owner thinks. The people who approve of the city’s handling of this affair better beware. The State craves power and will stop at nothing to accumulate and maintain its power base. Sooner or later everyone will feel the squeeze.