Thus the recent uproar because current company president Dan Cathy, son of founder Truett Cathy, spoke out in support of traditional marriage (the man/woman kind) should be seen as reflective of some sort of national obsession with making something out of nothing. Or, to put it in another culinary perspective: Where’s the beef? And what’s the beef?
This being America, every person has a right to hold their own opinions and express them. So do private companies. Nobody is required to agree with them.
It is increasingly amazing how many Americans appear not to understand this, or are unwilling to tolerate it even though their own intolerance is permitted only because of this remarkable degree of freedom.
The right to advocate is at the very core of this nation’s form of government. Such advocacy can go beyond speech and include action (non-violent, of course). What is mostly not permitted in this country is to discriminate against opposite viewpoints by physical actions taken, although even here recognized churches are granted re-markable leniency.
THE CATHY family has made zero secret of its faith-based operational practices or its personal convictions. This is the chain that refuses to open on Sunday at a cost of many, many millions in profits. The football bowl game it sponsors is the only one that is preceded by an invocation. The owners — the company is privately held — have every right to do this just as, for example, a vegetarian food service would not be required to serve meat and so forth.
Let’s grant this community knows the Cathy family and its deeds almost as well as its menu. Let’s concede that this newspaper has long, long been on record as supporting gay marriage, and traditional marriage, and no marriage at all if that’s what a free American in a free nation desires. At the same time it agrees with what appears to drive Truett Cathy — a love for children and a fierce belief that they need to have a strong, stable family environment to grow to their potential. Wolves only raise children in statues parked in front of City Hall.
For those who have forgotten, as a national newspaper did in examining this tempest in a peach shake, all these now-many WinShape programs began with Truett Cathy establishing a foster-care home — emphasis on home with acting parents and a family setting — at Berry College. There are now 14, nine in Georgia with three on the Berry campus.
IT’S A WONDERFUL effort whose success if well-known and regarding which this space only disagrees that such can only be achieved in a household headed by two persons of different genders. It is possible with a single parent. Or parents of the same gender. Heck, even Hillary Clinton is correct in part: It can take a village to raise a child … if there is no family or it is too weak to function as a child’s guardian.
However, let’s be plain: Nearly all WinShape programs are directed toward the benefit of children, not some sectarian agenda. It places more importance on an outcome than a belief.
It is sad, but perhaps necessary in light on the exaggerated national reaction, to point out that Greater Romans in particular should now easily recognize this core difference because of another “right here at home” situation where belief now takes precedence over outcome.
The Cathys are of the Southern Baptist persuasion, as are most in these parts and as is a local university that has drawn much community opposition, even shock and horror, by its recent change to an openly declared hostility to gays in everything — and toward those whose lips touch alcohol, too. Moreover, it discriminates against them. It won’t hire them, it has fired them, it likely wouldn’t serve any with an educational meal.
The point is only that the Cathy family does not discriminate to anyone’s knowledge in its dealings. It certainly doesn’t refuse service to gays. It’s not difficult to tell that it hires them. Even in this recent “statement of personal family belief” it definitely did not “bash” them.
IT HAS CHOSEN to center its operations at Berry, also openly Christian in outlook but with this striking difference in its mission statement to how the other local Christian college is now directed: “The college is dedicated to the interdenominational Christian values on which it was founded and welcomes individuals of diverse backgrounds into the campus community.”
It is also interesting to note that Dan Cathy’s “shocking” statement was usually presented in an incomplete form: “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. ... We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that. We intend to stay the course.”
What he then went on to say was: “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
So, where’s the scandal? And thank the Lord (or Founding Fathers) indeed. It is every American’s right, if brave enough, to be for or against just about anything. That’s what has set this country apart from its first appearance on the global scene.
Maybe the Earth is flat; maybe the Earth is round. Those residing upon it — in the United States, at least — have a right to hold either view. What none of them have is the right to tell those of differing opinions to get off the planet or suffer persecution.
ARGUMENTS about what is and is not “Christian,” or even what religion has the true god, have been going on since the dawn of time. Can’t those of all faiths, or even none at all, at least agree on what being an American entails and requires?
How’s about everybody sit down together at the Dwarf House, order a large tray of Chick-N-Strips, and calmly discuss like grownup Americans would how so many of us have gotten to this place where nobody in the “land of the free” appears safe in saying anything.