Friday, August 28, 2015

Next Phase in the Culture War

People sometimes scoff at the notion that here in America we're deeply immersed in a "culture war." Well, pace those who disagree, we are. One of the lines of battle is over gay marriage and the left's need to punish anyone who voices any reservations, much less resistance, to this particular example of progressive enlightenment.

In Denver, for example, punishment is to be meted out not only to those who refuse to service gay weddings, but a forteriori to anyone whose personal opinion is that gay marriage is something less than a wonderful thing. The next step in the Culture Wars is shutting down businesses and putting people out of work, not because the business has transgressed the law or discriminated against patrons but purely because of the moral and religious beliefs of the business' founder. Consider this piece by David Harsanyi at The Federalist about Chick-fil-A's application to open a concession at Denver International Airport:
The Denver Council’s Business Development Committee has stalled a seven-year deal with Chick-fil-A because CEO Dan Cathy spoke out against gay marriage back in 2012. Cathy, after being flogged for this misconduct, backed off , saying he regretted getting involved. But that won’t do. There are no prisoners in this culture war. So the council will meet in couple of weeks to take up the topic again. Not so the members can take time to chew over the significance of a city punishing its citizens for their thoughts and beliefs, or even to weigh the importance of tolerance in a vibrant city like Denver. They’re waiting to have a closed-door committee hearing with city attorneys, who will brief them on the legal implications and practicality of shutting down apostates.

The only thing that might stop Denver from pulling this concession from an apologetic Christian, then, is a few risk-averse bureaucrats. This, even though Chick-fil-A has not been accused of any infraction or crime; no one has even suggested it’s guilty of make-believe acts of discrimination. Chick-fil-A has given assurances, in fact, as all other concessionaires at Denver International Airport (DEN) restaurants have, it will follow nondiscrimination policies laid out by law, which include protections for sexual orientation.

So what’s the point? Well, Robin Kniech, council person, asked a concessionaire this question: “If the national corporation with which you are affiliated once again puts themselves at the center of a national debate about depriving people and their families of rights, would you as a concessionaire have any ability to influence that?”

“I don’t believe so,” he answered.

“I don’t think you would, either,” Kniech says. “And that’s my concern.”

So that’s her concern? Setting aside her absurd oversimplification of the debate surrounding marriage, since when is it the interest of a council person to monitor the political activities of citizens and wonder how she deals with vendors who displease her sensibilities? Do Americans with minority opinions function under some different set of laws? The only person with the power to deprive anyone or their families of rights, in this case, is the council. So please tell me how Kniech isn’t a petty tyrant?
There's more to this story at the link. It paints a picture of America in 2015, an America that's been "fundamentally transformed." No longer are you free to hold a view that lies outside the mainstream (or in the Chick-fil-A case, squarely in the mainstream). You must conform to the progressive vision in both thought and deed, and if you don't everything and everyone associated with you will be punished. If we're not in the midst of a culture war it's only because one side has surrendered. Next thing the Denver council will be requiring everyone in their city to wear Mao suits.