What is about Chick-fil-A that absolutely drives so many on the Left to push for its destruction via periodic spasms of boycotts (that typically fail) or imposing abusive government regulations like that proposed by New York State Assemblyman Tony Simone?
Simone is a freshman member of the Empire State’s legislature, representing a district that encompasses “Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown and part of the Lincoln Center area in Manhattan,” according to his official website.
For whatever reason, Simone became deeply concerned about the fact that some Sunday travelers on the New York Thruway (NYTW) might not be able to get their lunch or dinner at one of the Chick-fil-As operating Monday through Saturday at six state-managed rest stops.
“It’s Sunday, Christmas Eve … thousands of New Yorkers are traveling to their families to find restaurants at rest areas across the state. The Thruways are meant to serve New York travelers first. I think it’s ridiculous that you’re able to close on Sunday, one of the busiest travel days of the week,” Simone told a local New York media outlet.
“You know, we get hungry when we’re traveling. We may not like our brother-in-law or sister-in-law’s cooking and wanna get a snack on Christmas Eve,” the Democrat Assemblyman noted. “To find one of the restaurants closed on the Thruway is just not in the public good.”
So Simone’s bill commands Chick-fil-A to violate its own well-known practice of not opening its stores on Sundays so that employees are free to worship or not, as they choose, to spend time with their families, and get some well-deserved rest.
As it happens, there are 27 service stops on the NYTW and there are hot meals available from multiple outlets at many of them on Sundays, including Burger King, Panera, Dunkin’ Donuts, and many more. So suffocating the First Amendment religious freedom of hundreds of Chick-fil-A employees would not provide a critically needed service that is not already abundantly available.
And let’s not forget that the Sunday closing is immensely respected by the millions of loyal customers, who worship in church on Sundays and keep coming back and coming back the rest of the week to their local Chick-fil-A locations. Obviously, the fact their favorite fast food joint is closed on the Lord’s Day is not a problem demanding government action for these people.
What is a problem is efforts like Simone’s to impose the heavy hand of government in every nook and cranny of every American’s private and public life. Simone is part of the Lefty crowd in government, politics, academy, corporate boardrooms, and the Mainstream Media.
These people constantly instruct us that we must buy an Electric Vehicle (an EV that we can’t afford and can’t conveniently charge whenever needed), that we can no longer keep our homes and families warm in the winter and cool in the summer using power derived from fossil fuels, that we dare not ever again use a gas-powered lawn mower or weed whacker, that we must… I could go on and on and on.
Somehow I have a feeling that Simone’s proposal would inevitably spark a legal challenge if it becomes law. According to Liberty Counsel’s Daniel Schmid, New York has a rich recent history of official religious intolerance.
“New York lawmakers targeting Chick-fil-A for its religious beliefs is nothing new, to be certain. In 2016, the former New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio called for New Yorkers to boycott Chick-fil-A when it opened a restaurant in the city, and his only basis for doing so was the company’s religious beliefs on traditional marriage,” Schmid, who is Associate Vice President for Legal Affairs for the Florida-based LC.
“The City of Buffalo put up roadblocks when Chick-fil-A wanted to open a location there and ultimately prevented them from opening a restaurant there. Now, the latest iteration of New York’s religious hostility arises in the form of coerced compliance with two lawmaker’s opinions about whether a company should be open on Sunday,” Schmid continued.
“The irony is astounding with DeBlasio previously saying he would never patronize a Chick-fil-A because of its religious beliefs and now Assemblyman Tony Simone saying more people should be able to patronize them on Sundays. The only common thread among those two positions is overt hostility towards Chick-fil-A’s religious beliefs,” he said.
Given the lengthy list of competing fast food services on the NYTW, it’s clear there is no public good need to force Chick-fil-A to open on Sundays, so the motivation for doing so must stem from something else, such as that “overt hostility” that Schmid mentions above.
That hostility is no new thing in New York, as Schmid points out:
For years, New York has unconstitutionally and systematically attempted to excise religion from the public square. During COVID-19, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) ordered churches to close their doors while permitting liquor stores and strip clubs to remain open. The governor’s administration likewise revoked all religious accommodations to compulsory vaccination for healthcare workers in New York.
Now, Tony Simone’s rationale was rather simple: “If you want to eat fried chicken while traveling over the holidays, then Chick-fil-A should be open on Sundays.” In Simone’s mind, it appears a traveler’s craving for a particular flavor of physical nourishment outweighs Chick-fil-A’s right to spiritual nourishment on Sundays. Unfortunately for Simone, the First Amendment sets a different order of priority.
For those who think forcing a fast food franchise to stay open on Sundays at a mere six locations in one state is no big deal, think about this: If Simone’s proposal becomes law, it becomes a precedent. If New York can force Chick-fil-A locations in one part of the state to stay open on Sundays, why not do the same for all the other locations around the state?
And one more thing: As Patrick Henry (of “Give me liberty or give me death!” fame) warned: “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel.”
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly Daniel Schmid’s name. We apologize to our readers for this error.