LONSBERRY: Chick-Fil-A Opposition is Bigotry

Tolerance is a two-way street.

               So is the New York State Thruway.

               And recent calls by activist politicians for Chick-fil-A to be banned at newly renovated Thruway service plazas are examples of intolerance and bigotry.

               Because America is a live-and-let-live country, and those who demand respect should be obligated by conscience to give it as well. And if gay activists insist that the world be big enough to accommodate them, they must accept the fact that it is also big enough to accommodate people who are different from them.

               If we are all brothers and sisters, and we are all free, and we all are free to pursue our own happiness, that includes people outside the progressive elite.

               That includes businesses owned by Christians, even those owned by Christians who have in the past given money to religious groups who oppose gay marriage.

               But in something that is half virtue signal and half entitled snit, four members of the state legislature have indicated they have no such tolerance. They have written the head of the Thruway Authority and demanded that the state break a newly signed 30-year contract with Chick-fil-A allowing it to place its restaurants at a few service plazas.

               Intoning seriously on the evening news, one assemblyman said such an agreement, “Sends the wrong message.”

               What? That motorists like chicken sandwiches? That the third-largest fast-food business in America isn’t persona non grata in New York? That a business and its customers can be canceled because of the religious views of private individuals and organizations?

               Is it really the request of these legislators that a business be banned from state property because of the religion of its owners? And are the woke armies of New York OK with that? Is intolerance in the name of progressive orthodoxy not only accepted but demanded?

               Don’t the brown shirts know that there are other points of view, and that in free, pluralistic societies that such points of view can happily co-exist, even in disagreement?

               And there is disagreement. Though gay marriage is the law of the land, it is not necessarily the view of all people. And it is certainly not embraced by all religions. In fact, going by raw numbers, the largest portion of the world’s believers belong to faiths which condemn gay marriage. And yet, in the United States at least, gay marriage is socially accepted even by those who spiritually reject it.

               Meaning that you don’t have to believe in your neighbor’s lifestyle to love your neighbor, treat him with respect, rejoice in his happiness, and support him in his choices. That is true for religious conservatives in regard to gay people, and it also ought to be true for gay people in regard to religious conservatives.

               Which gets back to Chick-fil-A.

               It doesn’t want to play politics, and has issued repeated statements that it does not take stands on political or social issues – it just wants to sell chicken sandwiches. More than a year ago it stopped giving money to organizations that were religious in focus. Its money feeds hungry people and builds communities.

               And its workforce is large and well paid, and comprised of every type of American, all treated with respect and encouraged to be their best. Its gay employees, customers and suppliers are all treated with dignity and acceptance, and find a welcoming home at Chick-fil-A.

               It’s too bad Chick-fil-A can’t find such a welcoming home in New York.

               At least from the activist politicians and the TV cameras.

               Instead, in the blindness born of bigotry, the company, its employees and its customers are condemned for signing a contract. Which raises a question about the extent and application of this new intolerance. For example, if allowing Chick-fil-A at a Thruway travel plaza is disrespectful to gay people, do the Democrats also claim that being a customer at Chick-fil-A is disrespectful to gay people? Will a Facebook picture taken years ago at Chick-fil-A end up being a career ender? How far will this particular witch hunt go?

               And how intolerant is American progressivism going to get?

               And how long until people realize that respect is a two-way street?

               How long until progressives realize that they are not the only ones with rights, and that America includes people of many different views, and that tolerance is as much a duty as it is an entitlement?

               And when can a chicken sandwich once again be just a chicken sandwich?

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