Menino, Are We Talking About The Same Freedom Trail?

I don’t care for Chick-Fil-A. And any one that knows me, knows I prefer putting $3 down for a good cup of coffee over a fried chicken sandwich any day. But that’s just me. No less, living in Florida, where every friend and their mom would likely choose to meet up for a chicken sandwich over Starbucks, it’s safe to say that Chick-Fil-A is landmark here.  Now, maybe in more places than before. 

Though any blog or newspaper article mentioning Chick-Fil-A in the first sentence likely has one agenda: Fight, fight. “Fight to the death.” Now I’m not one who likes to “fight” with my words. I’ve never really been the competitive type (though that’s not necesarily the case for the rest of my family.) Most individuals covering this recent taboo topic are trying to prove an exhaustible point, one way or another; to prove the sanctity of marriage or gay rights. Frankly, discussing such points, where either side of the issue, minds are made up and ready to “fight” wear me out.  

Though, one time a Boston-resident, who can still be found driving with windows rolled down, proudly singing along “‘Cause I love that dirty water.” every time it’s on the radio,  I find Mayor Menino’s decision to deny Chick-Fil-A business on The Freedom Trail in the city of Boston somewhat disconcerting. In Mayor Menino’s letter to the President of Chick-Fil-A , he stated “There is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it.” While many other states, governors and mayors have followed suit to Menino’s knee-jerk reaction, with the exception of New York City (kudos to you, Bloomberg), on what grounds are leaders like Menino basing the use of their power? However, it’s safe to say that all the uproar over Dan Cathy’s has just boosted Chick-Fil-A’s already steady sales here in Florida.

The immediate uproar from the City Mayor of Boston, along with Chicago, after the news of Dan Cathy’s stance on marriage, doesn’t come as a shock to me. Having lived in the Boston area for most of my childhood (not to mention as a Pastor’s kid, no less), any distaste or abolishment for conservative, church-going type is the least surprising.

During my years attending Burlington High School, just ten minutes out of the city of Boston, my and sister and I both made several attempts to start a Christian study or prayer group at our school, all which were shorted or denied. Initially I was denied, being told that the formation of any such group in a public education system would go against the law of Church versus State. Though later, after four years, and after graduating I finally was able to see my sister launch a Christian Prayer Group, though it was short-lived, after a Club Fair where our female principal, at the time, stormed to it’s table, all hotheaded (just imagine any villainous stepmother from a Disney movie and you pretty much get the picture), shouting, “What is this?! What is this! There’s no Christian Club here! Take this down!” One would’ve thought by her reaction that we were initiating students by tasing them, to put it lightly. So down it came. To this day I’m not sure if it ever was brought back. 

So it’s no surprise that such a reaction would come from one of the Nation’s earliest English settlements. But I’m slightly confused. Menino stated “There is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it.” Basically The Freedom Trail has no place for a business with an owner who has a mind of own? The Freedom Trail? Really? Mayor Menino, are we talking about the same “Trail” here? The same Freedom Trail, where the Common’s once held witchcraft executions by hanging the innocent women? The same Freedom Trail where The State House held historic speeches, upon one which John Adams stated “the child independence was born”? And the same Trail where Park Street Church pioneered and holds (yes I do mean holds, as in present) Exodus International, a non-profit organization that “seeks to limit bisexual and homosexual desires” ? What the what?

How can a place, where independent thought was fought for, independent speech founded and cultured, find itself in such an intolerable state towards one man’s opinion opposing it’s own, let alone assume it’s own opinion as the bylaws for every man?  It appears the Menino is denying Cathy access to the very grounds that were broken into for the sake of free independent philosophy and religion. 

I believe we’re talking about the same Freedom Trail where witch hunts took place, free speech was planted, and even in the last decade conferences for Exodus International gay recovery organization were held at historic landmarks. Indeed, the same organization that Huffington Posts Gay Voices criticize Chick-Fil-A for financially supporting. Meaning, Mayor Menino, a Chick-Fil-A-funded organization dwells on your Freedom Trail. Yes, we are talking about the same Freedom Trail.

As much as Same-Sex Kissing at Chick-Fil-A Day may have attempted to make a scene, they’re inevitably making more dough for the Cathy’s. And though Menino has denied them a place at Boston’s historic grounds, they certainly have gained all the more ground from it. It’s almost ironic that one of the first places we settled as a Nation, is the first to deny a company a right to exist in their community due to standing by it’s belief, a freedom of religion that we came here for. Next time I think Menino might want to take another stroll down Freedom’s Trail before assuming he’s so familiar with the territory.