The hullabaloo over gay marriage and Chick-fil-A exposes three astonishing falsehoods of modern political economy that distract us from weightier issues.
The first of these fallacies is simply the mistaken notion that the socially necessary institution of marriage is reasonably within the competency of government to control.
The same folks who brought you Solyndra, the Bridge to Nowhere and the current IRS code have no business regulating marriage, and no state or local government is better equipped to do so.
Quite simply, government ought to remain neutral on the ways in which families organize themselves. It is for people and religions to decide and design the structure of marriage. In this debate within churches, all voices can be welcome, and we as individuals can choose according to conscience.
For the record, I married the same girl twice — once in a civil and once in a church service — and I cannot rationally, or within my heart, oppose gay marriage.
I do not know where my church eventually will stand on the matter, but because my denomination has clearly understood the word of Christ on such matters as “automatic weapons conversion kits” and “truth in packaging,” I expect to be entertained by the debate.
The second great fallacy is the notion that “progressive leaders” of some of our great cities possess even modest attachment to the Bill of Rights.
The ease with which Rahm Emanual in particular abandoned the First Amendment astonishes the senses. While this step brought swift and certain criticism from many quarters, the Department of Justice has not yet begun an investigation into violations of the civil rights of those who spoke against gay marriage by Chicago city government. Go figure.
Finally, this episode again exposes the swindle that is the corporate social responsibility movement.
After a decade and a half of cajoling, entreating and threatening corporations to sign onto an ever widening list of pet causes, the movement is faced with its greatest threat — a company that chooses a cause of conscience that does not fit the social responsibility movement’s play book.
While I do not agree with Chick-fil-A’s position, it undoubtedly springs from the well of conscience.
This comes from a company that is known for treating employees and suppliers well, investing in communities and its workers and closing on Sundays to allow workers to have time with their families.
In short, Chick-fil-A is a poster child for corporate social responsibility, yet they oppose one pantheon of the progressive agenda. The movement folks must be chasing their hairless tails.
Recognizing families of different kinds is a compelling economic issue. This discussion must expose the essence of what government can and should do.
It clarifies how the Bill of Rights must frame all matters of governance, big and small, in a republic that has ambitions of permanence.
Best of all it exposes the patent silliness of what the corporate social responsibility movement has become. All of this manifests itself in a decision on where chicken sandwiches are sold.
Michael J. Hicks is the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research and an associate professor of economics in the Miller College of Business at Ball State University. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.