Bigotry Leaves a Bad Taste in My Mouth

 My father was a small businessman who retired recently at the age of 82. He ran his own barbershop for over 50 years. He provided quite a few other barbers who were his employees with jobs that earned more than a livable wage over those 50 years.  It wasn’t easy growing up in a family that had a father who was a small businessman. I have to say those years of long hair on guys during the 1960’s and 1970’s were some lean years for our family. My dad sold his shop and misses going to work but his fingers are bent with arthritis from years of holding electric clippers that vibrate something awful. Dad was great at customer service doing something very well that I realized I would never be able to do. That thing kept me from ever wanting to be a barber. That was being able to hold my tongue and tolerate things customers said that I strongly disagreed with. Things were said to my dad that I knew he didn’t agree with concerning politics and social issues.  Dad was very skilled at just merely changing the subject by saying something like, “How is your garden looking this summer?” Like my dad I have never been interested in watching sports and following teams. When customers were in the shop arguing about things like the Steelers vs the Browns dad would just say I don’t follow sports and try to change the subject. He also avoided conversations about GM vs Ford products by having owned both. He didn’t have a motorcycle so it was easy to avoid arguments about which was better Harley’s or Japanese motorcycles.

This brings me to the difference between small businessmen and large corporations. Many of the corporations have agendas that definitely don’t jive with those of their customers. In these times when you can get on the computer and do research on these corporations you can’t say that these corporations’ agendas are hidden.  Is there any human in the USA that is smart enough to breathe air that doesn’t know that Walmart/Sam’s Club is on the wrong side of every social justice issue you can name? I would question if you are smart enough to breathe air if you still patronized Walmart/Sam’s Club. Are you in a union and drink Yuengling Beer who busted their union? Do you drink Coors who started the Heritage Foundation a right-wing think tank that pushes an agenda that is an affront to any working class person in the USA? Do you drink Snapple products that have advertised from day one on the right-wing’s chief propagandist the world’s richest drug addict Rush Limbaugh?

This brings me to the latest corporation that preaches hate and still thinks you should buy their products. I’m talking about Chic-fil-A whose Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy made anti-gay marriage comments during a radio interview.  He said, “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at (God) and say, ‘We know better than You what constitutes a marriage. “I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think we would have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about.” This led to an outcry from the LGTG community who decided to boycott and picket Chick-fil-A. Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee ex-Arkansas governor and one time presidential candidate called for Christians to patronize Chick-fil-A on Wednesday. Many black Southern ministers at evangelical churches who have forgotten their own battles with discrimination told their congregations to show support to Chick-fil-A ‘s discriminating remarks against gays by eating there.

Lots of folks came to eat at Chick-fil-A Wednesday saying they support Dan Cathy’s right to free speech. I also support Cathy’s right to free speech even though I think businessmen should be like my father and know when not to have opinions. Around the country Chick-fil-A workers reported disturbing comments. Ones like this, “I’m so glad you don’t support the queers, I can eat in peace.” Another worker in Colorado had customers telling him, “I support your company, because your company hates the gays.” Many report experiencing homophobia not just from customers, but from fellow employees as well. A  gay worker said, “The people I work alongside kept going on and on about how powerful it was to be part of such a righteous movement, and how encouraged they were to know that there were so many people who agree with Dan Cathy. They went on at great length about how it was wrong not just for gays to marry, but to exist.” Journalist Mark  Krzos of The News-Press in Fort Myers, Florida, wrote on Facebook that covering Chick-fil-A yesterday was incredibly disheartening. “I have never felt so alien in my own country as I did today while covering the restaurant’s supporters. The level of hatred, unfounded fear and misinformed people was astoundingly sad. I can’t even print some of the things people said.”

At the Boardman, Ohio Chcik-fil-A people were lined up to get in and the drive thru window was bumper to bumper all day long. The Vindicator said, “Many of the diners were on hand to show their support for freedom of speech, regardless of their positions on gay marriage.” I am not buying it for a second that any of the customers support gay marriage. I believe the issue is that the customers are homophobic and don’t care anything about free speech. One customer at the Boardman store confronted half a dozen protestors who support gay marriage without caring about their rights to free speech. Sherry Leasure, who came to the Boardman restaurant from Bristolville with her granddaughter said, “This is about supporting the Cathy family.” She then admitted she opposes same-sex marriage. She continued, “This is about private enterprise. The liberal media can say whatever they want, but when conservative Christians speak up, they get pummeled.” Well, Sherry you’re free to be a bigot, but people who disagree are free to get angry.

 Seems to me like I remember “good Christians” and the conservative media pummeling the Dixie Chicks when they made comments against President GW Bush. Seems to me I also remember the “good Christians” mounting  protests and boycotts against companies like Disney for being gay-friendly. I also remember intolerant “good Christians” boycotting JC Penny because Ellen DeGeneres was hired to do commercials for them. I recall “good Christians” trying to stop a Muslim community center from being built blocks away from Ground Zero.  Then there are the Mosques that have been fire bombed or vandalized by “good Christians.” Also I protested against GW on two of his appearances and I was put with other protestors behind a “first amendment fence” miles away from where he would see our right to free speech.  GW supporters walked by us and laughed at the fact we were contained by police behind a fence. They had no thoughts at all about fellow Americans being denied their rights.  Where were you Sherry Leasure to defend my right to speak up?

Truth is Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A have gone far beyond exercising their first amendment right to free speech and that is where I see the problem. Chick-fil-A has donated $5 million to organizations (and  even a group the Southern Poverty Law Center has certified as a hate group) that, want to depict gays as pedophiles, say gays should be exported, want to make gay behavior illegal and that supported a potential law in Uganda that would have imposed the death penalty on gays. Dan Cathy isn’t the only Cathy family member who believes in discrimination. His dad, CEO Truett Cathy has said he wanted to hire married people because they are more industrious and productive. His company has had at least 12 discrimination law suits waged against it, most of which they have settled out of court. Some include trying to force single women out of the workplace so they could be “stay at home Moms.” Truett has also said he would probably fire someone who “has been sinful or done something harmful to their family members.” Sounds to me like Dan and Truett like to play God more than worship him.

 Some employees have reported that the Chcik-fil-A’s they work at have forced them to pray. Can you imagine the outcry from “good Christians” if they heard that a business owned by Muslims was forcing their employees to pray?  Let’s pretend for a moment that you are the Christian God (not the Cathy family) wouldn’t you want a holy book with your exact words, thoughts and expectations in it? Instead Christians are left with the confusing New Testament and even more frustrating Old Testament that can so easily be taken out of context and is subject to so many interpretations.The Christian God either needed to hire better writers or needed to get a good editor. If you were God would you want such a holy book who”s contents can be used to justify so much hatred. I don’t have a problem with people standing up for their religion. I have a problem with people standing up for hate and saying it’s in the name of their religion.

A commentator named, ANTIYOUNGSTOWN on Vindy.com said, “Homosexuality is unnatural because there is no reason for its existence.” In a Christian (or any religion for that matter) world there is no reason for bigotry or racism to exist. Chick-fil-A stayed quiet to the media about how sales were for Wednesday on Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. But according to Pastor Rick Warren, who is a well know opponent to LGBT equality, Dan Cathy phoned him to say it was a “world record day.”

My dad was all about the business and tried his best to keep his nose out of other people’s business. He worked many long hard hours to put food on our family table and provide for us. I’d suggest the Walton family, the Coors family and the Cathy family and a lot of other corporate owning families get back to taking care of their own and quit funding right-wing think tanks and hate groups in an effort to destroy the American middle-class. We have the power to easily defeat these corporations that are taking over our country because we as their customers have the weapons of mass destruction that they fear………closed wallets and purses. You have to remember that every dime you spend at a corporation is a vote for the way they do business and what they believe. Time to use those weapons for our free speech against hate. And hey Chicken-fil-A the side dish I like with my chicken is mashed potatoes not hate.

Man who made video opposing Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day is fired from his job. I don’t agree with the way he berated an employee but do defend his right to free speech. I find it odd that the people that support Dan Cathy’s free speech complained to this man’s employer to get him fired. Some of Cathy’s free speech defenders have also sent this man death threats. I guess Cathy’s defenders only believe free speech is allowed if it supports your agenda.

Chick-fil-A bullying a small businessman

The Nightwatchman: “Black Spartacus Heart Attack Machine “

“Alone Without You”

“I saw with so many of the gay couples, they were so devoted to another. I saw so much love. When this hearing was over, I was a changed person in regard to this issue. I felt that I understood what same-sex couples were looking for.” — Maryland state Del. Wade Kach (R), Feb. 23, 2012, telling reporters how meeting with gay couples led him to vote to legalize gay marriage in the state.

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