The left is often very vocal about the establishment clause; that’s why there’s a hue and cry about posting the 10 Commandments on any public building.
That’s all well and good, and it’s an appropriate subject for debate.
But the left seems less adamant about the exercise clause, particularly when it violates liberal orthodoxy.
Last month, a city official in Chicago (who was later backed by the mayor) clearly violated that portion when he pledged to prevent Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant in his ward.
Because of this man’s ignorance, I will deny Chick-fil-A a permit to open a restaurant in my ward.”
Now, no one — no one at all — is claiming the company has discriminated against any individual.
There is no company policy addressing gender issues at all. What the city councilman is protesting is the belief of Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy.
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit,” he told the Baptist Press.
That was too much for Moreno, who decided it was his duty to use his governmental power to punish the company for Cathy’s beliefs.
“Obviously, Cathy has the right to believe, say and give money to whatever cause he wants,” Moreno said. “But my belief in equality is resolute, and if I were to take the easy way out and turn a blind eye to his remarks, I would be turning my back on the principles I stand for.”
That’s flat-out wrong. Moreno’s duty is to support the Constitution and laws of his state, not to be the thought police.
Sure, Morena and others are free to disagree with Cathy. But there’s a legitimate way to respond; he hints at it himself.
“Even if I did give Chick-fil-A the go-ahead, I suspect many in my community wouldn’t spend their dollars there,” he said.
Perhaps he’s right. And a boycott — not the arbitrary suspension of civil liberties — is the correct response. One gay columnist at CNN gets it.
“The last thing anyone, liberal or conservative, should want is local government censoring what a private citizen can say by way of withholding permits and licenses,” wrote L.Z. Granderson last week. “Boycotts… are constitutional.”
They can also be very effective.
On Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala. bus. A boycott of the bus system by both blacks and white lasted for just over a year; the National City Lines bus company was forced to park much of its equipment and it lost substantial revenues.
If Moreno truly believes same-sex marriage to be “the civil rights issue of our generation,” he should look to Rosa Parks, the Montgomery Improvement Association for inspiration.
What he mustn’t do — what no government official must do — is subvert the U.S. Constitution in the name of equality, because the Constitution is the only real guarantor of that.