John Kass weighs in on the controversy over denying a zoning permit to Chick-Fil-A on the basis of the chain’s owners expressed beliefs:
So if a business owner makes public his personal views, it won’t be the public that decides whether to patronize the establishment. Instead, politicians will decide for us and swing the government hammer to knock the business down.
The message from Chicago’s City Hall is simple: Speak out of turn and we’ll crush you. And if you think that the Bible should inform you, then you’re nothing but a bigot who deserves to be crushed.
Personally, I’m ambivalent on the gay marriage issue. The libertarian in me says people should swing the way they want to swing. The Christian in me is informed by the Bible and my church, which define marriage in the traditional way. But my Christianity also tells me to love thy neighbor, baby, and to remove the beam from my own eye before worrying about the splinter in my neighbor’s eye.
Kass’s view expressed here is much my own.
I am dismayed by the ongoing discussion of this subject. There is no ambiguity or gray area on the illegality of the alderman’s actions. There is abundant case law rejecting the power of officials to deny permits based on the petitioner’s prior speech.
If you disapprove of the views articulated by the owner of a fast food chain, by all means do not patronize the chain. By what right do you deny him to what, in the absence of those views, would otherwise be perfectly acceptable? I find the eagerness of people to use the power of government to punish people with whom they disagree politically far more frightening than the views they’re condemning.
In a more humorous vein, I never thought we’d be able to re-purpose Oscar Wilde’s wisecrack about fox-hunting: the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable. Clearly, I was wrong.