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I started a blog post about Chick-fil-A, but quickly realized that many smarter people have penned all that needs to be said on this issue. So instead, I’ve hand-selected a few interesting voices from diverse political and religious perspectives (Read: Opposite ends of the spectrum). Don’t thank me; it’s my pleasure.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey (online editor at Christianity Today) on how the Internet and journalistic sloppiness can fuel unnewsworthy stories:

People on the Internet are just discovering that Chick-fil-A, which is closed on Sundays, is a Christian-run business with a Christian owner who believes in traditional Christian doctrines. People of the Internet (at least the ones who drive traffic) are shocked! Shocked, I tell you. And I’m shocked that they’re shocked, so it’s shocking all around…Last week, I thought this controversy would blow over. Give it a day. It’ll go away. I felt like a little kid with his hands planted up against his ears while his divorcing parents were fighting. Please just stop and tell me when it’s over. But it doesn’t end. It keeps going. The media, desperate for clicks, blogs and writes and investigates and prods and reports and covers this very important lame story that we are just discovering already know.

Ross Douthat (New York Times columnist) on the religious liberty implications:

If you want to…ban Chick-fil-A in Boston, then don’t tell religious people that you respect our freedoms. Say what you really think: that the exercise of our religion threatens all that’s good and decent, and that you’re going to use the levers of power to bend us to your will.

Adam Schwartz (legal counsel for the ACLU) on the first amendment violations of mayors who threatened a Chick-fil-A ban:

If a government can silence an anti-gay business, the government can silence a pro-gay business.

The Economist on how a Chick-fil-A ban is well outside the legal bounds for a mayor or any other government official:

Expression is a right, and the local government can’t deny you approval to open your fast-food franchise because of your political opinions, any more than it can deny such approval because you’re Muslim, female or black.

Michael Bloomberg (New York City mayor) on the dangers of banning a business based on its ownership’s personal beliefs:

You can’t have a test for what the owners’ personal views are before you decide to give a permit to do something in the city. You really don’t want to ask political beliefs or religious beliefs before you issue a permit, that’s just not government’s job.

Adam Serwer (reporter with Mother Jones, a liberal political magazine) on protecting freedom of speech for even those we dislike:

The government blocking a business from opening based on the owner’s political views is a clear threat to everyone’s freedom of speech—being unpopular doesn’t mean you don’t have rights. It’s only by protecting the rights of those whose views we find odious that we can hope to secure them for ourselves.

Jonathan Merritt (author of A Faith of Our Own) on the silliness of not doing business with people you disagree with:

I don’t care how my dry cleaner votes. I just want to know if he/she can press my Oxfords without burning my sleeves. I find no compelling reason to treat sandwiches differently than shirts. From a business standpoint, some might say Cathy’s comments were imprudent if not downright dumb. But in a society that desperately needs healthy public dialogue, we must resist creating a culture where consumers sort through all their purchases (fast food and otherwise) for an underlying politics not even expressed in the nature of the product itself. If white meat’s not your thing, try the Golden Arches. But if you want a perfectly fried chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A, will be happy to serve you — gay or straight. In this case, those who boycott are the ones missing out.

Denny Burk (professor of biblical studies at Boyce College) on the irony of the tolerance police:

You don’t even have to mention homosexuality or gay marriage. All you have to say is that you are pro-family, and certain municipalities will exile your business. Welcome to the brave new world of tolerance.

Ken Coleman (host of The Ken Coleman Show) on the need for civility amidst disagrement:

Increasingly, we see a well-oiled publicity machine that is redefining tolerance as, “either you agree with me or you need to button your lips.” Those who throw the labels of intolerance and bigotry at those who share an opposing opinion are ironically modeling a glaring lack of tolerance.

Matthew Lee Anderson (founder and lead writer at Mere Orthodoxy) on how recent boycotts communicate cultural trends:

That mocha-frappacino is no longer just a drink  and your chicken sandwich now signals your values.  And once that game starts, then everything’s in play.  The end result will be that moral judgment will happen easier and faster than ever, and always without the benefit of a hearing.

We wrestle with how to be conscientious consumers. There is a fine line between condemning a company because it’s products, culture and practices display little redemptive value …and condemning a company whose leaders hold values that contrast strongly with my own. In that tension, here’s what I do know: The next time I’m at Chick-fil-A, I will order a #1 (sans pickles with BBQ sauce) with a Coke and a splash of hand-squeezed lemonade.