Lord of the Fries
July 26, 2012 - Thursday
Why did the chicken really cross the road? To avoid the wrath of intolerant city officials! Former Obama-aide-turned-Mayor Rahm Emanuel has decided to join two other mayors by trying to bar Chick-fil-A from Chicago. "Because of [CEO Dan Cathy's] ignorance, I will now be denying Chick-fil-A's permit to open a restaurant in the First Ward," he vowed to reporters. "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values," Emanuel claims.
But the President's protege is wrong. Not only is traditional marriage a Chicago value--it's an Illinois one. His state, like most others, passed a statute defining marriage as the union of a man and woman. Like his old boss, Mayor Emanual must believe that if you don't like the law, you can ignore it. In this case, that kind of discrimination can land you in court. And not on the winning side! As the Boston Globe asked, "[W]hich part of the First Amendment does [Tom] Menino not understand? A business owner's political or religious beliefs should not be a test for the worthiness of his or her application for a business license... [U]sing the power of government to freeze the company out of a city sends a disturbing message to all businesses. If the mayor of a conservative town tried to keep out gay-friendly Starbucks or Apple, it would be an outrage."
Today, Mayor Menino finally backed off, admitting that he can't abuse his office to further his discriminatory views. But in Mountain View, California (near San Francisco), local homosexuals insist that if a Chick-Fil-A came to their town, no one would visit it. Well, let's bring a store to Mountain View and find out! The trouble for them is, the American people are a more tolerant bunch than the radical Left--and this week, the public is getting a front row seat to just how narrow-minded and totalitarian the supporters of same-sex "marriage" can be. Families, institutions, even the Rev. Billy Graham are rallying to Chick-fil-A's aid. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, one of the largest in the world, is buying 3,500 chicken sandwiches next Wednesday for the whole campus. Like us, they recognize great courage when they see it.
Denver Nuggets of Wisdom
Starting tomorrow, the Obama administration is literally taking on Hercules. The showdown is scheduled for a U.S. District Court in Colorado, where one family is desperately trying to fend off the government's mandate. Together with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), they have until August 1st to stop the order, which requires that business owners--like Hercules Industries--offer abortion, contraception, and sterilization coverage. For the Newland family, a fixture in the local Catholic community, the mandate is a non-starter. At no point would they consider violating their faith just to make a living.
But, as businesses will soon learn, the decision to refuse Health and Human Services (HHS) is a costly one. Thousands--if not hundreds of thousands of dollars--in fines await any company that ignores the President's decree. For the Newlands, and other families like them, the effect on business could be catastrophic. Owners like them, who are already saddled with an anemic economy and potentially back-breaking new taxes, stand to lose more than their profit margin. For the first time in history, the government would become a vehicle for punishing business owners who live out their faith. As lead attorney Matt Bowman explained to NRO, "Religious freedom in America has always included the way people exercise their beliefs Monday through Friday, not just on Sundays and in soup kitchens...When Americans realize that Washington politicians are trying to decide what faith is, who the faithful are, and where and how that faith may be lived out, so it can force families to abandon their faith just to earn a living, I think people will speak up more and more."
Unfortunately, the Obama administration is so hostile to Christians and beholden to the abortion movement that it fails to see the profoundly human element of this mandate and how it impacts everyday life for millions of Americans. The Newlands are the face of family businesses across America which, next week, will be the casualties of an unprecedented war on religious freedom. "Everyone in America should know that a government with the power to do this to anyone," Bowman warns, "can do this--and worse--to everyone."
And what are congressional leaders doing about it? Nothing, yet. Despite having more than 220 cosponsors on his "Respect for the Rights of Conscience Act," Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebr.) has never seen his measure on the House schedule. With more than a majority of the House already endorsing the measure, there's absolutely no reason why leadership shouldn't hold a vote on this important bill. And fast. On August 1st, the nation won't just be turning over a calendar page; we'll be turning over a significant page in American history. Call your representative and urge him to call on Republican Leadership to hold a vote on H.R. 1179--before it's too late.
In Steubenville, a Legal Steeplechase
Speaking of religious hostility, the city of Steubenville, Ohio is encountering plenty of it in a battle over the town's new logo. Local artist Mark Nelson created the new image, which incorporated a picture of one of the city's most recognizable buildings--the chapel of the University of Steubenville as well as the cross on its steeple--in its design. As usual, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sniffed out the plan and brought its familiar intimidation tactics to bear on the local council, insisting that the spiritual elements were somehow unconstitutional. Obviously, FFRF is trying to bully the town by threatening an expensive lawsuit. What next? Will FFRF try to take the "angels" out of Los Angeles or the "saint" out of St. Paul?
"For more than 65 years," a University administrator wrote, "Franciscan University of Steubenville has proudly served as an integral part of this community... We find it particularly troubling that an out of town and out of touch group targeted the University for removal from the logo solely because of our religious identity... As used in the city logo, the chapel image is not an endorsement of any one religion--or religion at all. It merely signifies one of the many treasures of Steubenville." For now, the city is weighing their options--which we hope includes a vigorous fight in court. It's time to take a stand!