Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, despite ongoing violence in his city, appears to be narrowly focused on comments the CEO of Chick-fil-A made recently about gay marriage. Emanuel has followed talking points memed by most big media—that Chick-fil-A is “anti-gay.”
The implications of Emanuel's statement go far beyond criticizing one faith, if you think about it.
In the comments most widely quoted, the CEO expressed his position on gay marriage, a position similar to the opinions of many traditional Christians who are scriptural purists, and those of other faiths as well. The comments didn’t seem “anti-gay” so much as “anti-same-sex marriage.”
There are members of a number of faiths who do not accept homosexuality, much less gay marriage.
Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s former White House chief of staff told media:
Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values. They’re not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members. And if you’re gonna be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values…
Emanuel’s current position conflicts with views his former boss once claimed. In 2008 Politico quoted Obama before the president’s views on this social issue “evolved” in the months ahead of an unexpectedly tight race between the incumbent and presumed GOP nominee Gov. Mitt Romney:
Asked to define marriage, Obama said it “is the union between a man and a woman.”
Emanuel didn't criticize Obama and nor did he say Obama's views weren't "Chicago values." That term alone, by the way, is a powder keg.
Democrats have been concerned about turnout in 2012, and it’s possible high profile politicos are drumming up a social issue in hopes of generating enthusiasm.
Emanuel and other Obama supporters have striven to make gay marriage a top tier issue for 2012.
One demographic might give those Democrats pause, however. The ban on gay marriage that North Carolina recently passed was supported by black voters by a margin of 61-30. That’s an astounding figure despite some pollsters' attempts to spin it.
Emanuel has yet to explain his own faith’s position on the issue. Just as Christians and Buddhists, for example, are divided, so are Jews. Time knows Democrat culture like the flea knows a dog’s hind quarters, and the magazine said Emanuel is “a devout Jew.”
The only major faith that appears to be undivided on the topic of gay marriage is Islam. The Pew Center provides an overview of the positions of different faiths on the topic:
Islamic law forbids homosexuality, and the practice of homosexuality is a crime in many Islamic countries, including Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Americans are accustomed to different religious beliefs—it’s the reason the country was founded. We may not always agree with each other, but we generally respect our differences.
Emanuel may have missed that history lesson, but it’s more likely he’s simply posturing for his party and his former boss.
By the mayor’s standards, however, Muslim business owners are not welcome in the Windy City. Nor are Orthodox Jews. Theoretically, anyone whose faith takes a position against same-sex-marriage should stay out of Chicago.
Is it constitutional for a mayor to deny a business the right to operate on the basis of the owner’s faith?
Furthermore, why don’t media ask members and clergy of other faiths about their positions on the topic? Why are scripture-based Christians the only faith targeted for criticism?
If Emanuel is open to debate, why not bring all faiths to the table?
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/July 26, 2012)