Editor's Note: R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.
By R. Albert Mohler Jr., Special to CNN
(CNN)–Cultural upheavals often occur in the most surprising contexts. Who expected that a clash between sexuality and religious liberty would be focused on a restaurant company mainly known for its chicken sandwiches?
And yet the controversy over Chick-fil-A is a clear sign that religious liberty is at risk and that this nation has reached the brink of tyrannical intolerance from at least some of our elected leaders.
The controversy ignited when Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy, son of the company’s legendary founder, Truett Cathy, told a Baptist newspaper that he and his company “operate on biblical principles” and “are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit.”
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Defining Chick-fil-A as “a family business,” Cathy went on to say that “We intend to stay the course. … We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
Media attention to Cathy’s comments revealed a radio interview he had given a few weeks earlier in which he commented that “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at (God) and say, ‘We know better than You what constitutes a marriage.'
“I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think we would have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about,” he said.
Within days, elected officials in Chicago, Boston and New York were pledging to deny the company access to their cities.
“Because of (Dan Cathy’s) ignorance, I will deny Chick-fil-A a permit to open a restaurant in my ward,” Chicago Alderman Proco Moreno said, in a threat echoed by
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino was just as blunt: “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston,” he said. “We’re an open city. We’re a city at the forefront of inclusion.”
But the kind of inclusion he had in mind would evidently exclude Chick-fil-A.
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who just recently married her lesbian partner, called upon New York University to kick Chick-fil-A off its campus.
9 religious companies (besides Chick-fil-A)
Echoing the Boston mayor’s lack of irony, she also called for exclusion in the name of inclusion: “We are a city that believes our diversity is our greatest strength, and we will fight anything and anyone that runs counter to that.”
Within days, Moreno, Emanuel and Menino had qualified their statements somewhat, promising to operate within the law and constitutional limits. Those clarifications became necessary when legal authorities quickly recognized threatened violations of First Amendment rights.
To his credit, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an ardent supporter of same-sex marriage, warned, “You can’t have a test for what the owner’s personal views are before you decide to give a permit to do something in the city.”
Note carefully that Chick-fil-A was not charged with discrimination in hiring or service but simply with the fact that its president and chief operating officer supports traditional marriage.
Note something else: Dan Cathy’s statements were explicitly religious. He made his comments to the religious press, including a Baptist newspaper. His comments were infused with his Christian convictions, the same convictions that have led the company to close for business every Sunday.
The threats made against Chick-fil-A betray the principle of religious liberty that is enshrined within the U.S. Constitution. Civic officials in some of the nation’s largest and most powerful cities have openly threatened to oppose Chick-fil-A for the singular reason that its president openly spoke of his Christian convictions concerning marriage.
When Quinn, one of the most powerful officials in New York, announces, “I do not want establishments in my city that hold such discriminatory views,” is she also threatening the Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Jewish synagogues and Islamic mosques?
They, along with evangelical Christian denominations, openly oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage. Cathy’s statements are completely consistent with his own denomination’s statement of faith and official declarations. He was speaking as a Christian and as a Southern Baptist, and he was speaking as a man who does his best to live and speak as he believes.
Christian groups allege threats to religious freedom in anti-Chick-fil-A campaigns
When Emanuel and Moreno tell Chick-fil-A to stay out of Chicago, are they audacious enough to deliver that same message to the churches, mosques and synagogues of their city that also oppose same-sex marriage? What do they do with the fact that their own state does not allow same-sex marriages?
This country is deeply divided over the issue of same-sex marriage, and the controversy over Chick-fil-A is an ominous sign that many of the proponents of same-sex marriage are quite willing to violate religious liberty and to use any and all means to silence and punish any individual or organization that holds the contrary view – a view sustained by the voters in 29 states by constitutional amendments.
Addressing the intersection of same-sex marriage and religious liberty, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley has warned that the government must not be “viewed as unfairly trying to pre-determine the debate or harass one side.”
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That is exactly what some elected officials have just shown themselves ready to do. It will not stop with Chick-fil-A. Who will be next to be told to get out of town?
I know Dan and Truett Cathy and other members of the Cathy family. Truett has spoken on our campus. I have prayed at the opening of multiple Chick-fil-A locations. I serve on the board of directors of Focus on the Family, which has been supported by Chick-fil-A. My son, Christopher, is a part-time service employee of a local Chick-fil-A restaurant in Louisville. I have not communicated with Chick-fil-A about this column.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of R. Albert Mohler Jr.
It' really about the economy. Let's not get too sidetracked here. Gay marraige is an important issue but it won't put food on my table.
It's about the right to live free and without prejudice or intolerance. Yeah, the economy is not so great but in the bigger picture lies this fundamental right that is being threatened by religion.
I am amazed that some people are up in arms about what a religious private individual said to a religious organisation in an interview. That many do not see the danger of politicians wishing to expel this company from their jurisdictions based SOLELY on the religious convictions of the owner – absent any accusation that he has discriminated against anyone – is truly astounding. It is a very slippery slope what some here would have us take.
Exercising free speech is a slippery slope? And Chik-Fil-A donates money to bigoted organizations seeking to oppress the rights of others, so enough with the private citizen crap.
And what if he supported segregation? Everyone should just respect his views? Grow a brain.
It's a lot different than segregation
@Justlisten – how so? Grouping people based upon genetics and setting up rules to make those people second class citizens. How is that so radically different?
@justlisten: Really? Discrimination is discrimination dude. Where is your moral compass? Did you leave it in church? Hypocrite.
I would argue that it's not genetics. It is a tendencie, just like some people have the tendencie to want to murder. It doesn't make it right.
Where do you put murderers??
@justlisten: go thump your bible. Imbecile.
You can argue all you want about genetics or tendencies but you would loose.
Oh my word. Dude, do you actually think before you type. Murder hurts people. Who does gay marriage hurt?
And you can argue that homosexuality is not genetic all you want. But there's lots of solid science to back up my claim. You only have your ignorance and bigotry to back yours up.
It's time for you clowns to stop hiding behind your BIbles. If you want to say stupid things, deal with the backlash and quit crying about it. You're not victims.
@just listen: we put murderers in jail and God puts bigots and hypocrites in church.
You said, "I would argue that it's not genetics. It is a tendencie, just like some people have the tendencie to want to murder. It doesn't make it right."
If it doesn't cause any harm, there is no reason to prohibit it. Murder causes very serious harm to innocent victims, and is therefor illegal. But even smoking and drinking have negative effects to even those that don't participate, yet they are legal. Homosexuality causes no harm, yet people are up in arms about it.
You, and everyone else, is free not to engage in homosexual acts, if you feel that's not your thing. Even if you have the urge, you are free to deny yourself the pleasure of companionship. You don't get to decide for anyone else.
Who does gay marriage hurt? What if everyone was gay? That would hurt wouldn't it?
@jacob: well put. Whenever you disagree with the bible thumpers, they are victims. Whenever they try to convert you and force their beliefs on you, they are simply spreading the word of God. What a joke.
You said, "Who does gay marriage hurt? What if everyone was gay? That would hurt wouldn't it?"
Are you completely off your rocker?
Denying gays and lesbians equal right won't change their orientation. It won't change who heterosexuals have sex with. What consenting adults do to each other is none of your fucking business.
Oh how I hope your kids grow up with that "tendency" just so you can choke on your own words.
@ just listen: what if everyone were female? Couldn't reproduce then. So, I guess we should work to get rid of all females too. You are so out of your league dude. Grow a brain and then we'll talk.
Who does gay marriage hurt? What if everyone was gay? That would hurt wouldn't it?"
I see you can't answer the question. That's about what I thought.
The guy who wrote this article is exactly right!!
You're imaginary friend is calling you.
Actually, you are exactly wrong!
Better not criticize the Taliban or you will be accused of threatening their religious liberty! What a load of bull from this hypocrite.
The guy who wrote this article is exactly right!
You mean that bigotry should trump the right to free speech? Where are we, Iran?
This guy almost certainly hires his luggage handlers at rentboy.com (just like Ted Haggard for all you Xtians with short memories).
SO your criticism of him is that he might belong to the group you support????
No Bill, not about being gay, about being a sanctimonious hypocrite.
sorry, I get gay and sanctimonious hypocrite confused a lot.
So do they. Which was the point.
I love how religious conservatives passionately support laissez-faire capitalism until it bites them in the ass. This Albert Mohler clown (whoever the hell that is) seems to think what Mr. Cathy said is A-okay, since he was speaking to the Baptist press. What?! Some of these religious nuts seem to never leave their little bubble.
I'm pretty sure Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, every Supreme Court Justice who ever wore a robe, the ACLU and 99% of the 99% would agree he has the right to say what he said. It's called FREEDOM OF SPEECH. You don't have to like it. You don't even have to listen to it. But he has the right to say it. There is NOTHING to indicate he discriminates against anyone.
"Some of these religious nuts seem to never leave their little bubble." Actually, in human memory farther back that we can reach, marriage was defined in terms of the female/male relationship. Anti-Christians like to point out that many Christian principles were in effect before Christ. THis is a case in point.
" marriage was defined in terms of the female/male relationship."
So you agree that the bible is just a bunch of myths, right? Because the bible is absolutely rife with god-sanctioned polygamy. God talks about specifically granting people multiple wives.
No one said he didn't have the right to say it. He can say the moon is made of cheese if he wants. No one's trying to imprison him over it. But we have the right to respond as well. Some clown crying that his "religious liberties" are in danger because he thinks members of his little cult should be able to say whatever they want without consequences is pathetic. This issue isn't about loss of liberty. It's actually a damn fine example of how freedom should work.
Jacob seems to be saying that freedom works when government officials threaten private individuals with government sanctions against the expression of thought and commerce? I really didn't realize the public education system had fallen so far.
Bill seems to be confused (or perhaps willfully ignorant) of the issue.
From your original post I get that the issue for you is disagreement with Dan Cathey. From your last point I get that you think government should be able to deliver consequences to him for his opinions in a free country. What did I miss?
The discrimination and wrongful termination suits against Chick-Fil-A would seem to dispute your claim. As would the $5 mil donated to various "stamp out gay" organizations.
There is a great polarizing divide in this nation that has created hate and mistrust among the people for one another. This hatred is being masterfully exloited by the politicians who do not want us to notice that they are doing nothing to fix the enormous problems we are all facing. Its to their advantage to continue to throw verbal bombs. Focus people, rise above your differences. Respect eachother and live at peace. We can work out our problems on moral and social issues if we are civilized and kind.
If we believe Christopher Hitchens, Chic-fil-A doesn't have anything to worry about. Hitchens pointed out that large sections of the population live their lives with no reference or thought to God at all. These genuine, non-blogging, non axe-grinding atheists enjoy a good chicken sandwich, so atheists will do their part to keep Chic-fil-A going.
This atheist won't.
I won't put a penny in the pocket of an business that contributes to organizations that want to force their iron age myths into my secular government.
If you are an atheist even remotely concerned about the overt attempts to christianize our government, you would boycott places like chic fil a.
However some of us are socially conscious. I couldn't care less that Truett Cathy is devoutly religious. What I do care about is that his business makes donations to organizations that oppose equal rights for hom.ose.xuals. Mr. Cathy is free to believe what ever he likes, but because of his actions I will no longer patronize his business.
Hitchens was referring to apathetic believers, not non-believers, who go about their daily lives rarely getting involved in religious ceremony or practices. Non-practicing theists comprise the largest demographic but will profess belief when asked. Many of these would be turned off by the views expressed by the owner of Chick-Fil-A. Quiet or closeted atheists however may not express their displeasure openly but instead will act with their wallets. Either way Chick-Fil-A loses.
@derp "I won't put a penny in the pocket of an business that contributes to organizations that want to force their iron age myths into my secular government." I hope that's not your only priority. The next time you buy a pair of shoes, ask yourself whether it was produced by children in Bangla Desh working fourteen hours/day. The banana you're eating may have been harvested by people working in inhuman conditions in Central America. Your secular government all too often looks the other way on such issues.
This atheist enjoys a good chicken sandwich. I'll be sourcing mine from restaurants other than Chick-fil-A though.
"@derp "I won't put a penny in the pocket of an business that contributes to organizations that want to force their iron age myths into my secular government." I hope that's not your only priority. The next time you buy a pair of shoes, ask yourself whether it was produced by children in Bangla Desh working fourteen hours/day. The banana you're eating may have been harvested by people working in inhuman conditions in Central America. Your secular government all too often looks the other way on such issues"
The next shoe company executive who brags about supporting organizations whose agenda includes forcing children to work in sweatshops will no longer get my business.
I'm not certain why anyone would go to CFA for a good chicken sandwich. The fries are good, but the sandwiches I've had there were marginal at best.
Looking forward to the day when folks such as R. Albert Mohler have better things to do with their time, aren't there some needy people somewhere the Baptist church is supposed to be helping ? God, gays and chicken sandwiches. Ya ever notice that bible thumpers, especially Baptists, are really obsessed with the subject of Gays ?
The church has never done any good whatsoever. The good charitable people within the church are solely responsible for any good deeds ever fulfilled. All the church does is spread Bibles and seek new converts to fill it's coffers.
Athiest Steve. The church, love them or hate them, particularly the "protestant" churches, have been more generous in donations to needs outside their church than any other group or groups in the country. They provided more dollars and hours to disasters like Katrina, Andrew, and on and on.....I'm pretty much an agnostic, but to deny their charitable help and see no good at all – is a self admission and flaunting of stupid.
Did you not read what I posted? I said the people within were responsible for all those good things....not the church itself. The church is an institution that is only concerned with the propagation of it's dogma and ritual and to spread and grow it's influence. Oxfam, Unicef , Doctors without Borders along with many others show that churches are not required to spread good and charity throughout the world. Giving food and aid to devastated populations is helpful...handing out Bibles is not.
So true, AtheistSteve. Just as guns have not killed people. People have killed people.
More narrow-minded BS from the the southern Baptists. Why don't they just go ahead and call themselves the southern Taliban? It would be more accurately descriptive.
With all due respect, what is narrow-minded about this opinion? He is arguing for what the Bill of Rights guarantees. How do you justify politicians vowing to expel or prohibit a company's expansion or existence based upon the religious beliefs of the owner? Did you oppose the construction of the mosque near Ground Zero? If people disagree with Cathy's views, fine. Don't patronize his business. But to threaten his business in this way is a violation of his rights to free speech. There are no allegations that he or his business have discriminated in any way to anyone, gay or straight.
"vowing to expel or prohibit a company's expansion or existence based upon the religious beliefs of the owner?"
On this we agree. This is wrong. He should be able to to build his nasty chicken slinging obesity factories everywhere. And people should be able to stand outside of them and peacefully protest.
"There are no allegations that he or his business have discriminated in any way to anyone, gay or straight"
Chic fil a's "charity" foundation WinShape's public disclosure statements show that they have donated over $2,000,000.00 to blatantly discriminatory anti gay groups.
Summary: White Christian Male thinks it's ok to discriminate because it's more important to protect religious beliefs than "other" people.
Exclusion in the name of inclusion is not backwards, or ironic. Sometimes to move forward you need to remove the things that are holding you back.
If I understand what you are saying, you advocate the elimination of people who do not embrace the gay agenda. I'm surprised that no one from the liberal camp makes issue with this kind of statement which I see repeated often. And then you wonder why conservative Christians feel threatened.
The right to hate isn't a right. This is biblical justification for the persecution and hate of a minority group just like there was biblical justification preventing women from voting and just like there was biblical justification for slavery.
The right to deny others is not a right. Once we assert that truth, this entire article, this entire movement unravels. You would not allow a restaurant that advocates for slavery in your community. This is justification for hate.
I pray for God's mercy on the older generation that clings to justification of hate. Hate is not what God trades in. It belongs to The Man Below, and your younger generation is desperately, lovingly, trying to save you.
Look in your heart. You know this is true.
I find it funny that those who cry tolerance and freedom are discriminating against those who are excercising their reliigous freedom. How Ironic. The owner of Chick-filet is not accused of any discriminatory practices in his business against anyone. He just stated his opinion.
Intolerance of intolerance is a good thing. How exactly are the actions of gay people impacting the rights of people to freely practice their chosen religion? No one is challenging your right to be a Christian. The flip side of course would deny an entire minority the same rights and privileges afforded to hetero couples. Other than offending your sensibilities I fail to see how gay marriage would directly affect the average practicing Christian. You are comparing apples to oranges. It isn't persecution when bigotry and stupidity is called out.
Nobody has done anything discriminatory. Cathy, a business owner, stated his opinion. Moreno, a city official, stated his opinion but acknowledged that the law would allow the business to operate.
Private citizens have been expressing opinions. Nobody has discriminated. What's your complaint?
The KKK uses the bible and christianity to support their agenda.
How discriminatory of me to oppose them and their religious beliefs.
The public officials saying they will deny permits for Chick A Fil are not doing the right thing.
The private individuals who are protesting and boycotting are.
Exactly right and perfectly stated. Elected officials have no business getting involved as this would be a clear violation of the establishment clause. Individuals who who are angry over the owner of Chick-Fil-A's publicly expressed opinion are well within their rights to call him out on it.. Americans are constitutionally allowed to be religiously inspired hateful bigots just as others are allowed to protest against them.
Why is it that you will let me comment on this article but not on the article about Chick-fil-A?
Check carefully your posts for word fragments that can't get past the automatic ban filter.
eg. like "tit" in cons"tit"ution.
the easy way to get around this is to insert a period "." like this....consti.tution.
People vote on gay marriage laws. Gay marriage loses and the minority cries and screams "hate!"
This same minority tries to boycott Chick-fil-a and it doesn't make a ripple. The minority loses and screams "hate!"
What happened to taking your licks like a man and respecting the system? Is the only way to win over your opponent to scream and whine and complain? You have to work inside the confines of the system and figure out how to beat it from within. You can't just drop the word "hate" and try to shock everyone into agreeing with you by painting them into a corner. I'd like to see gay marriage become legal after an informed discussions of the pros/cons of it rather than getting bullied into it. The same people that label religion "uninformed" or "illogical" are avoiding logic themselves. Instead of making a logic-based debate, it's centered on "hate" and forcing people to choose sides.
I think taking their licks like a man is part of the problem
"People vote on gay marriage laws. Gay marriage loses and the minority cries and screams "hate!""
Marriage was defined by the US Supreme Court as a civil right. Recognized federal civil rights law in the United States is grounded in the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. By this standard, marriage has long been established as a civil right.
The operative constitutional text is section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. The relevant passages read as follows:
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 deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws
A federal appeals court on May 31st ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it denies equal rights for legally married same-sex couples, making it likely that the Supreme Court will consider the politically divisive issue for the first time in its next term. This most likely will be decided in the courts and since most courts keep ruling in gays favor they should be able to over turn all the unconstitutional laws prejudice bigots have been trying to pass.
Good points, funny too.
From p.3 in case you missed it:
The owner of Chick-fil-A as does R. Albert Mohler Jr suffer from the Three B Syndrome, Bred, Born and Brainwashed in red-neck Christianity. Will sufferers therefore stop going to Christian churches because of this Syndrome? No, but we should try to cure all those who are suffering which effects about 30% of the human race.
The Cure in less time than it takes to eat a chicken sandwich:
SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS FROM THE THREE B SYNDROME:
THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY.
Added details available.
Your arguements are very convincing. I am sure the owner of CFA and Mr. Mohler will pack it in asap. Snore.
Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/
From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."
Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.
From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:
"Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.
Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.
Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.
The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.
Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.
The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "
"In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.
With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:
An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,
"Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."
p.168. by Ted Peters:
Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "
So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.
I don't like their food ,but they have the right express what they believe just like gay people.
Right to express
They also have the right to marry.....
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.