Bullies hate two things: when people speak up and when people stand up.

People vote with their feet. Whenever, wherever a populace has lived in dictatorial nations, people walk across borders to get away from tyranny. When The Soviet Union erected The Berlin Wall separating East from West Germany, citizens risked death to get over barbed wire fences.

People fleeing oppression continues today in multiple countries around the world: Myanmar, North Korea, Nigeria, Cuba, or Syria. Dictators bully their people by killing those who oppose them and silencing those who write against them.

Bullies hate two things: when people speak up and when people stand up.

Anyone can become a bully, even an American mayor. A few mayors decided to ban a restaurant chain from their cities. Why?

Well, the conflict began when Chick-fil-A’s president Dan Cathy expressed his view that marriage was between a man and a woman. The press then added words to Cathy’s statements. Journalist Terry Mattingly showed that the additional wording made it seem as if Cathy spoke against gay marriage when in fact he did not. Unfortunately, the battle lines were drawn. A Chicago alderman vowed to block a Chick-fil-A proposed in his district. Mayor Rahm Emanuel supported him, saying, “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values.” Boston Mayor Thomas Menino wrote to Cathy: “There is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it.”

As a result, the President of the Coalition of African-American Pastors stood up. Reverend William Owens said supporters of traditional marriage are facing the same discrimination that blacks faced during the civil rights movement. Rev. Owens said at the National Press Club,

“Some people are saying because of the position that Chick-fil-A has taken – they don’t want them in their cities. It’s a disgrace. The same thing happened when I marched for civil rights, when they didn’t want a black to come into their restaurants. Now they’re saying, because we take a Christian position, they don’t want us in their cities. They will learn they can’t do that to any people, by destroying religion and the family. We won’t take it. We will stand up.”

The Coalition of 3,700 African American Pastors stood up. And on August 1st, millions of Americans stood with them. To show support for Chick-fil-A, patrons stood for hours on August 1st to purchase a meal at Chick-fil-A restaurants all over the nation.

Americans may disagree about the issue of same-sex or traditional marriage. But Americans don’t like to be bullied.

Most Americans would agree that freedom of speech should be protected, even when we disagree.

When mayors told Chick-fil-A the restaurant chain was no longer welcome in their cities, the Rev. William Owens stood up.

The Coalition of African-American Pastors stood up.

Patrons of Chick-fil-A stood up.

It seems people are still voting with their feet.

For Moody Radio, this is Dr. Mark Eckel, personally seeking truth wherever it’s found.

Mark stands alongside those who take a stand: not against anything but FOR FREE SPEECH.  

This essay will be broadcast on Moody Radio, August, 2012.



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One comment

  1. Thank you for this positive, invaluable article on just that—free speech!! How sad for those who read Dan Cathy’s words as an indictment against individuals.

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