Chicago Plays Chicken With Christians

By George Neumayr

The Obama Left places believing Christians in the same moral category as racists. The bullying has escalated to the point that prominent liberal mayors, such as Chicago's Rahm Emanuel, now openly say that Christians are unworthy of even running a fast food chain in the public square.

"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 gonna be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values," said Emanuel, backing alderman Joe Moreno's goal of preventing the chicken restaurant from opening its doors in the Logan Square neighborhood.

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This is a stunning doubling down in the left's war on Christianity by a prominent Democrat. Emanuel, Obama's former chief of staff, has in effect told the religious across the country, in an election year no less, that traditional Christian values are not American values.

Obama supporter Tom Hanks once said that opponents of gay marriage in California were "un-American," but Emanuel's comment spells this view out even more explicitly. The dictatorship of relativism, to borrow Pope Benedict XVI's phrase, has never been more cocky. Apparently, Americans must not only learn to live under the amoral style of "Chicago politics" but also under the in-your-face secularism of "Chicago values."

A less biased press would see great significance in Emanuel's thuggish phrase. But since reporters sympathize with the Left's war on Christianity, and since Mitt Romney shows little to no interest in engaging Obama on non-economic matters, this remarkable outburst will not get the attention it deserves. Has the culture really changed so quickly and dramatically that a position held by many Democrats, including the president, just months ago -- a position ratified by the people in over thirty states -- can be the grounds for depriving a chicken restaurant chain from operating in major American cities?

Emanuel has been joined by Boston mayor Thomas Menino in this get-the-hell-out-of-my-city message to Christians. "In recent days you said Chick-fil-A opposes same-sex marriage, and said the generation that supports it has an 'arrogant attitude,'" Menino wrote to the company's top executive in Atlanta. "Now -- incredibly -- your company says you are backing out of the same-sex marriage debate. I urge you to back out of your plans to locate in Boston."

All of this tough talk is dished up with the usual irony-oblivious prattle about tolerance and freedom. No one is more intolerant than a "tolerant" liberal. It has been reported that Menino didn't want a Chick-fil-A anywhere near the "Freedom trail" in Boston. Well, if that is the way he feels, perhaps Menino should dig up and ban the "Freedom trail," since the founding fathers who blazed it agreed completely with St. Paul's condemnation of homosexual behavior. They never confused liberty with secularist license. Even the mere phrase "gay marriage" would have been unfathomable to them.

The values of the Boy Scouts (another blameless group tormented by oh-so-progressive mayors) and Chick-fil-A are not foreign to America's principles, but the "Chicago values" of the Obama left certainly are. This level of secularist hubris is unprecedented in American history. Not only must Christians pay for what they see as the immoral practices decreed by Obama, pace the HHS mandate, they aren't even permitted to harbor "thoughts" contrary to regnant secularist propaganda.

The executives of Chick-fil-A simply hold the view that redefining marriage is wrong. So do millions of Americans, as seen every time it comes up for a direct vote in state referenda. Yet that's enough to deny them from opening restaurants in major American cities like they are segregationists? This is unbelievable.

Americans are coming to see in more and more graphic form-from the HHS mandate all the way down to mayoral decrees enforcing political correctness-what Obama meant when he said in the 2008 campaign that he was going to "fundamentally transform" the country. He is the "one" we have "been waiting for," his supporters chanted, meaning that he would run the ball into the end zone for radicalism.

He is building a secularist Animal Farm which no one is free to leave. For all of his talk about "privacy," nothing in the end is private under his coercive mentality. A chance remark to a reporter by a fast food executive can become the occasion for destroying a company. In Obamaland, you either bow to his new morality of abortion and gay marriage or you go out of business.

That is the Chicago way, and now "Chicago values."

George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author (with Phyllis Schlafly) of No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.

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