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. WillieLove

    Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Bob

      Actually, little-Willie, it's a good thing that we don't obey Christian god, when he makes horrid demands like these, from the Christian book of nasty AKA the bible:

      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.

      July 30, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  2. WillieLove

    Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.

    We need to remember many of us never obeyed God when tempted. Show love toward those who are not in Christ. They are Humans who need love and respect. They are not of Christ but God wants every person salvation. No one is perfect, every person come short of the glory.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  3. WillieLove

    Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Sid

      'Cuz if you don't, mean ole Christian god will whup your ass.

      July 30, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  4. magnus

    Lord, please forgive the stupid christians and gays for fighting over this store.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  5. Matt

    The waspy and waspy-like Christains can thank the blacks, the latinos, the jews, the gays, women, the disabled and transgender people for the discrimination laws. Way to go Christians for standing up for yourselves which is exactly what the discrimination laws were intended to be for. High-five for you guys.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Truth or the Shocker

      I want to BF your moms doggy style, player.

      July 30, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • HD2harley

      You are a flamoing ass. Why are you blaming blacks and Latinos? If you want to blame, PLEASE don't forget to add whites too!!! Your ancestors brought lacks here against their will and now you want to blame them for cyring discrimination. You are surely a piece of work. The day that you can look at others and not care about what color or nationality they are or their religion is, then people will think better of you. But I doubt that you are even capable of doing that, you JERK.

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

    And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  7. aaron

    What goes around comes around. These fanatics condemn everyone who is not exactly like them, then they scream bloody murder when the favor gets returned.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  8. WillieLove

    Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  9. WillieLove

    Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind

    July 30, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Truth or the Shocker

      What did they Easter Bunny have to say?

      July 30, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  10. marklipinski

    The Christians are big cry babies. They bully everyone they can get away with then cry discrimination when the victims fight back. They eat their wounded. They are a disgrace can they can thank Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority. That's when Christianity became a political organization and ended as a spiritual journey. They are no less terrorists than any other fanatical religious group.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  11. Tim Tebow

    Sounds like a ton of hot guys in this blog!!

    July 30, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  12. TC

    I'm going to suck my daddy off.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  13. TC


    July 30, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  14. California


    July 30, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Nathan

      ...but at least they can spell feeble.

      July 30, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  15. California

    I think about Tim Tebow when I beat off everyday.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • TC

      I'm a gay guy, can I suck you off?

      July 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  16. California


    July 30, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  17. California

    Democrats think free speech is only for democrats.

    I say let the culture wars begin.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • TC

      You are a weakling.

      July 30, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  18. Pat

    Oh, Boo Hoo..........the christians can dish it out, but they can't take it...........

    July 30, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  19. Andrew

    The evangelicals must be even more clueless than I thought if they don't see the hypocrisy in crying about being discriminated against in response to themselves being discriminatory.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  20. Talk to Sampson, Fly to Moon

    Why do gay men prefer doggy style? So they can both watch Desperate Housewives.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
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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.