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Cardinal George: “Could Jesus be accepted as a Chicagoan?”

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012

* Francis Cardinal George blogged Sunday about Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s claim that the Chick-fil-A food chain’s values “are not Chicago’s values”

Recent comments by those who administer our city seem to assume that the city government can decide for everyone what are the “values” that must be held by citizens of Chicago. I was born and raised here, and my understanding of being a Chicagoan never included submitting my value system to the government for approval. Must those whose personal values do not conform to those of the government of the day move from the city? Is the City Council going to set up a “Council Committee on Un-Chicagoan Activities” and call those of us who are suspect to appear before it? I would have argued a few days ago that I believe such a move is, if I can borrow a phrase, “un-Chicagoan.”

The value in question is espousal of “gender-free marriage.” Approval of state-sponsored homosexual unions has very quickly become a litmus test for bigotry; and espousing the understanding of marriage that has prevailed among all peoples throughout human history is now, supposedly, outside the American consensus. Are Americans so exceptional that we are free to define “marriage” (or other institutions we did not invent) at will? What are we re-defining?

It might be good to put aside any religious teaching and any state laws and start from scratch, from nature itself, when talking about marriage. Marriage existed before Christ called together his first disciples two thousand years ago and well before the United States of America was formed two hundred and thirty six years ago. Neither Church nor state invented marriage, and neither can change its nature.

Marriage exists because human nature comes in two complementary sexes: male and female. The sexual union of a man and woman is called the marital act because the two become physically one in a way that is impossible between two men or two women. Whatever a homosexual union might be or represent, it is not physically marital. Gender is inextricably bound up with physical sexual identity; and “gender-free marriage” is a contradiction in terms, like a square circle.

Both Church and state do, however, have an interest in regulating marriage. It is not that religious marriage is private and civil marriage public; rather, marriage is a public institution in both Church and state. The state regulates marriage to assure stability in society and for the proper protection and raising of the next generation of citizens. The state has a vested interest in knowing who is married and who is not and in fostering good marriages and strong families for the sake of society.

The Church, because Jesus raised the marital union to the level of symbolizing his own union with his Body the Church, has an interest in determining which marital unions are sacramental and which are not. The Church sees married life as a path to sanctity and as the means for raising children in the faith, as citizens of the universal kingdom of God. These are all legitimate interests of both Church and state, but they assume and do not create the nature of marriage.

People who are not Christian or religious at all take for granted that marriage is the union of a man and a woman for the sake of family and, of its nature, for life. The laws of civilizations much older than ours assume this understanding of marriage. This is also what religious leaders of almost all faiths have taught throughout the ages. Jesus affirmed this understanding of marriage when he spoke of “two becoming one flesh” (Mt. 19: 4-6). Was Jesus a bigot? Could Jesus be accepted as a Chicagoan? Would Jesus be more “enlightened” if he had the privilege of living in our society? One is welcome to believe that, of course; but it should not become the official state religion, at least not in a land that still fancies itself free. Surely there must be a way to properly respect people who are gay or lesbian without using civil law to undermine the nature of marriage.

Surely we can find a way not to play off newly invented individual rights to “marriage” against constitutionally protected freedom of religious belief and religious practice. The State’s attempting to redefine marriage has become a defining moment not for marriage, which is what it is, but for our increasingly fragile “civil union” as citizens.

[Hat tip: Newsalert.]


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - P. - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:17 am:

    And on the third day … someone read the Cardinal’s blog.

  2. - Nieva - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:19 am:

    I care not what they do. I do care about being labeled a biggot because I don’t agree with what they do. I am a gun owner and hunter. Does this make the people who disagree with me biggots. This country has become a place where you are not allowed to have an opinon unless it agrees with the ones you disagree with.

  3. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:21 am:

    With all due respect to the Church and its view of marriage, I don’t understand why they believe same gender marriage undermines the institution. I think it strengthens it. It’s not just the physical connection that defines the word, it’s a personal and business relationship.

  4. - Kasich Walker, Jr. - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:23 am:

    “..I was born and raised here, and my understanding of being a Chicagoan never included submitting my value system to the government for approval…”

    Amen! LOL!

  5. - Downstate - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:27 am:

    Rahm is now the arbiter of “Chicago values”?

    Per Rahm, “I’m the &%@#$@ @$$@ moral authority in this town!”

  6. - Kasich Walker, Jr. - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:27 am:

    Step 2: Have some gay union/marriage ceremonies at a Chick-fil-a.

  7. - downstate hack - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:28 am:

    I was born and raised here, and my understanding of being a Chicagoan never included submitting my value system to the government for approval…”

    A second Amen. Mayor Emanuel may be in favor of gay marriage, but that does not give Chicago politicians the right to base zoning and regulatory decisions on the mayor or some aldermens’ opinions or beliefs. This is still a democracy with freedom of religion still a quaranteed constitutional right.

  8. - Wow - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:32 am:

    I’m not sure calling marriage a business relationship strengthens marriage. In fact, I’m quite sure, if I called my spouse and told her we were in a business relationship, the only thing that would strengthen would be her forearm as she back-handed me.

  9. - just sayin' - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:33 am:

    That nobody Chicago alderman, that pander bear who created this silly controversey with no leg to stand on, has really done a disservice to the gay rights movement which was advancing on all fronts.

    By pushing such an obvious 1st Amendment violation, that alderman served up a slow pitch that even IL conservatives can hit out of the park. Now you’ve the Cardinal blogging.

    This should be a lesson to 3rd rate hack politicians everywhere on the dangers of overreaching and being a moron.

  10. - SouthernIL - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:34 am:

    Once again ~ another situation that should be under the category ~ “Big Brother Syndrome”. Seems people all over this country have just absolutely become stupid and can’t “decide” on their own…..GOSH! How did we get along all those past years on making decisions on our own … and feeling quite comfortable with our own decision making. When did we allow our freedom of choice to be altered??!! Especially regarding fast food restaurants??!! Amazing. Did we all get rings in our noses to be led?! Seems more and more are doing this…does free enterprise not mean anything? Evidently not in certain areas of the country.

  11. - amalia - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:35 am:

    I’m sick of the Roman Catholic hierarchy acting as if they own Jesus. The Roman Catholic church has never been the only Christian organization in business. My heterosexual marriage is not threatened by any other marriage, of any kind.

  12. - ZC - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:37 am:

    I am going to take the liberty to link to an outside reading here that best summarizes my thoughts on the subject, by gay author Jonathan Rauch: He wrote it in 2010 but could have released it right after this controversy.

    Rauch’s point is even if Cardinal George is wrong - and I do think he is - “we need to give our opponents the time and space they need to let us win.” Chick-fil-A and George here are fighting a losing cultural battle; I’d go so far as to call it lost. We should continue to critique them, severely - just try inserting “slavery” instead of “marriage” in the third, fifth and seventh paragraphs above, and for me it all starts to fall apart - but there’s no need to bring the state into it.

    I’d note for some readers this could also bring up considerable hypocrisy charges, for anyone crowing against Chick-fil-A but who a) is an Obama supporter and b) has given a nickel to the Chicago Cubs this season.

  13. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:37 am:

    Wondering if Gags Brady and Billboard Cross will run one of the CHick Fil Lay gift cards over to Jesus or the Cardinal?

  14. - Kasich Walker, Jr. - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:38 am:

    Step 3: Rebellious Chick-fil-a manager hosts a gay wedding rehearsal brunch at franchise location around 11 am on a Sunday.

  15. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:39 am:

    Discrimination against people based on perceived sexual orientation violates a state law which reflects our values.

    Chick-fil-A has raised serious concerns that they engage in such discrimination. They ask people about their marital status in job interviews, and Dan Cathy said that the company’s biblical view of traditional marriage is why the majority of their stores are “family run.” The company has also stated that company policy allows discrimination against LGBT Americans in every state they can.

    So yes, as reflected in the law, Chick-fil-A’s values do not reflect our values.

    It would be no different if we were discussing a company that openly embraced child labor in countries where it is legal, or openly embraced gender discrimination in countries where that is legal.

  16. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:39 am:

    Jesus wasn’t born in Chicago. What parish does he belong to? Where did he go to high school? So the answer is no. He’s not a Chicagoan.

  17. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:44 am:

    I dunno, does Jesus put ketchup on his hotdogs?

  18. - Jade Rabbit - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:46 am:

    Homosexual Marriage = Square Circle.

  19. - MrJM - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:55 am:

    People who are not Christian or religious at all take for granted that marriage is the union of a man and a woman for the sake of family and, of its nature, for life. The laws of civilizations much older than ours assume this understanding of marriage. This is also what religious leaders of almost all faiths have taught throughout the ages. Jesus affirmed this understanding of marriage when he spoke of “two becoming one flesh” (Mt. 19: 4-6).

    “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28 (emphasis added)

    “The devil can cite scripture for his purpose.”
    – Antonio, William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” Act I, scene III.

    – MrJM

  20. - Steve Bartin - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 9:58 am:

    Cardinal George is a righteous man, he defends the notion of equal protection under the law whether you are Catholic, Jewish, atheist, Muslim or whatever else. Just a reminder.

  21. - Muskrat - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:00 am:

    My understanding of Chicago values never included the need for conformity. In fact, just the opposite. Chicago has always been a city of loud, vigorous, and sometimes violent debate about topics large and small. Swedes v. Norwegians, Pakistanis vs. Indians, North side vs. South, urban folk vs. Polka, Softball with gloves vs. no gloves. The only being un-Chicago-like here is the mayor. If Chic-fil-a violates valid antidiscrimination laws, then sanction it according to those laws. If not, forget it. Consumers can buy or boycott whatever they want, but government has no right– none — to police the social views of business owners.

  22. - C in S-burg - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:06 am:

    Amalia - I sincerely welcome you to visit any Catholic parish and: a) speak with one of the priests; b) attend a Mass; and c) consider attending RCIA classes. All of these will help you understand the teachings of the Catholic, i.e. universal, church. It’s not that the Catholic church believes that Jesus belongs to it, but rather the other way around as Jesus instituted “the one holy, catholic, and apostolic church.” I’m also interested in the other Christian organizations that you mention and would like to learn more about those that were present from Jesus’ time through the middle of the 15th century, so please share your source for those.

  23. - I'm Just Saying - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:08 am:

    I wonder why I fell away from the Catholic Church, and I go oh yeah, they are regressing from Vatican II to Dark Ages and their leaders do nothing but perpetuate this….

    That’s it…..

  24. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:10 am:

    Piling on with MrJM:

    Its indisputable fact that the early Catholic Church opposed ALL marriage.

    The early belief was that all should be celibate, since sex was Original Sin, and that all marriage did was legalize Original Sin.

    They realized, of course, that a strict ban on sex was a real damper on membership recruitment. Also, the lack of procreation really dampens sustainability, a fact which escaped the Shakers and led to their extinction.

    That said, even though they developed a tolerance for marriage, the Catholic Church didn’t get into the marriage game until the middle ages. As a side note, a key plank in Martin Luther’s reformation movement was to get The Church out of the marriage business, which protestants viewed as a “worldly thing.”

    As for the historical argument itself, for the greater part of Western history brides have been viewed as property, a view which all of those arguing for “traditionalism” no doubt embrace as well, right?

    The “stomp, stomp” you here is the steady progress of history. ZC is right, fight as you might, even winning a few battles here and there…even the Catholic Church will once again join the march of history. Or perish.

  25. - irishpirate - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:14 am:

    I believe that Chick A Fil should be allowed in Chicago. Freedom to have wrong opinions is an American value. I find the view of the poultry serving CEO stupid and vile, but he has a right to his opinion.

    That’s an American value.

    As to Cardinal George I have some things he should consider:

    1. The historical Jesus hung out with 12 guys and prostitutes.

    2. The historical Jesus claimed he could turn water into wine and fed the multitudes with a few loaves and fishes. He was known to throw fabulous parties.

    3. His mom claimed to be a virgin.

    4. He claimed to be able to walk on water and was very theatrical.

    5. He was executed by the state at the behest of religious authorities.

    Does anyone see where I’m going with this?

    I suspect that if Jesus were around today he would be condemned by the very righteous Cardinal of Chicago.

  26. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:23 am:

    Emanuel has earned a well-deserved smackdown for his “Chicago values” nonsense. Anytime a barracuda like that starts to put the muscle on someone because of what they think, we all need to start howling.

    But I’m surprised at the cardinal’s history lesson on marriage.

    –…and espousing the understanding of marriage that has prevailed among all peoples throughout human history is now, supposedly, outside the American consensus.–

    Certainly the Old Testament prophets didn’t see marriage as between one man and one woman (they didn’t have a problem with slavery, either). Even today, polygamy is recognized by civil authorities in countries around the world.

    The ancient Greeks and Romans weren’t shy about their same-sex bonding rituals.

    And, of course, for about the first 1200 years of the Roman Catholic Church, priests, bishops, cardinals and popes were free to marry.

  27. - amalia - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:23 am:

    @C in S-burg, please consult a history book. as for the term catholic, it is catholicity, as in universality. that term is not owned by one church either, as my church, and others, use that too. Coptic, Orthodox come to mind as having been around for a long, long time. Besides, Roman Catholic is the term, as in there are other catholic churches. The Holy Land has plenty of sites that are Christian that are not Roman Catholic and have not been so for more than the years since the split that created Protestant churches. as for the beginnings of Christianity, for many years, as in during the time of Peter, the so called first pope, the religion in which people who believed in Jesus worshipped was still Judaism, wrestling with the concept of whether he was the Messiah. it took hundreds of years to establish the Roman Catholic church with the trappings.

  28. - jerry 101 - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:27 am:

    I wonder if Jesus could be accepted as a Catholic?

  29. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:30 am:

    “The value in question is espousal of “gender-free marriage.”

    So the ACLU don’t believe that there should be a difference between “sex” and “gender” anymore, or is there another blank that’s being added to birth certificates to cover both? I’m just really curious as to the rationale behind this one.

  30. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:41 am:


    Good question.


  31. - Jaded - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:42 am:

    I’m really not sure what the big deal is. I’m sure Mr. Cathy felt it was a compliment when Rahm said he didn’t have “Chicago values”.

    Also, do you think it is called “Chick-fil-A” because the president’s last name is the same as a chick and do you think Rahm’s comments might have something to do with the “Chicago Cows?” Maybe Rahm and company can do some Chicago street artwork of chickens saying “Eat more Cow.”

  32. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:43 am:

    As a follow-up, it seems that as a single man, Jesus would not be welcome running a Chick-fil-A.

    They are, after all, a FAMILY led business.

  33. - G'Kar - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:43 am:

    To paraphrase Voltaire, I may not agree with Chic-Fil-A values, I will defend their right to open a business anywhere they want (as long as it is done legally).

    That being said, I do not see, as the Cardinal does, the State’s attempt to all gay marriage as being “constitutionally protected freedom of religious belief and religious practice.” The State recognizes marriage as a contract, not as a “sacrament”. Civil marriages are just as “valid” as a marriage performed in a church. I would not support a law that forced religious institutions to marry couples that would be against their beliefs, but religious institutions should not have the power to tell the State how to define marriage.

  34. - Cheryl - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:45 am:

    I care about Cardinal George’s opinion just about as much as I care about John Kass’s opinion.

  35. - Lester Holt's Mustache - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:47 am:

    He is correct in his statement, but I still can’t take anything he or any other catholic church official says seriously. Until the Vatican sends Bernard Law back to the US for prosecution, any statements by church officials pertaining to “values”, “morals”, or “responsibility” should be ignored.

    IMO this institution is no better than Penn State, and these guys have no more moral authority than the ghost of Joe Paterno.

  36. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:48 am:

    irishpirate, while you’re being insulting and cynical why don’t you also toss in that Jesus was a politician whose campaign was funded by…yup, wait for it: a woman?!!!

    There were “women” back then, right?

  37. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:50 am:

    === “Chick-fil-A has raised serious concerns that they engage in such [unlawful] discrimination”

    Really? If so, then why is there already a C-F-A currently operating within the city limits?? Is there is an ongoing investigation by the city into their hiring and serving practices? If not, why not?

    === “It would be no different if we were discussing a company that openly embraced child labor in countries where it is legal, or openly embraced gender discrimination in countries where that is legal”

    Really, no different? You really think that opposing gay marriage is as bad as practicing child labor?? Really??

  38. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:50 am:

    Chick-fil-A has raised serious concerns that they engage in such discrimination. They ask people about their marital status in job interviews, and Dan Cathy said that the company’s biblical view of traditional marriage is why the majority of their stores are “family run.”

    Again YDD, I ask for proof of the discrimination claim.

    Also ” is why the majority of their stores are “family run.””

    I think you will find that is the case of the vast majority of franchised food operations where the franchisees are not corporations that they are family owned.
    Some require that the ’store’ be the full time job for at least one of the owners also the capital requirements for getting the franchise as well as getting the financing needed.

    Heck think of Kitchen Nightmares, none of those places are every sole proprietorships, almost all of them are family onwed places.

  39. - irishpirate - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:52 am:

    Anon 10:48


    Insulting and cynical?

    I just restated some historical facts and/or beliefs regarding Jesus.

    Now the real question I would have for Jesus if he returned today and ran for office is whether he would release his tax returns and what his position on preemptive war is.

    Just sayin’.

  40. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:54 am:

    And I’m assuming that most of the women back then were actually females, too? Or does someone have some enlightment or gossip they’d like to share

  41. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:54 am:

    I don’t care what they may say
    I don’t care what they may do
    I don’t care what they may say
    Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
    Jesus is just alright

  42. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 11:01 am:

    btw, it should be noted that Farrakhan is not fan of gay rights. His comments on the subject are even more troublesome than Cathy’s. Yet no one in city hall seems to have a problem with him.

  43. - zatoichi - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 11:09 am:

    If gay marriage is going to ‘undermine the nature of marriage’ what effect does it have when so many “two becoming one flesh” marriages end in divorce? If marriage is supposed to signify life long commitment what happens when the promises made during that massive church ceremony get taken apart in a courtroom?

    The Catholic Church is facing huge issues. The church I went to growing up had 4 packed masses on Sunday in a huge building. Now, if they get 75 for one service they are lucky.

    I understand why the church is taking the stand they have on gay marriage to stay consistent with the past and remain relatively conservative. For the true believers it works. For many others it becomes another reason to drift away because of what it does/denies for the gay family members/friends/coworkers they care about. Stances like the Cardinal’s simply get ignored. Rahm’s ‘Chicago values’ statement is not much different.

  44. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 11:14 am:

    Since when does a New Trier grad decide Chicago values? Also, Jesus went to Rita, played in the prep bowl, all-city.

  45. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 11:16 am:

    –“..I was born and raised here, and my understanding of being a Chicagoan never included submitting my value system to the government for approval…”–

    That is also a strange understanding of Chicago history.

    For most of the city’s history, your value system better have been in line with the powers that be unless you wanted to spend your life fighting City Hall.

    Levi Boone closed down the German-Catholic beer gardens and raised the bridge when they tried to protest.

    Ethnic and religious diversity certainly wasn’t welcomed until Cermak built the Machine to get rid of the crook Thompson.

    And they weren’t exactly singin’ “We Shall Overcome” in the corridors of power until some folks kicked the door in.

  46. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 11:18 am:

    GOP, nobody has a problem with Farrakhan?

    You need to get outside your far right echo chamber.

    In reality, just about EVERYBODY has a problem with Farrahkan.

  47. - amalia - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 11:21 am:

    @anonymous 10:54 am
    the original term used for Holy Spirit, back when things were in Hebrew or Aramaic, was a female term. funny, but when things went to Latin, it switched to a masculine term for Holy Spirit. thus taking the sacred feminine out of the religion’s balance in the Trinity.

  48. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 11:24 am:

    “Really, no different? You really think that opposing gay marriage is as bad as practicing child labor?? Really??”

    Hmmm. Interesting observation.

  49. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 11:30 am:


    Maybe you’re right. But my point is that they don’t do much about it.

    Show me a quote from the Mayor or a city council member denouncing Farrakhan. Show me evidence that they are trying to restrict his ability to operate in the city. He owns several businesses in the city. Why have has the council not found some pretense to obstruct them?

  50. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 11:35 am:

    ps, skeeter. contrary to what you may think, my knowledge of Farrakhan and the city’s deference to him comes not from Fox News, but from living on the southeast side of the city for 20 years.

  51. - reformer - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 11:36 am:

    It sounds as if the good Cardinal disapproves of the marriages of the Biblical patriarchs — Abraham, Jacob, David and Solomon — all of whom were polygamists.

    The Cardinal cited Matthew 19:5. Verse 6, however, explains the purpose of verse 5: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

    Jesus opposed ending marriage. Too bad the Church hands out annulments like kleenex nowadays.

  52. - reformer - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 11:38 am:

    == Discrimination against people based on perceived sexual orientation violates a state law which reflects our values.==
    Is there any evidence that the company illegally discriminates in hiring or service? If it exists, then produce it.

  53. - Liberty First - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 11:41 am:

    I suppose the Catholic church will condemn plural marriage as well, it takes a group to raise a family….

  54. - collar observer - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 11:46 am:

    Amalia -
    I agree with you - I hate it when any group tries to own Jesus but I am also in agreement with Nieva - we have to find better ways to be open to different opinions - heck, isn’t that our American value?

  55. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 11:46 am:

    @Anonymous -

    No. I think that discriminating against women in your hiring practices and discriminating against people you perceive to be gay are no different.

    I think that as a matter of the rightful exercise of government power, opposing a company that engages in discrimination in other states is no different than opposing a company that engages in child labor abroad or supports an apartheid government.

    For that matter, its no different than courting a company with taxpayer subsidies because it’s “Green.”

    By its very nature, the exercise of government power is - or at least should be - the reflection of our values.

    Much has been made of “aldermanic” prerogative in this discussion. But anyone who thinks that “prerogative” isn’t exercised by elected officials of all branches of government and at all levels to at least some degree is both delusional and ill-informed. Whether de facto or de jure, “prerogative” is an inseparable facet of democracy.

  56. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 11:55 am:

    Farrakahn calls himself a religion. Show me any case where the current Mayor or any current alderman has blocked any church from operating based on the beliefs of that church.

    As to when he’s been denounced? It took me less than a second to find that the President denounced Farrakhan when Farrakhan endorsed him in 2008.

    I can’t find anything else recent because to those of us not on the far right Farrakhan has been irrelevant for the past 20 years. His base of power seems to be on the far right, since those are the only people talking about him.

  57. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 12:00 pm:


    Ironically, Chick-fil-A touts the fact that its franchise fees are only $5000, while many other chains charge as much as $100,000.

    So much for your defense.

    Moreover, Dan Cathy was clear in his statement to the Baptist Press that they make their decisions about “people and partners” based on bibilical principles, including their biblical definition of marriage, and credited that fact as the reason that most of their stores are family-run.


    Yes. Dan Cathy’s statement that they discriminate, coupled with the fact that company policy permits discrimination based on sexual orientation in the 29 states where it is legal, a policy which they refuse to change.

  58. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 12:03 pm:

    === By its very nature, the exercise of government power is - or at least should be - the reflection of our values.

    Yes, but if those “values” must be codified in statues, ordinances or codes. Otherwise we cease to be a nation of laws, ruled instead by the capricious whims of grandstanding would-be potentates.

    But, for sake or argument – let’s assume you are right. It might be worth remembering, then, that gay marriage is not legal in Chicago. So all Mr. Cathy is “guilty” of is – wait for it – supporting the status quo. Maybe when Rahm officiates his first gay wedding, then he’ll have a point about C-F-A being out of step with the city’s “values.” Until then, he maybe he should leave Dan Cathy alone.

  59. - globalguy - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 12:13 pm:

    @Yellow Dog Democrat - RE: “Discrimination against people based on perceived sexual orientation violates a state law which reflects our values.”

    I completely agree but aren’t there enough laws already on the books (local, state, & fed) to deal with this as workplace discrimination without jeopardizing 1st Amendment Rights?

  60. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 12:15 pm:

    @GOP -

    Dan Cathy said it was his company’s policy to give preferential treatment to people who are married. Company policy.

    That means they just don’t discriminate against those who can’t legally marry, but those who are single or divorced.

    Which is why, he explained, only “some” of his stores are led by people who aren’t married, even though married adults only make up 52 percent of the U.S. population.

  61. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 12:20 pm:


    === Dan Cathy said it was his company’s policy to give preferential treatment to people who are married.

    Interesting. Perhaps you can enlighten me as to why should I be more troubled by that than I am by government programs that give preferential treatment to vendors of a particular gender or race??

  62. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 12:24 pm:

    Again, for those of you defending Chick-fil-A without reading the orginal interview, focusing instead on excerpts, here it is.

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

    “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

    We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized.

    “We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.

    So there you go. The company operates based upon its biblical definition of “family.”

    Were not debating Dan Cathy’s personal beliefs, who he gives money to, or even who the company gives money to.

    You don’t even have to read between the lines to realize that they use a biblical definition of “family” to make hiring decisions, a practice they have absolutely no intent of changing.

  63. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 12:27 pm:

    “Perhaps you can enlighten me as to why should I be more troubled by that than I am by government programs that give preferential treatment to vendors of a particular gender or race??”

    Perhaps because this country has no history of discrimination against married people, but we have a long history of discrimination against women and people of color.

    Just tossing ideas out there.

  64. - bored now - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 12:29 pm:

    Wensicia: you will note that the person writing this column has never been married. so his “understanding” of the institution is nothing but theoretical. take his advice accordingly.

    Yellow Dog Democrat: your understanding of why the early (catholic) church opposed marriage is incomplete, at best. early christians believed that the second coming of christ was imminent and that anything that did not prepare oneself for that was superfluous. i don’t believe that religious scholars think they didn’t practice sex, though!

  65. - amalia - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 12:38 pm:

    @collar observer, it’s one thing to have opinions, and I agree that opinions can be varied and people can have dialogue. it’s another thing when a religious group embarks on a crusade.

  66. - C in S-burg - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 12:44 pm:

    @Amalia - thanks for the insight into your position. As I will take you up on the suggestion to research further, I hope you will also accept my invitation to learn more about the Catholic church.

  67. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 12:48 pm:

    @GOP -

    Please point me to the statute which says that federal judges must be approved by the Senator from their home state.

    Also, the statute that stipulates which “values” a judge is allowed to consider when exercising judicial discretion in sentencing.

    Or the one that specifically states that a mayor or governor can laud taxpayer-funded benefits on a company because they are “green” or “give back to the community.”

    Heck, we’ve got one Congressman holding up a $175 million project because he’s suspicious about terrorists in Illinois. Find me a statute, ordinance, code or even rule that says he can take such a preposterous argument in to consideration.

    Prerogative fills all of the spaces where the law is silent.

  68. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 12:59 pm:

    @bored now,

    Why do priests disengaged from the institution of marriage believe they have the right to tell everyone else in society whom they may or may not marry?

  69. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 12:59 pm:

    You know what the great irony of all this is? Farrakhan is an indisputably hate-filled bigot who lives large in this town off his follower’s tithing but doesn’t have to pay a cent of income tax for it. Meanwhile, Cathy – who as far as I can tell holds the position of ‘hating the sin but loving the sinner’ - builds a successful business that employs thousands – including those he allegedly hates and discriminates against – and pays everything he owes in taxes. Yet the recent efforts of the former are welcomed with open arms by the Mayor and the later is castigated and impeded. Why doesn’t the Mayor have to answer for this contradiction??

    I grew up and attended college in Chicago. It’s a truly remarkable city, both world-class and homegrown at the same time. I loved living in the city as a kid and young adult. All things being equal, I would have loved to raise my family in the city. But the leadership of this town has it’s head so far up it’s @ss that doing so seems unfathomable now, and ridiculous episodes like this are why.

  70. - jerry 101 - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 1:02 pm:

    I think that the Cardinal’s statement is bigoted and stupid.

    I think that Alderman Moreno and Mayor Emmanuel’s opposition to letting more Chick-fil-A’s open is stupid.

    I won’t eat at a Chick-fil-A, either.

    If CFA is violating laws against discrimination, then the lawyers can certainly find a way to drag them into court.

    But this whole debate has fallen into a whole new realm of stupid. All of the people debating over CFA’s discriminatory policies are only helping pad CFA’s bottom line without really affecting…anything. Just fighting for the sake of fighting.

    Now, we have the Cardinal of the Chicago Arch-Diocese coming out with a letter to support…Chick-fil-A?!?!

    Really?!?!?! What would Jesus do, indeed?

    Lets get back to debating something of importance, like whether or not Ellis Coleman will bring home the gold.

  71. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 1:02 pm:

    Good point, GOP.

    Because it so rare for church leaders to live large.

    For some reason, only the black church leaders offend you. Odd.

  72. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 1:06 pm:

    === Prerogative fills all of the spaces where the law is silent.
    But the law is not silent on this. Cathy and/or the C-F-A Corporation are granted the right under the 1st Amendment to hold whatever opinions they want and speak them freely without retribution by government regulator. Unless you can provide evidence that they have actually violated the law, they are guaranteed due process under 5th and 14th Amendments.

    The interview you excerpted is not evidence of anything but their opinions and their intention to strengthen traditional families. You don’t think there are businesses all over the city that do whatever they can to strengthen particular demographic groups/communities? Provide evidence that C-F-A actually discriminated and you will have a case. The problem for you and Moreno and the Mayor is that they don’t - which is why the city allowed them to built the restaurant they already have here.

    All you are left with is grandstanding and rabble-rousing. And neither of those should ever be basis for government action – right, left, conservative or liberal.

  73. - Humble - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 1:09 pm:

    John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Chicago 14:6 Rahm answered I am the Way the Truth and the Life and no man cometh to Chicago except by me.

  74. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 1:17 pm:

    Skeeter, just to be clear, I chose Farrakhan as a comparison because the Mayor has embraces him. If they Mayor had embraced a well-to-do bigoted white minister I would gladly have used that as my counterpoint instead.

  75. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 1:26 pm:

    Hmm, let’s contemplate that one GOP. We have a guy living in a mansion, who owns all sorts of amazing art and some prime property, who pays no taxes, and who’s employees have a long history of abusing kids, and who personally wrote letters to prison authorities asking to get his employees released from jail early.

    That does not bother you.

    The guy who hasn’t been heard from since 1985 bothers you.

    And you claim skin color has nothing to do with it.

    Sure. Keep telling yourself that race does not matter. If you tell yourself enough, you might even belief it.

    By the way, the only people calling Rahm and Farrakhan an “embrace” are the right wing blogs. In reality, Rahm welcomed the help to stop violence. Moreover, since Farrakhan’s comments were aimed one specific population, perhaps we should give Rahm the benefit of the doubt on that one.

  76. - Springfieldish - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 1:49 pm:

    Rather than injecting himself into the controversies surrounding gay marriage and whether the Catholic Church can treat their employees differently than other employers, you’d think Cardinal George would open his eyes and send out his priests and brother to help stop the gun violence in the city. Now that would be a truly christian act. But, sadly, no. He’s so much less the leader than Cardinal Bernardin.

  77. - Ivory-billed Woodpecker - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 1:50 pm:

    Roger Brown painted an image of Jesus’s arrival in Chicago: cheering crowds line the streets; politicians assembled on the grand stand wait to bestow their beneficence.

    It’s satirical. And hysterical. Wish I could find an image on the intertube.

  78. - L.S. - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 1:54 pm:

    I bet if Jesus came back today, he’d have a whole host of issues to take up with the Cardinal and his entire Vatican brethren who used his name to horde wealth and commit horrible atrocities. There wouldn’t even be time to worry about an over-rated chicken sandwhich.

  79. - amalia - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 2:01 pm:

    @ C in S-burg. I have tried to get my husband to an RC mass from time to time. even he, raised that way, finds the hierarchy offensive, so I’m certainly not spending more time doing that. I recommend you get to a Lutheran church or an Episcopal church.

  80. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 2:14 pm:

    @Skeeter -

    If the only defense of Chick-fil-A is they aren’t as bad as Louis Farrakhan, I’d say they’ve already lost.

    But to GOP’s point, if Farrakhan wants to open a commercial enterprise in your ward, and your alderman opposes the zoning change, I’m fine with that.

    Ditto for the new Church of Scientology Book Store on Michigan Avenue.

    Find another location, circulate petitions to educate ward residents, take the alderman out in the next elections.

    There are lots of alternative to whining about how government is discriminating against you for discriminating. A position you really ought to think about.

  81. - RMD - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 2:16 pm:

    Catholic clergy being more vocal about social issues and religious freedom. Does that have any long term political and elective impact for democrats?

  82. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 2:22 pm:

    === Perhaps you can enlighten me as to why should I be more troubled by that than I am by government programs that give preferential treatment to vendors of a particular gender or race? ===

    Um…because discriminating against someone in hiring because they are single or divorced, rather than married, is illegal. It is, however, rather difficult to prove, unless your CEO brags about it to the Baptist Press.

  83. - capncrunch - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 2:28 pm:

    Until his recent epiphany, the President apparently didn’t share Chicago values.

  84. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 2:30 pm:

    @RMD -

    Considering how many parishioners ignore the Catholic Church on pre-marital sex and reproductive rights, I’d say the answer is “No”.

    In fact, polls have consistently found that support for equal rights for gay Americans is highest among Catholics.

    The Church’s hardline positions don’t have electoral consequences for Democrats, but they due have consequences for Church attendance.

    On the flipside, the Church’s support for immigration reform boosts loyalty.

  85. - Cheryl - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 2:35 pm:

    ~~You really think that opposing gay marriage is as bad as practicing child labor?? Really?? ~~

    Yes. Though I am opposed to any government official interfering with Mr. Cathy’s opening a business anywhere he wants. I would prefer Chick Filet to close up shop because people refuse to eat his chicken. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says it’s illegal to be stupid or a bigot.

  86. - Veil of Ignorance - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 2:42 pm:

    I guess it’s unclear to me whether the controversy is that Chick-Fil-A funds anti-gay organizations (e.g. actively oppose gay marriage and legal rights) or that he made his personal views on the issue public. As others mentioned, the Nation of Islam is now helping secure Chicago streets with the approval of the City despite their leader’s numerous offensive and troubling remarks (pick a group, any group). We also don’t penalize Coors beer for their funding of political groups. As Bloomberg pointed out, if they don’t violate any discrimination ordinances or regulations, then what’s the problem? If groups want to protest them, great. But when gov’t starts penalizing political activity or views, we’re in dangerous waters. BTW - I like ketchup on my hot dogs and I’m a Chicagoan damn it (I’m a brave man with my anonymous post).

  87. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 2:44 pm:

    YDD, I’d like to think that you are joking; that you aren’t really “fine” with aldermanic privilege trumping due process and the freedoms or religion and speech. CFA already operates in Chicago and there have been no allegations that it has violated city ordinances or codes. Cathy stated that he/CFA support traditional families (okay….) He expressed no hatred, let alone opposition to working with, singles or gays (still not seeing the problem….) In fact, the current Chicago CFA apparently employs gays (wtf??) What is the freakin’ problem here? Moreno is a public servant, not a feudal lord. He is not above the law, and the law says CFA deserves due process. He has essentially admitted that he intends to deny them that. I honestly can’t understand how you can defend that.

    And, again – gay marriage is not legal in Chicago. So how is a company that favors traditional marriage out of step with the city’s values on this issue?? Please, explain that one to me??

  88. - Little Egypt - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 2:57 pm:

    Despite comments here for or against Chick-Fil-A, if they didn’t serve a good product for us to eat, they wouldn’t be in business. I have been known to plan my route of travel upon whether I can stop at a Chick-Fil-A for a sandwich and it has never, ever, occurred to me to ask what their political views were/are. I’m hungry, I like their sandwiches, period. Seriously, I just read a list of businesses for conservatives and liberals to avoid because of personal political views. How stupid, how idiotic. Let Mr. Cathy build his stores where he wants and let the chips fall where they may. I’m really ashamed to admit that some really good businesses may fail because of a corporate owners personal beliefs and not because their product didn’t make the grade.

  89. - bored now - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 3:20 pm:

    Wensicia: i haven’t a clue.

    Little Egypt: i find it odd that you think people shouldn’t frequent establishments that support their values. if the owner of chick-fil-a is of the mind to spout bigotry, then those who oppose living in a society where bigotry is tolerated should take every opportunity to expose and oppose the bigotry that cathy advocates. it shouldn’t matter where you fall on the issue, and while we should support EVERYONE’S first amendment rights, that doesn’t mean we have to support them economically by buying their products. there are more conservative/religious countries that agree with cathy’s religious prejudice (iran comes to mind), and we should welcome him moving his business to places where he’ll be more comfortable and fit right in!

  90. - Bigtwich - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 3:23 pm:

    “Could Jesus be accepted as a Chicagoan?”

    Of course not. He would never get past immigration.

  91. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 3:54 pm:

    Regarding the flap raised here, it wasn’t just George:

    “Do not disrespect us…We, too, are Chicago,” the Rev. Charles Lyons of the Armitage Baptist Church thundered from the pulpit Sunday…..
    Lyons had a warning for anyone who tries to impose their values on his congregation.
    “If the thought police come to Armitage Baptist Church, we will meet them at the door respectfully, unflinchingly, willing to die on this hill, holding a copy of the Sacred Scriptures in one hand and a copy of the U.S. Constitution in the other,” Lyons said in the sermon.

  92. - Debbie Reynolds - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 4:08 pm:

    You know, dear, when I read these kind of things, I often think back to the wisdom of Mr. Gandhi:

    ““I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

  93. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 5:13 pm:

    Maybe one day people will realize that Jesus doesn’t govern us. Keep your Jesus in your churches and out of my life. You can keep whatever moral code you want in your personal life. But when your moral code interferes with my rights, you have crossed the line. I’m tired of the pathetic Bible-thumpers and their hatred of gays. You live your life and I’ll live mine. It’s really none of your business anyway you nosie nellies.

  94. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 5:21 pm:


    No one is violating Dan Cathy’s religious freedom or Chick-fil-A’s due process.

    The issue is not Cathy’s personal beliefs, the issue is his company’s policies and practices.

    If he had stated that his company operates on the biblical principle that a woman’s place was in the home and its a man’s job to support his family, and they are proud that most of their stores are run by men, would you honestly argue that we still need to “prove” that they discriminate? Absurdity.

    They not only ask prospective employees if they are married, but if they go to Church for Pete’s sake.

    Let’s stop pretending.

  95. - Melvin Gibson - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 7:01 pm:

    Cardinal George has summed it up very nicely. The world (and our country) is currently being reshaped “for our own good” by Barack and Rahm. They know what is actually best for the Chicago citizens and the rest of us in the country. I think Daley put Mike Madigan is in charge of what is best for the state of Illinois. Thank goodness we have these guys who are so much smarter than we are to tell us what we should do. Have you ever wondered if Barack, Rahm, and Mike get their orders from some individual? Is there a “Mr. Big” out there who is actually calling these shots? Some guy (Soros?) who wants to “fix the world” or rearrange it as to how he thinks it should be? Maybe it is some guy called Garp? (The World According To Garp).

  96. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 7:05 pm:

    @Mel Gibson -

    Funny, I thought telling us all how to live our lives was the Catholic Church’s job.


  97. - RNUG - Tuesday, Jul 31, 12 @ 10:33 pm:


    I can see the church question going either way.

    Asking about church attendence is relevant to their business schedule since it is company policy to close on Sunday. If someone were to religiously (no pun intended) observe a different day, that might interfere with the franchise operation.

    There are a few other franchise companies that also follow a ‘closed Sunday’ policy. The one that comes immediately to mind is Hobby Lobby.

  98. - Anon - Wednesday, Aug 1, 12 @ 12:37 am:

    Pretty much every citizen, legal scholar, and editorialist agrees that the Joe Moreno, Rahm Emmanuel, and the Dem mayors of Boston and SF are woefully wrong here, but it would be nice to hear these officials reverse course and publicly state that every business has a right to hold and voice its opinions without fear of retribution from the government.

  99. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Aug 1, 12 @ 7:31 am:

    @RNUG -

    LOL. Your defense is they are screening out Jews? Really??

    The question is:

    “Do you have any conflicts with our standing Monday thru Saturday schedule?”


    “Do you attend church regularly?”

    @Anon -

    Chick-fil-A is entitled to its opinion. They are free to express it. But what they can’t do is hide behind the First Amendment to defend discriminatory business practices.

    Ironically, while everyone is busy lamenting supposed First Amendment rights, Chick-fil-A has made it clear to Moreno that they are more than happy to stop exercising their freedom of speech if it means they can sell more chicken.

    Which brings me to my final point. Chick-fil-A IS a business, not a church. Their goal is to make more money. And I suspect that Dan Cathy committed a common “gaffe”…speaking an unfortunate truth. Cathy forgot that he wasn’t just talking to the Baptist Press and his Baptist readers when he bragged about their discriminatory practices. Chick-fil-A needs to expand beyond its southern Conservative roots if it wants to grow as a company, into urban markets. Their “Christian chicken” image played well in their old market, but its not a growth strategy for their brand, and Cathy’s comments and the ensuing controversy are branding the company in a way that dampens their future.

    They will likely see a short term boost in sales at current stores, but their first impression with the rest of the world ain’t good.

  100. - grand old partisan - Wednesday, Aug 1, 12 @ 9:00 am:

    === If he had stated that his company operates on the biblical principle that a woman’s place was in the home and its a man’s job to support his family, and they are proud that most of their stores are run by men, would you honestly argue that we still need to “prove” that they discriminate?

    Second, Cathy stated that the company “operates on Biblical principles,” not “upon the biblical definition of family,” as you erroneously stated. So we don’t really know what he means by that. He spoke thoughout the interview (of which gay marriage was a very minor part) about many ways in which faith informs their business ethics. Stop putting words in the man’s mouth and take what he says at face value.

    And as for asking prospective employees if they are married and go to Church: Okay, so you don’t think that’s right. But is it illegal? That is the only salient question here. If it is illegal, why did the city allow CFA to build it’s current restaurant here??

    That is a key question that you can’t seem to answer. How is it that CFA is acceptable in one ward and not to another? I know the answer – because the only basis Moreno has for blocking them is political, and not rooted in any actual legal concerns. CFA is a law abiding company that has a right to have it’s zoning/permit requests decided on their merits, not on the political whims of a grandstanding hack like Moreno.

  101. - grand old partisan - Wednesday, Aug 1, 12 @ 9:04 am:

    Sorry, the first part of that last comment as supposed to be:

    I don’t know what else you call it when an alderman explicitly says that he will not even consider your permit/zoning requests because of your political opinions. At least, that is what Moreno was said until he got called out on it by every legal scholar, editorial board and talking head in the country. Only then did he start to gin up this baseless slander about discriminatory policies. If those accusations are true, why didn’t he say that from the start??

  102. - - Wednesday, Aug 1, 12 @ 10:34 am:

    I’m strongly in favor of marriage equality and have no problems with Rahm Emanuael, or any other elected official, supporting the recognition of same-sex marriage.

    However: I do think the Cardinal has a good point in that neither a mayor nor a majority of any legislative body have a right to define (in legal terms) whether or not a company should be able to do business based on how nicely it does or does not match up with the “in” views. As long as the company practices non-discrimination in its hiring and benefits policies, the views of the CEO on social issues is irrelevant to whether the company should be able to get a business license and be treated, for zoning purposes, like any other legitimate business. Rahm’s ego got away from him on this one.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* More remap stuff
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* Pritzker spent more than $7 million on advertising in third quarter
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* PNA repeal back on the front burner
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition
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