Allahpundit scoffed last night at Rahm Emanuel’s notion of “Chicago values,” which for most people will be forever declared by Sean Connery inThe Untouchables:
The mayor insisted that Christians who believe in a biblical definition of marriage don’t fit into Emanuel’s vision for “Chicago values,” even though the owners of Chick-fil-A don’t discriminate in employment or service. So what does fit into Emanuel’s idea of “Chicago values”? Daniel Halper of the Weekly Standard found it in the pages of the Chicago Sun-Times — on the very day Emanuel pronounced Chick-fil-A not inclusive enough to be, er, included:
Ignoring Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s history of anti-Semitic remarks, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday welcomed the army of men dispatched to the streets by Farrakhan to stop the violence in Chicago neighborhoods.
Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th), an Orthodox Jew, has said it’s good that Farrakhan is “helping” in the fight against crime, “but it doesn’t eradicate the comments that he’s made about the Jewish community.”
Emanuel offered no such caveat. Although Farrakhan has a history of making anti-Semitic statements, Chicago’s first Jewish mayor has no interest in revisiting that controversy.
So, let’s make sure we have this correct. A business owned by a devout Christian family that does not engage in any kind of discrimination has no place in Emanuel’s “Chicago values,” but Emanuel rolls out the red carpet for perhaps the most well-known anti-Semite in the nation?
That’s the Chicago way.
Update: Question from the comments: “Does Farrakhan believe in gay marriage?” Why, no … no he doesn’t:
Update: Good for Glenn Greenwald:
It’s always easy to get people to condemn threats to free speech when the speech being threatened is speech that they like. It’s much more difficult to induce support for free speech rights when the speech being punished is speech they find repellent. But having Mayors and other officials punish businesses for the political and social views of their executives — regardless of what those views are — is as pure a violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech as it gets, and beyond that, is genuinely dangerous.
If you support what Emanuel is doing here, then you should be equally supportive of a Mayor in Texas or a Governor in Idaho who blocks businesses from opening if they are run by those who support same-sex marriage — or who oppose American wars, or who support reproductive rights, or who favor single-payer health care, or which donates to LGBT groups and Planned Parenthood, on the ground that such views are offensive to Christian or conservative residents. You can’t cheer when political officials punish the expression of views you dislike and then expect to be taken seriously when you wrap yourself in the banner of free speech in order to protest state punishment of views you like and share. Free speech rights means that government officials are barred from creating lists of approved and disapproved political ideas and then using the power of the state to enforce those preferences.
As always, the solution to noxious ideas like the ones from this chicken CEO are to rebut them, not use state power to suppress them. The virtue of gay equality has become increasingly recognized in the U.S. because people have been persuaded of its merits, not because state officials, acting like Inquisitors, forced people to accept it by punishing them for their refusal. Perhaps Rahm Emanuel is motivated by beneficent ends, or maybe he’s motivated by political considerations and a love of his own power, but either way, abusing his power to punish views he dislikes is at least as offensive as — and definitely more dangerous than — the targeted views themselves.
Greenwald and I rarely agree on policy, but he’s spot-on here. I would be just as opposed to Greenwald’s counterfactual here as I am to the actions of Emanuel and Boston mayor Tom Menino. But in Emanuel’s case, his embrace of the noted anti-Semite Farrakhan and his more vocal activism in opposition to gay marriage simply exposes a rank hypocrisy that reminds us why government shouldn’t be in the business of setting religious/political tests for people to do business.