Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chick-Fil-A Is Not Welcome in Boston: What a Clucking Nightmare!

We do not want thy chicken sandwich
The Puritans still run Boston. They don't wear those funny black hats any more, but the Boston elites are just as priggish, self-righteous, and arrogant as they were when they stepped off Plymouth Rock in 1620.

Last week, Boston mayor Thomas Menino sent a letter to Chick-fil-A, the Atlanta-based restaurant chain, telling the company it is not welcome in Boston because its leaders espouse a traditional Christian view of marriage.

Catholics and Chick-fil-A basically hold the same views on marriage, so perhaps Catholics aren't welcome in Boston either.

Wait a minute. Catholics have never been welcome in Boston--at least not among the elites.  In 1647, the Massachusetts Bay Colony passed an ordinance making it a capital offense for a priest to be inside the colony's boundaries.  That's right--if you were a Catholic priest in those days, the Puritans would kill you.

And elite Bostonians have been bigoted toward Catholics ever since.   A Boston mob burned the Charlestown convent in 1834, whipped up by sermons from Protestant preachers, including Lyman Beecher--an open anti-Catholic bigot.  Although the rioters were tried in criminal court, most were acquitted.

In 1859, a Boston school official whipped young Thomas Whall, a Catholic school boy, for refusing to read from the King James (Protestant) version of the Bible.  This incident triggered the Eliot School Rebellion--a walkout from the public schools by Catholic school children.

And let's not forget the Know-Nothing Party of Massachusetts, which took over Massachusetts government in the mid-1850s and passed several anti-Catholic laws. To this day, the Massachusetts Constitution contains a provision prohibiting any public funding for a religious organization--passed specifically to hinder the Catholic Church.

Mayor Menino's disdain for Chick-fil-A is only the latest in a long series of incidents in which elite Bostonians have showed their disdain for traditional religious values.

Chick-fil-A is fortunate to get a clear snub from Mayor Menino.  Having been warned, it seems unlikely that Chick-fil-A will open a restaurant in Boston.

And that is truly unfortunate, because Boston food is lousy; and Bostonians would have benefited from a restaurant that cooks good Southern food.

Ellis, John Tracy. Documents of American Catholic History. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1956.

Fossey, Richard & LeBlanc, Robert. "Vouchers for sectarian schools after Zelman: Will the First Circuit expose anti-Catholic bigotry in the Massachusetts Constitution?" Education Law Reporter 193, 343-352 (2005).

McGreevy, John T. Catholicism and American Freedom. New York: Norton, 2003.

Mulkern, John R. The Know-Nothing Party in Massachusetts: The Rise and Fall of a People's Movement.  Boston; Northeastern University Press, 1990.

Schultz, Nancy Lusignan. Fire and Roses: The Burning of the Charlestown Convent, 1834. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2002.

Severson, Kim. "Chick-fil-A Thrust Back Into Spotlight on Gay Rights." New York Times, July 26, 2012.

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