Saturday, September 07, 2019

Canadian Chick-fil-A protests may be almost as miguided as the company's owner's politics

Chick-fil-A, the evangelical-owned American fast-food chicken chain, has started opening branches here in Canada and, as predicted, protests have followed, particularly against the owner's anti-gay views.
I have to ask, though, are the political and religious views of a company or its owners a good reason to call for it to be blocked entirely, to disallow it from operating? That certainly is the view of many of the protesters, both here and in the USA. Per one of the protest organizers: "It's more than just about chicken. It's about realizing that the rhetoric of hate is entering our city."
Well, this sounds like hell-raising hyperbole to me. If you don't like the owner's politics, then don't give him your business (I don't eat chicken, so I won't be going there anyway, but even if I did, I always have the choice of choosing a different unhealthy chicken outlet).
Of course, it's the old "ban hate speech vs ensure freedom of speech" dichotomy, and I sometimes find myself on one side of these arguments and sometimes on the other, depending on the severity and the particular circumstances of the issue under discussion. In this case, I don't see that the company owner's behind-the-scenes support for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army amounts to rebel-rousing hate speech. Misguided, yes; malevolent and injurious, probably not. Sure, allow the protester to protest, but is this really where their clearly abundant energies should be focussed?

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