"Since when does serving up junk food give someone a license to preach?" carped Petula Dvorak as she opened her August 14 piece, "Now featuring filet o' fracas."* Gee, I dunno, Petula, maybe 1791, when the First Amendment -- you know, that pesky little document that guarantees freedom of speech and religion among other things -- was ratified.
"We've got the Papa John's pizza guys weighing in on the health-care debate, while the burger slingers out West at In-N-Out can't serve up a cheeseburger without a Bible verse," Dvorak carped. Later in her Metro section column, she essentially compared the pizza chain to drug-running terrorists.
Dvorak found herself penning this column as she has a problem that she shares with other liberal Washingtonians: they love tasty fast-food joints like Chick-fil-A but don't want to seem to support the socially-conservative values of their senior management:
The craziness of fast-food commentary on social issues became obvious to me when I stumbled into a totally earnest discussion at a party last week by a bunch of Washingtonians who personally support the right to same-sex marriage, but are also wickedly addicted to Chick-fil-A sandwiches.
This is the stuff of serious dilemma inside the Beltway.
“I don’t know what to do about it. I mean, I guess I can go through the drive-thru where no one will see me,” one woman said.
“It doesn’t matter if anyone sees you there. It’s about helping them fund hate groups by buying their hate-chicken,” another responded.
“Have you had that banana cream pie milkshake?” someone asked.
And the entire room dissolved into a quiet moment of personal ecstasy, the kind that ends with a head-shake of loss, grief and sorrow.
Why did they have to go there?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy opposes same-sex marriage to anyone who has heard the hymns piped into the restaurant or tried to tame a chicken jones on a Sunday, only to find a closed restaurant because Sunday is for God, not chicken. But his remarks on the subject created a furor and divided the nation yet again along political lines.
Ah, yes, it's all Chick-fil-A's fault for this tempest in a [sweet] tea pot.
But Dvorak's conveniently ignored the fact that it was liberal mayors like Thomas Menino of Boston, Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, and Ed Lee of San Francisco whose hints about using the power of local government to ban the chicken chain from their respective cities pushed conservatives to react by staging a nationwide eat-in for August 1.
It's liberal mayors beholden to the gay-rights agenda who blew Dan Cathy's remarks in a radio interview out of proportion. Conservatives then reacted with a wildly-successful buycott that Chick-fil-A did not sanction or organize but most certainly enjoyed given its bump in revenue from sales.
But alas, Petula's beef is not just with social conservatives -- although as we've reported before, she is radically liberal on social issues -- it seems to also be with anyone in business who's critical of President Obama. Dvorak is peeved with Romney donor John Schnatter saying that he'll have to raise the price of his Papa John's pizzas thanks to increased business costs from ObamaCare (emphasis mine):
But over at Papa John’s Pizza, CEO and founder John Schnatter, a Mitt Romney fundraiser, declared last week that the company would raise the price of its pies if health-care reform stands.
Somehow, it is funny that a place where a single slice of “The Meats” pizza can run you 400 calories, 19 grams of fat and 1,100 milligrams of sodium decides to weigh in on the health-care debate.
Sort of like the Medellin drug cartel taking a stand on border patrol.
Yes, she just compared a pizza delivery chain to Colombian narco-terrorists.
In the end, "this is America" and "all business owners have a right to express their views however they see fit," Dvorak conceded, "But sometimes a right simply turns into righteous."
And sometimes liberal newspaper columns descend into wicked, intolerant screeds, Ms. Dvorak. Yours is a case in point.
*The online version's headline was much more vehemently worded: "Chick-fil-A, Papa John’s and In-N-Out Burger: Spare us your fast-food righteousness."