In my early 20s, I was pro-choice and opposed to gay marriage. Now that I’m in my 30s, I’m pro-life and more supportive of gay marriage. Sometimes our views change. It happens all the time. The important thing is that we are free to have views and voice them.
When Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy publicly denounced gay marriage last month, the mayors of two major American cities let everyone know that the fast food restaurant was not welcome in their towns. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino threatened to block the construction of a new Chick-fil-A. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made similar statements, echoing the sentiments of a local official.
Even many of those outraged by Cathy’s comments would agree that he was simply exercising his free speech rights. But some thought these mayors were also exercising their free speech rights. They were not. What they were attempting to do is the antithesis of free speech.
Individuals who are offended by Cathy’s comments are free to avoid Chick-fil-A. They are free to speak out against Chick-fil-A. This is how America’s system of government is supposed to work. This is how the First Amendment works. This is how free markets are supposed to work.
But for the government to prevent someone from operating a business based on his personal or political opinions is a direct violation of free speech. It’s certainly anti-free market. I’m aghast at how many people can’t make this important distinction.
Imagine that a Muslim man owns a convenience store. Now imagine that he, too, like Dan Cathy, has some rather unfavorable views of homosexuals. Does anyone think this Muslim man’s local government should prevent him from selling Doritos and cigarettes because of his views?
Imagine that a homosexual man opens a store in a small Southern town. Now imagine that the local government attempts to shut down his business simply because he is homosexual. This would be tragically wrong and un-American. Imagine this same storeowner publicly expressed pride in his sexuality. Does anyone — even the most conservative Christian — believe the government should be able to take away his right to do business just because he expressed his opinion?
There are few, if any, conservative Christians who would think this proper. However, after Dan Cathy made his comments, I discovered countless liberals who had no problem doing the same thing to Dan Cathy. Liberals who are trying to make Cathy out to be some sort of fascist need to take a good, hard look in the mirror.