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In the US, one chicken dish now symbolises either traditional families or rank homophobia: on the left, there’s an Orwellian campaign against marriage

In an American election year issues become fascinatingly over-the-top

By on Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Gay Marriage Corporations

America, during the year running up to an election, is for a European observer a most fascinating spectacle. The issues are the same: but the chance is enormously increased that they will become so heightened as to reach utterly surreal heights. I am now an addict of Fox News between 6 and 8pm, our time, when the wondrous Megyn Kelly presides over the most fascinating news show on television. She is relaxed, beautiful, intelligent, well-informed and funny. She is a former courtroom attorney with a mind like a razor. Forget Jeremy Paxman: this is real forensic interviewing, without the slightest element of Paxman’s unpleasant hectoring. And she has a wonderful sense of the absurd.

But that’s not where I discovered the most absurd story of all so far (absurd but also deeply sinister): that was in The Times, yesterday:

One of the worrying things about modern America is just how politicised daily life has become. The clothes you wear, the church you attend, the things you eat – in the paradigm of the culture war, everything becomes a statement about political values…

In mid-July, Dan Cathy, the president of fast food chain Chick-fil-A, told an online Baptist journal that his company was “Very much supportive of the family – the Biblical family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family led-business and we are still married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

…. when the quote hit the national media, the LGBTQ lobby went wild. The Jim Henson Company (of The Muppets fame) severed an agreement to make children’s toys for meal deals. Nearly 6,000 people signed up online to boycott the chain and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation called for a kiss-in at local stores.

There was a lot more of the same kind of thing, of which more presently. First, though, the views of Dan Cathy, who is now being portrayed as the embodiment of all that is homophobic, repay a little more study: for as far as I can discover, all he has ever done is to defend the traditional, biblically defined, family and therefore to oppose gay marriage.

He has for some years supported organisations which oppose gay marriage. Chick-fil-A, For instance, last year co-sponsored a conference on marriage, together with the Pennsylvania Family Institute, an organisation which has campaigned in favour of California’s Proposition 8, the ballot title of which you no doubt remember was Eliminates Rights of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. Its proponents called it the California Marriage Protection Act, and it was passed in the November 2008 state elections and subsequently challenged in court. After being overturned in several courts it was finally appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday: so it’s a particularly topical issue in the US (as gay marriage remains here, indeed: the online petition against the wretched Cameron’s plans has now reached 589,946 signatures—if you haven’t signed, do it now here).

So, that’s where Dan Cathy is coming from on this issue, and it’s exactly where the Catholic Church is coming from. We are not against gays: we are in favour of marriage as God instituted it. This is precisely the view which Mr Cathy feistily defends. But he is interpreted—or wilfully misinterpreted— by the gay lobby as being explicitly and with deliberation homophobic. But he isn’t; he’s just not mealy-mouthed. On one syndicated radio talk show, he rather splendidly said “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage’. I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about’.”

Earlier this month, the [ital] Biblical Recorder [end ital] quoted him, when asked about the opposition to his company’s support for the traditional family, as saying “Well, guilty as charged. We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. … We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that. We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live.”

Well, good for him, say I: but is it still true, as once it was, that he does live in a country where he can share his values and operate on biblical principles? Not if various potentates of the Democratic party have their way. Following this interview, Thomas Menino, the Mayor of Boston, stated that he would not allow Chick-fil-A to open franchises in the city “unless they open up their policies.” In Chicago alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno announced his determination to block Chick-fil-A’s bid to build a second outlet in the city. Moreno received backing from Chicago’s Mayor, Rahm Emanuel: “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values,” Emanuel said in a statement. “They disrespect our fellow neighbours and residents.” The Mayor of San Francisco last week tweeted that “Chick-fil-A doesn’t share San Francisco’s values & strong commitment to equality for everyone.”

But what was all that stuff we have been hearing over here for many years about America’s superior commitment to freedom of speech? What about the First Amendment? For the Mayors of Boston and Chicago to threaten to refuse business licences because of the political views of a firm’s CEO is surely mindbogglingly un-American: it’s more like Putin’s Moscow. And can it really be true that a Southern-fried chicken sandwich on a soft white bun with a couple of pickle slices (see, I’ve done my homework) has come to symbolise in such an absurdly confrontational way one of the country’s major social and moral issues?

The really sinister thing about all this is the way in which what was yesterday a normal and universal view—that marriage is between one man and one woman—has been subverted by an Orwellian process of language manipulation and consciously engineered distortion of the truth. What was the consensus has been redefined as “bigotry”; the term “homophobia” has simply been attached to the old consensus: and the job is done. If you believe in marriage as it has always been understood you are now, it seems, consumed by hatred for homosexuals and practise cruelty and discrimination against them. What was thought by everyone positive and wholesome has become cynically redefined as a foul and loathsome prejudice against decent and tolerant values. Those like Dan Cathy who hold fast to what they have always believed are not to be argued with: that would give them the dignity of respect for their views. Whatever happened to Votaire’s “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”?

Meanwhile, the Republican right is having a field day with all this. Mike Huckabee is organising a Chick-fil-A appreciation day; Rick Santorum has urged his supporters to visit their local Chick-fil-A outlet as soon as possible: “Help us fight for traditional families”, he says, “and eat chicken at the same time.” Sara Palin has posted a picture of herself on Facebook tucking into some Chick-fil-A, and even introduced the stuff into a speech, saying to her aide, Jason Recher, “We drive by a Chick-fil-A. We don’t have that in Alaska. Love me some Chick-fil-A. So we’ll go there, Jason, on the way, OK?”

Liberal opinion in the US, however, is by no means universally happy about the actions of Mayors Emmanuel and Menino. “Which part of the First Amendment does Menino not understand?” asked an editorial in the Boston Globe last week; “Chick-fil-A must follow all state and city laws. If the restaurant chain denied service to gay patrons or refused to hire gay employees, Menino’s outrage would be fitting. And the company should be held to its statement that it strives to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation, or gender.” Well, there’s no reason that I have been able to discover to doubt that those who run Chick-fil-A are entirely sincere in that declaration. They just believe in the family, and they believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. That’s all.

But as Catholics have known for some time, if you don’t accept some militant gays at their own valuation they just won’t believe that you don’t hate them. The only thing they will accept is your abandonment of all your own beliefs and values. Well, sorry, that’s not going to happen: and that’s why they hate us. But we don’t hate you. Got it?

Extreme irritation is another matter.

  • JabbaPapa

    Nice try Pholas !!!

  • karlf

    do you think Jesus would make comments such as “bloody ponce” “poof brigade” and “mincing c***”?

  • Sweetjae

    I’m sick of people making this such a bigger deal than it really is. The man was ASKED about his company’s views on the traditional family, and gay marriage, he didn’t bring up the topic! So why are you people crucifying him because he answered honestly!? He never “Attacked” the gay community in his interview or denigrated and treat anyone rudely in their restaurant based on race, beliefs, sexual orientation etc. If you choose to boycott them, then that’s your issue! But don’t tell a business they can’t open somewhere, just because they don’t share the same views as you do, it’s unconstitutional. It seems to me that YOU are the people doing the discriminating! If this man truly is a follower of Christ, and what the Bible says, then he hates no one at all. For what God hates is the sin, not the person. All I can say is that you are missing out on some good chicken! ;) Your loss.

  • JabbaPapa

    How woeful of you to disagree with your dear Anti Molly, Pholas !!!!

  • aearon43

    “An increasing number of other States internationally have either done so (Catholic Spain, Portugal…) or are in the process of doing so (France, New Zealand, Australia, etc).  This is all inexorable.  ”
    All of these states are also, as I’ve tried to explain to you already, inexorably in decline, culturally and demographically. Within a couple hundred years, there won’t be any Spanish people left. More religious countries like the US and Israel have more children. The Catholic Church will continue to thrive worldwide, while Europe, having abandoned it, withers and decays.

    You keep banging on about science and evidence. The evidence would seem to suggest that it is the time-tested Catholic view of marriage, rather than the perverse experiments of Marxists, that actually creates stable and successful societies.

  • JabbaPapa

    No.

  • karlf

    That’s right! Now take a moment to consider how we are all God’s children, and we are how he made us, heterosexual and homosexual alike.

  • Andrew

    the nature of science is that it builds upon itself through a process of refutation!  The research before 1990 may well be valid – if it has withstood refutation!

  • Andrew

    oh really, where is your reference to the peer-reviewed historical literature.  Your posts so far have been to say the least subintellectual for this reason

  • Jjjpepe

    Who refute them? 

  • Andrew

    I would suggest that rather than using words which you have acquired from ‘The Sun’ newspaper, you argue with me properly rather than using silly words in the context suich as ‘gibberish’.  If you are unable to debate intellectually, for heaven’s sake be a spectator not a contributor!

  • Andrew

    because of a little concept called ‘progress in philosophical understanding and thoiught’.  You see, there is a security in cleaving to old understandings – that is what the Church does and, clearly, yoiu too!  Wake up! 

  • Andrew

    oh, here we go….  I’m not a modernist therefore I do not need to even try to understand new understandings of any subject.  Dear,. dear!   This is just self-protectionism.  You can’t cope with your cherished assumptions being subjected to rational scrutiny! 

  • Andrew

    please try not to speak.  You are contributing nothing to this debate apart from a stark illustration of your intellectual limitations.

  • Andrew

    you are, sir, a chicken brain.  as I have asked, please try not to speak to demonstrate the same.

  • Andrew

    it is not suppression of dissent, but suppression of hatred and fear with the aim of progress and education.

  • Andrew

    no, the PROOF brigade……  you are a complete and now exposed homophobe

  • judithjmidwinter

    What utter rubbish!
    Homosexuality is discussed in the Old Testament.

  • Andrew

    ODDIE?  I AM STILL WAITING FOR YOUR FULL AND DETAILED RESPONSE.  What has changed since your initial response to me?  You were prepared to respond earlier, why not again now? I know.  So do many others in my acquaintance among the Anglo-Catholics who know you very well..  I am waiting for your reponse before I give mine to you publically………………………….

  • judithjmidwinter

    Nonsense.
    I’m not homosexual and nor to I belong to any lobby. You are a member, probably, of a catholic lobby.

  • judithjmidwinter

    That is a lie.

  • Andrew

    oh ps  On the contrary, I am a quantitative scientist in biomedicine – very ‘hard stuff’ actually and with 5 degrees in my subject.  Though with an appreciation, certainly, of the importance of the philosophy of science. Don’t, howver, dismiss people with a background in sociology or anthropology – the Church relies heavily on these disciplines within its own teachin gs.  See – be careful before you speak.

  • judithjmidwinter

    This whole collection of chatter is founded on sloppy reasoning.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    I can see that you’ve never read Tacitus.

    And “peer reviewed” history? Do drop the pretence that you’re an academic – it really is pretty desperate and wouldn’t justify your implicit authority claim even if it was convincing.

  • judithjmidwinter

    Just ignore him or her. There’s really no point responding unless you wish to argue with a tabloid (of the worst kind) headline – and who wants to waste their time doing that?

  • judithjmidwinter

    Please see my suggestion above, Andrew.

  • Christina Burtis

     Hello Andrew. I am not an intellectual, but I believe the teachings of the Catholic Church are true and have been proven so over time. I have a brother with same sex attraction and love him dearly. I work with and for people who say they are gay and I respect them. But I believe they are called to a chaste life and they respect my opinion and they know that I care for them. Most Catholics and others do not understand Church teaching. I do not believe anyone understands same sex attraction. My greatest concern, as is the Church’s, is for the souls of our brothers and sisters. We are also concerned with society and the family. Both institutions are eroding. You may see it otherwise. Since the 60′s there has been an enormous increase in crime, out of wedlock births, abortions, disease, depression, abuse, etc. I could go on. Andrew, there is a God. He created the world a certain way. When we go against that, we suffer. An increase of the behaviors you seem to be promoting will be very dangerous. I am mainly responding to you because as I read your posts I became concerned for you. I hope you believe that and do not find my comments uncaring. God Bless you.

  • judithjmidwinter

    I suggest you totally ignore this uncouth idiot.

    Why waste your time. Leave him to stew.

  • Andrew

    what nonsense.  the demographics show population decline in Western countries but we need this to limit global overcrowding and the very future food and water emergencies and wars that the Vatican itself has called conferences on!  This rather quaint idea that the earth has all of the necessary resources to provide everyone with everything independent of population total number is utterly laughable.  What rubbish.  Romantic nonsense.  Idealism!  Why ohy why do you lot not learn some science?

  • judithjmidwinter

    Wow. a priori.

    I’m so impressed.

  • Andrew

    your post do not merit a reply from someone like me sir.  do not expect another until you can speak some sense. If you were a student of mine I woiuld expel you from the Academy for cretinism.

  • Andrew

    STILL WAITING FOR ODDIE’S REASONING………………………….

  • judithjmidwinter

    MODERATOR: 

    If you cannot act so as to prevent this abusive language I am making a formal complaint and asking that this website be confined to “adult” only access with other pornography.

  • Jeannine

    You are not a priest or an academic but an individual who espouses leftist beliefs that has been debunked by rational thinking people. You are person who scans the internet looking for blogs that do not agree with your puerile ideology & then attacks viciously persons who respectfully disagree with you. What anti-Catholic, leftist group has paid you to comb the internet to display your nasty witticism or did you volunteer?

    Troll, move on! We’ve got your number!

  • Andrew

    oh, just a litle something for you all…….

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-19081302

  • Andrew

    This is a wonderful thing – the first gay dads in Argentina…..  Proof of principle and also that thing called precedent….  God bless all you homophobes whether you hate or are simply frightened of gay people……………………  Next Brazil and then all of Latin America………………………

  • Andrew

    you are of course right Judith.  we cannot and should not censure people, but I do wish they would think before they speak and if they have nothing to say then to say nothing.  I despair  LOL 

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    Funny that this thread, about the threat to the freedom of speech, is suffering from a desperate attempt to drown out all discussion.

    I am starting to think that “Andrew” has been planted here by Dr Oddie to illustrate the point that he was making in his article.

  • Andrew

    Dear, dear, dear…………..  More (amateur) attempts at poetry here than moves to understand the basic oif this debate……  That is a sad state of affairs I think.  Nobody wants to re-define anything that does not call out as a function of Reason for re-definition on intellectual grounds. This argument (if I can call it that) above is another example of attempts to shut doen challenges to cherished assumptions.  This strategem will not work because it cannot work – the light of Reason will preclude such an outcome.  Progress is inevitableand you will live to see it very soon.

  • Andrew

    I enjoyed that, but hardly!  I have posited many points to Oddy and he has yet to respond. I will not rest until I obtain a response and should I not, I will write a Letter to the broadsheets to illustrate the ‘problem’.  And that will involve the current Editor of the Herald who is arbiter of journalistic standards here.  I should know – I edit two world class medical journals and have doen for 20 years.

  • Honeybadger

    ‘Sex is really hot and dangerous’

    Oh, it’s all coming out now. Judithjmidwinter is speaking from vast experience in this field. Have you been to your local Genito-Urinary Clinic, then?

    You mistake us Roman Catholics for Jansenists, thickwig!

    Your knowledge of the Roman Catholic faith is woefully below par.

    You must secretly love the Catholic Herald to make such valuable (not!) nuggets… or you are bored this summer.

    Nothing else better to do with your summer than to write such literal diarrhoea? Shame.

    Why not bog off back to your outhouse and make new friends?

  • Andrew

    NOTHING YET FROM DR ODDIE.  Apparently Gin and Tonic may be the answer?  (personal communication)

  • Andrew

    LOL  What a post?  Very well, I shall demonstrate the differences between us.  Give me a reasoned question and you and I will engage in public debate?  Up for it, my dear?  Be careful…….

  • W Oddie

    I did reply some hours ago. I thought you proved my point, though that response doesn’t seem to have survived. I certainly don’t think I need to say any more to you as a result of all your subsequent incoherences, which I have only just seen, some considerable time later. I don’t respond to obnoxious boors of your kind.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    Pull the other one, it’s got bells on it.

  • awkwardcustomer

    ‘suppression of hatred and fear with the aim of progress and education’.  

    Have you decided where you’re going to build the new gulag?

  • awkwardcustomer

    No. As in Stalin’s Soviet Union.

  • Parepidemos

    Homosexuality weakened the Greek and Roman empires? What utter nonsense. So, what then weakened the Mongol, Arab and British empires; homosexuality, I presume. Not! You need to take a course in Ancient History 101. Such truly ignorant comments as yours play in the hands of those who seek to damage the Church because they display such a crude and warped knowledge of history.

  • judithjmidwinter

    Not at all you ignorant, moronic cretin.

    Andrew is fully entitled to his view.

  • judithjmidwinter

    You have not the slightest understanding of anything you write about, you ignorant worm.