Atheists Don't Need Nannies

Thursday, July 26, 2012

In two news stories, we see self-proclaimed advocates of tolerance undercutting the causes they allegedly espouse -- and coming across as thin-skinned ninnies in the process -- by resorting to government-backed threats, rather than persuasion.

We'll look at the more obvious offense first, which Michelle Malkin writes about, in which the mayor of a major American city threatens to a restaurant chain with government discrimination because he disagrees with the views of its outspoken owners regarding such matters as gay marriage.

This week, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino declared, "Chick-fil-A doesn't belong in Boston." He recklessly slandered [sic] the company by accusing it of "discriminat(ing) against the population." And he warned ominously: "If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult -- unless they open up their policies."

Drawing on the city's history, he railed against the restaurant empire's plans to build a franchise near a famed path: "We're an open city. We're a city that's at the forefront of inclusion. That's the Freedom Trail. That's where it all started right here. And we're not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail." [bold added]
I can't help but offer free campaign advice for any future opponent of Thomas Menino in the form of a campaign slogan: "Don't let Thomas Menino close the Freedom Trail."

This atheist does not share Malkin's obvious sympathy with the religious views of the restaurant chain's owners. However, it isn't the business of the mayor to violate the property rights of the Cathy family simply because he disagrees with them and they choose to shape their chain's policies based on their views. (He compounds this offense with hypocrisy by condemning the owners for discrimination and tops that with sacrilege by invoking the Founding Fathers.) As for the proper way to protest the Cathys' arbitrary and anachronistic views, there are numerous ways that individual citizens can exercise their freedom of speech, perhaps by organizing a voluntary boycott. (Hell, the Cathys have already spotted them one day of the week by closing on Sundays.)

Another thin-skinned secularist who apparently has little confidence in the persuasive power of reason has also chosen to abuse improper government force:
[John] Wolff, a Lancaster resident who said he's never been to Prudhomme's, recently filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission claiming the 22-year-old restaurant should not give discounts based on religion. "I bear them no ill will," he said, "but they shouldn't be pushing religion."
The restaurant offers a ten percent discount to anyone wielding a (gasp!) church bulletin on Sunday. I don't care for this policy, either, but it's their restaurant, and they have the right (whether the government protects it or not) to charge whatever price to whomever they please.

There is no right to be free from other people acting according to their own judgement, unless they actually violate the rights of others by doing so. Not being able to enjoy a Chick-Fil-A sandwich provided by a company whose owners I agree with doesn't harm me. Neither does being  "annoyed" because a restaurant has people bring church bulletins in for discounts.

-- CAV

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