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Stop the hate campaign against law-abiding American businesses

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By Michelle Malkin  •  February 2, 2011 04:03 AM

My column today spotlights the left-wing/New York Times alliance against Chick-Fil-A. Anti-corporate/anti-Christian blogs + MSM advocacy journalism = job-sabotaging smear machine.

Chick-Fil-A isn’t the only one in the restaurant industry targeted by the progressive mob over the past month.

The SEIU has been waging open-borders attacks on restaurant chain Chipotle simply because the company complied with federal immigration law and fired employees unable to provide valid documentation that they’re here legally. Less than two weeks ago, the Purple Army dispatched its goons to Minneapolis to disrupt business at a downtown Chipotle. Similar protests were staged at Chipotle locations in CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, IL, NY and VA. Judging from this video, the Big Labor business-bashers are having quite the party making a living by impeding the work of others:

Persuasion of Power (TM).

While the White House rushed this week to promote entrepreneurship and help businesses grow, the administration should have been telling its radical allies to do the economy a favor: Leave law-abiding American businesses alone.

***

A Christian business in the Left’s crosshairs
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2011

Here’s a modest proposal for liberals who say they support job creation: Stop smearing successful, law-abiding private companies whose values don’t comport with yours. I’m looking at you, New York Times.

Chick-Fil-A is an American success story. Founded by Georgian entrepreneur Truett Cathy in 1946, the family-owned chicken-sandwich chain is one of the country’s largest fast-food businesses. It employs some 50,000 workers across the country at 1,500 outlets in nearly 40 states and the District of Columbia. The company generates more than $2 billion in revenues and serves millions of happy customers with trademark Southern hospitality.

So, what’s the problem? Well, Chick-Fil-A is run by devout Christians who believe in strong marriages, devoted families, and the highest standards of character for their workers. The restaurant chain’s official corporate mission is to “glorify God” and “enrich the lives of everyone we touch.” The company’s community service initiatives, funded through its WinShape Foundation, support foster care, scholarship, summer camp, and marriage enrichment programs. On Sunday, all Chick-Fil-A stores close so workers can spend the day at worship and rest.

For the Left, these Biblically-based corporate principles constitute high social justice crimes and misdemeanors. Democrats are always ready to invoke religion to support their big government, taxpayer-funded initiatives (Obamacare, illegal alien amnesty, increased education spending, and FCC regulatory expansion, for starters).

But when an independent company – thriving on its own merits in the market place — wears its soul on its sleeve, suddenly it’s a theocratic crisis.

Over the past month, several progressive activist blogs have waged an ugly war against Chick-Fil-A. The company’s alleged atrocity: One of its independent outlets in Pennsylvania donated some sandwiches and brownies to a marriage seminar run by the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which happens to oppose same-sex marriage.

In the name of tolerance, the anti-Chick-Fil-A hawks sneered at the company’s main product as “Jesus Chicken,” derided its no-Sunday work policy, and attacked its operators as “anti-gay.” Michael Jones, who describes himself as having “worked in the field of human rights communications for a decade, most recently for Harvard Law School,” launched an online petition drive at www.change.org “demanding” that the company disavow “extreme anti-gay groups.” Facebook users dutifully organized witch hunt drives against the company on college campuses.

Over the weekend, New York Times reporter Kim Severson gave the Chick-Fil-A bashers a coveted Sunday A-section megaphone – repeatedly parroting the “Chick-Fil-A is anti-gay” slur and raising fears of “evangelical Christianity’s muscle flexing” with only the thinnest veneer of journalistic objectivity. Severson, you see, is an openly gay advocate of same-sex marriage equality herself and the former vice-president of the identity politics-mongering National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association. In a bitter op-ed on gay marriage laws not changing quickly enough, she asserted: “I don’t want the crumbs. I want the whole cake.” Severson has voiced complaints about her social and economic status as an unwed lesbian with a partner and child in several media publications.

None of this was disclosed in Severson’s advocacy journalism hit job on Chick-Fil-A. But therein lies the unofficial motto of the Gray Lady: All the ideological conflicts of interest unfit to print.

Progressive groups are gloating over Chick-Fil-A’s public relations troubles exacerbated by the nation’s politicized paper of record. Not because they care about winning hearts and minds over gay rights or marriage policy, but because their core objective is to marginalize political opponents and chill Christian philanthropy and activism. The fearsome “muscle-flexing” isn’t being done by innocent job-creators selling chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. It’s being done by the hysterical bullies trying to drive them off college grounds and out of their neighborhoods in the name of “human rights.”

Remember: These were the same tactics the left-wing mob used in California to intimidate supporters of the Proposition 8 traditional marriage initiative. Individual donors were put on an “Anti-Gay Black List.” Businesses who contributed money to the Prop. 8 campaign were besieged by fist-wielding protesters. The artistic director of the California Musical Theatre was forced to resign over his $1,000 donation.

Message: Associate with the wrong political cause and you will pay. So much for national “civility.”

***

Related: Peter Wood takes on campus anti-Christian bigotry.

Organized bullying has become almost a settled feature of American college life. It draws much of its sense of legitimacy from professors who extol victim-group self-empowerment and who offer valorous stories from past protests to gin up enthusiasm for turning disagreements into grievances and grievances into demands. The moral capital of the Civil Rights struggle and the Women’s Movement is spent again and again in ever-more trivial protests: this one against a vendor of chicken sandwiches. Collective action targeted against people and institutions that cannot easily defend themselves is a tactic honed to perfection by the campus left. It works all too often.

Higher education, however, is ill-served by this spirit of censorship. If we want students to learn the principles and arts of governing our republic, for starters they will need to learn the importance of living alongside those who hold views that clash with their own. The campaign against Chick-fil-A also illustrates the tendency of higher education to lose itself in symbolic causes at two or three removes from reality. Attacking Chick-fil-A for the religious beliefs of its owners makes about as much practical sense as banning trays from the cafeteria to save the world from global warming. Higher education ought to teach students to recognize the difference between effective social advocacy and make-believe. These campaigns erase that distinction.

Higher education has recently seen some strenuous efforts to elevate “civic education” to a key concern of the undergraduate curriculum. The Association of American Colleges and Universities last fall issued a “national action plan for civic learning,” and the Lumina Foundation last week presented “civic education” as one of its five benchmarks for all of higher education. Should we consider the campaign against Chick-fil-A as an illustration of this new spirit of campus civic-mindedness? It looks rather like no-holds-barred political activism. I wonder whether higher education is losing its ability to tell the difference.

Latest update: A glimmer of common sense and decency prevails.“Chick-fil-A is back at the two main dining areas at Indiana University South Bend.”

Flashback: Christian-targeted dating website eHarmony is forced to offer same-sex dating services.

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