Every now and then, but seemingly more often these days, a genuine head-shaker comes along, a news story in which the culprits behave in stupid fashion due to utter obliviousness.
Thus the story coming out of San Antonio, where the city council banned the popular fast-food chain Chick-fil-A from its airport because the members disapproved of some of the charitable donations made by its owners. The alleged offense was that the Chick-fil-A Foundation gave money to supposedly anti-LGBT organizations like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and The Salvation Army (The Salvation Army!!).
The real offense was being Christians who subscribe to traditional Christian teachings. About which, four rather obvious points.
First, that there exists a not particularly obscure legal provision called the First Amendment of the United States Constitution that clearly and thankfully prohibits government entities (like the San Antonio City Council) from punishing people for their religious beliefs or their political speech (or their charitable or political donations as expressions thereof).
Donald Trump might not like how "Saturday Night Live" routinely depicts him, but all he can ultimately do about it is huff and puff and send out silly tweets in response. The San Antonio City Council might not like the political preferences of the owners of Chick-fil-A, or their Christian beliefs, but it has no legal power to punish them for those preferences.
To the contrary, the First Amendment's primary purpose is to prevent government from prohibiting speech it disapproves of on the ground that unfettered political speech is the best means of checking the abuses of government, including the kind of abuse that the San Antonio City Council, in its cluelessness regarding such principles, has now so exquisitely demonstrated.
In the case of Chick-fil-A, the alleged crime is found not in any discriminatory labor practices or treatment of customers (no one is alleging such) but in precisely that which receives the highest degree of constitutional protection, the holding of religious or political beliefs which those in political authority dislike.
Second comes the always useful "if the shoe were on the other foot" test; more specifically contemplation of the likely reaction in leftist precincts if the city council of a conservative city tried to use its authority to punish businesses or citizens that had made donations to Planned Parenthood or Black Lives Matter.
How such efforts would differ in any meaningful way from what the San Antonio City Council has attempted to do to Chick-fil-A is left unclear.
Third, that in San Antonio bigotry (in this case anti-Christian bigotry) is being expressed under the guise of combating bigotry, thereby suggesting that certain forms of bigotry are more fashionable these days than others. Indeed, anti-Christian bigotry might be the most powerful and pervasive form of bigotry we now have, if only because it is one of the few that cannot only be publicly expressed without fear of reprisal but actually elicits approval from our chattering classes.
Just as institutions of higher education increasingly exclude contrary views on the grounds of "inclusion" and assume that a commitment to "diversity" requires the suppression of diverse opinions, bigotry is now justified on the political left on the grounds of opposing bigotry.
Orwell would be well and truly proud.
We are left in all of this with some disturbing incongruities, including that Christians are now being increasingly attacked in a nation founded predominantly by Christians in search of religious freedom, for the simple fact of their being Christians.
Because traditional Christian beliefs are increasingly perceived as an obstacle to the radical social agenda of the social-justice warriors, those holding those beliefs must be ostracized and punished, even if it requires means that make a mockery of hallowed constitutional principles.
Finally, there is the question of what kind of people allow their lives to become so politicized that they take extreme offense, and seek to legally punish, a fast-food franchise for making charitable donations they don't approve of.
The hunch is that such people are profoundly miserable human beings, with a powerful interest in making the rest of us miserable as well if we let them. Beneath their phony, carefully choreographed outrage and self-serving "virtue signaling" is found only hate, a thirst for power, and a desire for revenge on those who lead happier, more well-adjusted lives than they do.
The church I usually attend on Sunday mornings features beer coolers rather than Bibles and has a couple of particularly difficult par fours on the front nine. I can't say I spend much time in fast-food joints, including Chick-fil-A outlets, either.
But I definitely plan to drop a ten-spot in the next Salvation Army bucket I come across, if only to see if the social-justice warriors pop out and try to haul me off to the hoosegow for my thought crime.
And I look forward to hearing of the hefty financial settlements flowing from the lawsuits that Chick-fil-A will almost certainly win against the city of San Antonio.
They will constitute a useful, instructive punishment of the cretins among the San Antonio electorate that elected the cretins on its city council.
Freelance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.Editorial on 04/15/2019
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