31 July 2012

Discerning Civic Values--Chicago Style

After Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy dared to publically express support for the traditional definition of marriage of being one man and one woman, there has been a cacophonic chorus of progressive politicians condemning the chicken restaurant chain.  It is inconsequential that Cathy expressed his personal views on a public policy that is not settled law.  Moreover there is no evidence that Chick-fil-A violates the law and discriminates in their restaurants, liberal leaders are quick to fillet Chick-fil-As.

In fact, Chicago Mayor (and former Obama Administration Chief-of-Staff) Rahm Emanuel (D-Chicago) went so far as to say: "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values. They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.” It is disturbing for an elected official like Emanuel to use his public office to rail against a private business. But he also seems to be applying a civic values test to conduct business in Chicagoland.

Francis Cardinal George, a native Chicagoan who just happens to be Archbishop of Chicago had some thoughts on this Chicago values test purported by Mr. Emanuel.

Recent comments by those who administer our city seem to assume that the city government can decide for everyone what are the “values” that must be held by citizens of Chicago. I was born and raised here, and my understanding of being a Chicagoan never included submitting my value system to the government for approval. Must those whose personal values do not conform to those of the government of the day move from the city? Is the City Council going to set up a “Council Committee on Un-Chicagoan Activities” and call those of us who are suspect to appear before it? I would have argued a few days ago that I believe such a move is, if I can borrow a phrase, “un-Chicagoan.” …

 People who are not Christian or religious at all take for granted that marriage is the union of a man and a woman for the sake of family and, of its nature, for life. The laws of civilizations much older than ours assume this understanding of marriage. This is also what religious leaders of almost all faiths have taught throughout the ages. Jesus affirmed this understanding of marriage when he spoke of “two becoming one flesh” (Mt. 19: 4-6). Was Jesus a bigot? Could Jesus be accepted as a Chicagoan? Would Jesus be more “enlightened” if he had the privilege of living in our society? One is welcome to believe that, of course; but it should not become the official state religion, at least not in a land that still fancies itself free. Surely there must be a way to properly respect people who are gay or lesbian without using civil law to undermine the nature of marriage.

Surely we can find a way not to play off newly invented individual rights to “marriage” against constitutionally protected freedom of religious belief and religious practice. The State’s attempting to redefine marriage has become a defining moment not for marriage, which is what it is, but for our increasingly fragile “civil union” as citizens. 

Mayor Emanuel seems to have selective indignation and criteria for doing business in Chicago.  Earlier in the month, when Mayor Emanuel was asked about the epidemic of gang violence in the Second City, “Rahm-bo” retorted:
We've got two gangbangers, one standing next to a kid. Get away from that kid. Take your stuff away to the alley. Don't touch the children of the city of Chicago. Don't get near them. And it is about values. As I said then, Scott [Pelley of 60 Minutes], who raised you? How were you raised? And I don't buy this case where people say they don't have values. They do have values. They have the wrong values. Don't come near the kids -- don't touch them.

OK, it seems that Emanuel will tolerate the illegal activities of gang bangers (robberies, burglaries, drug dealing), so long as they stay away from the kids.  If Chicago values mean just means to whole heartedly embracing homosexual marriage, then what about President Barack Obama who, up until his supposed evolution in May, had opposed Gay Marriage while supporting their civil rights?

Catholics just celebrated the “Fortnight for Freedom” which was a coordinated nationwide effort of prayer, fasting and instructions to educate Americans on the importance of preserving the sanctity of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution–namely, the right to freedom of speech, assembly and the unfettered exercise of religious beliefs. As this Chick-fil-A attacts show, unbridled government officials (Mayors, Cabinet Secretaries like HHS Chief Sebilius and even Presidents) need to be reminded of this First Freedom.

As Americans discern whether to preserve the traditional understanding of the covenant of marriage, we ought to affirm our tolerance and diversity for individuals of integrity who do not bend to the imposition of values of men rather than divine truths.

h/t: Hot Air

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