Chick-Fil-A has now been banned at the San Antonio airport, the Buffalo (NY) airport, and Rider University because of their alleged “anti-LGBT rhetoric and views,” and because they allegedly “spread hate and discrimination.” This is certainly not from any action, policy, or behavior on the part of Chick-Fil-A headquarters or their restaurants, but only because they have publicly declared that they believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and they also support groups, such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, that share that belief.
But a belief is different from discrimination. Chick-Fil-A hires gays and serves gays, so where is the discrimination? Chick-Fil-A has a corporate policy of “We embrace all people, regardless of religion, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.” So where is the discrimination? There is none.
Part of the wonder of pluralism and tolerance is that I do not discriminate against hiring or serving someone despite my beliefs. It works because my beliefs, though held with conviction, don’t dictate my obligation to give employment and service to people with other belief systems.
Chick-Fil-A is not a hate group just because they have Christian beliefs. They are only a hate group if they show hate, which they do not. They are not discriminatory if they don’t discriminate. Chick-Fil-A doesn’t require that all other businesses in the airport or campus share their values and beliefs. It doesn’t require that all employees share their beliefs, nor that all customers share their beliefs. THOSE would be discrimination. In actuality, in these cases it is those who are refusing to do business with Chick-Fil-A who are guilty of discrimination. They are using their belief system as the basis to shut out a business with a different belief system merely on the basis of those beliefs, but not for any discriminatory policies or actions. Assemblyman Sean Ryan says, “the NFTA has a responsibility to avoid doing business with corporations who fund hateful and divisive groups.” I agree with that value, but since Chick-Fil-A doesn’t fund hateful and divisive groups (but does fund groups with similar belief systems), it is Sean Ryan here who is the discriminator, for he has actually taken action to shut down a business merely on the basis of a belief, not on the basis of discriminatory behavior. Sean Ryan values diversity as long as it doesn’t include Christians, despite that these Christians don’t actually practice anything discriminatory. Therefore Chick-Fil-A is not the discriminator, Sean Ryan is. Sean Ryan’s view is the height of hypocrisy, divisiveness, and discrimination.