Today is National Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, but judging from the nationwide social media reports last week, customers didn’t wait for the official day to start showing their support. The fast-food chicken restaurant has seen standing-room-only dining areas and clogged drive-through lines all week since the mayors of Boston and Chicago openly declared their desire to shut the company’s franchises down through discriminatory permitting practices.
It’s extremely encouraging to see this massive push back and support from prominent political figures. But before and after today, many small businesses and lesser-known companies will be battling government officials and progressive shakedown artists because of their religious beliefs and principles. They deserve your support and attention, too.
As I wrote in February 2011, when the Left’s Chick-fil-A witch hunt first started ramping up, the war on Christian businesses:
For the Left, these Biblically-based corporate principles constitute high social justice crimes and misdemeanors. Democrats are always ready to invoke religion to support their big government, taxpayer-funded initiatives (Obamacare, illegal alien amnesty, increased education spending, and FCC regulatory expansion, for starters).
But when an independent company – thriving on its own merits in the market place — wears its soul on its sleeve, suddenly it’s a theocratic crisis.
Over the past month, several progressive activist blogs have waged an ugly war against Chick-Fil-A. The company’s alleged atrocity: One of its independent outlets in Pennsylvania donated some sandwiches and brownies to a marriage seminar run by the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which happens to oppose same-sex marriage.
In the name of tolerance, the anti-Chick-Fil-A hawks sneered at the company’s main product as “Jesus Chicken,” derided its no-Sunday work policy, and attacked its operators as “anti-gay.” Michael Jones, who describes himself as having “worked in the field of human rights communications for a decade, most recently for Harvard Law School,” launched an online petition drive at www.change.org “demanding” that the company disavow “extreme anti-gay groups.” Facebook users dutifully organized witch hunt drives against the company on college campuses.
Over the weekend, New York Times reporter Kim Severson gave the Chick-Fil-A bashers a coveted Sunday A-section megaphone – repeatedly parroting the “Chick-Fil-A is anti-gay” slur and raising fears of “evangelical Christianity’s muscle flexing” with only the thinnest veneer of journalistic objectivity. Severson, you see, is an openly gay advocate of same-sex marriage equality herself and the former vice-president of the identity politics-mongering National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association. In a bitter op-ed on gay marriage laws not changing quickly enough, she asserted: “I don’t want the crumbs. I want the whole cake.” Severson has voiced complaints about her social and economic status as an unwed lesbian with a partner and child in several media publications.
None of this was disclosed in Severson’s advocacy journalism hit job on Chick-Fil-A. But therein lies the unofficial motto of the Gray Lady: All the ideological conflicts of interest unfit to print.
…their core objective is to marginalize political opponents and chill Christian philanthropy and activism. The fearsome “muscle-flexing” isn’t being done by innocent job-creators selling chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. It’s being done by the hysterical bullies trying to drive them off college grounds and out of their neighborhoods in the name of “human rights.”
Remember: These were the same tactics the left-wing mob used in California to intimidate supporters of the Proposition 8 traditional marriage initiative. Individual donors were put on an “Anti-Gay Black List.” Businesses who contributed money to the Prop. 8 campaign were besieged by fist-wielding protesters. The artistic director of the California Musical Theatre was forced to resign over his $1,000 donation.
Message: Associate with the wrong political cause and you will pay. So much for national “civility.”
Many of you will remember when eHarmony was forced by New Jersey state tolerance police to start carrying same-sex dating ads.
Change.org has been a hub of organizing against Christian businesses and organizations. Flashback July 2011:
Change.org continues to be the central clearinghouse for anti-Christian crusades.
The latest involves my friends at Focus on the Family. Their crime? Reaching out to a “socially conscious” shoe company, TOMS, that donates footwear to poor children around the world. Apparently, “progressives” would rather kids go shoeless than allow unapologetically devout Christians to help them achieve common goals.
Zealots used Change.org to browbeat the head of TOMS to apologize for merely speaking at an event hosted by Focus on the Family. The progressive mob has turned Focus into a public enemy because the organization defends traditional marriage and pro-life, pro-adoption policies.
…im Daly diagnoses the Left’s pathological opposition to Focus:
While we may disagree with those who spearheaded this effort to get TOMS to distance themselves from us, our desire is not so much to defeat them at the ballot box as it is to bring them closer to the heart of Jesus Christ — the only hope any of us have for the forgiveness and overcoming of our sins,” Daly said.
…Daly said Mycoskie’s apology was an “unfortunate statement about the culture we live in, when an organization like ours is deemed unfit” over beliefs about marriage. “It’s also a chilling statement about the future of the culture we live in,” he said.
And the Change.org mob has only just begun:
On Thursday, Microsoft pulled their online store from the Christian Values Network after a Change.org petition started by Seattle resident and Microsoft customer Stuart Wilber, highlighted several anti-gay groups raising money through the Christian Values Network, including Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. Shoppers at the Christian Values Network can buy from more than 600 brands. When customers purchase through the Christian Values Network, a portion of the sale is donated to the religious organization of the shopper’s choice.
A new petition on Change.org started by Washington State University student, Ben Crowther calls upon Apple to remove their iTunes and Apple stores from the Christian Values Network.
They won’t stop until only left-wing, politically correct Christians are able to run businesses, participate in global charities, and engage online.
This is their idea of “tolerance.”
Is it yours?
And, of course, religious health care providers and private Catholic college and universities have been battling the religious conscience-crushing Obamacare’s abortion mandate.
Details on the legal fight:
In Colorado on Friday, U.S. District Court Judge John Kane, a Carter appointee, granted a preliminary injunction on behalf of Hercules Industries, halting the government’s ability to enforce its anti-conscience mandate against the company while the lawsuit challenging the mandate continues in court.
Hercules is a family-owned, for-profit company whose self-insured health plan for its 265 employees does not cover abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception. It sued the Obama Administration to protect its right to continue to administer its health plan in a way that comports with the family’s religious faith. The injunction is the first-ever ordered against the mandate.
Judge Kane’s decision identified two key portions of the company’s articles of incorporation reflecting the role of religion in its corporate governance—a statement that its primary purposes were to be achieved by “following appropriate religious, ethical or moral standards” and another that directed its board to prioritize those “religious, ethical or moral standards” at the expense of profitability.
Hercules’s health insurance plan was not “grandfathered” from the conscience-crushing requirements of the mandate. Judge Kane noted that unless the injunction was issued, Hercules would be required to include no-cost coverage for contraception in its plan by November 1 or face monetary penalties.
As Judge Kane acknowledged, granting a preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary remedy,” concluding that the harm to the government of non-enforcement “pales in comparison to the possible infringement upon Plaintiffs’ constitutional and statutory rights” to operate their business consistent with their convictions. Judge Kane concluded that the government’s interests in enforcing the mandate were undercut by the numerous exceptions to the mandate that the Administration created for other entities. “These interests are countered, and indeed, outweighed, by the public interest in the free exercise of religion,” he stated.
Judge Kane concluded that the company’s claims under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) provided adequate grounds for ruling in favor of their requested injunction.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”
I Peter 3:15-17