Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Banned in Boston: an open letter to Boston's mayor

(The following blog post is an open letter to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who wrote a letter to Dan Cathy to tell him that there is "no place" in Boston for Mr. Cathy or Chick-fil-A.)

Dear Mayor Thomas Menino:

Like many Americans, I have been watching the so-called "controversy" over Mr. Dan Cathy's comments regarding marriage unfold in the news. As you are no doubt aware, Mr. Cathy did not speak about gay "marriage" at all; he simply reiterated his support for the traditional family and for the biblical principles upon which the family ought to be built.

I then read your letter to Mr. Cathy, in which you wrote "I was angry to learn on the heels of your prejudiced statements about your search for a site to locate in Boston. There is no place for discrimination on Boston's Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it..." This, of course, leads me to an obvious, if distasteful, question: Mr. Menino, are you a bigot? Are you bigoted against Bible-believing Christians and their sincerely-held religious beliefs?

It would seem that you must be, since you are telling Mr. Cathy that his deeply, sincerely-held religious beliefs (some of which I, as a Roman Catholic, share) are nothing but "discrimination" and that they, and he, and his company are not welcome in your not-so-fair city. Apparently in Boston one is only permitted to have a view of "marriage" which encompasses a twenty-first century secular approach: "marriage" is whatever the Massachusetts Supreme Court decides it is; no other world views need apply. Views of marriage that are based in history, in faith, or in something other than the facile politically-correct redefinition promoted in Massachusetts today are to be shut out, marginalized, and excluded altogether, so much so that your unfortunate state decided it was better to let orphans languish unadopted then permit Catholic Charities to continue placing children in the sorts of families Mr. Cathy mentioned. And you also would apparently prefer to keep some of the citizens of Boston unemployed than to permit a Bible-believing Christian like Mr. Cathy to expand his business there; your seeming hatred for Bible-believing Christians is even more important, apparently, than Boston's economic growth.

I wonder how it is possible that you can write so passionately against "prejudice" and "discrimination" without realizing that you, too, are prejudiced against those of us who, informed by our faiths, define marriage as the union of one man and one woman? Isn't it true that you, too, are ready to discriminate against religious believers, be they Catholic, Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, who agree that in their religious traditions marriage is between one man and one woman? In all honesty, should such people and their deeply held beliefs really be banned in Boston, Mayor Menino?

One thing is sure: the great heroes of Boston's past would agree that protecting and preserving religious liberty was one of our country's greatest achievements, and that a real liberty in which those who express their faith are not marginalized and excluded from the public square is of paramount importance to a free people. I wonder what they would think of the reality that this freedom is now imperiled in Boston, under your watch.

Sincerely,

Erin Manning

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Erin:

Glad to see that you are feeling better!

Even though I'm a gay man whose political/religious views are not usually in accord with yours, I have to agree with you regarding Mayor Menino.

It appears, however, that as of this afternoon (Thursday), he has admitted that he was wrong re the possible establishment of a Chick-fil-A
restaurant in Boston. (I work in downtown Boston, full-time, 5 days a week! Commuting 2 hrs each way. And, almost 70 years old! How do I do it?)

The truth is Mayor Menino has been a good mayor for the City of Boston, has been mayor for years and years and years, and, should he run for re-election, will be a shoo-in!!! (Truth is, the unemployment rate here in Boston is low, about 6%!!)

I am thinking that in this situation Menino was just attempting to score political points.

To tell you the truth, up until a year or so ago, I had never heard of Chick-Fil-A; none here in Rhode Island and it appears only 2 in the Boston suburbs. I am guessing they have no plans to expand into Boston proper.

Bern

c matt said...

your seeming hatred for Bible-believing Christians is even more important, apparently, than Boston's economic growth.

I agree with you that Menino is wrong to imply business permits come with a political litmus test (aside from the customary graft to lower level officials, of course - this is Boston, after all). But I can't agree necessarily that economic growth is the only or paramount consideration in city development.

And you have a typo in the first "union of one man and one women" I think you meant woman.

Red Cardigan said...

Ah--thanks for catching the typo, Cmatt. :)

L. said...

As far as I can tell (and I admit I haven't followed all the details of this subject), Chick-fil-A doesn't refuse to serve gay customers, or refusing to hire gay employees. Its owner merely uses the profits from his business to support anti-gay marriage causes. (I also think it's a little disingenuous to claim that pro-traditional marriage isn't anti-gay -- it's like people who believe women should stay home and support incentives like tax breaks etc. for "traditioanl" families, and then yet claim they have nothing against working-outside-the-home women. Sorry, you can't have it both ways. Being pro- one is being against the other.)

Anyway, if his business ever refuses to serve certain customers, I would support any ban on its doing business in any jurisdiction that wanted to keep it out on these grounds.

However, since it appears that the owner is not discriminating as part of his business practices, I think he should be permitted to open his businesses wherever he likes, and those who don't agree with his opinions (and don't want our money to flow to causes we don't support) have the right not to patronize them, and to warn others who might not share his opinions that they ought to consider doing the same.

Since when did passionately disagreeing with opinions become being "prejudiced" and "bigoted" against them? I am very passionately pro-gay marriage (at the same time that I am quite anti-traditional marriage, and am teaching my kids it's a confining social institution they should avoid, if they can, unless they need a visa to stay in a particular country as I did). Does this make me "bigoted" against people who don't believe as I do, if I believe they still have the right to hold their opinions and do business, as long as they conform to laws requiring them to hire/serve everyone?