‘I Hate You and Your Hate Speech’ or ‘Do You Understand What Civil Means?’

(Note: Edited at 3:17pm)

Last week, I learned that Chick-fil-A is a company that exists. Really, I thought it was a fictional fast food joint from a TV show I’ve never seen, something like Krusty Burger or Los Pollos Hermanos. Turns out, it’s a real restaurant with a very Christian founder named Dan Cathy.

Last week, Cathy made some comments about using Christian values to spearhead aspects of his business. When writers and bloggers dug a little deeper, they found that Chick-fil-A is a prominent donor to anti-gay groups. Here’s what Cathy said specifically about the marriage equality debate on a conservative family radio show.

“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’ and 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””

Take a look at that Equality Matters report, and you’ll see that Chick-fil-A’s donations contribute to some recognizable hate speech against the LGBT community. However, Cathy didn’t really make any hateful speech, did he? Most of what he said was baseless (by my terms) and probably a bad business move, but he wasn’t advocating violence or direct discrimination.

But here’s what he got back:

Barr later walked back that tweet, saying it was not motivated by the anti-gay component, but how fast food has links to cancer. I still don’t think that justifies a tweet wishing cancer upon strangers, but she’s trying like hell to make that point.

Barr’s comment was not the worst. I’m not sharing the worst, but this one aimed at Rick Santorum is pretty bad.

Now that’s just mean.

Yesterday, Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, who I guess is on sports leave, posted on Facebook that he supported Chick-fil-A:

“I stand with Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A is privately owned by the Cathy family. The company president, Dan Cathy, drew the wrath of gay rights advocates and supporters when he made recent statements that some have alleged are anti-gay.”

First, yes, Cathy’s comments are definitely anti-gay. If you are against gay equality, you are anti-gay. Although I’m not sure why we’re worried about what a hockey player on sabbatical thinks, Thomas didn’t do much else in that post to incite a riot. He quotes Cathy from the same two sources I’ve used above. He didn’t even take a stand on gay issues. He might be in the growing contingent that supports gays but is against government interference. We don’t actually know based on that post, do we? Here’s what he got in return, captured by Towleroad:

There’s a hell of a lot more hate speech in those pro-gay comments than from the possibly anti-gay Thomas Facebook post. Again, this is all because of processed chicken sandwiches.

EDIT: The VP of Chick-fil-A Public Relations died of a heart attack, and the comments are unbearable.

Let’s compare all this with what country singer Carrie Underwood received after she came out in favor of marriage equality a few months ago. BuzzFeed compiled a list of some negative reactions:

I don’t agree with any of these comments, but I can’t find hate there. Dogma, definitely. Serious threats or insults? None.

You guys, what the hell are we doing here? We’re in the middle of a civil rights movement that will define the century, and this is how we look. You can’t tell someone they “have a fat jello ass” and say you’re against hate speech. You can’t wish cancer upon strangers, then tell them to stop bullying your brothers and learn to recognize love when it’s right in front of them. You can’t do all that when the other side responds with “We love you.”

The LGBT community faces horrible acts of violence every day, but nothing comparable to what this country has seen in other moments of social upheaval. Fifty years ago, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., (you saw this coming) helped to lead a movement of nonviolence and activism that inspired an entire planet. Protesters were beaten in every way imaginable, verbally and physically, and responded with dignity and came out better for it. Women in the 1920s literally starved to death rather than resort to insults and violence. Maybe we’re spoiled by what other minorities went through before us. I don’t have a choice in this, but I have a hard time siding with the guys who are defined by as much vitriol as the other side.

Simply put: We Look Bad. Are you angry? Good, you should be, but grow up and learn how to channel that into something other than hyperactive sniper attacks at no one of real importance. Focus. Plan. And if you don’t have anything productive to say, kindly get the hell off the internet.


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