Saturday, August 3, 2013

Hate Appreciation Day: A Sad Day in America

I don’t know what’s more disturbing: That so many hundreds of thousands of Americans hate people like me, that so many hundreds of thousands of so-called Christian Americans have no clue what the bible really says, or that so many hundreds of thousands of Americans who profess to love American values oppose fundamental American principles such as liberty, equality and freedom for all. Of course, they’re all tied together.   

On Wednesday, August 1st, 2012, hundreds of thousands of Americans flocked to the 1,600-plus Chick-Fil-A franchises all over the nation to show support for the restaurant chain president’s recent anti-gay statements and misinterpretation of scripture. Lunch lines were as long as a 30-minute wait, drive-throughs  were backed up to the point of causing traffic jams, and at several places police were called to maintain order.  Sarah Palin boasted about having lunch at Chick-Fil-A, as did Rick Santorum, tweeting “OK leftists, go crazy.”

The huge crowds were responding to a call to action from former Arkansas governor and former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who is now a talk show host for The Mike Huckabee Show on the Fox News Channel. Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, strongly opposes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that protects gays, lesbians and transgender people from job discrimination; speaks adamantly against gay marriage and civil unions; does not think gays should be allowed to serve in the military; endorses a federal, Constitutional amendment to define marriage as between “one man and one woman;” is against hate-crime laws; says people with AIDS should be quarantined; calls homosexuality “an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle” that can “pose a dangerous public health risk;” has compared being gay to “drug addiction,” “incest,” “pedophilia,” “sadomasochism” and “necrophilia,” and refers to gay adoption as a “bad experiment” that should be outlawed.

And yet hundreds of thousands of Americans responded to Huckabee’s call for a “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day,” calling the company and its president “a great American story that is being smeared by vicious hate speech and intolerant bigotry from the left.”

A few weeks ago, in public interviews, when asked about his stance on gay marriage, Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy said the following: “We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit . . . I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage' . . . I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about." The company has also donated more than $3 million to anti-gay hate groups, including the Marriage & Family Foundation and the Family Research Council.

In response, Muppets creator Jim Henson Company canceled contracts it had with Chick-Fil-A, vowed to never work with Chick-Fil-A again, and donated all the money it had made from its partnership with Chick-Fil-A to gay rights groups. The Mayors of Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco also criticized Cathy’s comments and vowed to block Chick-fil-A from opening new restaurants in their cities. Many Americans and gay rights groups called for a boycott of Chick-Fil-A.

Yes, that’s the “hate speech” and “intolerant bigotry from the left” that Huckabee was referring to.

So why would so many hundreds and thousands of Americans heed Huckabee’s call to action and flock to Chick-Fil-A’s defense?  In interviews, many said they were defending the “biblical definition of marriage” and “American values.” Do these people realize that the biblical definition of marriage includes polygamy, rape, incest and slavery? Do these people realize that the fundamental tenants of our Constitution  – the very foundation of or nation – is the notion of liberty, equality and freedom for all Americans?

Some have said they support “gays and gay rights” but were defending Cathy’s "right to free speech."  This is like someone saying they support Jewish liberation but then defending the Nazi party. If Cathy and Huckabee called black people “niggers,” promoted archaic biblical definitions of slavery, and said blacks are not entitled to the same rights as other Americans, would these same Americans answer a call to action, rally to Chick-Fil-A’s defense, and claim they support blacks and civil rights but choose to defend Cathy’s right to free speech?

These people aren’t defending and supporting free speech – they are defending and supporting ignorance, bigotry, hate and violence.

Certainly Cathy, Huckabee and others have a right to say whatever they want – but words do have consequences.

According to the U.S. government, hate crimes rose 13% in 2010, and there is an annual average of 191,000 hate crimes each year with 18% of those committed against gays and lesbians. And since we gays and lesbians make up a small percentage of our population, crimes against us are six times higher than the overall rate. Young people are affected, perhaps more so. Nine out of 10 gay and lesbian teens report being bullied because of their sexual orientation. Gay teens are two to three times more likely to commit suicide than other teens, five times more likely to miss school out of fear, and 28% do, indeed, drop out. Last year an 18-year old Texas man was slain by a classmate for being gay, and a 24-year old Florida lesbian was killed by her girlfriend’s father. Much of this, no doubt, derives from misinterpretations of ancient ambiguous biblical scripture and the ignorant, bigoted, hateful words and actions of people like Dan Cathy, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum and many others.

Dan Cathy, President of Chick-Fil-A
And on August 1st, their words and actions inspired 600,000 Americans to eat chicken in support of ignorance, bigotry, hate and violence.

If these people want to use their rights of free speech to promote and encourage ignorance, bigotry, hate and violence, then they shouldn’t be upset or surprised when others exercise their rights to protest, boycott and ban them from their cities. It’s pretty clear who is actually being smeared by "vicious hate speech and intolerant bigotry" – and it’s not from the “left,” as Huckabee suggests.

Those hundreds of thousands of Americans will likely continue believing their misinterpretations of archaic biblical passages and their false notions of “American values” while they go about their daily lives, freely marrying whomever they want, and not worrying about getting fired, harassed, bullied, beat up or murdered for who and what they are.

It was a sad day in America.

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