“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” First Amendment to the US Constitution
I like chicken. And this past Wednesday I took time off work and waited in line for some tasty, fried, fast food chicken. But this time it was no ordinary line. In fact, it took me an hour and a half to even get a chance to order my meal. Under normal circumstances, you would think that all those customers at Chick-fil-a would be irritated at the delay. Yet, everyone, customers and employees alike, was smiling, happy, courteous and patient. In fact, as more people lined up to get in queue, you could see the grins begin to appear, fully knowing that it would be awhile before they would get to eat. Under normal circumstances, this would be considered strange. What could possibly motivate so many, to go so willingly out of their way, to stand in line for fried chicken?
It was because it was for something that was far more important than chicken. All these folks were there to take a stand for freedom of speech and freedom of religion. People had finally had enough. They were tired of a small minority calling the shots on what was appropriate thought and speech and bullying those who did not toe that progressive line. They were tired of being called racists and bigots for not swallowing when the secular humanist view of life was shoved down their throats. They were disgusted that a company was threatened not only with a boycott for their beliefs, but told by elected officials that they would be prevented from opening up new locations until they changed those beliefs. So, as Americans, they decided to do something. They peacefully assembled and participated in a buy-cott. No signs, no chanting, no civil disobedience; just 5,000 Des Moines customers quietly lining up to eat chicken.
I saw people of all races, classes, and ages, in that line. It was truly a cross section of America. Businessmen and women, families, students, the elderly – all walks of life were there to support a corporation that was unafraid to live life as their faith dictated. And isn’t that what America is all about? Why should any American or any American corporation ever have to feel afraid to do life and conduct business according to the dictates of their conscience and values? No, the sleeping giant had awakened; tolerance of such an intolerable precedent would not be allowed to stand.
The freedom to have an opinion is the epitome of America. Disagreement does not equal intolerance, racism or bigotry. If we allow it to be defined in such a manner then we risk losing what makes this country so great and so free. If we start allowing the government to impose their definition of appropriate thought, we will no longer have a Republic, but instead become something more like the former Soviet Union. Is that the type of life we want for ourselves or our children?
Most Americans don’t think so. And that is why so many took significant time out of their day to “Eat Mor Chikin”(TM). It wasn’t about the chicken sandwiches, or the company that sells them. It was about reminding those who would use the power of government to force Americans to embrace the religion of secular humanism that they do not speak for us. Wednesday reminded them that the number of freedom-loving Americans is not small. It reminded them that we will stand up to those who try to intimidate us. And, it revealed the truth that those who preach tolerance are perhaps the least tolerant of all. In other words, we reminded those progressive bullies what being a real American is all about.
We will always stand for liberty. And this American even did it in heels.
“Without Freedom of Thought there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as Public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech.” Benjamin Franklin, 1722