Dear Marriage Supporter,
Victory! Chick-fil-A Feels Your Love!
In response to the open hatred and threats directed at the Cathy family for gently saying they stand on Biblical principles (including on marriage), Gov. Huckabee called for a day honoring the restaurant chain and the heroic family who founded Chick-fil-A in 1946. That day will be August 1, 2012—next Wednesday, "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," and we're expecting a great success, based on the great showing at our own "National Eat at Chick-fil-A Day" this past Wednesday.
Our co-founder, Maggie Gallagher, happened to be listening to Gov. Huckabee's radio show when he called for such an event, and immediately she called me up to ask: "Is this something NOM should jump on board with?"
"Yes," I said. And we got right to work communicating to our 500,000 strong list of marriage supporters.
And boy did you respond!
Photos and testimonials have poured in from across the country on the packed turnout at Chick-fil-A on Wednesday.
NOM's own Thomas Peters visited the DC Chick-fil-A food truck and reported packed lines the whole lunch hour.
A DC supporter who arrived later said the truck had sold out of sandwiches! (She opted for chicken nuggets instead.)
A NOM supporter from Alabama sent this photo along with this description: "I tried to eat at Chick-fil-A today, but the Homewood, AL location was too crowded! What the photo doesn't show is the back-up behind the camera and the packed shopping center parking lot adjacent to the restaurant. Jam packed."
Meanwhile a NOM supporter from St. Louis wrote us: "I've never seen a fast food restaurant as busy as the Chick-fil-A here in St. Louis today."
Eat Mor Chikin!
I went on Gov. Huckabee's radio program on Wednesday to promote National Eat at Chick-fil-A day! You can listen to me here.
I want to thank Gov. Huckabee publically for stepping forward on behalf of not only the Cathy family, but millions of other decent, loving, law-abiding American citizens who believe marriage is, and ought to remain in law and culture, the union of one man with one woman.
Gov. Huckabee also had some very kind words to say about me and NOM and I want to thank him for that too:
Brian, thank you, and my thanks also to the National Organization for Marriage, a highly-respected family organization that has been willing to courageously show leadership in states where there have been ballot measures to not change something but rather to leave something alone, to simply allow us to continue in the traditional view of marriage.
Seeing how this past Wednesday was such a success, we're determined to make next Wednesday, August 1 even bigger!
We are joining Gov. Huckabee in extending the love: Wednesday August 1 will be "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day"—an even bigger tribute of love to the Cathy family for all their good works to so many charitable and Christian organizations, their courage in refusing to back down from Biblical principles (including marriage), and of course for their fabulous chicken sandwiches!
So, if you can, do me a favor: go to Chick-fil-A next Wednesday and take your cell phone! Snap a photo of the crowd and send it to us care of NOM's Corporate Fairness director Jonathan Baker. You can reach Jonathan at [email protected]. (Send Jonathan a message to let him know how this past Wednesday's National Eat at Chick-fil-A Day went, too!) Together, we're going to show that the majority of Americans stand behind Chick-fil-A and the Cathy family!
On the other side, though, the attacks are escalating, getting meaner, and now even involve threats from government officials to punish a legitimate business because of the political and religious views of its founders.
Of all the hatred being launched at Chick-fil-A, Hollywood's special brand takes the prize for being the most hysterical. Actress and former Green Party presidential candidate Roseanne Barr tweeted that she hopes Chick-fil-A customers get cancer and die, Twitchy reports.
Warning: her original message was totally foul-mouthed of course. The part that is printable said a customer "deserves to get the cancer that is sure to come from eating antibiotic filled tortured chickens 4Christ, (sic)" she tweeted Wednesday.
Referencing tweets Barr sent to another Twitter user, Twitchy said, "Roseanne believes parents who feed their kids food from Chick-fil-A are child abusers."
Later, she posted a sort of apology, claiming she was only stating her opinions about the health qualities of the fast food chain.
"Too late everyone has seen the screencap and they know you are lying," one person wrote.
"That's not what you said. Now you're just lying to cover for your hate," wrote another.
Somewhere the gay marriage movement, which likes to imagine itself following in the footsteps of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.— preaching tolerance, love and respect—is getting seriously off message here.
But hate-filled Hollywood rants aren't even the worst of it.
In several spots throughout the nation, the ugly specter of abusing government power to block Chick-fil-A's business has been raised.
In Mountain View, California, it is private citizens who are trying to misuse the government's zoning power to block a Chick-fil-A franchise from opening.
According to the Huffington Post, area resident David Speakman (one-half of the first gay married in Santa Clara in 2008) posted an online petition on fundraising site WePay looking to gather the $1,000 necessary to lodge a zoning challenge to stop the franchise from moving in. Speakman made it clear that it was Dan Cathy's statement that he supports the Biblical understanding of marriage that was triggering his attempt to use zoning laws to block the Chick-fil-A (which is seeking to take over property which previously housed a Sizzler restaurant).
"We're pro-business and pro-growth, but businesses that move here have to reflect our community," Speakman added to the Palo Alto Daily News. "If they're going to be offensive to our friends and family who happen to by gay or lesbian, we're going to look at them a little bit harder and make sure they follow the rules."
But it gets even worse than private citizens trying to misuse laws to raise obstacles for political reasons.
What we have right now are powerful government officials announcing to the press that they are going to try to block a legitimate, law-abiding business because its owners don't share their political views on marriage.
The first out of the box was Boston's Mayor Thomas Menino, who threatened Chick-fil-A saying that it would be "very difficult" for the franchise to get licenses in Boston, according to the Boston Herald.
Mayor Menino's actual letter was angry and insulting—not just to Chick-fil-A and its customers, but to every person in the city of Boston (and around the nation) who does not support same-sex marriage. I would also argue that it is insulting to gay people who are portrayed as incapable of tolerating the sight of a fast food franchise whose owners do not support same-sex marriage:
I was angry to learn on the heels of your prejudiced statements about your search for a site to locate in Boston. There is no place for discrimination on Boston's Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it. When Massachusetts became the first state in the country to recognize equal marriage rights, I personally stood on City Hall Plaza to greet same sex couples here to be married. It would be an insult to them and to our city's long history of expanding freedom to have a Chick fil-A across the street from that spot.
Menino's call was then picked up by a Chicago Alderman, whose position in turn was (unsurprisingly) affirmed by Chicago's politically well-connected Mayor Rahm Emmanuel.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times:
"Chick-fil-A's values are not Chicago values. They're not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members. And if you're gonna be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values," [Mayor]Emanuel said Wednesday.
"What the CEO has said as it relates to gay marriage and gay couples is not what I believe, but more importantly, it's not what the people of Chicago believe. We just passed legislation as it relates to civil union and my goal and my hope ... is that we now move on recognizing gay marriage. I do not believe that the CEO's comments ... reflects who we are as a city."
Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) is using the same argument to block Chick-fil-A from opening its first free-standing restaurant in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood.
Chick-fil-A already has one Chicago store—at 30 E. Chicago near Loyola University's downtown campus.
"Same sex marriage, same-sex couples—that's the civil rights fight of our time. To have those discriminatory policies from the top down is just not something that we're open to. ...We want responsible businesses," Moreno said."
No business unless it reflects "Chicago values"—Rahm Emmanuel's hammer-fisted values. The good news is that this blatant attempt to use government power to punish individual's businesses for their personal speech is provoking some backlash, even among gay marriage supporters.
The Los Angeles Times editorialized:
... [Mayor of Boston Tom] Menino suggested that it would be appropriate to block the chain from opening in Boston because Cathy's views amount to discrimination. That would rightly apply if Chick-fil-A were to refuse service to gay customers; the city has a right and an obligation to prevent discriminatory actions against its residents and visitors. But there's no evidence that any such thing has occurred.
Menino referred derisively to Chick-fil-A's possible plans to open a restaurant along the city's Freedom Trail, considering Cathy's stand on marriage freedom. That too misreads law and history. It was the freedom to express politically unpopular views and to oppose such views that the Founding Fathers fought to establish.
Chicago Tribune columnist Erich Zorn, who reveals that he is pro-gay marriage, just weighed in as well:
It plainly offends the spirit of the Constitution—and sets a horrible precedent—for public officials at any level to punish otherwise legal forms of speech with arbitrary exercises of government power.
He supports the idea of a consumer boycott of Chick-fil-A, but he draws a line (and I'm glad to know there still is a line somewhere that at least some gay marriage advocates draw!) against government officials persecuting private business owners for their beliefs:
Don't shop at stores or eat at restaurants where the owners proudly embrace or fund positions with which you disagree. Put your money where someone else's mouth is. Picket on the sidewalk out front if you like. Just don't ask The Man to do the dirty work of attempting to marginalize and silence your opponents... .I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to sell chicken sandwiches in order to make money to help you say it.
Mary Mitchell, an African-American columnist at the Chicago Sun Times who describes herself as moderately pro-gay marriage, called the precedent "dangerous":
Moreno is attempting to deny Chick-fil-A the right to do business in the 1st Ward because he doesn't like Cathy's religious beliefs, and that's just wrong.
Do these same rules apply to business owners that are Muslims, Jews, Catholics, and Jehovah's Witnesses? I mean, what the heck happened to religious freedom?
People have a choice of not patronizing this fast food restaurant.
But the city shouldn't be bullying this CEO because an alderman disagrees with his interpretation of the Bible.
If this is allowed, what's next?
But she also pointed out the hypocrisy, in her view, of government officials prioritizing the Chick-fil-A harassment over issues of real concern to the African-American community in Chicago:
Quite frankly, the level of outrage over Cathy's comments is insulting when you consider Chicago's bar scene.
As long as I can recall, bars on the North Side and on Division Street have used bogus dress codes to keep African Americans out of trendy clubs. . . .
Although most people know these so-called dress codes are used discriminatorily, elected officials haven't said a word, and nothing has changed.
But the very idea that Cathy would not support same-sex marriage has put this business owner at the mercy of our City Council.
Gov. Huckabee's high profile position has helped call real attention to an ongoing outrage—and, with your help, brought a tremendous outpouring of love to the Cathy's this Wednesday. Thank you.
I should also note the outpouring of love might have been even bigger except for a successful attempt to shut down Gov. Huckabee's Chick-fil-A tribute page on Facebook, which had generated nearly one million people sending invites to their friends and 100,000 American pledging to eat at Chick-fil-A Wednesday—before suddenly vanishing on Monday.
Gov. Huckabee has a big megaphone. So Facebook responded by restoring his Facebook page, after 13 hours of shutdown. Gov. Huckabee said Facebook originally told him it was a "content" issue, but later blamed a failure of its "spam prevention" mechanisms and apologized.
Approximately 13 hours after deleting an online invitation from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee asking people to show support for Chick-fil-A on Aug. 1, Facebook restored the page around midnight Tuesday....
Huckabee said that explanation was "more thorough" than the one Facebook provided him on Tuesday; the company said it was a "content" issue.
That "was remarkable to us, because the content was not offensive," Huckabee told CitizenLink. "It was not asking anyone to do anything violent, unholy or unhealthy to anyone. It was simply expressing affirmation to the Chick-fil-A company. Interestingly, while that site was pulled down, the site that the militant homosexual groups had put up, which was Same-Sex Kiss Day to happen on Aug. 3 at Chick-fil-A restaurants, was left up."
The incident, however, highlighted the uncivil nature of the debate over same-sex marriage, Huckabee said:
"I think it's a very clear indication of what we're up against in this culture," he explained. "When a person who affirms a Christian worldview—by the way, the same view that Barack Obama held until just a few months ago, when he needed the campaign contributions of the gay community, the same position that Hilary Clinton and Joe Biden held when they ran for president—that position is somehow offensive, even though it represents the will of the people in 31 out of 31 states where it's been on the ballot.
Gov Huckabee confessed he had no particular desire to get in the middle of a food fight with the gay marriage community. But he now can see the writing on the wall:
I never really wanted to get in the middle of this, but I also know that when believers stand back and say nothing when their convictions are just ridiculed—and not only ridiculed but seemingly driven out of the public square—this is what ought to be frightening to us," he added. "It's one thing for our views to be ridiculed, but to have them silenced and censored, either by economic pressure and bullying, or by just outright pulling the plug on them and not giving voice to them in a public forum—that ought to scare the daylights out of people.
An update on the situation of Prof. Mark Regnerus, another perfectly honorable American who has had the temerity to refuse to shut down his "business"—scholarship—in deference to gay marriage activists.
The Weekly Standard published a report on the price this sociologist is paying for conducting a study that was published in a peer-reviewed journal that had outcomes gay marriage activist don't like.
"On the phone, Mark Regnerus sounds a little shellshocked. Professional sociologists hardly ever sound shellshocked.
"I knew it would be controversial," he says. "But this is worse than I ever could have imagined."
"It refers to a scholarly paper Regnerus published last month. This is the hell that broke loose as a result," writes the Weekly Standard's Andy Ferguson:
As of mid-July, a month after his paper was published, these are some of the things that have happened to Mark Regnerus. Three of his colleagues in the sociology department at UT joined with a fourth to -publish a widely distributed op-ed in the Huffington Post accusing him of "besmirching" the university through his "irresponsible and reckless misrepresentation of social science research." Led by Gary Gates, the UCLA demographer who had declined Regnerus's offer to help design the study, more than 200 "researchers and scholars" signed a letter to the editor of Social Science Research. The letter demanded that the editor "publicly disclose the reasons" why he published the paper and insisted that he hire scholars more sensitive to "LGBT parenting issues" to write a critique for the journal's next edition. UT's Director of Research Integrity sent Regnerus a letter informing him that a formal complaint of "scientific misconduct" had been lodged against him. The complaint, made by a gay blogger/activist/"investigative journalist" called Scott Rose, triggered an official inquiry into Regnerus's research methods and his relationship with the Witherspoon Foundation; he's now preparing to appear before a panel of faculty investigators. Requests have been filed with the Texas attorney general's office demanding that Regnerus, as an employee of a state-run institution, make public all email and correspondence related to his study. And he has hired a lawyer.
We hope, believe and pray that the scholarly community will stand up to this blatant attempt to harass and hinder the academic process. But this is about more than Prof. Regnerus, as Ferguson notes:
"As several of Regnerus's allies point out, the professional intimidation of Mark Regnerus isn't about Mark Regnerus—it's about the next researcher who might attempt a study of gay parenting. The guild has put that poor fellow, crouching under his desk, on notice: Only some findings will be acceptable. ("That's a nice little tenure-track job you got there. We'd hate for something to happen to it...")
Here's my takeaway from these two experiences. Many people, especially Christians, would like to get out of the ugly culture war we find ourselves in. We'd like to be able to present a consistent loving message of Christ's love without drawing this kind of fire.
That's totally understandable and I do not know what any individual Christian (or nonbeliever!) is called on to do. But what's becoming apparent to many more people, through the public and open use of tactics like these, that what we are being asked to do is not express sympathy for the legitimate sufferings of gay people, our fellow citizens.
We are being asked to cower in fear and suppress the Bible's understanding of marriage---or face an avalanche of hatred and harassment.
As the stakes become clearer, the number of people willing to stand up to the tactics of a handful of gay marriage advocates is actually beginning to grow.
Meanwhile the American people, with their customary good sense, continue to express surprisingly powerful support for marriage as the union of husband and wife.
I could tell you many bits of evidence, but let me leave you with this bit of good news from Minnesota.
A new SurveyUSA poll asked voters how they would vote on Minnesota's marriage amendment.
"An amendment to the Minnesota Constitution on the ballot defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Will you vote FOR the amendment? Against the amendment? Or not vote on the measure?"
The support for the Biblical definition of marriage was surprisingly high across the board.
Men support the Amendment: 53%-37%
Women support: 52%-36%
Age 18-34 support 50%-44%
Independents support: 48%-42%
Twin Cities supports: 49%-40%
Please pray for everyone fighting to protect marriage who is willing to stand up and say so.
And thank you for your courage and your fellowship.
I want to especially take a moment to thank the gay citizens, and pro-gay marriage supporters who have written to me to say they dislike and disapprove of the hatred and the harassment directed at citizens with whom they disagree.
Pray for them too, would you? And for every decent, loving law-abiding American who understands that open hatred is a confession you do not have an argument.
We need reason and faith, truth and love, and in the end we need each other.
God bless you and thank-you!
Remember: Eat Mor Chikin next Wednesday!
This message has been authorized and paid for by the National Organization for Marriage, 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006, Brian Brown, President. This message has not been authorized or approved by any candidate.