July 31, 2012 by jjfrancesco
If you’ve been paying any attention to the news lately, you’ve probably heard about the popular Christian-owned fast food chain Chick-Fil-A and the recent controversy surrounding comments made by their CEO about gay marriage. Whatever one feels about gay marriage, the backlash surrounding this should be very concerning to all of us, but especially to other business owners. The hatred that has been ignited over what amounted to one CEO’s opinion could be the next looming threat to the American business owner. While the debate about “gay rights” is currently driving the conversation, the real conversation should be about a business being penalized for the personal opinions of its CEO. If Chick-Fil-A is going to be slandered in the media for their views, is any business really safe? Is your business next?
Since Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy’s comments were made known, the company has been the subject of endless public ridicule. The mayors of Chicago and Boston have vowed to keep the company out, with Chicago mayor Rham Emanuel declaring that “Chick-Fil-A values are not Chicago values,” in justifying his decision to block the company’s advance in Chicago. While the Boston mayor has reportedly backtracked, Emanuel is standing firm in his opposition thus far. So let’s get this straight, if a mayor disagrees with the beliefs of a company, he’s now allowed to keep them from expanding in his city? So much for American freedom! This should frighten business owners, even if they disagree with Cathy’s stance on gay marriage. If politicians start determining which businesses can build where based on the personal beliefs of the company’s CEO, then that sets a dangerous precedent that goes way beyond the gay marriage debate. Yes, today, the issue is gay marriage and the business in the hot seat is Chick-Fil-A. But what’s to stop that from changing tomorrow?
In an age where the Internet is always looking for its next exploitation piece, it doesn’t take much imagination to picture a scenario where another business owner is asked a question and answers with an opinion that the media doesn’t like and will therefore exploit. While people obviously have the right to not patronize any business for whatever reason, the fact that out-of-control politicians and an agenda-driven media can so easily get away with a smear campaign against a business all over the opinions of its CEO (or any of its employees, for that matter), is not a good thing for business in America. Every person likely holds some opinions that others will probably find offensive, business owners included.
Do business owners really want their business to be a prisoner of whether or not the media and politicians agree with an opinion they dare to express in a country that supposedly values free speech? Maybe next time, a company could have their reputation attacked by the media because the CEO dared to justify selling meat-based products. Or maybe a company will express support for a controversial politician and will be blocked from entering communities where the political leaders support opposing candidates. The possible reasons are endless. It’s easy to justify the attack against Chick-Fil-A if one is comfortably on the opposite side of the gay marriage debate, but to act like this is the only issue that can win a business the scorn of media and political machines is just naïve. Offend the wrong person one time and your business could end up in the same spot as Chick-Fil-A, and surely you’d want to be supported in your right to express your opinion without having your business become the target of a media and political witch-hunt.
So if you own a business, you, more than anyone, should stand up and stand with Chick-Fil-A, even if you vehemently disagree with Dan Cathy’s stance on gay marriage. Whether you are the CEO of a corporate competitor to Chick-Fil-A like McDonald’s or just run a small local “Ma and Pa” shop, it’s in your best interest to advocate for freedom by standing with Chick-Fil-A. Neither Cathy nor Chick-Fil-A has done anything wrong. Nobody was turned away from Chick-Fil-A because of his or her sexual orientation. Nobody was fired because of it. Chick-Fil-A’s CEO merely was asked a question, and answered honestly with his opinion, a right that used to be sacred in America. Don’t let this smear campaign stand because it’s politically correct, at the moment. Wouldn’t it be a shame if they came for you, and nobody stood with you? This attack against Chick-Fil-A is yet another weed that is choking our constitutional freedoms. Kill it now before it strangles out your freedoms. Stand against the opposition to your rights now by standing up for Chick-Fil-A, because if you let this slide, you or your business could be the next victim of a political witch-hunt.