Over the past few weeks, conservatives have argued that the Chick-fil-A controversy is a question over the company’s right to free speech, as opposed to a concern over the harm caused by president Dan Cathy’s statements and millions of dollars in donations to anti-gay groups. The proof of this effort is now clear to see thanks to conservative online magazine Townhall.com.
Townhall is currently running the ad seen at right, asking internet browsers, “Do you support Chick-fil-A? Vote Now!” A Google contextual ad, it appears all over the web in different sizes and locations, including in the feeds of numerous pro-LGBT blogs. The obvious answer for those who do not want their money supporting anti-gay hate groups and ex-gay ministries is, “No, I do not support Chick-fil-A.”
But when the ad is clicked, the survey question Townhall actually asks is quite different:
Suddenly, the question is not about whether a person supports Chick-fil-A knowing its anti-gay policies, it’s a question about supporting its “freedom of speech and religious expression.” This question is completely irrelevant to the controversy, because nobody is trying to infringe on those freedoms. Indeed, it’s doubtful any freedom-loving American would actually answer “No” to this question, unless of course they were tricked into thinking they were being asked a different question.
Conservatives would prefer not to have a conversation about condemning gay people, criminalizing their behavior, encouraging bullying, or coercing them into harmful, ineffective ex-gay therapy, because those are losing arguments. Instead they spin the issue into one about “biblical values” and basic freedoms. But not only are they trying to play the victim, they’re now trying to trick people into contributing to their self-victimization scheme — values, indeed.