NOM BLOG

National Review Editors Weigh In On the "Chicken Inquisition"

 

The editors of National Review:

"...Rahm Emanuel has been many things in life — ballet dancer, investment banker, congressman, White House chief of staff, now mayor of Chicago — and he apparently wishes to add another title to his curriculum vitae: Grand Inquisitor. He has denounced the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A and endorsed a Chicago alderman’s plan to block construction of a new outlet because the company’s executives do not share his politics. This is a gross abuse of power: Imagine if the mayor of Provo, Utah, had tried to punish a business for supporting same-sex marriage — the Left would demand his resignation, etc. The powers of government are not to be used for parochial political ends. Even in Chicago.

... It is one thing for private citizens to stage a boycott of a company with associations that annoy them, though the gay lobby’s hysterical demands for absolute conformity to its agenda in all aspects of public life is both unseemly and childish. (The gay lobby is also wrong about the issue of marriage and should be opposed.) As bad as organized homosexuality’s bullying tactics can be, it is a far more serious thing when elected officials appropriate the instruments of government to punish those with whom they disagree. The analogue to the civil-rights movement is a defective one: Whatever indignities homosexuals have suffered in our history, they were not held as chattel slaves or systematically excluded from political and economic life in the way black Americans were, nor is homosexuality categorically comparable to race. Boston mayor Thomas Menino threatened to withhold a business license from Chick-fil-A until somebody reminded him that doing so would constitute an illegal abuse of official power, at which point he withdrew the threat but confirmed his simmering hostility.

Mayors Menino and Emanuel are not striking a blow for civil rights; they are exploring new ground in the abuse of political power. Their threats and posturing have been far more shameful than anything Chick-fil-A has undertaken, and their motives considerably less lofty.