Chick-fil-A and the Attack of the Tyrannatots
Culture and Politics - The Bible, Culture, and Race
Written by Douglas Wilson
Sunday, 29 July 2012
The outlines of the latest Free Speech Clown Car Review are pretty
familiar by now. Dan Cathy, the COO of Chick-fil-A, was asked his
opinion on homosexual marriage, and he, being a good Christian man, said
he was agin it. This should not have been an astonishment, for
it has pretty much been the mainstream position of Western civilization
from Moses down to the Obama of about three months ago. But a foolish
consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, as the fellow said, and so
who cares anymore? That man with all the chicken has clearly DEVIATED,
and he must be CORRECTED.
Now boycotts are things that folks like to do from time to time, and
we do not like to deny them their little amusements. But boycotts are
harder to pull off than they look -- conservatives face-planted with
their boycott of Disney, and the homobifiers now are unlikely to
establish in the minds of the general populace any necessary connection
between "gay oppression" and the eating of chicken sandwiches.
This being the case, enter gummint coercion.
The mayor of Boston, and
then Chicago, allowed that Chick-fil-A would not be allowed to sell
their bigoted chicken within their precincts, and then a bunch
of other people who were still under the impression that this was
supposed to be a free country said, "What the heck?" and the mayoral
tyrannatots climbed down.
I call them tyrannatots for the tyrants of old used to lop off heads
and make pyramids out of the skulls, and they would raze entire cities,
and salt the earth, and these guys want to use onerous zoning
regulations to keep a guy from selling a primo chicken sandwich in
Boston or Chicago.
But they are still evil. Let's keep this in perspective. The old
tyrants wanted to use the right fist of power in order to control
everything, and the new nanny tyrants want to smother us all under the
wet mattresses of therapeutic inclusivity . . . in order to control
every thing. . . .
The thing that made this complicated for many Christians is an
argument that they don't know how to answer, and this is because we
weren't thinking six chess moves ahead a few decades ago. Here's the
argument. Suppose Chick-fil-A was refusing service to blacks. Wouldn't
the public interest require government intervention in that case? And if
the government can intervene with one form of discrimination, then why not with another? Hmmm?
The word discriminate is a verb that requires context before
determining whether it is a good or bad thing. Discriminate against
what? Why? Against whom? Gay is not the new black. Being homosexual is
sinful, and being black isn't. This kind of argument assumes that if an
employer declines to make a compulsive gambler his bookkeeper then next
thing you know he will be turning away hardworking and thrifty Asians
who want to work for him honestly. I guess the argument makes sense, if
the light is poor, and you squint. I guess the argument makes sense if
you assume that being a thief and being Asian amount to more or less the
same thing. If a patron of a restaurant returns a salad to the kitchen
because of the leopard slug in it, the next thing you know he will be
returning perfectly good salads! And where will we be then?
What is happening is this. Back in the day, when the owners of
private businesses were sinning with them (excluding blacks, for
example), the government seized the moral high ground, and stepped in,
turning the sin of bigotry into a crime. And now that they are there,
well-ensconced in our private affairs, they have decided, while they are
at it, to turn any righteous acts of discrimination into crimes also.
In short, we have the racists of yesteryear to thank for a bunch of
this. . . .
So what should Christians have done, back in the civil rights era? Am
I saying that Billy Bob's BBQ should have had the legal right to remain
a "whites only" joint?
Criminalizing sin and folly is always a
dangerous thing to do. Where do you stop? And once you have realized you
can't stop, you will wind up -- as we manifestly have done -- criminalizing the refusal to go along with sin and folly.
So what the government should have done back then (federal, state,
local) is set an example in every area that they were responsible for.
All public services should have been, and needed to be, absolutely color
blind -- restrooms, public transport, public agencies, schools,
military, etc. That would have been influence enough, if Billy Bob
wanted to continue to be an idiot, to bring about the necessary social
(not legal) changes over time. And it would have brought about those
changes without placing the caprice of secular government in charge of
the definition of morality. We chose this restaurant, we read the menu,
and we ordered it. But choking it down it harder than we thought it
The fact that something was outrageous does not mean that
heavy-handed law is capable of fixing it. And having doubts about the
law's ability to fix sin does not constitute approval of the sin. There
used to be "Negro travel guides" that would let African American
families know what towns were friendly, where they could stay, etc.
Imagine a Christian black family travelling across the Christian South,
and having to use one of those things. It is heartbreaking.
But it is also heartbreaking when a contemporary Christian black
couple wants to keep their B&B business going, but they can't,
because of the legal ramifications of some homo-couple with their flame
on showing up. It is heartbreaking when a black Christian photographer
declines to record the marriage ceremony of a same-sex couple, is taken
to court, and loses the case.
Now anybody who cannot see how the legal solutions to the first
problem created this second problem is simply not paying attention.
Because of how we solved the first problem (not because we
solved it), we are smack in middle of the second problem. The two
issues are plainly connected, and if we want to solve them biblically,
we have to think in terms of principle. And you can't think in terms of
principle when you don't have any.