As the Chicago Tribune's Hal Dardick reported today, Ald. Moreno is denying the popular chicken sandwich restaurant's request for a zoning change as a way to stop them from opening a new Logan Square location. Mayor Emanuel endorsed Moreno's position.
Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy is a devout Christian and last week he affirmed his belief that the biblical definition of marriage between a man and woman is also his personal belief. His family's WinShape Foundation has been known to donate money to organizations that oppose the legalization of gay marriage.
Chick-fil-A does not discriminate against homosexuals in its hiring practices or in its service to customers. In fact, it would be illegal if they did.
The chain does not use its brand to get involved in political issues.
The owner of the chain and his family have a view about gay marriage that is consistent with their religious beliefs. While their foundation is politically active, they don't use money from the Chick-Fil-A corporate coffers to get involved politically. Thus, what Dan Cathy does with private foundation money or what he says in a magazine is nothing more than his expression of free speech and has no bearing on a zoning request.
Mayor Emanual and Ald. Moreno are setting a precedent that says the city of Chicago has the right to discriminate against a business and it's owner based solely on their religious affiliation and views. If a business owner has a religious belief that conflicts with the personal faith of the Mayor or Alderman, then city hall has the right to deny them licenses, permits or zoning requests.
Chicago liberals have always said this was a city where your civil rights were protected at all costs. Apparently the Mayor and Ald. Moreno believe that civil rights are only for those who agree with them and are to be withheld from certain religious people and businesses.
If the people of Chicago are offended by something the business owner did or said, they don't have to work there or purchase sandwiches at Chick-fil-A. They can protest outside the business and encourage a boycott. Those methods might very well drive the chain and its jobs out of town.
The citizens of this city can express their first amendment rights as loud and as large as they like.
But how dare city elected officials single out and discriminate against a business because of their owner's private religious views. If this ruling stands, every church, religious institution and religiously affiliated business owner in the city will have to live in fear that the Mayor will shut them out if they dare express their free speech views on their faith.
What happens if a mini mart owner tells a TV news reporter that he opposes abortions because he is Christian or if a Muslim business owner suggests that U.S. foreign policy in the Mid East violates the Koran? Will they be denied permits and zoning requests as well because of their faith?
This is Chicago, not China. We have first amendment civil rights and Mayor Emanuel and Ald. Moreno need to look in the mirror before accusing anyone else of bigoted intolerance.
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