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.
About this blog
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.
Dear Christian-I want to be everything you hate.
...which is nothing really. Are you sure you want to be nothing?
We hate what God hates: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.
First of all, expressing your belief in public, whether secular or religious in nature, does in no way shape or form indicate that you are discriminating against certain groups of people and that they cannot eat at your establishment(s) because of their values or lackthereof, much less does it imply that certain people cannot nor will not be able to be employed there either. Mr. Cathy did not disc.rim.inate anyone in anyway, unless you also want to redefine the word d-i-s-c-r-i-m-i-n-a-t-i-o-n. If it is true that certain so-called christian groups (hint-hint Westboro) do hate speech (which I agree is pure hatred), the overall bible-believing christian will always uphold and promote Christian traditions and values, but will never be unwelcoming to anyone. If so, we wouldn't be adhering to the Great Commission Jesus commanded us to follow. According to the eatery's president's exact words concerning his view on traditional marriage, he did not use any words promoting "hatred", a term so easily and readily used these days. Mr. Cathy only stated his personal religious views and nothing more, which he is most certainly ent.itled to, just like the people who oppose his views are ent.itled to not eat at his establishments. And that's ok.
But to try to use your political influence and power to shut down, shut up, be unwelcoming and/or boycott a business because its owner doesn't sell-out his beliefs to popular demand, is definitely outrageous. And by the way, if you ask or converse with any bible-believing Christian about this topic, you pretty much know what his or her beliefs are going to be. It shouldn't come as a surprise. Just as if I would talk to a g.a.y person, I pretty much know what his or her gender preferences will be. Giving an opinion about religious and personal beliefs is not being intolerant, but what they are trying to do to shut him up is most definitely intolerant. The statements he made were not hate speech nor unconst.i.tu.tional, but what these governments officals are trying to do is borderline unconst.i.t.u.t.ional.
Government should not be restricting Chick-filet based on their beliefs. I agree with evangelicals in this. Likewise government should not be restricting the rights of gay minorities. Sad that evangelicals can't see the irony here....
But somehow those same xian groups boycotting Disney or whatever company they wish doesn't? Hypocritcal manure!
I don't see anyone telling Disney that they are goign to actively work towards banning a Disney store from their city. There is a difference between people boycotting a company and a goverment threatening to ban a company.
No threats of banning were made. They all just said that they should probably seek to set up shop elsewhere. Also, the First Amendment does not give you carte blanche to say whatever you want and then not be held accountable. The CEO stated his position and basically made Chik-Fil-A a hate group.
I wish both the media and religious organizations would stop using the word "Christian" in describing beliefs which refer instead to only a handful of demonination. The fact is Christianity spans the entire spectrum of politican views. Church of Chrits and Southern Baptists are against gay marriage. Presbyterians and Unitarians don't share that view. Catholics oppose birth control. Most Protestant groups support limiting the size of your family to what you can afford. Women can't be ministers in most Baptists church while they are commonly ministers in Lutherans, Presbyterian and Methodists churches.
So saying "I'm a Christian and I am against/for that issue" is inaccurate. I promise you will find just as many Christians on the other side. Instead say "I'm a Catholic and I am against abortion" or "I am a Presbyterian and I support gay-rights." This will not only more accurately reflect reality, it will help others to distinguish our beliefs. It will also show those not churched we are not all Westboro Baptist. And don't we all want that?
Very good point.
You said, "I wish both the media and religious organizations would stop using the word "Christian" in describing beliefs which refer instead to only a handful of demonination."
Like it, or not, these people are christians. Just because their views may, or may not be shared by all christians doesn't mean they aren't.
You said, "The fact is Christianity spans the entire spectrum of politican views."
I thought christianity was a religion, not a political view?
You said, "So saying "I'm a Christian and I am against/for that issue" is inaccurate."
Nope, they are very accurate. They aptly associate the views with the justification for them.
You said, "This will not only more accurately reflect reality, it will help others to distinguish our beliefs. It will also show those not churched we are not all Westboro Baptist. And don't we all want that?"
While I understand that you may not want to be associated with the more despicable sides of your religion, the fact remains that those views are held because of, and are justified by, their christian beliefs.
Like it or not, you (if you are a christian) are associated with them.
But do not despair. You have a unique opportunity to work to remove the rot in your religion from the inside. As a member of this religion (again, assuming you are one) you are in a position to oppose these views from within. As a member, you are far more likely to be heard than any outsider.
I hear where you're coming from LinCA, BUT...
you said "I thought christianity was a religion, not a political view?"
wrong.... Paul the self-proclaimed apostle who is attributed with writing a good portion of the NT was about as big a politician as there ever was in Christianity, and we still argue today about what his words mean and with what weight we should take them in contrast to say Jesus' words. A lot of politics all along the way since.
you said ".. the fact remains that those views are held because of, and are justified by, their christian beliefs." You're still lumping all Christians together with this statement which gets you nowhere. Had you said fundamentalist Christian beliefs, or Catholic Christian beliefs, etc. that would lend much more to your argument.
you said ".. You have a unique opportunity to work to remove the rot in your religion.. " Well, again, if the problem has existed since the very roots of Christianity for certain factions within that religion, the obviously, it is not something that will easily change. But you should educate yourself here that there are Christians out there that follow Christ and do not take the Bible literally. I've visited a Baptist church in a suburban area in the US that has been welcoming of gays for instance for quite a long time now. There is just a very wide diversity amongst Christians, and that's something to recognize. But I will say in my view there is just as large a ratio of extremism in Christianity as there is for any other major religion.
You said, "Paul the self-proclaimed apostle who is attributed with writing a good portion of the NT was about as big a politician as there ever was in Christianity, and we still argue today about what his words mean and with what weight we should take them in contrast to say Jesus' words. A lot of politics all along the way since."
Of course, every viewpoint when expressed to set policy becomes politics. There will be quite a bit of religious influence in politics, simply because a lot of politicians are religious. But at the core, isn't chritianity a following of its namesake?
In part, it is the politicizing of religion that stirs up these shitstorms. It was this realization that led, in part, to the first amendment of the US Constitution.
You said, "You're still lumping all Christians together with this statement which gets you nowhere. Had you said fundamentalist Christian beliefs, or Catholic Christian beliefs, etc. that would lend much more to your argument."
They're all part of the larger group. they all claim their religious views are based on the same book. While I realize that not every christian is as amoral as some of these fundies, their views are christian.
Just because these bigots pick and choose different parts of the same book as other christians, doesn't make them any less christian. The argument about the "correct" interpretation of their holy book is one that christians need to resolve among themselves. I can offer mine, but I sincerely doubt the interpretation provided by an atheist is going to convince many believers.
You said, "Well, again, if the problem has existed since the very roots of Christianity for certain factions within that religion, the obviously, it is not something that will easily change."
I realize it won't be easy. If it were easy, we probably wouldn't be having this discussion.
You said, "But you should educate yourself here that there are Christians out there that follow Christ and do not take the Bible literally."
I'm not talking about what christians do within their own, like-minded group. I'm talking about moderate christians taking a stronger stance against the bigots among the larger group.
You said, "I've visited a Baptist church in a suburban area in the US that has been welcoming of gays for instance for quite a long time now."
I applaud that. It just isn't enough to "do no harm". Moderate christians are uniquely position to stand up against the cancer within their ranks. They have the moral responsibility to step up. In the process, I expect, they will find allies in secular groups and a lot more tolerance for them selves.
You said, "There is just a very wide diversity amongst Christians, and that's something to recognize."
Some 38,000 different denominations, sects and cults will attest to that.
You said, "But I will say in my view there is just as large a ratio of extremism in Christianity as there is for any other major religion."
There may even be less extremism within christianity than in some other religions, but that doesn't mean we should condone it.
I'd like to see the silent majority of christians to no longer remain silent and take a stand (preferably on the side of inclusion). If they do we may find that there are far more on the wrong side than we might like, but at least we'd know where we stand.
Should we then link all atheists with the ignorant and hate-filled statements made by some who self describe as the same?
You said, "Should we then link all atheists with the ignorant and hate-filled statements made by some who self describe as the same?"
You seem to confuse atheism with religion, again (talk about ignorance). Atheism, by it's very definition is an individual thing. It is simply not believing in any gods. Nothing more nothing less. We don't follow any doctrine. We don't have any required reading. We don't hold atheistic services.
If atheists organize, and I know that they do, it is far more like a society of scientist in a particular field than a religiously affiliated group. Atheists organize to exchange ideas (and not to suppress them, so it is polar opposite of religion). If atheists speak out, they tend to work for the betterment of the whole society (by fighting religious oppression by one particular group).
Also, where do you see ignorance? Where do you see hate? Ridicule isn't hate. Calling bigots for what they are, isn't hate.
I'm beginning to wonder just how stupid the Democrats are becoming by making "g^y marriage" a plank in their platform. Well, this is one union member who is standing up to oppose this ridiculous decision. Why cater to the ho.mo-facists? This party has been hijacked by the strays and g^ys. The Republicans must be salivating over this decision-almost as if these ho.mo's are a "mole" sent by the Republicans to destroy the Democratic party. But, if the Republicans deem it politically expedient to do so, they'll adopt the same plank. God is certainly allowing this nation to go into judgment-and righteously so.
Stinking ho/mo-fascists, looking to have their unions granted teh same legal rights as straights.
It's just like those feminazi Suffragettes wanting to menstruate all over the electoral system.
I shudder to think what may come next in the cavalcade of sin that is decline of Christian America.
Keith and doc, both of your arguments are based on bigotry and misrepresentation, and not to mention a worldview that couldn't be more detached from reality.
NoTheism, Doc was using satire to show how ridiculous the comment was.
The hearts of people today are growing col, society is growing cold, just as the Bible said in matthew 24:12. That's all I know.
Keri, that's called confirmation bias. Instead of looking to the bible for "answers", you should seek out better sources of information and avoid being so apocalyptic.
I wouldn't doubt it for a second that it's "all" you know.
Yup. Just as religious leaders said 50 years ago.
And 100 years ago.
And even 1015 years ago.
Millenialism. Look it up. For, according to at least a handful of religious leaders EACH generation, it is 'the end of times'.
Then you don't know much, Keri.
"Religious freedom" doesn't mean that, as an ignorant bigot, you have the right not to be challenged for your public statements. Let's let Chick Fil A align themselves with Westboro Baptist Church – seems to me that WBC has the same argument. "Christianist" cowards don't understand the basic tenets of the religion that they suppposedly espouse – "Do unto others...."
I'm pretty sure Chick-fil-A are not in favor of making being gay a capital offence.
The basic tenet is "Go, and sin no more."
Marc – Who are you to call someone else an Ignorant bigot? Sterotype much? Should people start calling you a flaming fairy? No, both of those statements are disrespectful and show the lack of maturity in a posters comments.
What makes you think that Marc is gay? And I dont think he was talking about all Christians just certain ones.
This kind of threats and taunts to religious belief is nothing but bullying of the worst kind and inhibitive to Freedom
'Prayer is postponed disappointment'
I have to laugh when I see an article like this, although when I started hearing the story I knew it was only a matter of time before the religious people started crying. If believers are free to express their opinion about certain things, and they most certainly are, then other people have the freedom to express their ideas as well. Freedom of speech is not a one-way street, if you say something others don't agree with, expect to hear about it.
Religious freedom is not under attack, what is under attack is the rather blatant way it is used at times to justify ignorance and hate. Now these mayors and whatnot probably won't get re-elected, which is a shame, but I'm rather glad they stood up and spoke out.
of course the xians will weep and bleat: the majority isn't towing their line of hate, therefore they can claim 'oh we're such martyrs'. Diocletian was right.
When a building permit is denied then they have a case, you know like the Christians in Tennessee did to that mosque. Until then it's just more christians jumping onto the bigotry band wagon.
Try thinking, if it doesn't work, there's always religion.
I wouldn't want to be seen eating at that anti-human rights place.. Shameful.. If this is religious freedom, religious freedom is abuse
Religion is such a crock.....grow up, sheeple.
I just love how people who whine about how their First Amendment rights are being violated are, in fact, the ones trying to violate the First Amendment rights of their critics. I, for one, strongly support Chick-Fil-A's right to express their opinions. Freedom of speech makes the morons that much easier to identify.
I just love how people don't understand that the 1st amendment was made to protect your from the government, not from private citizens. There is no free speech issue here.
religion; a way to control the weak minded
Just like the 2nd Amendment is there to protect the citizens from a tyrannical gov't.
“Such evident discrimination and attempts to marginalize those with religious values have no place in American democracy,” Anderson said" But it would seem that it's ok to discriminate against and marginalize those in the LGBT communioty because that's what most religions seem to be doing.
I think the most surprising thing about the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Quran is how much compassion Ibrahim and Lot felt for the people of the cities. Allah clears both prophets of having contempt for the gay people. Allah also says the reason he chose to destroy them was because he sent a warner to them enjoining them to stop engaging in polytheism, flat out disbelief in Allah, as well as going to the males instead of the females, and they rejected Allah's communications and were arrogant. Point being that Ibrahim felt heartbroken for those people when he received the news from the angels as well as Lot, who was so distressed he just wished he could do more to guide them to the Straight Path. He even offered his daughters in marriage to a party of them as a last ditch effort, and said "Is there not one right handed man among you?", but the people answered "We have no claim to your daughters, you know very well what we want." Indeed, Allah says that the people of these cities were the first to commit the action of going to the males instead of the females, but among their sins were polytheism and flat out disbelief in Allah. In every such similar story Allah communicates in the Qur'an, he says that he would never destroy a people without first sending a warner to them to guide them as he is the Most Compassionate...however he is also the Most Just and He pays everyone in full for their deeds. Best Regards.
Oh yes. That makes perfect sense. It's okay to commit genocide if you warn them first. You can destroy whole cities as long as you gave them an option to follow you first. I get it. Really? You buy that? It's okay with you that your Most Just kills people simply for disagreeing with him and refusing to bow to him? I love that you guys can reconcile a "good" god that commits heinous acts like this. How does an all=loving, all-knowing, all-powerful creature create people he must know will reject him? Does that mean he created a certain number of people that he fully intended to send to hell? Yes it does. Your god along with the gods of the Christians and Jews is an evil being who is anything but merciful.
no monkeys, Allah created everything in the universe and created you and continually showers blessings on you. Every breath you take, every glass of water, every garment you wear, you eye sight, you could not count the blessings of Allah even if you tried. Everything in His law for mankind is a mercy to us. He doesn't need our worship or obedience, however it is us that need the guidance and at times in the past there have been people who were so unjust he destroyed them. best regards
The christians have no proof for anything in The Babble – do muslims have any proof for anything in their cult's holy book?
in answer to your other question, no he does not ceat people intending on sending them to hell. He creates people with a limited free will, sends down his laws and lets us make the decision for ourselves. The stakes are so high because we have the free will to choose. Rocks and trees don't get to go to heaven for obeying their creator...but we do. Live a good life, believe in one God, take care of your family, give everyone around you what rights they have over you and remain optimistic.
The definition of the Quran is: The Arabic speech of Allah, sent down to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel, reported to us through many transmissions and a challenge to mankind to produce something like it.
The Quran has many scientific miracles such as detailing that it is the male who determines the gender of the offspring, description of the big bang and the early universe immediately following it, determining the earth to be 1/3 the age of the universe, describing oceanography, cosmology, describing the earth in seven layers and the atmosphere in seven layers, even describing the purpose of those layers as protection for us, describing all matter in pairs, things we can see and things we cannot. But more importantly, if you study and really look for answers, you will see that the Author of the Quran has mankind's best interests in mind as He gives guidelines for us on how to live that make perfect sense with no error.
Your holy books are lies. Religious freedom means you're free to be an idiot and believe in fairy tales.
coming from a guy who calls himself...lol, nevermind.
In the Quaran, God command the Israelites to slay a yellow calf, which they manage to do (after fumbling around for a bit trying to find the right cow) at the same time as someone is mudered!
The muder mystery is solved after they smack the corpse around with a flank steak to bring the man back to life, whereupon he identifies his killer.
And what about the Jinn? Creature made of "smokeless fire" who inhabit a parallel dimention??
To – 0G-No gods, ghosts, ghouls, goblins or guns
Do you have any proof that what is written in the Bible didn't occur?
Help us save the jobs of 5 people
I'm an atheist and I despise the comments made on behalf of Chic-A-Fil-A on a personal level. With that said, I'm inclined to agree that their antiquated opinions should not prevent them from opening franchises in different cities.
On a personal level I will continue to eat elsewhere because I disagree with their political views and because I wouldn't touch the hormoned up filth they serve with a ten foot pole...but politicians preventing them from opening up new shops are stomping on their first amendment rights, which are of paramount importance.
Thanks Rory, the first part of your statement seems reasonable (I don't know about the hormones in their food,but that might be true as well.).
They actually are not preventing them from opening in their cities. They are simply saying they're not welcome there by the mayors at least.
As noted on p. 1:
Very little to do with religion and a lot to do with money as the CEOs of McDonalds and Yum Brands (KFC, Taco Bell et al) are probably big donors to Raul's Chicago political machine. i.e. Chick-fil-A would be bad for the bottom line for these other fast food chains..