Chik-Fill-A

Like every other person who has served in the military, I swore an oath to protect and defend the United States Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. The Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the Constitution include the assurances of freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the free exercise of religion. It’s easy to guarantee these freedoms to people with whom you agree; it’s difficult and absolutely essential to our way of life to protect those freedoms on behalf of those with who we disagree. It is the essence of America that we protect the right of people to express views that we find repulsive or repugnant. At various times, when I saw someone protesting against the government or the military, I reminded myself that I and my fellow service members are charged with guaranteeing their right to express their views.

The recent tempest in a teapot about Chick-Fill-A is a perfect example of this. Dan Cathy, the CEO of Chick-Fill-A exercises his right to practice his religion as guaranteed in the constitution. He uses the Bible as the guide for various decisions, such as not having his people work on Sunday. He accepts the Biblical view toward marriage. In a Southern Baptist forum he expressed these views in accordance with his right of free speech.

Not everyone is going to agree with those views. The Bible, after all, speaks to slavery as acceptable, as well as multiple wives, and concubines. The Bible has been used to justify capital punishment. The Bible (in Job) has God and Satan sitting around chatting. The Bible may be divinely inspired, but it is written in a manner that requires thought, reflection and, yes, prayer.

In any case, Mr. Cathy is entitled to his views, entitled to practice them as part of his freedom of religion and entitled to express them as part of his freedom of speech.

Marriage in the eyes of the law in America is a primarily a property contract between two people. The legal definition will eventually be sorted out to the satisfaction of some and to the dissatisfaction of others. In the eyes of many it has a legal aspect, a moral aspect and a spiritual aspect. This is in addition to the merely legal definition. The law will deal with the property issues, how we deal with the moral and spiritual aspects are up to us.

So, as someone once said, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” Hmm, I wonder who that was.

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