Friday, August 10, 2012

The Flames Of Chick-fil-A Are Still Burning While The Intolerance Gap Widens In A Battle Nobody's Winning.

The only things left are an endorsement by the NRA and a declaration of war by President Obama. 

Into the valley of Chick-fil-A rides today's writer.

At least it feels like that.*

Because almost everyone chronicling the events surrounding Dan Cathy's "statement of faith" these last few weeks has felt a sense of foreboding mixed with angst. Ennui? No. There is nothing boring about anger and frustration, although perhaps the truly boring elements were some of the people involved as they beat their chests in righteousness.

Where did it all go wrong?

What started out as a Christian Right-wing, homophobic statement by a Christian Right-wing, homophobic fast food entrepreneur followed by a call for a "kiss-in" to emphasize that Christian Right-wing, homophobic agenda got out of hand, landing in one mayor's lap, then another than another: Boston's Thomas Menino told the franchiser to "stay out of Boston", causing a domino effect upon other cities: Chicago, San Francisco, New York followed suit.

Being "banned in Boston" used to be a badge of honor for everyone in the porn industry. Now it has become a badge of honor for many people who scream : " Freedom of Religion!" and "Freedom of Speech!" In retaliation, former Presidential hopeful, former minister, former governor of Arkansas and current Fox News (home of "formers") pundit Mike Huckabee quickly called for a "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" two days before the scheduled "kiss in." The franchise reported a record-breaking $30 million sales for that day, after bused-in nuns and former governors had photo-ops. Some of that profit wound up being donated to the long list of homophobic hate groups.**

Tempers still flared, with one NewYork artist, Manny Castro, mimicking the Chick-fil-A ad campaign and spray-painting "Tastes Like Hate" with its famous black and white Guernseys on the side of a Chick-fil-A. Also, a corporate executive who videoed his drive-through rant in opposition to Dan Cathy's sentiment was fired. 

Behind the Fire - The Reality

"If that were my wall, he'd be dead right now."- comment on Michelle Malkin's Twitter site (re: spray paint artist Manny Castro)

Huffington Post:

One gay employee who works at Chick-fil-A headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., and asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing his job, says he is getting it from both sides. On the one hand, there is the customer who came in and said he supported Dan Cathy and then "continues to say something truly homophobic, e.g. 'I'm so glad you don't support the queers, I can eat in peace,'" the employee, who is 23 and has worked for Chick-fil-A since he was 16, wrote in an email. On the other hand, he continued, "I was yelled at for being a god-loving, conservative, homophobic Christian while walking some food out to a guest in a mall dining room."

Media Research Center:

It’s a double standard as old as the liberal media itself,” stated Media Research CenterPresident Brent Bozell. “If it’s part of the liberal agenda, it’s protected free speech. If it isn’t, it’s bigotry. The media smeared anyone who lined up for a chicken sandwich as an anti-gay bigot instead of a proud Christian or free speech patriot, and when the counter-protest flopped, they were predictably silent. Thanks to Chick-fil-A, the media’s liberal bias was stark naked for all to see.”

And gays were portrayed as bullies, even by other gays

Perhaps the most reasoned and impassioned support of Chik-fil-A by a gay man was given by  CVNeutron (Matt):

I'm a gay man. I love Chick-Fil-A as a place to get good tasting food. I do not support their beliefs and disagree with their funding of groups that are well known to be anti-gay activists. Personally they have never treated me any different as a gay man and I will continue to do business with them so long as that holds true.
The criticism he endured for his stance, necessitated a follow-up by Matt expounding on his views.

The Polarity Of It All

The vehemence of stances has created an atmosphere of polarity with such magnitude that even the stark contrasts listed here and elsewhere could not do it justice: either you're a bullying, media-hungry, ultra-liberal boycotter and detractor of Chic-fil-A, or a homophobic, anti-gay marriage, fundamentalist supporter of Chick-fil-A. Even Colonel Sanders thinks so.

This is obviously a battle in the culture wars nobody will win. 

*Apologies to Lord Alfred Tennyson

*The groups Chick-fil-A gives to include the Family Research Council and Exodus International, according to Equality Matters, an initiative associated with the progressive Watchdog group, Media Matters. The Family Research Council is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, while Exodus International is a Christian Ministry that has long endorsed ex-gay therapy, a controversial practice of "curing" gay people that mainstream mental health organizations have disavowed. (In recent months, the president of Exodus has tried to distance his group from the idea that gay people can be "cured.")

The "Wedge" That NOM Created: Black Hebrew Israelite Threatens To Rape And Kill During Gay Day.

"What does 'ravished' mean? It means, we going to rape your ass. And I'm going to have fun doing that shit. And you going to like that. I promise you."

This news was just posted on the Crooks and Liars site:

Police in Grand Rapids, Michigan say that there was nothing they could do after Bible-preaching protesters threatened to rape and murder pro-LGBT activists at a "Gay Day" event over the weekend.
In a video posted to YouTube, several protesters with Bibles can be seen shouting at a woman celebrating in the inaugural "Gay Day" celebration, an event organized by the human rights group Tolerance, Equality and Awareness Movement (TEAM) to showcase the community's diversity.
With tempers running at fever pitch after weeks of Chick-fil-A stories, it is not surprising that threats of violence have surfaced. What is surprising, however, is that the parties indirectly involved have not yet managed to distance themselves from them. 

In a March 28 OpEdNews article, it was pointed out that NOM (National Organization for Marriage) had a strategy to "drive a wedge" between America's black community and the LGBT community. NOM never denied the strategy, siting supporters in its movement came from "every color, creed and background." 

They have yet to say whether "every creed" includes the Black Hebrew Israelites.

The Black Hebrews were first featured in OpEdNews in an article on the murder of 4-year-old Jadon Higgenbotham, whose actions were thought to be "gay" by his mother's boyfriend, Peter Lucas Moses:*

The incident of Jadon Higgenbotham:

Black Voices:
Moses and his wives were members of a religious sect called the Black Hebrews, a group that frowns upon homosexuality. According to the Jewish Virtual Library , The Black Hebrews believe that they are descended from the 10 lost tribes of Israel. They live according to their own special rules of conduct. Polygamy is permitted and birth control is forbidden.

Some of them also believe that Jews, whites and homosexuals will be made salves by Jesus upon the Second Coming. 

A Very Violent "Wedge"

Whether or not NOM has a direct tie to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement may not be the point: whether it will disavow and condemn the incident, however, is more salient than one supposes. The Christian Right's defensive mantra of "we're not like that" must be placed immediately in the forefront and immediately after any incident, or else it loses effect: silence is not a virtue. NOM's "wedge" strategy did not foresee any adverse repercussions.

But it should have. 

The demonizing of the LGBT community (and gay-rights activist in particular) by organizations such as NOM, the American Family Association and the Family Research Council have had far-reaching effects- more than the organizations would ever admit: anti-gay efforts spearheaded in Uganda, for example resulted in the death of gay activist David Kato. Evangelists targeting Uganda e.g. Lou Engle and Scott Lively have, of course, washed their hands of any such violence. 

The Death Of Civil Discourse?

What Chick-fil-A and other incidents of homophobia (Pastors Charles "put 'em behind an electrified fence" Worley and Sean "crack that wrist" Harris come to mind) may have brought about is the idea that civil discourse on the subject of gay rights and gay marriage may be on life support. Of course, such discourse may simply mirror the political discourse of the Presidential campaign, which is to say that there may eventually be no discourse at all: the Democratic National Committee has committed itself to making gay rights part of its platform - an act which may be seen as one of aggression, at least on social issues. 

The major problem with a lack of civil discourse: violence takes its place. Organizations like the Black Hebrew Israelites will see to that. And organizations like NOM will simply not care. 


*Moses also murdered Jadon's mother, Antoinette McKoy.