Chicago Religious Leaders Hit Rahm Emanuel on Chick-fil-A Remarks

Tuesday, 31 Jul 2012 05:28 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Two of Chicago's most influential religious leaders have attacked Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s criticism of Chick-fil-A’s stance against same-sex marriage.

“Do not disrespect us . . . we, too, are Chicago,” the Rev. Charles Lyons, pastor of the Armitage Baptist Church, declared on Sunday from the pulpit of one of the city’s largest churches, Fox News reports.

And Cardinal Francis George of the Archdiocese of Chicago queried what would become of anyone else who disagreed with Emanuel.

“Must those whose personal values do not conform to those of the government of the day move from the city?” George asked in a blog on the archdiocese’s website, according to Fox. “Is the City Council going to set up a ‘Council Committee on Un-Chicagoan Activities’ and call those of us who are suspect to appear before it?”

The religious leaders, who support the traditional view of marriage, were incensed at Emanuel's claim last week that “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago’s values.”

The Atlanta-based company is seeking to build a free-standing restaurant on the city’s Northwest side.

Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy has said that, when asked about the company's values, he was “guilty as charged” for being “supportive of the family – the the biblical definition of the family unit.”

Officials in Boston, San Francisco, New York, and Washington also have attacked Chick-fil-A over Cathy's beliefs.

In the wake of such criticisms, the company issued a new statement over the weekend.

“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,” the statement said. “We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent owner-operators.

“Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”

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