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OP-ED: State Sen. Albers Applauds Chick-Fil-A

State Sen. John Albers says it's time for people to respect others when they have a different opinion.

Glancing through the pages of American history, it is evident that our founding fathers were not guided by a culture that based its truth on the subjective societal norms of the day. Although norms evolve from generation to generation, these courageous individuals lived by a standard that never changes: the Holy Bible. Truett and Dan Cathy are no exception. Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-Fil-A, built one of the most charitable family-owned businesses in the nation while remaining true to Judeo-Christian principles.

Given that Chick-Fil-A is a well-known Christian company, the recent uproar in the media regarding the company’s support of traditional marriage should not have come as a surprise. Dan Cathy, the president of Chick-Fil-A, did nothing wrong for standing up for his beliefs and does not have to answer to the court of public opinion. However, the controversy surrounding the company’s statement does raise concern about how faith-based decisions at the corporate level are coming under attack.

In his statement, Dan Cathy simply took a stand to honorably confront the issues of the day by defending the company’s biblical views on traditional marriage by stating, “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.” Chick-Fil-A also released the following statement, “The Chick-Fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender…”

Although Chick-Fil-A never espoused hateful sentiments toward anyone, the company was quickly labeled as a “hate” group by many pro-gay rights groups and supporters and is the target of national boycotts. Shortly after the announcement, individuals and groups began severing ties with the fast-food restaurant including members of the Hollywood establishment, the Jim Henson Company and Boston’s Mayor, Thomas Menino.

In a blatant attack against constitutional principles, Mayor Menino voiced opposition to Chick-Fil-A by suggesting that he would attempt to block all future efforts by Chick-Fil-A to expand in the area. As Americans, we are entitled to our own opinions; however, hindering free trade and commerce in the marketplace is entirely wrong.

It is Chick-Fil-A’s high standard of service and adherence to their personal values that has catapulted the business to the top of the fast food industry. Chick-Fil-A offers the same level of professionalism and service to anyone and everyone who patronizes their stores, but is being discriminated against because they do not embrace a level of tolerance that the rest of the world adheres to.

Perhaps it is time to take a cue from the time of our nation’s founders when dissenting viewpoints did not equal hate speech. No matter where my constituents’ beliefs fall along the ideological spectrum, I am still entrusted to represent their best interests as a senator. We simply agree to disagree. In Chick-Fil-A terms, I prefer the chargrilled chicken sandwich to the original fried chicken sandwich. That doesn’t mean that I hate those that prefer fried chicken. It merely means that I have a differing opinion.

Apart from creating one of America’s most beloved chicken sandwiches, Chick-Fil-A is well-known for its philanthropic giving to the community, education and mentoring programs. Specifically, Chick-Fil-A has provided scholarships and has given millions of dollars to charity through its WinShape Foundation.

The Cathy’s have been outstanding leaders in their communities and in the State of Georgia. They are leaders not only in business, but in truly representing the Christian life. After all, the heart of the Christian walk is centered on relationship with Jesus and serving the one right in front of you. And Chick-Fil-A does that exceptionally well. No matter who you are, you can go into any Chick-Fil-A and receive a smile, a satisfying meal and outstanding service.

I applaud Chick-Fil-A’s willingness to remain true to their biblical worldview, and hope that others will follow their strong, family-owned business model. This month, I encourage you to make an extra visit to your local Chick-Fil-A or join Governor Mike Huckabee and others in celebrating “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” on August 1, 2012.

Do you agree with Albers? Let us know in the comments.

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