May 28, 2019
The plan to kick Chick-fil-A out of two U.S. airports may be grounded, if the Trump administration has anything to do with it. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), any religious intolerance -- by New York or Texas liberals -- won't fly. Not under this president.
Thanks to the president's executive order on religious liberty, agencies like the Department of Transportation are always on the watch for faith-based discrimination. And what's happened to the popular chicken franchise in Buffalo and San Antonio certainly seems to qualify. The boycotts from city councilmembers caught the attention of agency officials, who warn that you can't punish business owners because of their Christian beliefs -- especially not in federally-funded airports.
"The FAA notes that federal requirements prohibit airport operators from excluding persons on the basis of religious creed from participating in airport activities that receive or benefit from FAA grant funding," a spokesperson told Fox News. Just because Chick-fil-A donates to Christian organizations doesn't mean they should be exiled from the marketplace. Nor does it mean that they're somehow participating in "anti-LGBTQ behavior."
When the San Antonio City Council banned the Cathy family chain from the local airport, First Liberty Institute flagged the situation for Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. "American business owners should not have to suffer because they want to operate their businesses in accordance with their religious beliefs," its attorneys argued. "Few things are more un-American than government hostility against religion."
The city's policy was so unpopular that the Texas legislature decided to take it up during this year's session, even passing a "Save Chick-fil-a" bill to push back against San Antonio. This is "about the First Amendment and freedom of speech, freedom of religion -- those uniquely American rights," state Sen. Bryan Hughes (R) said. The message from leaders was simple: Don't mess with Texas -- or our chicken.
In the meantime, we're grateful for President Trump's team and how seriously they take these threats to religious freedom. If liberals choose not to eat Chick-fil-A, that's their right. Just like it's our right not to shop at Target until they stop putting women and children in danger with their bathroom policies. What isn't our decision -- or theirs -- is to exclude these businesses from the market altogether.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.