A chicken, a big-city mayor and a duck walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, "What is this, a joke?"
Unfortunately, last week's brouhaha over remarks made by Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy is not a joke, nor is the bullying his company is experiencing at the hands of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
First, on the off chance you only skimmed the headlines and didn't read the stories (thinking, as any reasonable person would, that chicken sandwiches and gay marriage cannot possibly be related), here is an annotated version:
Mr. Cathy, when interviewed by the Christian newspaper Baptist Press, affirmed that he and his family support the traditional, biblical definition of marriage.
"Guilty as charged," Mr. Cathy was quoted as saying when asked about his company's support of the traditional family unit as opposed to same-sex marriage. "We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business."
Nowhere in the interview did Mr. Cathy imply or indicate that his belief in a biblical definition of marriage — one man and one woman — informs his company's policies or behavior toward their customers or employees. In fact, the Atlanta-based fast-food chain, known for delicious chicken sandwiches, waffle fries and being closed on Sundays to observe the Christian Sabbath, has not been accused of any discriminatory action whatsoever, against gays or anyone else.
But, as happens more and more frequently in our politically correct culture, outrage has ensued. How dare Dan Cathy — a devout Christian whose family happens to own a hugely successful business — express views and beliefs consistent with his devout Christianity?
Response to Mr. Cathy's radical statements was swift.
Mr. Menino, noting that Chick-fil-A plans to open a store on the Freedom Trail in his city, quickly declared that the company would meet with regulatory red tape meant to block its expansion. This constitutes a threat to a private enterprise on the part of a public official, not to mention an assault on Mr. Cathy's right to free speech.
The Freedom Trail obviously ain't what it used to be.
In Chicago, Mr. Emanuel went even further, declaring that Chick-fil-A doesn't belong in his city because its owners don't think like he does.
"Chick-fil-A's values are not Chicago values. They're not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members. And if you're going to be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values," Mr. Emanuel said.
"What the [chief operating officer] has said as it relates to gay marriage and gay couples is not what I believe, but more importantly, it's not what the people of Chicago believe."
Really? Someone should mention to Mr. Emanuel that there are 2,300,000 Catholics living and working — and some presumably owning businesses — in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Cook and Lake counties combined are 39 percent Catholic. That doesn't even begin to count the millions of Christians, Muslims and Orthodox Jews who also do not generally support gay marriage (but who do eat chicken).
Meanwhile, in an effort to solve his abysmal homicide problem, Mr. Emanuel last week welcomed to Chicago radical Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. The mayor said, "People of faith have a role to play" in curbing the city's shocking street violence.
But does Mr. Farrakhan share "Chicago's values"? Let's see he opposes gay marriage, hates Jews and isn't too keen on white people.
Yet it's Dan Cathy, Christian businessman, who is called out for being contrary to "Chicago values."
Mr. Emanuel doesn't know what his city values. Moreover, his willingness to make a political statement about who is and isn't welcome in Chicago serves only to affirm what many of us already know to be true:
Leftists like Mr. Emanuel will silence anyone who doesn't agree with them in a politically correct heartbeat, and would subject us all to the "values" they deem appropriate for Chicago and America.
Let's hope these loudmouth mayors are just playing a game of political chicken because if they actually bar Chick-fil-A from doing business based on Mr. Cathy's religious beliefs, we're further down the road to tyranny than I thought.
Not a joke.
• Marybeth Hicks is the author of "Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left's Assault on Our Families, Faith and Freedom." Find her on the Web at http://marybethhicks.com.