Saleswoman: Are you looking for something in particular?
Vivian: No. Well, yeah. Something . . . conservative.
Vivian: You got nice stuff.
Saleswoman: Thank you.
Vivian: How much is this?
Saleswoman: I don’t think this would fit you.
Vivian: Well, I didn’t ask if it would fit, I asked how much it was.
Saleswoman: How much is this, Marie?
Marie: It’s *very* expensive.
Saleswoman: It’s *very* expensive.
Vivian: Look, I got money to spend in here.
Saleswoman: I don’t think we have anything for you.
Marie: You’re obviously in the wrong place.
Saleswoman: Please leave.
—Dey Young as Saleswoman, Julia Roberts as Vivian, and Shane Ross as Marie in Pretty Woman
Isn’t it funny, for all their talk about diversity and tolerance and inclusion and open debate, how quickly the Left moves to silence through the force of government anyone who disagrees with them?
Most of you have at least a passing familiarity with the fast food chain Chick-Fil-A. Many of you may also be aware that the company remains privately held by its founder Truett Cathy and the Cathy family, and that in keeping with their Southern Baptist beliefs the restaurants are closed on Sundays and holidays. A few of you may know that the Cathys have incorporated their beliefs into their business by embedding them in the company’s statement of purpose. You may not share their convictions, but these are people who at least have all the appearance of being serious about trying to live out their faith as they understand it.
Well, it seems that earlier this month the company’s COO Dan Cathy gave a couple of interviews in which he acknowledged his family’s support for what they see as the biblical definition of the family unit. While as far as I can tell he never outright said his family is opposed to same-sex marriage, he did say that they invite God’s judgment when we try to redefine what marriage means. Again, you may disagree with him on this issue, and that’s fine. I’m not here to debate the merits of same-sex marriage (at least not this time). What is undeniable is that opposition to same-sex marriage on biblical grounds as they understand them is in fact the teaching and position of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“We affirm God’s plan for marriage and sexual intimacy—one man, and one woman, for life. Homosexuality is not a ‘valid alternative lifestyle.’ The Bible condemns it as sin. It is not, however, unforgiveable sin. The same redemption available to all sinners is available to homosexuals. They, too, may become new creations in Christ.”
If you’re going to claim to be a Southern Baptist, as the Cathys do, this is part of what you’ve signed up for.
As you might imagine, with Cathy’s public invocation of God in opposition to anything gay, all Hell broke loose. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino announced that, by the infinite power vested in him, he would not permit Chick-Fil-A to open any more restaurants in Boston. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Joe Moreno have likewise said they will use local government to ban Chick-Fil-A restaurants from opening in Chicago. According to Emanuel, “if you’re going to be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values.” A similar ban is in place in the San Francisco suburb of Mountain View, California.
I see. If anyone disagrees with the community’s “values”—as Emanuel defines them—they should be run out of town. In other words, agree with me, or leave.
Let’s be clear about something. Neither Chick-Fil-A nor the Cathy family, so far as I can find, has said they won’t serve gays, or that they’ll require gays to eat in a segregated part of their restaurants. No one has charged them with discriminatory hiring practices. I’m not even aware that they ask anyone entering their restaurants whether they’re gay. All Mr. Cathy said was that because of his religious beliefs he opposes gay marriage. And while you may disagree with him until your blood boils dry, let me let you in on a little secret:
He’s absolutely entitled to that belief, whether you like it or not.
The dangerous problem with the gay lobby in this country is they’re no longer about acceptance or tolerance. They are about force-feeding you their lifestyle, ideology, and worldview and compelling you affirmatively to agree with it. It’s not enough for you to leave them alone to be however they will be; you must change your beliefs to adopt theirs, and if you don’t they’ll use the force of government to bludgeon you back in line. Dissent is not tolerated.
So in these cities controlled by the Left, anyone who disagrees with the Left’s views on gay marriage is now going to be put out of business. By the government. This is exactly the sort of tyranny against which the Constitution was intended to protect.
Let’s start with Article VI’s Supremacy Clause: “This Constitution . . . shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” There is no authority, federal, state, or local, that overrides the Constitution. Not even Rahm Emanuel.
Then we have the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof[.]” The government can’t take action that prevents a person from acting in accordance with their religious beliefs. Even if it disagrees with those beliefs. [As an aside, yes, the First Amendment applies via the Fourteenth Amendment to state and local governments, too. SeeGitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925), and its progeny.] And the First Amendment continues: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech[.]” Not only can the government not prevent you from worshipping as you choose, it also can’t prevent you from talking about your faith. As Justice David Souter wrote in Board of Education v. Grumet, 512 U.S. 687 (1994), “government should not prefer one religion to another, or religion to irreligion.” In other words, government is forbidden from drawing distinctions between citizens based on their religious beliefs. The Fourteenth Amendment bolsters this by guaranteeing equal treatment under the law for all citizens: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Nothing limits this protection to citizens who agree with the majority, or to persons whose values reflect the values of the locality.
This is an exceedingly dangerous construct that’s developing. Despite the First Amendment’s guarantees of free speech and religion, and the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection, we have government denying the right to do business to someone solely because their expression of their religious beliefs conflicts with the views of others. And notice the arrogance; we have a total of three government officials purporting to state what the beliefs and values are of metropolitan areas with literally millions of residents. Emanuel talks about “Chicago values,” as though the nearly 3 million inhabitants of that city share a single monolithic belief system. Presumably if Chick-Fil-A’s and the Cathy family’s values are that antithetical to those of Chicagoans, Chicagoans won’t patronize the restaurants and they’ll be gone in fairly short order.
But rather than allow Chicago’s residents to decide for themselves what their beliefs are and to act accordingly, Emanuel is taking it upon himself to declare unilaterally what those values are, and then is going to apply the force of government to discriminate between citizens based on that declaration. Those who agree with what Emanuel says are Chicago’s values can stay and do business. Those who do not, have to close up shop and leave. A single man choosing who stays and who goes, who may do business and who may not, based solely on whether he agrees with their religious convictions.
Whether you agree or disagree with Don Cathy’s views on gay marriage, this kind of government reaction to an individual’s statement of his beliefs should scare the bejeezus out of you.