Chick-Fil-A debacle is no overreaction

I think there is a misconception on the “freedom of speech” as spoken of in the First Amendment. Real quick, let’s tackle that issue.

Freedom of Speech. Freedom of speech allows any citizen to say just about anything in this country; however, there are a few clauses to this whole “free speech” thing that tend to be overlooked. First, the freedom of speech is not upheld when the speaker’s statements incite violence or lawless action. Secondly, the freedom of speech is not upheld when the speaker infringes upon the rights of others. There is of course more to it than just that, such as the Miller Test of profanity, but for right now those two clauses will suffice for my argument.

Chick-Fil-A. “OK, but what do either of those clauses have to do with the CEO of Chick-Fil-A? Him saying that he doesn’t advocate gay rights doesn’t actually infringe on their rights, let alone incite violence!” You’re correct: His public statements do neither of those things. However, let’s not overlook the fact that not only has Dan Cathy openly stated that he is opposed to gay rights, but he has funneled revenue from Chick-Fil-A towards groups that use hate speech and lobbyists to try to infringe on the rights of gays. Not only this, but WinShape (Chick-Fil-A’s charity arm for their corporation) has funded groups like Family Research Council. Who is Family Research Council? They are a bigoted group who, in 2010, lobbied Congress with $25,000 to not condemn Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill. This bill would give Ugandan’s the right to persecute, imprison and execute homosexuals completely based on their sexual preference. Let’s analyze that in terms of the First Amendment: Does this attempt to incite violence? In a roundabout way, yes it in fact does. Does this infringe on the rights of others? It sure makes a valiant effort. Dan Cathy funneled nearly $2 million into groups like Family Research council and other anti-gay groups in just 2009, and again in 2010; and all thrqough WinShape, again Chick-Fil-A’s charity branch. These groups lobby Congress and fund initiatives to help “keep the sanctity of marriage alive” by taking away the rights of gays to wed. I am not in any way denouncing the beliefs of others, but I am denouncing the legitimate attempt to harm others, whether physically or in a sociopolitical aspect.

Quickly, I wanted to note the author of “Chick-Fil-A Debacle is an Overreaction” on the vilification of Dan Cathy through the media and what power the Bill of Rights gives to Dan Cathy. The people “vilifying” Dan Cathy, and I wouldn’t mind being included among that demographic, are similarly being chastised by others for getting mad at someone for their “opinion.” Money is not an opinion, and in this circumstance it’s a weapon. It’s not just Cathy’s anti-gay stance, it’s how he exploits the massive revenue from his company to fund companies that actively persecute the rights of gays in America.

So, no, I don’t think that neither I, nor anyone else that “vilifies” Dan Cathy is overreacting. In fact, I think the apathy and lack of research done into topics before spewing out “First Amendment Rights” is the antithesis of how someone should conduct in a publicized work such as The Roar.

By Alex Colon