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Christian groups allege threats to religious freedom in anti-Chick-fil-A campaigns
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has discouraged Chick-fil-A from coming to his city.
July 30th, 2012
02:54 PM ET

Christian groups allege threats to religious freedom in anti-Chick-fil-A campaigns

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

The nation’s biggest evangelical group said Monday that religious freedom is threatened by American mayors who say Chick-fil-A is not welcome in their cities because of the restaurant leader’s opposition to gay marriage.

“Individuals have the right to decide whether or not to ‘eat mor chikin.’ But no government leader should restrict a business or organization from expanding to their district based on the personal or political views of the owners,” Leith Anderson, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said Monday.

“Such evident discrimination and attempts to marginalize those with religious values have no place in American democracy,” Anderson said.

The National Association of Evangelicals is the country’s largest evangelical umbrella group, representing 45,000 local churches from 40 denominations.

9 religious companies besides Chick-fil-A

Last week, a handful of mayors urged Chick-fil-A to stay out of their cities after the chain’s president, Dan Cathy, weighed in on same-sex marriage by saying his company backs the traditional family unit.

"Chick-fil-A's values are not Chicago values,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat, said last week. “They're not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members."

San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee tweeted last week: "Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer."

Evangelist Billy Graham defends Chick-fil-A

Those comments and other criticisms have prompted conservative Christian groups to rally to the restaurant’s side.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has called for a "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" on Wednesday, while former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin tweeted a picture of her and her husband holding Chik-fil-A takeout bags last weekend.

Opinion: Chick-fil-A and free speech

"I have been incensed at the vitriolic assaults on the Chick-fil-A company because the CEO, Dan Cathy, made comments recently in which he affirmed his view that the Biblical view of marriage should be upheld," Huckabee, a Republican and former pastor, wrote in a Facebook posting announcing the Wednesday event.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

More than 300,000 people have accepted Huckabee's Facebook invitation to participate in the event.

Evangelical groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council have also urged their followers to see campaigns against Chick-fil-A as threats to religious freedom.

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“For the government to engage in viewpoint discrimination is not only bad politics - it's unconstitutional,” the Family Research Council said in an e-mail to supporters last week. “Chick-fil-A may be a private company, but that doesn't mean it has to surrender its beliefs at the dining room door.”

“Under the First Amendment, executives at Chick-Fil-A are just as entitled as any American to speak publicly about their views,” the statement continued.

- CNN's Sarah Aarthun contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Food

soundoff (782 Responses)
  1. Roknlive

    Christians perfected martyrdom, so it is no surprise they are whining about this. They love to impose their beliefs on others so that they can cry about being victims, like we are in the days of Romans sacrificing them to the lions. They build monuments of the ten commandments in public places and insist on having only Christian religious services in secular environments knowing that it violates separation of church and state. Then when the idol is taken down or are asked to stop violating other's rights, they bemoan how Godless the country is (because of the gays, no doubt), and what poor little victims they are.

    They perfected the art of hypocrisy: it's ok for their members to get caught stealing, adultering, using drugs, etc., but gays will be the downfall of the USA! After all, they are always forgiven. But if you don't belong to their team, not so much.

    It would take too much time to compile a list of the things they have boycotted over the years.

    Everyone has a right to express their opinion, but Cathy has went above and beyond to fight gay marriage. He donated millions of dollars to defeat Prop 8 in California; and he does not even live there.

    The Southern Baptists have a long history of intolerance and hatred, and very little has changed over time (see the Miss. Bapt. church that would not marry the black couple). When I was a child, I remember sermons about the sin of interracial marriage; now it seems they have the gays in their sights. We were also told that the Church of Latter Day Saints was a blasphemous cult started by a false prophet. Now see how they all run to vote for Romney because they hate the gays too. Nothing unifies people more than a common "enemy" to hate.

    And don't bother trying to have any kind of discussion with them. They believe that they are superior to everyone else because they have been chosen by God himself and are brainwashed beyond repair. I guess it takes the focus off their own sins.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • junior

      The enemies of Faith perfected martyrdom. Because of their hate, unjust acts of violence were committed.

      July 30, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  2. Chad

    It doesn't take a genius to look at the anatomy of a man and woman and realize they are designed for each other.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Bob

      It doesn't take a genius to make Chad look stupid.

      Chad, how's that appendix of yours working out, and how's your phrenic nerve pathway, and how come you are susceptible to so many diseases and have so many evolutionary remnants within you?

      Go bounce on your tailbone on some concrete somewhere, you pathetic fool.

      July 30, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • junior

      Yet you did not muster the intelligence to answer his question, you instantly went to an ad hominem argument. So are you able to answer?

      July 30, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Donkey Fvcker

      Strangely the anatomy of a man seem's to fit into most tight holes...

      August 1, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  3. WillieLove

    But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Bob

      Yeah, that makes sense coming from nasty Christian god. Eternal torture as punishment for merely speaking negatively or profanely in a short mortal life. Seriously, any modern human rights court could fairly convict your god of gross crimes against humanity. And that's before we even get into his senseless slaughter of whole races.

      Take your sick god stories and shove them sideways...

      July 30, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • ironman59

      Just keep tossing out quotes that in their original content came from other religions or texts. Let's not also forget that it is accepted and now taught in seminary that the book of fairytales was written over a 400 year period. That doesn't count the thousands of years of the old testament which you stole from the jews.

      It's just one more sign of christianity saying or doing anything to get it's way. You can quote all you want but Chik-Fil-A created this mess and I can guarantee that they have plenty of gays working in their company. They buy from vendors that have gays working for them or support gay causes. Their commercials and billboards are seen by gays every day.

      The fact of the matter is that gays have been around as long as your book of fairytales. You can't get away from your own stories. We are either made in "gawds" image as you say or it is the work of the devil whom "gawd" lets exist. Either way, gays are here because by your rules, your "gawd" wants them here. Deal With It.

      July 30, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • junior

      So Christians stole the Old Testament from the Jewish religion. Jesus was a Jew, he kept the Sabbath and attended Synagogue. But Christ came to fulfill the scriptures. And the Jews that followed him became Christians.

      July 30, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  4. WillieLove

    And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • matthouston

      Does quoting the Bible count as speaking against the Son of Man? If so...a whole lot of logical people are in serious doo doo. It's a game of chess and nonbelievers are always at checkmate by the Xtians even if nonbelievers use the Bible to back up their statements. Now that's what I call delusional people

      July 30, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Bob

      That'd be a double judicial standard, no surprise from your nasty sky fairy.

      July 30, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  5. steama

    For christians I give my middle finger.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • junior

      For you I give my life,

      A Christian

      July 30, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  6. WillieLove

    So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Bob

      I call bullsh!t on that story, little-Willie. Try providing some proof of it; you'll be the first if you succeed. And while you are dumping bible stories on us, let's have a look at some of the horrors that are really in that book of nasty:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      July 30, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  7. Juice1436

    Interesting...Christians crying about being discriminated against, while some still continue to discriminate against gay/lesbian couples. Pot calling the kettle black?

    July 30, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  8. WillieLove

    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Jennifer

      Uh, yeah, you can have your make-believe creature do anything at all. It just isn't real.

      July 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • junior

      We are creatures, God is the Creator

      July 30, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  9. matthouston

    Doesn't feel good to be discriminated against does it Christians? How can you people complain about suffering the very same thing you inflict on others? I hope this teaches you a lesson to let people alone and let them live their private lives the way they want to.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  10. ironman59

    The far right has no problem using their religious views and beliefs to squash the rights of others. Yet, when the tables are turned suddenly it's discrimination, attacking their religious views and every other thing they can whine about. The owner of Chik-Fil-A made a choice to make his views public. Now the public has the right to make it's views known as well. Let's not act like this company is a bunch of do gooders. When hurricanes or other natural disasters strike they still refuse to open their stores on Sunday's to help the community. Doesn't sound very christian to me.

    The far right is getting what they deserve. They discriminate at every opportunity, this is simply a chance for payback. They need to do what they tell everyone else – sit down, shut up and take your medicine.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • jesse

      They are just playing the LEFTs/Liberal game, and it's about time. Its all too often you read about liberals crying they want it "their" way or the highway, yet when someone else speaks out and has a different opinion its like someone committed murder. You can't cry all the time and then when someone else cries, yell foul. This shows further proof that liberals are all a bunch of talking hot air hypocrites!

      July 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Dubhly

      jesse its the repubs that do the my way or the highway thingy, remember the budget crunch and losing our triple a status due to the repub/tea party refusing to budge?
      i dont think whining has a party its about all either side does anymore though.

      July 30, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  11. JP

    christians complaining about discrimination???

    lets put it this way: you don't have to allow gays or even blakcs/whites to get married in your churches

    we don't have to have chick-fil-a in our cities

    July 30, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • junior

      You certainly are not speaking about my parish. It may come as a surprise to you but there are mixed race families, and I would venture to say there are persons with same sx attraction that attended Holy Mass yesterday. As were the adulterers, the gamblers, the abusers, the liars, the thieves. Your point?

      July 30, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  12. WillieLove

    Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Bob

      While you're dumping bible spew on us, Little-Willie, let's look more closely at what's really in the Christian book of nasty AKA the bible. Here we are, some fine selections from both OT and NT:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      July 30, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • WillieLove

      Think you better read a different version..and whole text. NIV is not a good source

      July 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • matthouston

      Jesus said:

      "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."

      Luke 19:27

      July 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Bob

      Read what I said again but do try to understand this time, little-Willie:

      "And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      July 30, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  13. Diana

    So there aren't enough jobs out there and these stupid mayors are turning away jobs.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  14. RodBinNC

    If you are actually Christian you would not be "against anyone. I have never read where Jesus told gay people he hated them or anyone.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • WillieLove

      Yes, Jesus loves every person. That he died on the cross for every person, then it's up to the person to accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Turn from your sins and let Christ be number one. Every person has a choice to hate on the Name of Christ or Hate him.

      July 30, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Bob

      Actually little-Willie, there's plenty of hate in the Christian book of nasty AKA the bible to go around, with fine selections like these to be found in OT and NT:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      July 30, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • matthouston

      Again, Jesus said:

      "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me." Luke 19:27

      You need to reread your Bible more carefully before talking about Jesus like you do.

      July 30, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  15. Lainie11

    Everybody should rush to Chick Fil-a and place an order. It's time for those who oppose immorality to let themselves be known.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Dubhly

      well since i think its immoral to tell someone else how to live their life, who to love, or who to sleep with. I guess i will NOT be buying anything at chik a fil and anyone who does is immoral to humanity is that what your saying? or are you saying that your version of morality is better then my version of morality?

      July 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • junior

      If it is immoral for a parent to tell their child how to live their life, no wonde we have children that do not know how to behave. And some of those children have grown older.

      July 30, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  16. WillieLove

    And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  17. Joshua Wertheim

    As much as I despise the President of Chick-Fil-A and would never eat there myself, I think it's ridiculous for any community to try to ban them from opening up new stores in any neighborhood they choose. That is part of the good and bad of the American way, because people can vote with their wallets when a business that offends them opens and just not eat there. If we start allowing or supporting a community that tries to do this, then where will it end? A Muslim prevented from doing business in Jewish areas? Black people prevented from starting businesses in white areas? Gays prevented from doing business near Chick-Fil-A's corporate headquarters? It's ridiculous and terrifying. Again, vote with your pocketbooks if you don't like them and if enough people agree with you, they will close their doors and move on

    July 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  18. WillieLove

    From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  19. WillieLove

    Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  20. WillieLove

    And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.