Chick-fil-A CEO gets caught in free-speech double standard

Melinda Gates can say all she wants about how wonderful contraception is for helping people in developing countries limit the size of their families and the mainstream media doesn’t bat an eye. I don’t hear the mayors of Chicago, or Boston or Washington, D.C., accusing the wife of Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation of eugenics and saying that Microsoft doesn’t share their cities values, so Microsoft’s products are not welcome within the city.

Melinda Gates is entitled to her opinions. She admits that she is a practicing Catholic who disagrees with the church on the issue of contraception, according to an interview in the Guardian, a newspaper in Great Britain. She says that contraception prevents women and children in countries in Africa and other parts of the world alive – not because it protects them from AIDS or other STDs, but simply because it allows them to space the births of their children.
In an article in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, Giulia Galeotti, a frequent LOR contributor on life issues, wrote, “The American philanthropist is off the mark,” the victim of “bad information and persistent stereotypes on this theme. To still believe that by opposing the use of condoms, the Catholic Church leaves women and children to die because of misogynist intransigence is a baseless and shoddy reading” of reality, she wrote, according to Catholic News Service.
So how come people such as Melinda Gates or George Soros or Warren Buffet can say whatever they want to, and most of the media and many politicians across America are OK with that, but when Dan Cathy, CEO of the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, makes some comments about the traditional definition of marriage, he is blasted? It can’t be because they don’t agree with free speech, can it? If that were the case, then Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, would have to say of the man convicted of insider trading, that “George Soros’ values aren’t our values.” But instead, as a principal adviser and chief of staff to Barrack Obama, Emanuel certainly welcomed all the help he could get from MoveOn.org, which got loads and loads of support from Soros.
But Emanuel did say, “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values. They’re not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members.” And the mayors of Boston and D.C. also say the restaurant is not welcome in their town. How ridiculous.
It’s a little crazy to say, however, that you’re surprised by the viewpoint of the leader of a privately-held restaurant that is so unabashed about its Christian underpinnings that it is closed on Sundays. And if those are the kind of values that are unwelcome in our major cities, then God save us all.
Agree with Dan Cathy or don’t. Agree with Melinda and Bill Gates or don’t. Support their companies based on what their leaders say, or boycott them. Many folks across the country have chosen today, Aug. 1, as the day to show their support for Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A by making a point of eating at the chain, some multiple times throughout the day. The friendly cows urging, “Eat mor chikin” may have a lot of company today.
Either way, let’s give free speech a fair shake. Everyone is entitled to free speech, not just the media darlings.

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.