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The Ambiguous Support of Chick-fil-A’s Freedom of Speech Supporters

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Not quite a month after Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy expressed his opposition to same-sex marriage, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee took issue with the ensuing backlash (read: constitutionally protected speech of those who disagreed with Cathy), saying he supports the “biblical definition of the family unit.” He came up with a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day which was marked by many a person showing up at their local Chick-fil-A on August 1st to show their support.

Some, however, argue their support isn’t about what Dan Cathy said or gay marriage at all. Rather, they insist, it is about supporting everyone’s right to free speech. This sounds good on the surface, but when we dig past the chicken fat we find a foul and ambiguous bit that the “free speech supporters” are trying to hide from the health inspector, not the least of which is the wholly unconstitutional notion that free speech means no backlash, no opposition and you guys over there just shut up, you stupid heads.

I’m all about free speech, especially the ugliest of it because it’s like our own country-wide GPS system for locating bigots, people who think liver tastes good and those who are trying to bring back Saved By the Bell. I wholeheartedly support the constitutional right of the CEO of Chick-fil-A to express his opinions and I am adamantly opposed to the notion that any person or municipality could block a lawful, legitimate business from opening its doors or shuttering a business just because of something the owner or operator said about others.

The consumer has and always will decide who stays in business and who doesn’t. Screwing around with the market for this particular reason sets a very bad precedent. At a different time, ours would be a very different world where the pro-gay marriage Microsoft would never have gotten off the ground. Leaving the consumer alone to decide who and what s/he will patronize is how it should be in this country as the act of patronizing is itself a form of free speech. I would not, however, choose a Chic-fil-A location to express my support of free speech.

If the geographic show of support at Chick-fil-A locations were really about supporting free speech and not about supporting the CEO’s belief that gay marriage is a big no-no, then the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) would be enjoying the same kind of support. The WBC does not enjoy this same kind of free speech support because no one wants to be misunderstood as agreeing with how they exercise their right and the things they say.

Where were the free speech supporters at the opening of the latest Muppet movie when the Jim Henson Company came under fire for what some thought was promoting an anti-corporate message? What’s up with the lack of support for the members of the WBC who are also against gay marriage? Their freedom of speech is often drowned out or flat out blocked from view.

While “speech I agree with” does fall under the protection of free speech, saying you support the latter when in fact your support is limited to the former, is ambiguous and just as dangerous as the idea of blocking a business from opening because the owner said something others didn’t like. Even the straightforward Mike Huckabee seems lost in the midst of his own irony, defending freedom for some by actively coming out against freedom for others. If Mr. Huckabee had been on the receiving end of his own support, he’d have found it most difficult to get married, have kids, run for office or garner attention for an eatery.

The free speech supporters can say what they want, but if their support of Chic-fil-A was really about free speech as they’d like everyone to believe, their support would not be limited to a fast food restaurant.

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About Diana Hartman

Diana is a USMC (ret.) spouse, mother of three and a Wichita, Kansas native. She is back in the United States after 10 years in Germany. She is a contributing author to Holiday Writes. She hates liver & motivational speakers. She loves science & naps.
  • Igor

    Just offhand, I’d say that the Chik-fil-A company and it’s supporters have no interest whatever in Free Speech. It follows along with being antagonistic to other constitutional protections, such as gays getting equal protection under the marriage laws because of the 14th.

  • Mel Glid

    I am in complete agreement with the what you wrote in regards to the right to speak out and not be punished by the government. As for Jim Henson and WBC , they too have the same rights. I may disagree with someone’s beliefs or politics, but I stood up this particular time due to the governor and mayors press conferences! What they specifically said, and the purview they overstepped. For me, it was the last straw. I am not filled with hate, nor homophobic because I have a different point of view or religious belief. For God’s sake, my G.P. was a lesbian and practiced with her partner! I say was, meaning she no longer practices, her partner was dying and she closed practice. What many showed support for and what drove the spontaneity was the constant labeling, creation and redefinition of words, the assault by governmental officials, and the nastiness of celebrity’s spewing truly hateful comments…” …anyone who eat CFA should get Cancer…” or Christian dogma or principles are not welcome here!

    Radical : those whom believe in Constitutional principles and fiscal responsibility

    Hate : the difference of opinion, support there of, or in opposition to what the radical Left deems appropriate.

    Gay : a homosexual or lesbian, not an extremely happy, jubilant emotion.

    Homophobia : one who disagrees with “gay” marriage, wishes to keep matrimony a sacrament and possibly foresees clergy being compelled to marry same sex individuals based on the current political climate of a split minority.

    The silent majority is no longer being silent anymore. They are tired of constantly being assaulted in the news media, theaters, magazines, etc. The only religion right now that is being systematically targeted in the past 50+ years , has been Christianity. Islam is not being attacked during Ramadan, Judaism is not attacked during Passover, Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashana. Nobody is attacking Atheists in the media or through the dramatic arts. People are tired of constantly being targeted, bullied, and ridiculed. There are so many examples of this it cannot be listed here. That is just the religious majority, the Conservative majority is also fed up with being a target as well. An example of a huge bias is the way the T.E.A. Party was defined and portrayed v.s. Occupy Wall Street. Just using the ridiculous statements spoken by the former Speaker Of The House is a simple example of the propagandizing between the two. The media never ever portrayed the T.E.A. party in any positive manner; while extreme bias in omission was shown with the Occupy behavior. Examples of multiple rapes, small businesses being harmed due to their behavior. Let alone filth, drugs, public sex, masturbation, defecation, and fecal bombs. The T.E.A. Party was always, and still is portrayed as “possibly” may become violent, by government officials, while Occupy , who W A S violent at the worst , and horribly irresponsible at least was not covered in the repetitive fashion as the aforementioned grass roots movement.
    What the media and arts did to Mrs. Palin and her family was abominable. Michelle Bachman was ridiculed the whole time she was campaigning and was called horrible sexually explicit names, yet no condemnation or apologies. Palin was harassed, stalked and hacked like no man or woman prior to her, even when she no longer was running! She was made by the Left. If they hadn’t followed, stalked and targeted her, she would have stayed in Alaska and finished out her term. She is HUGE now that her name has been kept out there, and she has capitalized on the lemons that were handed her. No one ever went after Hillary like these two gals and they never went after her daughter, oh no that would be u n f a i r . I can hear the press squealing if the media went after Condaleeza Rice the way she was portrayed in the Post ( political cartoons ) or Justice Thomas ,for that mater. The stereo typing was a daily event. But today if they were liberal, it would be raaaaacism! I could again go on, but I won’t belabor the point. I hope this gives you but an inkling of an insight into the thought process of mainstream individuals. Chik Fil A was a conduit, and a straw that loaded the camel’s back a bit too much. Just like Obama-care was the straw which created the T.E.A. Party. That sir, is why Chik-Fil-A was swamped all across the country!

  • Mel Glid

    Excuse me, * mam’ not sir.

  • Baronius

    I’m really not getting the Muppets reference. Were mayors refusing to allow the movie to play in their cities?

  • Sweetums

    The Muppets reference is clear to me. Use the link, though it might not help in your case

  • Sweetums

    and Mel appears to not get around much, if he thinks Christians and Conservatives are the only people attacked. Mel, feel free to get information from other sources than where you have been

  • Les Slater

    I agree with the gist of what Mel is saying even though I disagree with at least some of the specifics.

  • Dan

    Not sure what Diana is worked up about here, it seems perfectly natural that free speech supporters, of any stripe, would be more motivated to act in defense of speech they agree with. Although there could and should be some support from neutral observers when the persecution is coming from State officials attempting to unconstitutionally punish viewpoints they disagree with, as was the case here.

  • Baronius

    Sweetums – I watched the video. Those were some pretty stupid people talking. It had nothing to do with government intervention against free speech, though.

  • I can’t exactly boycott Chik-Fil-A (or however the heck you spell it) because the mere name of the chain conjures up such a revolting image in my mind that I’ve never been tempted to stray near one.

  • Igor

    It seems that Chick-fil-a is experiencing a surge in business as conservatives rush to their support by buying more food.

    You don’t suppose This was all a ruse to pump up business, do you?

  • Doug Hunter

    The last thing southern conservatives need is more food.

    It’s an interesting phase in social discourse. The outrage and open hostility at Cathy’s fairly inocuous statement in support of ‘traditional marriage’ (however that is defined) is an effective tool preventing other people from openly expressing the same ideas. This will contribute nicely to the decline in opposition to gay marriage. These are the way ideas grow and die in society.

    Homosexuality is no more right or wrong than bigamy, prostitustion, or pedophilia… there are functional societies today and throughout history that allow or disallow each of these. Morality, especially apt when applied to sexuality, is fairly arbitrary… the biggest argument in opposition seems to be that some find it ‘gross’ or ‘offensive’. Don’t you just get a nasty knot in your stomach when you think of what Jerry Sandusky did to those boys? That’s the same feeling others get when they think of homosexuality. Now the argument will be made that it’s ‘traumatic’, the same lame argument can be applied to expain suicide rates among homosexual youth. The reality is it’s not traumatic unless society tells you it is. There are societies where boy-man sex is a rite of passage, in some a requirement. To them it’s normal, just another expression of love and companionship (and who can be against that, right).

  • Igor

    Doug continues the bogus equivalence of homosexuality with pederasty. Some people never tire of that.

  • Igor

    The advertising campaign is working, judging by the crowd at the local CFA. Brilliant. The fatty fast food fans are easy to identify by their obesity.

  • Baronius

    Well, I wouldn’t eat the waffle fries, but their grilled chicken sandwich has fewer calories and half the fat of McDonalds’ or Wendys’ equivalent.

  • The reality is it’s not traumatic unless society tells you it is.

    No, Doug, I think that if you’re a young boy the experience of being raped by an adult man is pretty fucking traumatic regardless of what society you’re living in.

  • Doug Hunter


    Do you speak from personal experience? Even if so, you hail from a society where it is utterly taboo. If like in others, it was taught to you as a vital part of your growth and development, something to look forward to, what frame of reference would you have for it to be “traumatic”? There’s nothing inherently painful or damaging about putting a penis in your mouth, our brain is not prewired to think that disgusting… that is a learned response. In our society this is very feminizing and a threat to our manhood, in others it is what makes you masculine.

  • Doug Hunter


    I don’t know what that means. Obviously, they’re both both sexual practices. I never stated or implied they’re both the same thing. You’ll have to clarify for me to have an appropriate response.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    “Homosexuality is no more right or wrong than bigamy, prostitustion, or pedophilia”
    Did you just really include Pedophilia in that sentence?! So, you think a young boy or girl has the intelligence to understand consent or the full amount of what their actions cost? No fucking way!
    These kids are being exploited due to their inability to understand the situation at hand. Jerry Sandusky is no different than the priests. They use the power & influence they have for their own sick & twisted gain!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    I assume you’re including pedophilia in that list because there are and were cultures that accepted such…but that fact does NOT make such a practice in any way equivalent to prostitution or homosexuality.

    Why? There were cultures where ritual mutilation, torture and/or human sacrifice were accepted, where child soldiers were accepted. There’s cultures now where women’s genitals are mutilated so they won’t feel pleasure during sex. And there there have been those where belonging to a certain ethnic group was a death sentence. Does that mean that such are in any way (moral or otherwise) equivalent to the American cultural mores of today? Of course not.

    The existence of a certain practice in a culture does not make that practice right or acceptable. You should know better, Doug.

  • roger nowosielski

    I think Doug makes a valid anthropological point: the realities we acknowledge and respond to are social constructions.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    If we depend on what you consider a purely anthropological point, then please address what I said in comment #20.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    ” the realities we acknowledge and respond to are social constructions.”

    Well then, Roger, if that is in fact the truth then you can no longer bring up any discussion about a God or Creator because all we have for proof of that are social constructs. Keeping Doug’s “point” in mind, how does that address evolution & the progression of intelligence in mankind? If we never figure out anything beyond what society tells us then how do you explain that computer in front of you?!

    I’ll tell you how… Dave’s idea is utter bullsh!t!!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Brian –

    I’ll tell you how… Dave’s idea is utter bullsh!t!!

    Um, Don’t you mean “Doug’s idea”?

  • roger nowosielski


    For an atheist, Brian, you’re a fundamentalist.

    Think about that!

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus


    I’m not an Atheist. Like I’ve said before the root of that word means that I am without God. How can I be without something that never existed in the first place? Plus, it was also used, historically, to insult those who don’t believe. Basically, the term is derogatory in nature.

    As for Fundamentalism, the only fundamental I have is to stop using fairy tales to judge people.

  • There is indeed something most foul. It resides within the souls of those who, disregarding our First Amendment and to garner political favor, would use their governmental positions to deny governmental building and other permits to those with whom their political supporters disagree.

  • Zingzing

    I assume, Dan, that if burger king sponsored kkk cross burnings, you’d still happily munch on a whopper? And you do know that said gov’t officials can’t really stop a franchise from opening just because they don’t like the company’s politics, right? Chik-fil-a got some free advertising out of this thing, but it probably won’t be a good thing for them in the end. A large portion of the population just went from considering them an option on a shitty day to never walking through their doors again. And for those that now think of them as a Christian establishment, they’ll get more and more sick of their crappy chicken sandwiches every time they go there. Whatever boost they’ll get will only be temporary, but they’ve lost a good chunk of their potential clientele. I’ll never go there again for sure. Not that I can remember the last time I did.

  • Zingzing

    Although I did enjoy the “foul/fowl” pun.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus


    I’m pretty sure most people who ever ate at Chik-fil-a knew the founder was Christian especially those who work in retail. Why? Because they are the only fast food chain, that I know of, that is closed on Sunday. But, I betcha a good portion of those people, like me, wished they would have been a little more keen on remembering what these Christians hold dear & had not purchased a single f*cking thing from their restaurant.

    Ya know, my biggest problem with this schmuck’s “right to free speech” is that he doesn’t consider the employees he puts in jeopardy. The people who work there that may not have the same beliefs but, now, may have to worry about the future of their employment if, in fact, they do start to crumble due to this guy’s delusions!

  • Homosexuality is no more right or wrong than bigamy, prostitustion, or pedophilia.

    There seem to be specific social constructions required to realize some of these that don’t apply to others.

    Prostitution results in a culture where there is economic disadvantage and sexual objectification and domination, pedophilia results in a culture where there is sexual objectification and domination and perhaps not required, but likely, economic disadvantage. (See the dancing boys of Afghanistan.)

    Homosexuality and bigomy do not require either of those conditions as far as I can see.

    Lumping all these things together is a mistake. Some are based on domination. In Greece the idea of ‘consent’ was non-existent.

    All of those circumstances of relationship are, therefore, not the same.

  • Objectification, coercion and domination of those with less power is wrong. Therefore, prostitution and pedophilia arise from cultural conditions that are wrong.

  • roger nowosielski

    Good points, Cindy. Equating all these things as objects of culture/social construction must be qualified in terms of the presence or absence of such factors as violence or consent. I thought it implicit enough not give it a mention, or perhaps just too lazy to have done so. In any case, now it’s done.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    I could argue against that, but seeing as how I’m 0-and-2 with arguing with you, I’ll just recommend that you should not refer to those in such a way that they might be seen as equivalent, because they’re certainly not.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    zing –

    Whatever boost [Chick-Fil-A will] get will only be temporary, but they’ve lost a good chunk of their potential clientele. I’ll never go there again for sure.

    Quoted for truth. This won’t drive them out of business by a long shot, but it will ensure they’re never going to truly go nationwide. But I’m sure this will be great for their business Down South.

  • Glenn,

    Try not to read anything into what I am saying.

  • Doug Hunter

    “If we never figure out anything beyond what society tells us then how do you explain that computer in front of you?!”

    Confusing technological progress with moral or political ‘progress’ is an exceptionally common mistake… the former does much to bias our understanding of the latter.

    #31 Those dynamics had occured to me, but I wanted to post something thought provoking… just get people to think about the origins of morality (hint: it’s whatever society programmed into you) Some camps seem to be convinced they’re set in stone by God, others seem to think their onto some mysterious, mystical universal truths. In the end aren’t we all just chemical reactions doing whatever the carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen bonding and unbonding in our heads tell us to do? The results depend upon the inputs, nothing magic, no ultimate truth, just executing the software society loaded us with.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    “Confusing technological progress with moral or political ‘progress’ is an exceptionally common mistake… the former does much to bias our understanding of the latter.”

    Why? Because Moral and Political progress depends heavily on superstition?! That still doesn’t change the fact that true progression relies on fact NOT fiction.

  • Doug Hunter


    Could you please enlighten me on these moral ‘facts’ and on whose authority they rest? Every society has it’s defenders, the true believers in their own ‘rightness’. Human hubris requires no god.

  • roger nowosielski

    Raising interesting questions, Doug, about origins of morality. If you like, I’ll provide a link to a number of pieces in which I try to broach the subject.

  • Les Slater

    I tend to agree with all that Doug has said on this subject. As far as Cindy’s objections are concerned there is no lack of financial or power coercion in any sexual relations in class society.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    In the end aren’t we all just chemical reactions doing whatever the carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen bonding and unbonding in our heads tell us to do? The results depend upon the inputs, nothing magic, no ultimate truth, just executing the software society loaded us with.

    So morality is a myth, and there is no such thing as crime. There is no murder, no rape, no theft. Why? Because we’re all just carbon-based programs executing societal software. That also means there’s no such thing as free will, since we’re simply ‘executing software’.

    For the same reason, there’s no honor, no charity, no integrity, no desire to help one’s fellow human being, for the same reason listed above.

    Very good, Doug (and Les). Alastair Crowley, who predicted “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”, would be proud of you.

  • Les Slater


    You confuse much. Morality is a real issue, but whose? Civilization has evolved in a way in which the wealthy and powerful rule and much of their morality just happens to perpetuate the social position of a social layer that is quite minuscule and usually brutal when their position is challenged.

    In this discussion on sexuality one must recognize that sexual desire and insecurity are a major factor in creating profits. The messages on morality are quite contradictory. We often see that those trying to sell the most oppressive versions of morality are the most indulgent in what they publicly condemn.

    We need to step back. Both you and Doug oversimplify, from slightly different perspectives, the role of societal compulsion and free will.


  • Les Slater

    On the point that it is obvious that Chick-fil-A is Christian owned because they are closed on Sunday, I would like to point out that this is a reflection of a progressive side of God.

    Since man created God it must be that man needs rest on a weekly basis as well as daily.