When deciding to write this blog. I didn’t want it to come across as some kind of vocabulary lesson, because honestly who really wants to read a bunch of definitions, but in this case it really fits. Social media is every where and it will only continue to grow and as a result there are allot of people posting their opinions in regard to Chick-Fil-A and CEO Dan T. Cathy. I believe it is important when someone is accused of something as strong as hate we need to understand exactly what the true definition of hate is and not define hate with our opinions. Opinions are wonderful, however like the old saying goes, opinions are like ass holes, everyone has one and they all stink. For this particular subject I want to stick solely to facts and definitions so if those 2 things bore you, go ahead and check out now. I was not going to get into this topic because honestly my week has been stressful enough but as an English major, in creative writing mind you not grammar, I have been seeing a bunch of tweets and videos talking about hate and hate speech as it relates to Chick-Fil-A and the comments made by the CEO Dan T. Cathy, so I decided to do a little digging on line and get to the bottom of what all the chatter is about.
The first place I started was the interview that stirred the hornets nest. A week or two ago the CEO of Chick-Fil-A, Dan T. Cathy, said in an interview when asked about his position on same sex marriage stated that the company was “very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit.” Meaning Chick-Fil-A supports the union of one man and one woman as the only definition of marriage. He went on to say in a radio interview in June that , “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.'” These statements have caused an outcry among the gay/lesbian/transgender (GLT) community. Chick-Fil-A as well as Mr. Cathy has been accused of “hate” which is a very strong accusation. So I began to wonder what the definition of hate is because in this instance, as in any instance someone is accused of hate, there needs to be substantial proof. It cannot be your opinion, not when it deals with someone’s reputation and name. So I went to the trouble, really I kind of enjoyed it, of looking up the definition of hate.
So what is hate? Hate is defined by Merriam-Webster (m-w.com) as: Intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger or sense of injury. Extreme dislike or antipathy: LOATHING.
If you are like me, there are often times words within a definition that I am not sure of their meaning, in this case it is the word aversion. What is the definition of Aversion? Aversion is: a feeling of repugnance toward something with a desire to avoid or turn from it. A settled dislike. A tendency to extinguish a behavior or to avoid a thing or situation and especially a usually pleasurable one because it is or has been associate with a noxious stimulus.
Ok, what is Noxious, sorry, I am not the best at vocabulary. Noxious means physically harmful or destructive to living beings. Constituting a harmful influence on mind or behavior. Morally corrupting.
Mr. Cathy and Chick-Fil-A are being accused of hate. From the statement that Mr. Cathy made there is no single element that even comes close to the definition of hate. Mr. Cathy did not say Chick-Fil-A would stop serving the GLT community. He did not say that anyone who had a different opinion then his or the stance that Chick-Fil-A has on marriage was wrong or bigoted or stupid. He simply stated his opinion. But did he? In order to know, lets look at the definition of opinion? Opinion is a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter. A belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge.
So, let me get this straight. Mr. Cathy’s exact words were: “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.”
I’m sorry; I don’t see anything that resembles the definition of hate in what Mr. Cathy has stated. In fact, he states “I think”. “I think” as related to his view, judgment, or appraisal. Simply put, that is his opinion.
So, in reality Mr. Cathy and Chick-Fil-A are being ostracized by the media and the GLT community because he had an opinion that was contradictory to their own? When did having an opinion become hate?
I believe Descartes was the famous philosopher that said “I think, therefore I am.” Have we gotten to a point in 21st century society that we are no longer thinkers? We can no longer voice our opinion on a subject because someone will call it hate. An opinion is not hate. An opinion is just that, it is someone’s view and just because you don’t agree with it does not make it hate. Because if you believe someone’s viewpoint is hate, guess what? That is your opinion, period.
This is a very important period in time because although some would think I am just playing around with the definition of words I am trying to make a point. All we have are our words and their definitions and meanings. When you tell someone you love them is that what you really mean? When you tell someone you promise, do you mean it? When the founding fathers wrote the Bill of Rights and the Constitution in which our freedom of speech among other freedoms is declared, was the freedom they spoke of just intended for a certain group of people or is it intended for every man and woman regardless of race or sexual orientation? I believe the freedom of speech that they spoke of was meant for everyone.
The definition of freedom is this: the quality or state of being free. The absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. The quality of being frank, open, or outspoken.
When a group or a single individual begin to cry for the silence of another individual or group solely because they voiced an opinion it sets a very dangerous president. The danger is this; let’s say you or your particular group come out victorious in silencing the opinions of someone else or another group. What happens when a larger group wishes to silence your opinions? Who will be there to stand for your freedom? In the end this is the issue at the core. It is not about same sex marriage. It is not about Mr. Cathy’s beliefs. It is about a man having an opinion, having the freedom to voice that opinion and because a group was offended they wish to take away his freedom and silence him by shutting down his business. When we look at the argument from the true point of view it becomes clear to me that the group accusing Mr. Cathy of hate, in fact are the ones guilty of hatred by definition.