I have been to Chick-Fil-A once. Two years ago, while in Indianapolis with my family, we stopped for lunch in a mall before heading home. The food was pedestrian, the service fine.
I didn't notice the chain again until the other day, when Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy, a devout southern Baptist, was quoted as saying he is guilty as charged in defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Chick -Fil-A has long supported Christian values, to the point of closing its stores on Sundays and advocacy of what Mr. Cathy calls "biblical values."
Then Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno jumped into the fray, declaring that he would block a proposed Chick-Fil-A store from opening in his ward.
Imagine that. Since when do politicians make it their duty to deny business owners a license because of their personal beliefs? In the midst of a slogging economy, how come Ald. Moreno isn't doing back flips at the potential for any business to bring jobs and economic opportunity to his ward?
I wonder how much time Ald. Moreno spends polling the local dry cleaner, bowling alley or barber shop owners as to their views on marriage, abortion or any other issue he decides matter more than local commerce. What if Mr. Cathy's comments came to light after the store opened; would Ald. Moreno work to shut it down? Mayor Rahm Emanuel chimed in by declaring, "Chick-Fil-A values are not our values".
Mr. Cathy merely expressed his personal beliefs. There are no efforts by Chick-Fil-A stores to ban gay customers or gay employees. If people don't agree with Mr. Cathy they can vote with their wallets.
Which brings me to Joe Ricketts.
Mr. Ricketts is the patriarch of the family which owns the Chicago Cubs. He got in hot water with Mayor Emanuel for considering bankrolling inflammatory ads about President Obama and his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Timing is everything; the Ricketts story broke as the Cubs sought government funds for rehabbing Wrigley Field. Mayor Emanuel was livid and refused to return calls from the Ricketts family.
As citizens and successful businessmen, both Cathy and Ricketts are entitled to their personal opinions under the First Amendment. In both instances, I wish politicians would stick to public policy instead of trying to regulate personal freedoms.