The lines coming out of Chik Fil A this past week are shocking. Ok, not SHOCKING… this IS the South. But it is becoming quite apparent what a slap in the face this whole issue has become.

We have one side who is sick of the hatred, and tired of having our lives become the center of ongoing and hateful debates. We have the other side claiming “free speech”, First Amendment issues, blah blah.

Yes, people are entitled to their beliefs. But sometimes these beliefs make one seem quite ignorant, backwards, and overly old-fashioned.  For example, I have the right to believe that people who eat meat should be ripped of equal rights, (for the record I’m a meat eater). I have every right to believe that unicorns exist – and even that they are the Lord’s Savior.  I have had clients who truly believed they we’re Jesus Christ. (Who in this field hasn’t had that experience?)  We all are entitled to these protected beliefs, no matter how absurd they may seem to the general public.

It’s when people gather together with these extreme beliefs that there becomes a problem. Given the outlet and opportunity to act are what provide a dangerous outlet for discrimination.   I have met some vegans who, if given the chance, would probably persecute meat eaters.  These aforementioned vegans have the right to have an extreme dislike of meat eaters, right? What if these same extremists moved to collective political power? What if, in 20 years, it became illegal to eat meat here in the US?  What’s this? The beliefs of some shouldn’t affect the actions and laws that dictate the your life? Welcome to this realization!  

OK, that’s a bit of a stretch. (And sorry to any vegan readers for my hypothetical example). But this is how the Chik Fil A fiasco looks to me: people are rallying in support of one’s First Amendment right to believe that a group of people should not have equal rights.  Switch the specific group of people, and we can see even more how ridiculous this has become:  “Redheads should not be able to marry each other”. After all, that red hair color – it’s just so unnatural. How about divorcees? Should they be able to get married after breaking one of the major rules within most religious doctrines? …How about Canadians? Who needs more Canadians, anyway? (Relax, I can say this: I’m from Maine. We’re all half-Canadian up they’ah).   Somehow, when we insert any other group of people besides gays into the mix, this issue become quite humorous. It is then that we can objectively see what we’re doing to ourselves.

Yes, people have every right to their opinion. They have every right to donate to a cause, whether that be: People United Against the Use of Thumb-Tacks, or even Protection for the Family Against the Unauthorized use of Goat Cheese.  Donate all you want. Believe whatever you want.

When my grandmother was a child, people had every much of a right then (just as they do now) to BELIEVE that women should not vote – and many rallied and donated against their efforts.  There are still people today who believe such horrible and discriminatory things, as we have seen this week.  What if the lines outside of Chik Fil A were in support of someone’s right to believe that women should not be allowed to vote?  What if they were in support of one’s right to donate money in support the removal of all child abuse laws from the books? What if those people with impromptu chicken cravings were really in support of anti-meat legislation? (Hey, irony happens every day. Especially in politics). Suddenly, the issue of free speech doesn’t seem as important. Or, would you still be in line?

Just, please, think about WHAT BELIEFS you’re supporting. This isn’t a debate about free speech. It’s about making people aware of impact this speech is having on those most vulnerable.