Eat More Tolerance

I didn’t grow up with Chick-fil-A, though I did grow up in the South.

The smallish town I’m from did not have — and still does not have — much in the way of restaurants, fast-food or otherwise … nor much in the way of shopping, entertainment, and a hundred other things that are not relevant at the moment.

This isn’t about my hometown.

This is about a sandwich.

A good sandwich. A fine sandwich. Hold the pickles.

A sandwich I have loved since at least my teens, when I would look forward to trips outside my hometown to places where this treat was attainable.

A sandwich I splurged on in college whenever the campus newspaper ran two-for-one coupons.

A sandwich I could afford in the days when I was a poor newspaper writer.

A sandwich I could rely upon in recent days amid the otherwise mediocre offerings of the cafeteria in my office building.

A sandwich I have given up.

Not that Chick-fil-A may notice, certainly not today, as some crowds are loyally observing “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” blithely indifferent ┬áto — or worse, supportive of — the restaurant’s stance against gay marriage, a stance evidenced by its CEO’s statements and its history ($5 million and counting) of financial support for organizations that seek to block and roll back equal rights.

I recognize my decision may be insignificant — what difference do a few dollars make in a pile millions high?

May as well ask what difference one vote makes in a pile millions high, yet we are taught early and reminded constantly that “every vote counts.”

So I am voting NO on Chick-fil-A’s anti-equality stance.

Anti-equality stance.

Putting it that way is entirely too kind — let’s be honest here and use the proper term.

Bigotry.

A deliberate choice to actively scorn and deny equality to a group of people based solely on the fact they are different is nothing else.

Bigotry.

Bigotry whose adherents expect a pass by claiming it’s based on a religious principle.

No.

A bigot hiding behind religion is still a bigot.

And a bigot who whines for freedom while actively seeking to deny freedom to others deserves no respect, no sympathy.

But, by all means, bigots, whine on.

Speech is every bit as free today as yesterday, and may it ever be so.

But the loveliest thing about free speech is that everyone gets it, and while the bigots freely speak, so shall enlightened minds.

And we will watch as this bigotry battles enlightenment in the marketplace of ideas, and, as every manner of bigotry before it, loses.

Maybe slowly, certainly painfully. But definitely.

History will march, and such petty, terrible injustices will be dust on the roadside.