John O’Sullivan had never been to Chick-fil-A, but tried it out on Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. He said:
The atmosphere was a festive one. No one seemed in the grip of any of the darker emotions. I witnessed nothing hateful. Some people said they believed in “Biblical marriage” — that was the most shocking remark I heard. Most of those I spoke to declared that they had turned up to show their support for the company’s rights to free speech. Overall the sense was that of a cheerful community rebellion against political correctness and the intolerance of the professionally tolerant. Maybe, too, they were slightly surprised at how many people felt as they did. I would take it seriously if I were a politician. That’s how Hope and Change begin.
“Cheerful community rebellion.” That’s exactly what I’ve heard from other friends around the country who went to this thing. That, and the sense that people were so surprised that so many agreed with them. These people O’Sullivan talked to weren’t there because they opposed gay marriage. They were there because they opposed bullies. If there were a Chick-fil-A closer than 30 miles away, I would have gone for exactly that reason.
An interesting suggestion, O’Sullivan’s bit about how the kind of cultural energy on display yesterday at Chick-fil-As around the country, just might be the start of something. But what?
Again, my guess is that people didn’t go to Chick-fil-A because they oppose gay marriage. They went because they’re sick and tired of being told they’re haters, and that they ought to have their livelihoods ruined because of their religious and political beliefs. And they’re right. Any movement that stands up against these liberal bigots and bullies has my support.
My friend KWB passed along this PDF link to Ralph Wood’s essay discussing the difference between tolerance and hospitality. An ethic of hospitality is a far more human, and humane, approach to pluralism, in this view. KWB writes:
The point I would make is that, with reference to the Chick-fil-A flap, perhaps we are seeing the ultimate showdown between partisans for hospitality versus the partisans for tolerance. Tolerance is winning—a terrible outcome for any who believe community is something more than Disneyland nostalgia. I say that community is more than that—that it is a form of truth that will be ignored only at a terrible cost. The triumph of tolerance will shortly mean that I am prohibited from acting on that belief. Indeed, the triumph of tolerance will debar anyone from acting on any belief.
And the ramifications of that? Well, I shudder to think…