Christianity,  News

Chicago Mayor Supports Effort To Keep Chick-fil-a Out

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has said that he supports efforts to prevent Chick-fil-a from opening a store in Chicago’s 1st district. In the mayor’s own words:

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.

As I mentioned in my previous post about the mayor of Boston, this is chilling coming from a mayor of one of our nation’s leading cities. Does this mean that a business owner is not allowed to support a Christian sexual ethic? Must all Christian business owners now keep their views to themselves on one of the most contested social policy issues of our time? Apparently, Mayor Emmanuel thinks so.

The Chicago Alderman leading the effort to block Chick-fil-a said it this way:

If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don’t want you in the 1st Ward.

This remark form the Alderman as simply mistaken. Chick-fil-a does not discriminate against gays. Gay people are welcome at Chick-fil-a just like everyone else. As the editors of The Los Angeles Times wrote today (who by the way favor same-sex marriage):

[The Boston mayor] suggested that it would be appropriate to block the chain from opening in Boston because Cathy’s views amount to discrimination. That would rightly apply if Chick-fil-A were to refuse service to gay customers; the city has a right and an obligation to prevent discriminatory actions against its residents and visitors. But there’s no evidence that any such thing has occurred.

I hope the Alderman is just misinformed and will take back his remarks. But I’m not holding my breath.

The tolerance police strike again.


  • Ray DeFrese

    I challenge one supporter of this anti-Chick-fil-A hysteria to produce evidence of one gay person discriminated against, refused service or otherwise had any of their rights violated at a Chick-fil-A.

  • donsands

    That Mayor is out of his mind. What a darkness that God has allowed to fall upon the leaders, and those who vote them in. I do thank our Lord for His marvelous light in my life, but the truth is the truth. What an absurd statement.

  • michael j. kimpan

    interesting point, though denny :: you write, ‘Chick-fil-a does not discriminate against gays. Gay people are welcome at Chick-fil-a just like everyone else.’ || but as one of my gay friends wrote to me recently, ‘i’m not about to spend my money at a place that turns around and users it to fight against my civil rights.’

    the fact that chick-fil-a has spent $3 million dollars, $2 million in the last year, supporting organizations that are proactively battling against marriage equality, causes me to pause in saying ‘chick-fil-a does not discriminate against gays.’

    we’ll take your money, sure…but we’ll use that money to make sure you don’t have the same rights as our straight patrons.

    here’s a comment from my blog post on the conversation at ::

    there are several things that come into play here ::

    • the media has distorted the intent and content of the interview with mr. carey. that’s what brought this firestorm into the blogosphere.

    • chick-fil-a has a right, particularly as a privately run company, to express it’s opinions on politics, religion, or pretty much anything else they’d like to speak on.

    • holding and expressing a traditional or conservative opinion on marriage equality is not, nor should it be, a crime.

    • …still, there may be financial ramifications for those opinions, as it is a for-profit company (and not a non-profit religious institution, such as a church)

    • the fact that chick-fil-a has financially supported groups that are proactively fighting against marriage equality and same sex rights ($2 million last year alone, according to the report from equality matters) is not inconsequential in this conversation, regardless of the content of the interview with mr. cathy.

    • consumers from and in support of the LGBT community may understandably choose to buy chicken elsewhere, at an establishment that does not proactively use their money (profits) to fight against marriage equality.

    this brings us back to a conversation our readers have had multiple times in this forum and elsewhere… is it possible to be for heterosexual marriages without being against homosexual marriages? i think we have to be. what do you think?

    • Denny Burk


      If activists want to boycott Chick-fil-a, that’s their business. They are free to do so. The outrage is that public officials would now use the power of their office to suppress the livelihood of those who hold minority views. That’s indefensible.


      • michael j. kimpan

        thanks for the response, denny – but isn’t part of the role and responsibility of an elected public official to represent the will of the constituents in his/her district? i believe it is – and to do so whether that group holds ‘minority views’ or not.

        additionally, recent polls show that a majority of americans support same-sex marriage. i would think the statistics would be even higher in more liberal cities like boston and chicago; therefore, these mayors are reflecting the majority opinion.

        essentially, i think both public statements are a publicity effort for electability…and i’m afraid even more will follow. you didn’t answer my question, though – do you believe it’s possible to be *for* straight marriage without being *against* gay marriage?

        • David Thomas

          Michael, while Denny works on his reply, I’ll jump in: It may be /politically/ possible to be *for* straight marriage without being *against* gay “marriage,” but Christian theology (at least historical Christianity) disallows this compromise. On the contrary, our faith demands that we confront the destructiveness of sin in all an any form (first in ourselves), and speak the truth in love.

          Perhaps certain Christians and religious movements have given you the impression that we are, at least substantially, a political demographic. I don’t deny we have behaved that way, or many of us have. But at the core we are not political in our convictions, but rather theological and spiritual. We serve a King not of this world. For those who don’t serve Him, our stands almost certainly will appear mysterious and opaque. We are betting our very lives on things to which non-Christians are entirely blind–not merely a moral code, but the coming of a King.

          As for Emmanuel’s views, he’s rolling the dice because he now knows they are loaded. He speaks of values when we know very well he doesn’t have any. As you point out, this is about votes. As more and more politicians go his way, Christians and their views will become more and more marginalized.

          Yet in my view, that only takes us closer to the Cross. The DNA of our faith is, as one tehologian stated eloquently, “fundamentally rooted in disaster.” Those who do to us what Emmanuel is doing to the Christian leadership of Chick-Fil-A merely play into the hands of the Master who bought us. It will cost us, of course, but only the worldly goods and power that will burn anyway.

        • Ryan Szrama

          Two thoughts:

          An elected executive is different from an elected legislator; one you elect to execute laws and administer a government. The other you elect so the laws you want to see passed are passed. Mayors aren’t legislators.

          The entrepreneurs desiring to open franchises in Chicago (and the customers eager to eat in them) are the mayor’s constituents just the same as the majority who disagree with those business owners’ decisions to align themselves with a particular national company. That said, it’s not like banning or allowing Chick-fil-a has ever been put to a vote so anyone can claim to speak for a majority of Bostonians or Chicagoans – there may be just as many people in those cities who support gay marriage but also support the right of Chick-fil-a to do business there despite their opinions. Such citizens would be happier preserving the freedom of those with whom they disagree while making sure they never gave a dime to Chick-fil-a.

          As Denny pointed out, this is what the LA Times believes despite their disagreement with Dan Cathy.

    • Bill Crawford

      Hi Michael,

      I checked out a link to a website of a gay organization that published Chick-Fil-A’s donations/ For the years listed they donated $1000 to the Family Research Council, which does take a firm anti-SSM stance and donated tens of thousands of dollars to other organizations that support traditional marriage.

      It does not seem clear that CFA is actively supporting an anti-gay marriage movement financially. I say this because:

      1. FRC does other things than work against SSM. Perhaps Mr Cathy made a donation of less than 1% of their total donations for one of these other things.

      2. Supporting traditional marriage does mean not supporting SSM. However, a donation to an organization that supports traditional marriage may be motivated by wanting to reduce divorce, extra-marital affairs, physical and emotional abuse, pre-marital sex, out-of-wedlock births, and more rather that being motivated by an anti-gay agenda.

      Personally, I think the mayors of Boston and Chicago are wrong. Let CFA open their stores, and if they break the law by truly discriminating against gays or others, then prosecute. Let the citizens of those cities vote with their pocketbooks. It seems the mayors do not trust their own citizens to make their own decisions.

    • Andrea Reyes

      Except this is not about boycotts. This is not even about elected officials lending their voice to the calls for boycotts. All that would be in the realm of, if not reasonable, then certainly predictable. But this is different. This is an unambiguous proclamation by elected officials that they intend to use the power of the State to act against and punish those whose offense (soon to be crime apparently?) is the affirmation of basic Christian teaching.

  • David Thomas

    Christians are New Covenant disciples of Jesus Christ, whose identity is grounded solely in the eschatological inbreaking of the Incarnate Son of God. We are not a political party, nor are we societal architects. Rather, we are called to be a prophetic voice in a world that the holy scriptures repeatedly declare has gone mad with sin and is under the sway of the Evil One. We are not to expect popularity or admiration from the majority of those who hear us, but rather persecution. God, by His Holy Spirit, promises to accompany us even unto the eschaton, and some will follow and become part of the remnant that will endure until the end.

    Now that that’s out of my system, permit me to say that homosexuality is uniformly condemned throughout the Old and New Testaments, not to mention Jewish extra=biblical literature, as a perversion of imago Dei of the most extreme variety. There is no middle ground on this, no “yoking ourselves unequally” with this abomination.

    Long Christians in the liberal West have enjoyed cultural hegemony and have responded politically to cultural issues. The results have been mixed at best, in my opinion. The ontology of politics is compromise; the ontology of Christ following is the prophetic refusal to do so. If people like Rahm Emmanuel respect and appreciate us, frankly, we are probably not shining brightly enough.

    I believe the day is here wherein we as Christians must make the shift and recognize that WE are now the counterculture. Our language should be that of spiritual and theological proclamation, not political argument or cultural debate. We should expect to be persecuted (Matthew 24:11), but our posture should be that, if anyone is listening by the power of the Holy Spirit, there is life eternal to be had. We must learn to lean on His power, rather than tradition, historical precedent, or our own cleverness to experience any victory whatsoever. Beyond that, the counsels of Revelation 22:11 should be followed.

  • Tamara Slack

    This is absolutely ridiculous!

    I might upset a few people when I say this, but, hey, seems like Christians keep upsetting folks anyway. What if this was a Muslim company? Muslims don’t agree with homosexual marriage either. I highly doubt Mr. Mayor (both the mayors) would be saying what they are saying to them.

    Besides that, what business is it of theirs what the CEO of Chick Fil A believes? Kinda… intolerant of the mayors ‘eh?

    I’ve not heard one thing where Chick Fil A has said they won’t serve homosexuals.

    This is just a sad case. America is going down fast. Really fast. God have mercy on us as the rain falls on the just and the unjust.

    • michael j. kimpan

      i have to admit i think ‘america is going down really fast.’ is better evidenced by things like multiple wars or 12 people getting killed in a movie theatre than in a discussion over chicken – even if it DOES have to do with the civil rights of an oppressed minority.

      • Paula Bolyard

        Chicago has bigger problems than worrying about a Christian-owned businesses opening up within the city limits. How many people are being murdered each day as a result of gang violence? And wasn’t it Mayor Emmanuel lecturing the gang members about gang values just last week, telling them that involving children wasn’t in line with traditional gang values?

        Chicago is just going to continue to spiral out of control with Emmanuel’s antipathy toward Christianity.

        And Michael, although people tell pollsters on the phone that they are supportive of gay marriage, when they are in the privacy of the poll booth, they continue to vote it down.

        • JamesStanton

          People have been murdered by gangs in Chicago for decades now. Gang violence isn’t going away and neither is endemic poverty. We’ve more or less accepted both. Emmanuel is a Jew who by virtue of political ideology doesn’t give much weight to the views of social conservatives.

          I’m not sure of the impact of your last statement. Is it supposed to be reassuring? The margins get tighter ever time and the trend indicates its only a matter of time before things go the other way.

    • Nicholas Carpenito

      If a large Muslim owned fried chicken company came out and said they are not for gay marriage rights, and that they donate tons of money to groups that are attempting to block the rights of gay people to marry, then yes I believe the cities of Boston and Chicago would not allow them to open new stores.

      And rightly so. I cannot open an X rated store on the freedom trail in Boston, because it would upset people. Just as I cannot open a fried chicken store that donates money to anti-gay marriage groups, because it upsets people.

      On the more important side of all of this though, I believe the day that cities start blocking fast food chains because they are concerned with their population’s health, will be a great day. For now this is a small, but valuable win in the fight against obesity and diabetes.
      Now if only McDonalds would come out against gay marriage, we might finally have a healthy population!

      • Paula Bolyard

        Nicholas, I hear Cuba’s nice, since you seem to like totalitarian states.

        By your logic, Starbucks should be banned in much of the South, because that company supports same sex marriage, which is upsetting to many Southerners and that is your standard.

        I live in a very conservative town in the Midwest. Would you be OK with my mayor banning Starbucks or Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream because of the liberal causes that they support? Tolerance is a two-way street.

        • Nicholas Carpenito


          Yes, if your city doesn’t want a Starbucks in it, then by all means don’t have one. Also Cuba is probably lovely this time of year.

          • David Thomas

            Been to Cuba, Nicholas? I have. Despair lives in the eyes of the people there. They have no hope.

            Except the Christians, of course, whose numbers have exploded in the last 20 years because they offer a hope that totalitarianism can’t.

            As for Starbucks, while Christians boycott to make a point, most would find it unfathomable to stoop to the kind of draconian approach that Emmanuel is attempting. Christians are simply too tolerant for that, whatever the propaganda machines spew. We’ve tried utopian visions, and they don’t work. That anti-utopia is what Emmanuel and his ilk is aiming for now, and like the rest, it will fail.

            • Nicholas Carpenito

              So tolerant of everything, except gay folks having the right to marry? They only need the legal right, each church can make it’s own decision whether or not they want to marry homosexuals. Most will choose not to and that will be fine.
              It seems like you all would be much happier in Iran than Cuba, where all government rules can be based off the countries religion. Look how happy all of those people are.

              • David Thomas

                You aren’t getting it, Nicholas.

                Take a look at Roger Williams and understand where many of the ideas of religious tolerance come from. (It is specifically from Williams’ concepts that the principles of a Christian secular state derive, which Iran has specifically denounced.) At the same time, everyone (yourself obviously included) has their limits. Christians view the gay “marriage” issue as a question of stewardship–not ownership. We cannot be “tolerant” of the concept anymore than we can be tolerant of declaring up to be down. Marriage is defined by God through natural law. Just as soon as two people of the same sex can procreate naturally and without the intervention of a third party, let’s talk. Until then, Christians owe God, themselves, and yes, even you the truth more than they owe the clammering of public opinion. The issue of who we are and whose we are lies at the heart of the debate: Christians believe that they and everyone else in the world fundamentally belong to Another, and are bound by Him; you clearly believe that you belong exclusively to yourself. With this core presupposition unresolved, we will never have a meeting of minds, no matter what civility we may be able to muster in any given moment.

                • Nicholas Carpenito

                  David I appreciate the well thought out response, and I do see the points you are making.
                  Personally I believe as being a secular country, marriage should be eliminated from our legal vocabulary. All marriage rights should belong to a legal document which we could just be a new version of a civil union (you have to do paperwork with your city anyways upon marriage). Which could be between any two humans, regardless of skin color of gender.
                  Marriage then would be something completely separate, just as there is no legal document of my christening, and no tax form has ever asked if I’m filing baptized or unbaptized, marriage would specifically be a religious title only.
                  This way it could be up to the different churches, and not a government function, the way religion should be handled.

                  However until then, gay partners cannot get the same tax rights, the same rights of seperation pay in the military, and they cannot see their loved ones in a hospital emergency when it is declared that only family may enter. Civil unions don’t work because you cannot file jointly on taxes, you cannot sponsor your spouse if they came over from somewhere else (French, or Italy per se) to get a green card, and they commonly aren’t recognized one state to another.

                  And for that reason, however noble the cause that makes you not agree that gay marriage should be legal, by doing that you are denying them a multitude of rights that you as a straight citizen are allowed.
                  That is why we will never see eye to eye on this issue.

                  And to just to touch base on that last point you made, it’s a very christian thing to say those of you who believe are serving god, and the rest of us are just being selfish. I may not be on this earth to serve god, but I’m here to serve my fellow human, and not just myself and my own beliefs. Which is something I see lacking on the other side of the fence these days.

  • Stephen Beck

    The Mayor’s comments are interesting given that a CFA already exists in the “Near North” district, near the I-94/I-290 junction. It seems to be doing just fine, as well as another one in close suburb of Lombard; 3 more are scheduled to open in the next month in outlying towns. I’ve never been anywhere near Chicago and I could not figure out what the “1st District” is, but I think the mayor is a little late in preventing CFA to open business.

    I actually heard an amusing anecdote that the reason CFA even started pursuing Chicago franchises is because a few years ago, McDonald’s put up some very conspicuous billboards in Atlanta (CFA headquarters) advertising their new breakfast item as a “Better Chicken Biscuit,” and since Chicago happens to be McD’s corporate HQ….

  • Johnny Mason

    This flap will die down in a couple weeks, like they always do. The slacktivists will find another cause to swoon over and Chick-Fil-A will be no worse for the wear.

  • Jim Talbot

    I went by Chick-Fil-A this morning for my chicken biscuits and coffee. The flag was at half-mast. Fitting somehow.

  • Luke Easter

    Chick-Fil-A vs. Chicago

    With all the violence going on in the world there is one controversy,
    And it is not about an Alderman’s or Chicago Mayor’s idiosyncrasy,
    It has to do with all pertinent things notwithstanding, a Chick-Fill-A,
    The denial of opening an eatery because of what the owner had to say.

    Mind you, this is Chicago where gang violence is on par with Iraq,
    Going to public school is like Afghanistan as you might come back,
    Certified dead, not from RPG’s or IED’s but from gunshot wounds,
    7 year-old Heaven Sutton killed selling lemonade was way too soon.

    Rham Emanuel lashed out at thugs responsible, “Who raised you?”
    Well, actually Mr. Mayor, the exact same question is proposed too,
    For your agreeing with Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno on this ban,
    As company President Dan Cathy agrees with God & not with man.

    “Chick-Fil-A values are not Chicago values,” this mayor has said,
    I should hope so, imagine eating chicken fingers ending up dead,
    While drug transactions, car jacking & all felonies continue to rise,
    I’ve never heard of death by gunshot for not turning over your fries.

    16 year-old Shakaki Aspy sitting on her porch, shot thrice in her chest,
    If this was on the battlefield in a war zone, maybe a bulletproof vest?
    Also shot was Leon Cunningham 18, who had been wounded before,
    Already confined to a wheelchair no longer able to walk out the door.

    First Amendment concerns aren’t being violated yet zoning is not a right,
    However, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is,” so why the fight?
    Anyone who finds quoting the bible offensive may they not eat elsewhere?
    Mr. Mayor, Mr. Alderman aren’t there more serious issues for you to care?

Comment here. Please use FIRST and LAST name.