Chick-Fil-A on Trial

Demands for "Inclusion" Challenge Religious Liberty

In welcome news for advocates of religious liberty and the First Amendment, San Antonio city officials have decided to extend Chick Fil-A a space at the San Antonio airport, after a year-long struggle.

In March of 2019, reports FOX, San Antonio city officials rejected a Chick Fil-A bid to open a location inside the San Antonio International Airport, citing the restaurant’s “legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.” Specifically, the city council pointed to Chick Fil-A’s financial support of organizations like The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which council officials believe are “homophobic.”Both of these organizations have denied such claims. The Salvation Army has repeatedly insisted that the actions of a few who misrepresent the Army’s overall mission should not define it. Indeed, National Commander David Hudson has written that across the U.S., the Salvation Army serves countless numbers of individuals without asking their race, gender, or sexual orientation and even has a dorm specifically for transgender individuals in Las Vegas; yet, because the organization is faith-based, accusers assume it is anti-LGBTQ.

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes does have a clear, biblical stance on homosexuality—but also on sex outside of marriage, period. The FCA’s Statement of Faith reads: “We believe God’s design for sexual intimacy is to be expressed only within the context of marriage, that God created man and woman to complement and complete each other. God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.” Nobody cares that the FCA also doesn’t encourage its members to have sex with abandon. Isn’t this “anti-sexually-active sentiment”?

Thankfully, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton saw fit to challenge San Antonio’s denial of the airport space and appealed to the Department of Transportation to investigate. The DOT’s decision was crucial, according to Paxton, because if Chick Fil-A Could be denied a space in San Antonio, “then this could happen all over the country, City councils or other governmental entities could just decide they didn't like your personal views on whatever related to your religious faith and stop you from having a business.” (Interestingly, Chick Fil-A has since announced it isn’t interested in the San Antonio airport space anymore, though no reason was given.)

This story is interesting on a number of levels. Most alarmingly, note that Chick Fil-A was denied a space not for its own company policies, but because of its associations. It isn’t enough, according to the adherents of tolerance, to have inclusive policies. You now have to make sure that everyone with whom you associate also agrees with the politically correct stance of the day. The story calls the Salvation Army and the FCA “organizations that have come under scrutiny regarding their stance on LGBTQ issues.” Translation: You can’t even associate with people who don’t agree with your political stance, even if they are simply “under scrutiny.” Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Cut ties and run.

So much for “tolerance” and “a culture of inclusivity.” We now have a nation that demands that players on the national marketplace must hold to specific ideologies, or be banned from serving. Interestingly, The Salvation Army is still dealing with such accusations because of stances that particular members have held in the past. And Chick Fil-A has actually modified its charitable giving to deny donations to both organizations. Yet, a CNN editorial attacked the restaurant for not simultaneously apologizing and publicly shifting its “views” on homosexuality. Nothing is enough, except complete prostration before prevailing ideologies.

If only we could simply enjoy a chicken sandwich together and discuss things like adults, and perhaps even come to appreciate each other’s unique positions, views, and history. Lasting and sincere change, or renewed relationships, might be the result.

is the managing editor of The Natural Family, the quarterly publication of the International Organization for the Family.

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