Column - Silencing opinions doesn’t show an open mind
Published: Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 13:08
I would hate to be a public relations specialist working for Chick-fil-A right now.
Many people, including powerful elected officials, are up arms with the chicken sandwich company about anti-gay comments made by Dan Cathy, the president Chick-fil-A.
According to CNN, Cathy answered, "Well, guilty as charged," when asked about the company’s support of the "traditional family."
"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."
I am an open-minded person who believes everyone has a right to live his or her life the way they choose, whether they are gay or straight.
I do not support Cathy’s views, but I do support his right to say them.
If he believes the Bible’s standards of marriage, that’s fine, he is entitled to his opinion.
There are too many people who fight for free speech, just as long as it doesn’t offend them. Well, that’s not the way it works.
Free speech is free speech, plain and simple.
The same goes for any group of people who may have views opposing mine. There are many groups within our nation that support hate and, at times, promote violence, such as the National Socialist Party or the Ku Klux Klan.
When people listen to these groups speak, it usually causes outrage and disgust among onlookers. But, in a country such as ours, we should protect everyone’s right to free speech, whether or not we agree with the message.
When one person’s voice is silenced, for any reason, it becomes a slippery slope to silencing everyone’s voice.
If it were acceptable for one person’s opinion to be silenced, even if it were an opinion that was as offensive as the KKK’s message, it would open doors for speech that is accepted by the majority to be silenced as well.
The only way to justly change opinions is to educate people on how to be tolerant of others’ lifestyles.
It is not possible for everyone to agree on every issue – there are 7 billion people on this Earth. But it is more practical for people to accept each other’s differences and live at peace.
Cathy’s remarks were not an attack on the gay community; he simply expressed his belief of how marriage should be.
Everyone doesn’t have to agree.
Both sides of the Chick-fil-A debate are being intolerant.
Although boycotting a restaurant is an individual’s right to free speech, elected officials should not be allowed to pick and choose which business is allowed to operate.
According to CNN, several politicians are claiming they don’t want Chick-fil-A in their cities.
"Because of (Cathy’s) ignorance, I will deny Chick-fil-A a permit to open a restaurant in my ward," said Chicago Alderman Proco Moreno.
This should send more people into a rage than Cathy’s comments.
Elected officials should not be aloud to deny permits to businesses because of the religious views of the owner. It clearly violates the right to free speech.
If elected officials have the power to regulate who can open a business on the grounds of moral standards and religious beliefs, then we should just burn the Constitution.
It would serve no one to allow a government to operate in this fashion, even if there are the best of intentions.
I do believe these politicians are trying to promote a better understanding of the gay community, but in their efforts to open one door, they are closing many others.
Promote equality through education and example.
While to some this is a fight for equality, this should be a fight for free speech.
I completely disagree with Cathy, but he should not be silenced; it is his inherent right to voice his opinion.
Promoting an open-minded society cannot be achieved through promoting silence, regardless of the message.