There certainly is a large tempest in a tiny teapot here – but it does lead to some very interesting questions. I am talking, of course, about the leadership simulcast that City Council canceled back in May. It seems that it was cancelled because it was sponsored by Chick-fil-A, an organization that, in the past, has given very large sums of money to groups that have stood strongly opposed to gay marriage. Chick-fil-A’s CEO, Dan Cathy, has been very outspoken on the subject.
So it seems that a local LGBT group took umbrage, called it a “hate speech” organization (or something very close to that) and Fred Pattje led the move to cancel the event a week before it was scheduled.
Enter Canada’s right wing Sun News and the right wing , Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms with a plan to take the city to court over limiting freedom of speech. The big cry of course is, Nanaimo discriminates against Christians.
Well, not really. We have all kinds of churches with freedom of assembly.
At any rate, it is interesting to note that both the Boston and Chicago mayors a couple of years ago, refused to allow Chick-fil-A to open new franchises in their cities and that many thousands of students in the US have protested to stop the organization from opening franchises on their campuses. Lots of good stuff here. Lots of counter protests too.
At first glance, I would say, that regardless of who was sponsoring the simulcast, there were some very good speakers here – so let it happen. But is it that simple? Those opposed to the event said that part of the ticket price would go to support anti-gay groups. Hmmmm.
This requires more thought. Chick-fil-A says it has stopped giving money to those groups through its charitable arm, the WinShip Foundation. A closer look, though, shows they are still giving money directly to those groups, just not through its foundation.
The tough question is, do we care about the activities of the sponsor of an event, as long as the event is a good one? Or, let me put it another way. Let’s say the sponsor of this event was anti-Jewish, a holocaust denier if you will – and actively donated to anti-Jewish groups. Would we still allow the event to take place in our city?
Do we allow religious groups to meet? Of course! I think the reason this is a tricky case is that the LGBT community has been marginalized for so long that we simply don’t feel the same outrage when they are disenfranchised as we do when another group is – say African Americans, First Naitons, Jews……
I’m still pondering this entire situation. I think it behooves us to ask questions at this point rather than jump to answers.
We have become a world that is too quick to take sides in debates. We are too wrapped up in standing firm on our ideologies. It may be time to re-think this whole ideological way of thinking. It’s driving us apart. Once Canada had a liberal party and a progressive conservative party (I love that we can have the word progressive in front of conservative). And I loved that. Both were close to centre. I voted for both – whichever one seemed to be giving me the best reason at the time to vote for them; whichever one was going to do the best for Canada. Now we have a party that is way out to the right and going farther away, which causes the obvious reaction of making the centre-left move farther left in order to balance the right.
It’s damaging our country and it has to stop.
And yes, this is germane to the the issue of Chick-fil-A – this issue immediately pits two sides against each other. I for one, want to give it a good deal more thought and hear a good deal more from all sides of the issue.