Like a proud parent witnessing his child's first steps, it's been a pleasure to see liberals grow to embrace the wonders of government-backed retaliation against political views they oppose.
You might remember the Ground Zero Mosque debate, the controversy surrounding a proposed community center that in the great American tradition of Joe the Plumber was neither a mosque nor at Ground Zero. Newt Gingrich suggested that we adopt the Saudi Arabia standard of religious tolerance ("There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia,") and use zoning laws to create a mosque restriction zone in lower Manhattan. A conservative candidate for governor of New York, Carl Paladino, suggested the government use eminent domain to prevent construction of the community center.
Liberals were rightly outraged, not just at the right-wing desire to limit buildings for Muslims to Guantanamo Bay, but because of the constitutional principles at stake. Whatever the merits of the mosque, the Free Speech Clause of the 1st Amendment means the government generally may not discriminate against an entity because of what it says or teaches.
Now witness the celebratory lefty reaction to Boston mayor Thomas Menino's take on Chick-fil-A, the fast food chain bent on protecting us from the threat of homosexual chicken marriage, or something.
"Chick-fil-A doesn't belong in Boston," Menino told the Boston Herald. "You can't have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We're an open city, we're a city that's at the forefront of inclusion." So far, so good, because expressing an opinion about Chick-fil-A's retrograde corporate politics is more than acceptable.
Then he added, "If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult — unless they open up their policies," which is a problem because Chick-fil-A does not discriminate at point of service. At each restaurant location, Chick-fil-A doesn't care what gets inserted in customers' butts, as long as Chick-fil-A products are expelled from them early and often (and with somewhat frightening force, which is a good reason to avoid the chain).
To recap, a private liberal boycott of Chick-fil-A franchises because their corporate owner opposes marriage equality: good. Using zoning rules and business licensing laws to keep Chick-fil-A from opening restaurants: hypocritically, unconstitutionally… also good.
As for conservatives who wanted the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to preserve the architectural wonder that was an old Burlington Coat Factory in order to keep a mosque from opening in lower Manhattan but now decry Chicago's and Boston's pledges to keep Chick-fil-A from their cities: How do you like them chikins?
Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
Tags: Boston, Chicago, Chick-fil-A, Islam, LGBT, Liberals, Marriage Equality, New York City, Religion