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Crowds Swarming Chick-fil-A Support Free Speech, 'Traditional' Marriage

In the wake of a gay marriage statement by Chick-fil-A president and while mayors in Boston and San Francisco were telling the company to open elsewhere, a massive crowd showed Wednesday to support the branch that's nearest to Tinley Park.

The wait just to get up to the front door of  was two hours Wednesday afternoon and a line of eager customers wound around the parking lot.

“I like their view on marriage and I believe we should have the freedom to at least express our views on it,” said Susan Soulian, who drove an hour from Wilmington to wait in the long line. “That’s all they did. You can’t let a business not set up because of a different viewpoint.”

Soulian was among a steady flow of people numbering in the thousands who stopped at the franchise throughout Wednesday, to show support after public officials denounced the company’s stance against gay marriage.

The fallout, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s own statement that the company’s values “are not Chicago’s values,” started with a comment made by Chick-fil-A president and chief operating officer Dan Cathy.

According to the Baptist Press article by K. Allan Blume:

Some have opposed the company's support of the traditional family. "Well, guilty as charged," said Cathy when asked about the company's position.

In response to the outcries against the company, Fox News pundit and former governor Mike Huckabee created a Facebook event called Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, though the company had no formal involvement.

“This is not a Chick-fil-A event, nor a Chick-fil-A sponsored event,” said Cassie Dignan, marketing director for the Orland Park restaurant. “It was started by fans of Chick-fil-A. “We just heard through the news that we should probably get ready. We had a lot of people call last week that they’d be coming.”

Dignan said an exact number of customers who visited the restaurant Wednesday wouldn’t be available until after business hours, but a long wrap-around line started forming around 9 a.m. Wednesday.

“Some people were waiting in line at 5:30 a.m. before we opened,” Dignan said. “. It’s just been crazy. We’re just a chicken place that’s here to serve really great chicken and treat people with honor, dignity and respect.”

Former Michigan State Senator Cameron Brown and his wife Helen drove about two-and-a-half hours to Orland Park from Kalamazoo, Michigan to support the company.

“This is a fundamental expression of everything we believe as Americans,” Cameron Brown said about visiting the Orland franchise. “Mr. Cathy has been well-mannered. He made a statement about marriage and he has a right to do that. It’s hard to imagine this is happening in America. We feel this is the most patriotic expression we can do.”

Cameron Brown further said statements from Emanuel and other mayors are “mean-spirited and un-American.”

Becky Howard came from Bridgeview to offer her support at the Orland location, but chose to open doors for people leaving rather than wait in the long line.

“I don’t believe in same sex marriage, but I do think if we don’t stand up for our rights they could take away our freedom of speech,” Howard said. “It bothers me that we live in a country where we should have freedom of speech and it could be taken away just because we believe differently.”

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Harry Callahan August 02, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Rahm "chewie" Emanual, .Him being a full fledge jew by putting his little weasel butt into this matter, ,this was a violation of the Constitution and a hate statement against people with religious beliefs something his ethnicity or religion suffered thru during the 1930;s.
Dick Schmidt August 02, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Shop local as much as you can. JULIE - you are correct. My emotions got the best of me. I just get enraged over the actions of others. I just wish others would live their lives w/ no care. Don't worry about what I do or don't do. And, I get disgusted by the way people complain yet still eat at fast food or heavily processed restaurants. It's real simple. Eat whole foods. Enjoy your day and eat fresh!!!
4th wright August 02, 2012 at 06:01 PM
You refuse to shop at Hobby Lobby because they are owned by Christians? Wow. And you do research to make sure the "small" shops are not owned by people with whom you might disagree. And you call that "tolerance"? I call it commercial apartheid. I would hate to live in such a small universe, but I hope it works for you.
4th wright August 02, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Here's what I get enraged at, Rich: innocent people gunned down just because they went to a movie. Kids getting killed in gang cross-fire. WW II veterans mugged in broad daylight by street thugs. Women being sentenced to death for being raped. Those things enrage me. Not where someone decides to have lunch, or what size pants they wear. How many marathons have YOU run?
Brianne Werry August 02, 2012 at 07:25 PM
I did not say that I refuse to shop there because they are owned by Christians. I would love to see where everyone is finding all these things that I am saying because when I reread my posts I do not see it. Plus, I am not asking them to close down their business or move out of my community. I am making a choice to spend my money elsewhere. Let's not put words in others mouths.
Brianne Werry August 02, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Of course I do see it differently Julie. And if you would like to get into a deep conversation about Christianity I would love to have that discussion elsewhere. I am not completely ignorant to it. I was raised in a Christian home, went through many confirmation classes through the church. My entire family is Christian as is my husband's (many of whom are preachers themselves). My understanding of what Christianity is that you love your neighbor as yourself, judge not lest he be judged.
IIA Alumni August 02, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Brianne, what you just stated above, is what Dan Cathy expresses. You said, "I will tolerate the beliefs of other, I just do not have to agree. I also have the right to state my opinion on it as well, just by doing so does not mean I'm intolerant. Let's not get opinion and tolerance confused." Does not this statement apply to every American? Conservative and Liberals? There are so call "Christian Extremist" out there that do take verses out of the bible and take them out of context. But a real, true Christian has a personal relationship with Jesus through reading the Word (the Bible), prayer, meditation, fellowship, faithfulness and love. Through sacrifice and suffering. But most importantly though love. If you want to know the truth in what Christians believe, I would respectfully request that you pick up a Bible and read it without partiality and taking things out of context (Old Testament and New Testament). Sit down and talk with a Christian and ask questions about what we believe. Visit a church that teaches the Word (the Bible) and the teaching aligns with what is written in the Bible. If you study the Bible and a pastor says something that does not align with the Word, then leave the church because they are not teaching the truth. Matthew 10:22, Matthew 5:44, Mark 12:28-32, 2 Timothy 3 and Luke 6:27-49. Just a few passages from the Word that we believe. I would love for you to come visit our church, start a dialogue, form a friendship. Calvary Chapel Blue Island. :)
IIA Alumni August 02, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Brianne, I apologize in advance if you feel attacked. You have a right to voice your opinion and I respect that. I hope that you will be able to respect my opinion as well. Thank you.
Harry Callahan August 02, 2012 at 08:30 PM
When are you going to start,which means your fos.
Brianne Werry August 02, 2012 at 08:54 PM
IIA Alumni, I thank you for your invitation and calm reply. I did attend a church for many years that studied the Bible and spent much time in confirmation classes asking questions and looking for answers. I also receive the opportunity for further enlightenment when discussing topics with Christian family members. Recently, I have been attending services at a local church that teaches love, unity and tolerance. This is a place that I have been able to have discussions with fellow parishioners regarding Christianity, and other religions, in modern society. I am always seeking knowledge and further understanding. Thank you for the passages as I will read them and contemplate their meanings. I sincerely appreciate your ability to put references out there.
Harry Callahan August 02, 2012 at 09:12 PM
I believe federal charges should be filed against Emanual and Moreno and the City of Chicago f or denying a company the right to come in for business because of being denied freedom of speech and religious beliefs and a hate crime because of Government interference ,this was a clear denial of individual and a business constitutional rights.
IIA Alumni August 02, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Brianne: Thank you SO MUCH for your communication and reply. God bless you, protect you and keep you safe. I hope and pray that you will be able to grow your personal relationship with Christ. We each have our own walk and relationships. But you have just blessed me, so thank you so much. I too, believe in shopping local and also mom and pop shops. Becoming an active member of your community is very important to me. I too, am a small business owner and it's very important to me to get to know every customer that walks through my door, treat them with respect, give the best customer service and help them out the best that I can. I am a Christian and although I do not believe in gay marriage (this is my own personal belief based on my own personal conviction through my own relationship with Christ and what Christ has exampled to show through His Word). Christ also exemplified to love. And I will love everyone. I will treat everyone with love, respect and do my best to help anyone that would need my help. And I will do all this with love. Christ also exemplified not to judge, lest you be judged. For I know that I am sinner too. And there are things that I need to work on to be a better example of Christ. But I know Christ is always with me, in prayer, in His Word, in trusting and being always faithful no matter what. So, thank you Brianne! And God bless you!
Mary Carumba August 02, 2012 at 09:24 PM
I think suburbanites should boycott the city of Chicago because of Emanuels opposition to freedom of speech. Let's see how the city survives with only the gang bangers supporting thier economy.
Mary Carumba August 02, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Rich Schmidt II, You are one messed up princess!
Mary Carumba August 02, 2012 at 09:28 PM
I have to agree with you. Boycott Chicago. Let the gangbangers eat at taste of Chicago and hang out at Navy Pier.
Harry Callahan August 02, 2012 at 11:47 PM
You need to go bark at the moon,or go back to playing with your obama doll Rich the Schm[dt ,lets hope your right to run your mouth isn't taken away from idiots like Emanual or Moreno,you can throw obama in there to because hes the leader of dividing and destroying America.
K.B.C. August 03, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Well said E.L. and it didn't take a long line of people to get your point across. Mr. Cathy can state his opinion but it's just his opinion. If people don't like it and choose not to patronize the establishment then that is also a choice. However every time an opinion is stated that doesn't mean it should lead to an organized stance. Really people, he was discriminatory weather you admit it or not. He is entitled to his opinion, or "Free Speech" if that is what you want to call it, but he is not God who gets the right to judge so maybe this is a situation where some things are better left unsaid.
Jim Doyle August 03, 2012 at 02:32 AM
I enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Chick-fil-A tonite. I had a delicious chicken sandwich with some Freedom-of-speech sauce, some awesome waffle fries with some Freedom-of-Religion Sauce, and a splendiferous side salad with some theRAHMFATHERisadumbdonkey dressing. For dessert I was torn between the Let'sRESPECTreligiousviews Brownie and the I'mNEVERgoingtoChicagoagain Ice Cream Sundae, so I decided to skip dessert. Hopefully Tinley Park will get their own Chick-fil-A so I won't have to drive to Orland Park. How about putting a Chick-fil-A in the old Tinley Park Library on 171st Street?
Julie August 03, 2012 at 02:49 AM
AMEN Jim Doyle!! The village has left that vacant overgrown weed-infested eyesore, with it's homemade chicken wire screens over the windows to prevent vandalism, for sooooo long, it's a disgrace! It's probably because of the exorbitant price they want! One must grant the fact that it is a handy dandy spot for the Trace ambulances to 'wait' for calls and for TP Police squads to chit chat/meet in the early morning hours, so maybe that's why the village doesn't want to set the price at a realistic amount for today's market?? Glad you enjoyed your dinner...unfortunately I didn't have time to stop for lunch when I was in the area yesterday! At least now I know exactly what to order and what toppings and sauces to get! ;>) Maybe if Chick-Fil-A moved in there, my property taxes would go back down....like my property value....
Julie August 03, 2012 at 02:52 AM
RIch, it happens to all of us...but it takes a big person to admit it in cyberspace! Speaks volumes for your real character!
Julie August 03, 2012 at 02:59 AM
As a fellow concerned consumer, I would be interested in your reasons to not shop at Hobby Lobby. Especially since you say it's not because Hobby Lobby is owned by Christians, I hope you would please share; why don't you shop at Hobby Lobby? (are the grammar police ok with my commas, semicolons, question marks...shoot, I should have started that with an uppercase 'A'!BUSTED and guilty as charged!) Thanks!
Julie August 03, 2012 at 03:20 AM
I did! I moved to Tinley Park 25 years ago!!!
SouthSide August 03, 2012 at 10:06 PM
I will not spend a dime at ChikFilA. #TastesLikeHate.
SouthSide August 03, 2012 at 10:09 PM
I agree with Brianne. As for other Christian businesses, 4th wright, I'd boycott them too if their CEO make a very public announcement that he hates homosexuals.
mag August 04, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Moonglow doesnt get it (too bad many Americans are like this too). Its not chicken, its about our rights! Think beyond the obvious!
. August 05, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Exactly...if you were to replace the word "gay" with "jewish," this debate would have a whole other meaning. I think it's so sad that people are supporting Mr. Cathy's discrimination and calling it "freedom". And it's disgusting to think these people are literally in my neighborhood. Although I'm not gay, I understand that this debate is about PEOPLE.....you know, with feelings, and I think this is what the public forgot about. I refuse to give my money to a place that makes people feel ashamed of who they are.
. August 05, 2012 at 03:17 PM
4th Wright - "That's why they are backpedaling faster than Chinese badminton players." ...Don't be racist. That's inappropriate/childish. "...they have not discriminated against anyone..." I know I'm not alone, but don't you think donating directly to organizations "battling" gay marriage and calling our generation "abominations" and so forth goes hand-in-hand with discrimination? That's the point of those organizations---to discriminate against the right to be gay because it's not in "God's Plan". Not too long ago, mixed-racial marriages were against this very "plan," but of course if Chick-Fil-A had this stance, THEN they would be discriminating. I don't get the logic in this debate because it is hateful, no matter what light you want to present it in. Plain and simple as that. You're making the town I have grown up in look bad, and you should feel bad.
. August 05, 2012 at 03:41 PM
I'm sure you had your feedom fries with that too, you ethnocentric, hateful local. 1. "Let'sRESPECTreligiousviews" --- Shall we? Let's respect the religions in the Middle East who give women ZERO rights in their life, where giving a woman the right to drive will ultimately lead to more sex, so women aren't allowed to drive. You're saying we should RESPECT any religion ever?! Even if their beliefs are morally wrong? That's disgusting. Think for yourself, don't let a book for it for you. 2. Having respect means to have respect for everybody. I don't know who picked on you when you were tiny but gay people are indeed PEOPLE, you know, with feelings and such. Supporting their demise only makes you hateful in that sense, no matter what light you want to shine that in. 3. "I'mNEVERgoingtoChicagoagain" --- Nobody is disappointed, and I mean NOBODY, that you won't be visiting our beautiful city which supports every walk of life, including the LGBT community. Less traffic for us to deal with. Last, but certainly not least, -- "Hopefully Tinley Park will get their own Chick-fil-A so I won't have to drive to Orland Park." Are you serious?! Do you realize exactly how far away Tinley Park is from Orland Park? THEY ARE RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER. That is disgustingly lazy. So you have to drive an extra 7 minutes to get your fast food fix. You poor thing. But thank you for the laugh.
. August 05, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Also, to JULIE, "One must grant the fact that it is a handy dandy spot for the Trace ambulances to 'wait' for calls..." If you lived in this area and had a life-threatening emergency, you would be glad that the paramedics "wait" in this area to save your life. I am speechless as to how disrespectful you are towards the ones who's sole purpose is to save lives and take care of others. Along with your property value, your ultimate value as a person has just plummeted beyond the extent I thought people's morals could go. You would make the Jesus you believe in turn in his grave. I cannot believe this is what my childhood town has turn into.
Julie August 05, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Ummm...anonymous poster...I DO live in this area (hence the comments about my property taxes?!?! or did you just skim and then rant?!?!), and I HAVE had to wait for a life saving ambulance, and I AM grateful that these wonderfully unselfish people (first responders) do what they do. What I'm not crazy about is that the village of TP is asking an exorbitant amount of money for the old library and how it looks and the fact that the only thing it's used for is a place for public servants to idle their vehicles. I wasn't judging the paramedics nor the police officers. But WOW how quickly you judged me....and my 'ultimate value as a person' when you simply misunderstood what I wrote. Funny that you said " Having respect means to have respect for everybody." I guess people on the internet who have different opinions than you do don't deserve your respect? That sounds like an awfully hypocritical thing to say, you can't have your cake and eat it too. Oh, and lastly....the Jesus that I believe in is no longer in a grave....He Is RISEN! He forviges all, if we just ask!

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