“I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me, as a Christian – for me – for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.”

Barack Obama uttered these words on April 17, 2008. Later that year, he was elected President of the United States.

“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 CEO Dan Cathy made these remarks in July of 2012. Within days, Chick-fil-A was the target of nationwide protests and boycotts.

There’s really not much of a difference in principle between the two statements. The only real difference was that one man was running to become leader of the free world, while the other sells chicken sandwiches.

No matter one’s opinion on marriage, you would assume that both men had every right to express their opinions, right?

Wrong, says the Denver City Council. Last week, Chick-fil-A appeared before a council committee for a routine concession approval hearing, as the fast food chain hopes to open a franchise at Denver International Airport. The hearing turned out to be a a political show, as several committee members expressed concern about Chick-fil-A’s religious affiliation — purposely confusing the personal views of the CEO with the values of the company itself. In the end, the committee stalled the proposed seven-year agreement for two weeks of further evaluation.

This is important — at no point did the city council say the franchise was not a good business decision for the city or the airport. In fact, DIA officials, urging the council to approve the license, told the council that Chick-fil-A is the #2 most sought-after brand by passengers at the airport. Plus this:

DIA has estimated the restaurant’s first-year sales at $4.1 million, with $616,278 paid each year in concession fees. Chick-fil-A restaurants typically generate more in six days a week, DIA says, than most fast-food concessions that are open all seven.

Following the hearing, the Denver City Council has been widely criticized from both the Left and the Right.

Imagine if a corporate CEO had donated to Planned Parenthood (or the Red Cross, for that matter) in the past, and was barred from expanding his business by government bureaucrats in retaliation. It would almost certainly be a bigger public outrage than that which has stemmed from Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted baby tissue. It would also be unconstitutional.

This is the brave new world in which we live,  even in a nation where more than three-quarters of the American people identify as Christians, and it raises more and more questions about the future of religious freedom in America (to say nothing of the First Amendment).

What do you think? Should Chick-fil-A be barred from growing their business because the company’s CEO expressed personal views that happen to differ from those of the Denver city council members? Share your thoughts on Facebook.

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