Rahm Ruffles Feathers By Saying "Chick-fil-A's Values Aren't Chicago's Values"
By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jul 26, 2012 2:00PM
Photo Credit: Brooke Collins, City of Chicago
Mayor Rahm Emanuel entered the current culture war centered over mall food Wednesday as he defended the “aldermanic privilege” of Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno (1st) to block the opening of a Chick-fil-A in Logan Square.
Emanuel echoed Moreno’s sentiment that “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago’s values.” (We always thought “Chicago’s values” involved extending a hand while asking “What’s in it for me?”) Emanuel also had words for Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, whose public stance on same-sex marriage has reaped a national whirlwind.
“What the CEO has said as it relates to gay marriage and gay couples is not what I believe, but more importantly, it’s not what the people of Chicago believe. We just passed legislation as it relates to civil union and my goal and my hope is that we now move on recognizing gay marriage. I do not believe that the CEO’s comments reflects who we are as a city.”
Emanuel’s comments and Moreno’s stance have drawn criticism from people who believe the best way to protest Cathy and Chick-fil-A is to not eat at a franchise. Beachwood Reporter’s Steve Rhodes wrote that Moreno’s position “smacks of cheap political opportunism,” compared Emanuel’s position to his stonewalling the Chicago Cubs on a plan to renovate Wrigley Field because of Joe Ricketts’ exposed plan to run a smear campaign against President Obama in the weeks leading up to the November election, and reminded his readers that Illinois currently doesn’t allow same-sex marriage.
”(I)t's an affront to freedom of thought; people ought to be allowed to have whatever political positions they want without seeing their livelihood endangered as a result.
“That's the problem with the mayor reportedly punishing the Cubs in their effort to receive city help for rehabbing Wrigley Field because Joe Ricketts is a right-wing wack-job. He's allowed to be a right-wing wack-job! One has nothing to do with the other - and there's a better reason to reject the Cubs request for taxpayer assistance: the Ricketts' are filthy rich.”
Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell also decried Emanuel and Moreno in a column this morning.
”The problem with this sanctimonious dissing of Chick-fil-A is that there is no proof the business has discriminated against gay couples, let alone any of its customers or employees. “In fact, company executives assured Moreno they would leave the debate about gay rights to the politicians and government. “But those assurances apparently aren’t good enough.”
The piling on Chick-fil-A led Lauren Silich, owner of the Chick-fil-A Loyola Water Tower location downtown, to release the statement below.
The political grandstanding isn't limited to Chicago's city limits. Lombard Village Trustee Peter Breen announced he will introduce a resolution next week in support of Mike Huckabee's "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day."
“Opposite the intolerant ‘values’ espoused by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, our values in Lombard are pro-business, pro-jobs, and pro-freedom,” said Breen.
“We uphold the constitutional rights of free speech and freedom of religion of our residents and business people alike.
“Lombard is open for business.
“If Chicago is going to expel outstanding businesses like Chick-fil-A because of their leaders’ deeply held beliefs on issues of public importance, we will invite those businesses to invest and bring their economic benefits to our community.”
As I wrote Tuesday, the best way to protest Cathy's stance is to not patronize Chick-fil-A. Is Dan Cathy intolerant? Yes, to those of us who oppose his views. But there are people, even in Moreno's 1st Ward (which the Tribune called a "hipster ward") that agree with Cathy or don't care, and will frequent Chick-fil-A anyway. If there are enough people in Moreno's ward who actually care about this, then let Chick-fil-A have their store on Elston and let the residents decide. Isn't it better to let the people, and their dollars, decide if a Logan Square Chick-fil-A succeeds?