“It just seems to be a human trait to want to protect the speech of people with whom we agree. For the First Amendment, that is not good enough. So it is really important that we protect First Amendment rights of people no matter what side of the line they are on.”
“The First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is besides the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech.”
How soon we forget. It wasn’t that long ago that Christians of many creeds were calling for boycotts of businesses and it won’t be that long before it happens again.
Christmas rolls around but once a year. And, invariably, several Christian ‘leaders’ or ‘spokespersons’ are very willing and quick to point out the major store chains whose employees are less than apt to use the word “Christmas” during any kind of verbal exchange. Whether their personal preference or the company policy, we are – just admit it – very quick to be offended by ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Season’s Greetings.’
Granted, when it is the company’s policy we would like to aver 1st amendment rights, where the employee is concerned, and shame on the corporations! (Never mind freedom in Christ) “Don’t frequent these stores!” Followed by a list of nasty Scrooges who won’t use the word ‘Christmas’ for fear of offending non Christians!
Time shift. Time: the present. Chick-fil-A is in the middle of a PR mess after the owner, Dan Cathy, stated that he believes in traditional marriage and that our insistence that we know better than God is presumptuous. When asked (by a Baptist organization) if he monitarily supported political causes that are arguably against same sex unions Cathy replied, “Guilty as charged!”
Much like (but not really) Christians call for attention to certain offenses, the secular world is crying “Foul!” and insisting some action be taken. Boycotts, no Chick-fil-A zones, etc. One company even said that any money received from Chick-fil-A would go to a pro- gay group.
In an attempt to show ambiguity on Cathy’s part, some have indicated that last year he stated he was not anti gay but wanted everyone to be a (Chick-fil-A) fan and now he’s apparently forgotten that.
I think about these things and I want to shout out in defense of Cathy! But I force myself to step backwards and consider some things first. What is our proper response to either or both of these examples? As Christians, as casual conservatives, as patriots, as whatever? Should there be a collision of church and state? If so is there a proper way for it to occur? And are these examples comparable?
Not gonna drag this out. I get too long winded. Our response should be simple. If people get hurt, don’t do it. (Encourage others to abstain as well.) If (reasonable) stumbling blocks go up, don’t do it. If we’re not sure but it violates our conscience, don’t do it. If we’re Christians, WWJD? Does God approve? Etc. It’s always a moral ethical question.
As for Christmas scrooges, I say “Bah, Humbug!” My personal convictions are that if I don’t spend every season including the Christmas season spreading God’s love and message (and messenger!) of redemption, then, I’m in the wrong! Separation of Church and State was meant to protect the Church! So why don’t I exercise MY individual rights by avering “Merry Christmas!” to every muzzled employee I meet. Maybe I’m letting them know I understand. Maybe I’m convicting them in some small way. Maybe I’m just making them smile. And maybe, just maybe, even if they’re offended, I’m building a bridge. But at least I’m doing as Christ and seeking the lost.
That’s MY take. And that’s the rub! It has to be MY conviction!
In the same way, as someone else is convicted to do elsewise, that’s their conviction! – the merits of which may or may not be discussed at length with that person. Conclusions drawn. Individual choices made. Etc.
Cathy was exercising HIS right. The company(s) that severed ties were exercising theirs. The people who want to boycott or are compelled to visit more frequently are exercising their rights. I have severed my budget from certain companies that support abortion. My right.
Rights are funny things… People even have the right to be hypocrites. Yes, it is their right to even believe people are idiots for not agreeing with them. To believe that the first amendment only applies if it agrees with what they already think.
Unfortunately for them it doesn’t really work that way. Trying to force this belief is where the irony of them exercising their first amendment right while refusing you yours BECAUSE you don’t agree with them begins. Generally speaking, conservatives and Christians don’t so this. Actually, generally speaking, not a lot of people do this. Invariably a handful of narrow minded people make idiotic threats, callous vulgar statements, ignorant generalities… But for the most part, as right as they think they are, most folks are ‘live and let live.’
It’s hard to deal with this particular ‘1%’ of liberal thinkers. But not impossible. Fools with signs discontentedly claiming THEIR rights are infringed because you exercised yours – dumbfounding. But nor illegal. Just ignorant and frustrating.
Where the collision takes place is when, for political gain, people in GOVERNMENT try to infringe on those rights! Cities like Chicago and Boston have no business coming out and publicly declaring that Chic-fil-A is not welcome in their city! Quite frankly, if the people actually respected and understood their own rights, then these power motivated politicians would not be in power very long. IRONICALLY, Bloomberg was the voice of reason! Stating loosely, ‘as long as permits are filled out, any upstanding business is welcome in NYC!’ (Did someplace freeze over?!?)
With respect to Cathy, he was being interviewed and gave his perspective. Love it, hate it, indifferent, you prerogative. He has stated and proven that every customer is treated with the utmost dignity, respect, and top notch service, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, car preference, etc.
Maybe someday the left will understand that anti gay MARRIAGE is not the same as anti gay. In the meantime, while we encourage people to remember we all have the same rights, let’s not forget that they do have the right – as we do, to act on our conscience, right or wrong, within the law. And let’s not forget that we sometimes act hastily, with passion, and with muted self righteousness.
And let us never lose sight of how precious is the freedom that was purchased for us to be able to debate these things.