Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The Chick-fil-A flap is far from over as the fallout continues on several fronts today with one employee fired for his verbal assault on a restaurant employee and a Chicago Alderman causing scandal by calling Cardinal Francis George’s defense of marriage “disingenuous and irresponsible.”
In the video, Smith films himself requesting a free cup of water at the drive-thru window. When he receives the drink, he launches into a tirade, calling Chick-fil-A a “hateful corporation” that “gives money to hate groups.”
The employee is clearly stunned by his vitriol and says she’s uncomfortable with being filmed.
Smith refuses to turn off his camera and continues to berate her: “I don’t know how you live with yourself and work here.” He goes on to say that he’s not gay, but “I just can’t stand the hate.” He adds, “I’m a nice guy, by the way.”
According to the Arizona Daily Star, Smith’s employer, Vante, was not amused. When Roger Vogel, Chairman, President and CEO of the company was sent a link to the video, he admitted that he was shocked.
“We obviously found it very disturbing,” Vogel said. “We respect everybody’s ability to share their opinions in the public square and we have a very diverse workforce with a diverse set of opinions. We expect employees to behave in a professional manner that’s commensurate with their positions, and discuss their opinions in a civil fashion. … We thought what he did was inappropriate.”
Smith was fired “effective immediately” and is no longer employed at Vante.
On another front, Joe Moreno, the Chicago alderman who first threatened to ban all Chick-fil-A’s from the city, fell flat on his face in an interview with the Chicago Tribune when he chastised Cardinal Francis George’s blog post defending traditional marriage.
“Recent comments by those who administer our city seem to assume that the city government can decide for everyone what are the ‘values’ that must be held by citizens of Chicago,” the Cardinal wrote on the Archdiocese of Chicago’s blog on Sunday. “I was born and raised here, and my understanding of being a Chicagoan never included submitting my value system to the government for approval. Must those whose personal values do not conform to those of the government of the day move from the city?”
George went on to write: “Approval of state-sponsored homosexual unions has very quickly become a litmus test for bigotry. … Surely there must be a way to properly respect people who are gay or lesbian without using civil law to undermine the nature of marriage.”
Citing his background as an former altar boy who was raised Catholic and now “occasionally attends church,” Moreno claimed to know more than the Cardinal about the Bible, and said that his version of God was all about equal rights.
“It’s unfortunate that the cardinal, as often happens, picks parts of the Bible and not other parts,” Moreno told the Tribune. “The Bible says many things. For the cardinal to say that Jesus believes in this, and therefore we all must believe in this, I think is just disingenuous and irresponsible. The God I believe in is one about equal rights, and to not give equal rights to those that want to marry, is in my opinion un-Christian.”
As usual, he tossed in the priest abuse scandal as a reason why George had no right to take the “moral high ground on equal rights.”
Activists are planning a “National Same-Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A” on Friday to counter Wednesday’s event. Same-sex couples are being asked to go to a Chick-fil-A and take a photo or video of themselves kissing.
Thus far, there are a total of three pictures on the National Same-Sex Kiss Day website, with one photo of a young girl carrying a sign bearing the theologically-challenged statement: “Hey, Jesus had two dads and he turned out okay.”
It does not appear as if the Kiss Day will generate even a fraction of the turnout that supporters of free speech gave to the embattled franchise on Wednesday.
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